Category Archives: Books

Summer Reading Recommendations

Truth and Reconciliation. Pandemic. Black Lives Matter. Immigration. As I prepared this annual column of reading recommendations I realized current news stories had certainly influenced my choice of books this past year. 

Five Little Indians uses rich language to relate deeply personal stories about five survivors of the same residential school. They each describe their own incredibly sad childhood. We follow them into challenging adulthood where their lives braid together and their strength of character, astounding resilience, and innate goodness are revealed. Author Michelle Good is a Cree lawyer who has represented residential school survivors in court hearings.  Five Little Indians has won a host of awards.

David Robertson’s memoir Blackwater was another favorite this past year. It describes how David developed a relationship with his father after they had grown apart, and how that new relationship helped David learn to understand and appreciate his Cree heritage.

In The Pull of the Stars Emma Donoghue takes us into a cramped Dublin Hospital maternity ward during the 1918 flu pandemic. Julia is the courageous duty nurse, and the story revolves around her as well as a plucky volunteer named Bridget and Kathleen, a doctor and political activist. The depth of the author’s research gives readers a graphic and disturbing picture of a past pandemic. It makes you appreciate all the medical advances that are helping us navigate our current health crisis. 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles was fascinating.  The novel’s hero Count Alexander Rostov makes the most of his life despite being sentenced to a decades-long house arrest in a hotel in the Russian capital. The endearing Alexander provides a road map for how to live through a time of isolation with humor and hope. 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet was certainly a page-turner!  The novel follows two light-skinned African American sisters from 1968-1988. As young girls, they witness their father’s lynching. One sister decides to pass for white and ends up living in the lap of luxury in Los Angeles. The other sister maintains her black identity and becomes an FBI employee in Washington DC. Although the two women break off contact, a generation later their daughters meet, and the sisters’ lives intersect once again.  The book definitely makes readers examine their own racial biases. 

The Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi is about both racism and immigration. It tells the story of a family from Ghana who moves to America.  Gifty, the protagonist, is a brilliant neuroscientist trying to make sense of a past that includes her brother’s struggle with addictions, her mother’s battle with depression, and the systemic racism her family faced. Just as science and religion are often at odds these days, so is Gifty’s heart as she tries to balance her emotional attachment to her religious beliefs with her scientific sensibilities.  This is a beautifully written book that raises important questions. 

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins tells the compelling story of Lydia and her young son. They are fleeing to the United States to escape the Mexican cartel that killed Lydia’s journalist husband. Along the way they meet other migrants who have remarkable tales to tell. I was totally invested in the characters and the book kept me in nerve-wracking suspense. It helped me understand in a visceral way what it might be like to be an undocumented immigrant. 

My recommendations this year certainly aren’t for light summer reading but at a time when our world seems to be at an important turning point, these books definitely widened my world view and gave me new ways of looking at things. 

Other posts………

A Book I’ve Loved For Fifty Years

A Heart Felt Book That Started on Instagram and Sold Two Million Copies

Librarians on Horseback

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Nature and An Excellent Book

You may have noticed I’ve been off the internet for the last couple of days. I didn’t post to this blog or do any posts on social media. My brain and body needed a little break and I took it by going camping for the first time in some forty years.

We slept in a tent and woke to the sound of the dawn chorus of the birds.

We did some hiking and cooked meals over a fire.

We went for an evening boat ride spotting eagles and loons and pelicans and beavers and admiring the perfect reflection of the trees in the glassy water.

Instead of the daily writing, I usually do, I read Michelle Good’s book Five Little Indians which just won the Governor General’s award for literature. Five Little Indians tells the story of five residential school survivors. Michelle develops her characters with rich language and descriptive scenes that allow the reader to get to know them in a deeply personal way. Each of the five protagonists narrates their own story but their lives are braided together in many different ways.

The author of Five Little Indians sixty-five-year-old Michelle Good is a member of the Saskatchewan Red Pheasant Cree Nation and the daughter and granddaughter of residential school survivors. She is a lawyer who has represented residential school survivors and she has studied hundreds of psychological assessments of survivors of childhood abuse in order to understand how that experience could impact people’s lives. She writes from a place of experience and knowledge.

The five characters in Michelle’s book were sent to the same residential school in British Columbia. Their residential school stories are sad, terribly, terribly, sad and sometimes I wanted to just close the book and not read on. But……..Michelle follows each child into their challenging adulthood and helps us see the strengths of their character and their innate goodness. Unlike many books, I have read about the devastating consequences of the residential school system, Michelle’s book actually left me with a feeling of hope. I so admired the resilience of her characters.

