When the time finally rolls round to assemble this final LEARN blog post of the year, most educators we encounter tend to be dazed, confused – often struggling to understand what the heck just happened over the past school year.
Are the exams done yet? Did I get all my marks in correctly? Have I cleaned out the moldy lunches from the staff room fridge? Is my classroom reset for next year? Did I wish everyone a happy summer vacay? Am I allowed to go home now??? Please? Well, if you’re reading this post, all these questions should be settled, and the summer sun beckons you to loaf out! Yes, get outside, away from the books, papers, pens, white boards, chalk, overhead projectors, iPads, lunch boxes, school bells, urinals, after-school meetings, cafeteria smells and of course your beloved classroom/school/office. It’s time to celebrate solitude, relaxation and a ton of wonderful sunshine. Time for self-care… These recommended books should fit into the summertime plans pleasantly.
Théo la Tornade par Anna Llenas
Vous êtes le parent d’un petit garçon plein d’énergie comme le mien ou l’enseignant.e d’un.e enfant qui bouge beaucoup en classe… Théo la tornade est un incontournable pour vous! La juxtaposition de collages, de dessins et de peinture rend les illustrations remarquables et l’histoire d’Anna Llenas profondément touchante.
The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
I recently read this work of fiction by fellow Canadian, Lansens, and I couldn’t put it down. When 18 year-old Wolf Truly gets stranded on the top of a mountain with three women, they start off as strangers. Their lives become entangled as they band together in an attempt to survive. I would characterize this book as a combination between a coming-of-age drama and man-vs-nature survival story. Check it out!
A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans
A captivating read for all animal lovers; this remarkable true story lends a unique insight into how one lone black wolf unexpectedly steals the hearts of a few lucky Juneau residents and their dogs. Hoping these incredible encounters into the unchartered world of wolves will warm your heart.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
The Wonderful Things You Will Be is a thoughtful, quiet story that imagines all of the things that both babies and children will grow up to be including creative, clever as well as brave and bold. This charming picture book is guaranteed to appeal to readers of all ages… especially parents and grandparents.
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
I will probably read this book another few hundred times over the summer, as it is Jacob’s favourite. Apart from the fun truck sounds (Beep beep beep goes Blue!) and animal noises, Little Blue Truck teaches the importance of friendship, kindness and teamwork. When everyone works together with Blue, even the largest tasks can be accomplished.
The Boat People by Sharon Bala
Based on real incidents in the late 2000’s, The Boat People provides a fictionalized account of a cargo ship full of Sri Lankan refugees arriving in Canada. The story is told from three alternating perspectives: a refugee man separated from his young son; a political appointee to the role of adjudicator who decides whether the refugees, suspected of being terrorists, will be welcomed or deported; and a young lawyer of Sri Lankan descent who is assigned to the case despite her preference for corporate law. A spirited discussion was sparked in my book club this month about the real events, their relevance, and the layered characters developed by Bala.
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
An old reading tradition of mine was to try and get through one great (and often long) book over the course of a summer. Being quite a slow reader, and tending to take my time on each word, long voyages were the only times I could get through essentials like Ulysses, Moby Dick and Anna Karenina, often squinting over pages blasted into brightness by a Spanish sun, or dimmed into shadows on the midnight train platforms of France. But on one such journey, I remember running out of words almost immediately, as I screamed through the Nobel prize winner Gabriel García Márquez’s masterpiece 100 Years of Solitude in only a few days. A classic for those of my generation, it is a must-read if you’re young and haven’t had the chance already. From the first pages, this wonder of magic realism will take you for a ride through history, family, and language that you will never forget.
Bannock, Beans and Black Tea: Memories of a Prince Edward Island Childhood in the Great Depression by John Gallant and Seth
If you were playing “when I was your age…” against John Gallant, he would win hands down, easily. He did it all, walked to school in bare feet, and for miles in the snow everyday, while surviving on little else than boiled or raw root vegetables. These true stories told to Seth, during long car rides with his Dad, are transformed into this collectible art work of hand-written short vignettes and classic Seth illustrations. This memoir is not for the faint of heart, but for fans of young characters with a tenacity of purpose.
The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys
SISU – The Finnish Art of Courage by Joanna Nylund
I picked up this book to have a deeper look at my genetic roots. SISU (pronounced see-zoo) is something everyone has that must be cultivated in order to live by it. By doing so, you can face life’s adversity with courage and determination, increase your well-being and concentration, communicate with confidence, solve conflictual situation efficiently, develop endurance to reach objectives, raise kids so they are good with resilience and act with integrity while defending what is dear to you. Happy reading!
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
This author’s writing style is what I loved the most about this book, although the story is just as compelling as the hypnotic style in which it’s written. Ann Patchett is one of those writers whose words take you to another place altogether. I’ve also read “State of Wonder” by her, an absolute nail-biter, and I plan to read everything else she’s read.
The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain
This book is for those of you who miss the honest reflections and comments about food, travel, politics and life that made “No Reservation” and “Parts Unknown” such interesting TV series, this book of “Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps,and Bones” will provide the same but in written form.
Des Choses Fragiles by Neil Gaiman
This summer, I want to improve my french by reading one of my favourite author’s collection of short stories. Neil Gaiman has captured the essence of gods, old and new, so this book should replenish my imagination. Just the sort of chill vibes I need to decompress and disconnect from reality (read: the news)
Meathead by Meathead Goldwyn
In an effort to fuse my two passions; science and BBQ, I’m all over this gem! The science of flame, smoke and meats… Yum! Let the BBQing begin.