Many people wondered how best to mark this Canada Day in the face of the devastating news about the discovery of so many graves of residential school children. Should it be a time to celebrate, as usual, or a time to mourn, a time to learn, a time to protest?

Spending a couple of days in the beauty of Canada’s natural world and reading an ultimately hopeful book about a tragic chapter in our country’s past seemed a good fit for me.

How did you spend July 1?

Other posts…………..

15 Reasons I Am Thankful to Live in Canada

Canada – A Country For All Seasons

Two Breathtakingly Beautiful Books

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The Girl Who Loved Giraffes

I was smitten with the story of Canadian giraffologist Anne Innis Dagg after I saw the movie The Woman Who Loves Giraffes. I wrote a blog post about how the film inspired and moved me. So when I heard there was a new children’s book about Anne Innis Dagg called The Girl Who Loved Giraffes I was so excited. Now Anne’s story would be accessible to a younger generation of Canadians.

I was even more excited when I heard that Kathy Stinson a Canadian children’s writer with a long and successful career had written The Girl Who Loved Giraffes. Kathy Stinson classics were favourites in my sons’ book collections when they were young as well as in the libraries of the elementary schools where I served as a teacher. At one point I probably could have recited any number of Kathy Stinson’s books by heart, because I had read them so often.

So when CANSCAIP (the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) of which I am a member began to advertise the launch of The Girl Who Loved Giraffes by Kathy Stinson I signed up immediately.

The launch was terrific because not only did we get to hear from Kathy Stinson the author, but also from Anne Innis Dagg herself. I also enjoyed listening to Francois Thisdale talk about how he created such beautiful illustrations for the book. He put so many details into each drawing.

He explained for example that in this one where Anne sees a giraffe for the first time at the Brookfield Zoo he added a vintage ticket for the zoo and the numbers on the ticket are Anne’s birthdate.

Anne Innis Daag

One of my favorite things about The Girl Who Loved Giraffes is that it is really two books in one. First of all, we can read Anne’s story about how she went to Africa to study giraffes and became one of the world’s foremost experts on the animal only to be rejected for teaching positions at Canadian universities because she was a woman.

A gIraffe I photographed at the Taronga Zoo in Australia

But… we also learn all kinds of interesting things about giraffes in the notes on each page. Did you know a giraffe’s intestines are as long as a football field or that they eat 90 different kinds of leaves?

I can hardly wait to share The Girl Who Loved Giraffes with my grandchildren. It is a top-notch autobiography- a fascinating compendium of information about giraffes and it contains many beautiful works of art.

Other posts………….

Where Are the Women?

The Matilda Effect

Show Us Where You Live Humpback

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Show Us Where You Live, Humpback

“A celebration of the wonder of whales and the connections we share with them” are the words on the back of a beautiful new picture book for young children called Show Us Where You Live Humpback by Beryl Young.

A mother and child see a humpback whale with her calf as they walk along the ocean and a lyrical story begins to unfold where the lives of the two children, whale and human are described and compared. As the baby whale grows and learns so does the child.

Photo of a page from Show Us Where You Live Humpback by Beryl Young and Sakika Kikuchi published by Greystone Kids

Show Us Where You Live Humpback is a feast for the eye and ear. Illustrator Sakika Kikuchi has created gorgeous images of the whales under the sea all awash in different shades of blue while the cadence of Beryl Young’s text brings to mind the lapping of rolling waves on the shore.

I loved the page where the whale is shooting a plume of spray out from its blowhole and the reader is invited to make the accompanying sounds- Whoosh- Fwissh- Wow! This is contrasted with lively colourful illustrations of the child in the story blowing out birthday candles, blowing bubbles and blowing away the white fuzz of a dandelion.

There’s lots to learn about humpback whales from the text in the story itself and in a short information piece included at the end of the book which compares the knobs on a humpback’s head to the bumps on a dill pickle and the size of the baby whale to a compact car.

Author Beryl Young

Beryl Young the author of Show Us Where You Live Humpback has written all kinds of books for children including biographies and middle-grade fiction. This is her second picture book. Illustrator Sakika Kikuchi has a degree in children’s book illustration from Cambridge University and lives in Japan. This is her first picture book.

Illustration by Sakika Kikuchi from the book Show Us Where You Live Humpback

The book is published by Greystone Kids which specializes in nature books for children. At a conference in May, I listened to a presentation by Sara Gillingham who is a consulting creative director for Greystone and she talked about working towards more inclusivity in the visuals in children’s books. I could appreciate that in Show Us Where You Live Humpback where the illustrations depict the child in a way that leaves gender and ethnicity open to suggestion.

I have become friends with author Beryl Young through our connection with Heritage House. They published my novel Lost on the Prairie and have also published one of Beryl’s novels, Miles to Go.

I have never met Beryl in person but am hoping to rectify that with an autumn trip to British Columbia where I’d also like to go on a whale watching tour to meet the fascinating creatures featured in Beryl’s beautiful book.

Other posts……

What An Inspiration

Two Breathtakingly Beautiful Books

A Book I’ve Loved For Fifty Years

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Filed under Books, Childhood, Nature

Cattail Skyline-Personal Connections

Joanne Epp’s new book of poetry Cattail Skyline

If you are like me you have a kind of love-hate relationship with berries. I LOVE eating them but childhood memories of picking them in prickly heat amid clouds of mosquitoes are also vivid. Joanne Epp captures the two sides of the berry experience perfectly in five poems about berries in her new book Cattail Skyline.

Joanne made me recall the discomfort of….. branchfuls of prickles that scrape the forearm skin

but she also brought to mind the…… sharp sweetness…… of newly picked berries and the way berry jam…….. eaten on a fresh bun after school ……tasted…. cool and tart.

Photo of Joanne Epp from the Canadian Mennonite University blog

I so enjoyed the tour of rural Saskatchewan Joanne gives us in her How far can we follow part of the book. Many happy days of my childhood were spent on my grandparents’ farm near Drake Saskatchewan so Joanne’s experiences and evocative descriptions rang true for me.

Red Winged Blackbird on a Cattail- photo by David Driedger

Lanigan Creek from this section of poems gives the book its title

Swaying on cattails, the blackbirds—

yellow-headed, red-winged—see it all:

their domain and one intruder.

I sidestep down the bank, crouch low.

Blackbirds whistle. I wait.…….

Below the cattail skyline, time

becomes elastic. The silence hums.

With a teacher at the Goldstone school in Phnom Penh where I worked as a volunteer

I have spent a fair bit of time in Cambodia and so it was Joanne Epp’s poems about her visit there that perhaps resonated with me most as she described the country’s ambience with lines like

the monks in orange yellow robes some of them just boys

the air’s too thick to wade through

Buddha looking down from his dais pink and smiling

sticky rice and cans of Coke for sale.

Photo taken during my visit to the Tuol Sleng high school in Phnom Penh

Like Joanne, I visited Tuol Sleng a former high school turned interrogation centre during the Pol Phot regime. Thousands of people were tortured and killed there and Joanne’s words captured the scene graphically

In the bare room, an iron bed,

shackles, chains.

Photo on the wall verifies

the bloodstain on the floor.

On the footbridge in Omand’s Creek Park

I have biked through Omand’s Creek Park more times than I can count and have picnicked there while canoeing down the Red River. In her set of a dozen poems Joanne takes us through a whole year in the park telling us what is happening there each month. On my most recent visit I noted things from Joanne’s April entry about the park.

Welcome the warbler, the mourning dove,

startled wings rising from footpaths.

Welcome the prelude to leaves, red

stamens clustered on maples.

Welcome the footbridge rising from water,

the creek receding, fish odour of mud.

My grandparents’ tombstone in Winkler Manitoba- photo by Al Loeppky

Cemeteries are one of my favourite places to visit so the eight poems about cemeteries in Cattail Skyline were very meaningful. For me the lines where Joanne best captures the experience of a cemetery visit are…..

you range back through decades, reading grey limestone

obelisks, concrete pillows, slant markers in granite. A

marble tablet, date of death: 1908—the oldest stone your

haphazard search has discovered. Almost ninety years

before your son’s birth—your grandparents were children

then. What else was here? Wagon tracks, pine seedlings

in rows, houses small against the horizon—straight lines

scratched into the landscape. You look up: against the tall

hedge, a cloud of tiny flying things. A shimmer—

I am not a poet so I always appreciate it when a poet can bring to life experiences of mine in beautiful and memorable ways. Joanne Epp did exactly that for me with Cattail Skyline.

The poems in her collection which will resonate with you might be quite different than mine but you are sure to find them.

Other posts……..

The Tree of Life by Sarah Klassen

Two Poets on Prayer

Poetry and Teenagers

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Two Breathtakingly Beautiful Books

Two picture books by fellow Manitoba authors have been on the McNally Robinson Booksellers bestseller list with my novel Lost on the Prairie for the last month. They are both so beautiful they take your breath away.

Tasha Spillett-Sumner’s I Sang You Down From the Stars uses lovely poetic text to tenderly tell the story of a mother awaiting the birth of her baby. As she waits she collects items of special meaning for her child’s sacred medicine bundle.

In the summer she finds a feather, a reminder of nature’s beauty all around. In the fall she gathers cedar and sage to keep her baby’s spirit strong. In the winter she and her older children craft a beautiful star blanket so the baby can be wrapped in safety and warmth. In the spring just before she gives birth, the mother selects a stone from a waterway so her child will remember the place where they belong and the special stories that place carries.

Each of the illustrations by Michaela Goade in this book could be framed art prints. Readers will want to linger on the pages to absorb all the little details included, to savour the gorgeous colour palettes chosen, and to fully experience the varying emotions every illustration evokes.

I first learned about the Indigenous medicine bundles at the heart of Tasha’s story when I did an interview with Winnipeg born artist Robert Houle many years ago for a Winnipeg Free Press newspaper article. He told me about the medicine bundles his female elders had brought to his home when his younger sisters were born.

I Sang You Down From the Stars is going to the top of my list as a gift for new babies and their parents. It is easy to see why it has been on the New York Times bestseller list. It was meaningful to learn that Tasha Spillett- Sumner wrote the book while awaiting the birth of her own daughter.

David Alexander Robertson’s book On the Trapline was also inspired by a personal experience, a 2018 visit with his Dad to the trapline near Norway House where his father had spent part of his childhood.

I was very familiar with the story in On the Trapline because I had read it in detail in the account David Alexander Robertson provides in his memoir Blackwater. I had also listened to David describe it on his award-winning CBC podcast Kīwew and heard him talk about it when I attended several different writing workshops where he was the presenter. So I was very curious to see how the story which I had heard told only to adult audiences would be retold for children.

And I have to say it has been reimagined in a very lovely and meaningful way as a grandfather takes his grandson on a journey to the trapline where he spent his childhood. The grandson learns that his grandfather slept in a tent with his family and chopped wood. They ate Saskatoon berries and caught muskrat. I loved the way Swampy Cree words were integrated into the text so children could learn them in a natural way.

Julie Flett the illustrator of On the Trapline creates such a peaceful and gentle mood for the story, washing the pages in greens and browns and blacks and whites with the occasional splash of colour. She and David Robertson worked together previously on the Governor-General award-winning book When We Were Alone and the way their books are enriched by both of their respective talents is clearly evident again. It is no wonder On the Trapline has received starred reviews from such prestigious sources as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Hornbook.

Both David and Julie have dedicated their contributions to the book to their fathers who passed away recently. Could there be a more perfect gift for Father’s Day than this book?

I have been honoured and humbled to have my novel on the same list as these two wondrous stories. I will be purchasing multiple copies of both for gifts now that I’ve read them. You will want to do that too.

Other posts………

A Very Personal Story

Bold and Beautiful

I Just Won a Cache of Great Children’s Books

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A Book Is A Dream You Hold In Your Hand

Stepping Stones written by Margriet Ruurs and illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr is published by Orca Books with text in both English and Arabic

I bought the book Stepping Stones as a gift for my grandchildren recently. Their mother is a physician in Saskatoon and part of her job is working in a clinic for refugees. I thought Stepping Stones, which tells the story of the immigration journey of a Syrian refugee girl named Rama, would help my grandchildren gain a greater understanding of the importance of the work their mother does. My oldest grandson is very artistic and I knew he would be intrigued by the beautiful illustrations in Stepping Stones that were made with rocks.

I am almost embarrassed to admit that at the time I bought Stepping Stones I didn’t even look at who the author of the book was or learn anything about its story.

Screen shot from the Prairie Horizons writing conference hosted by the Saskatchewan chapter of CANSCAIP

Then last weekend I attended the Prairie Horizons conference for children’s authors. Normally it is held in Saskatoon but this year it was online. The keynote speaker was none other than Margriet Ruurs the author of Stepping Stones and she told us the story of the book.

Photo of Margriet Ruurs from her Facebook page.

Margriet has written and published some forty books for children. She lives on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia but has travelled the world. Margriet was on Facebook one day and came across the work of a Syrian artist named Nizar Ali Badr. She was fascinated with his beautiful creations that were made from rocks he collected from a beach near his home. As he finished each piece of art he took a photo of it with his camera.

Artist Nizar Ali Badr at work – Photo from Orca Books

Margriet wondered if she could use his art to illustrate a story about a refugee family. You can imagine the energy and persistence it took for Margriet to connect with an artist who lived across the world and didn’t speak the same language, make arrangements to use his artwork, write a story that dovetailed with his pictures, and convince a publisher to take on the book. At the conference, she explained it all in fascinating detail and you can get an idea of the process from this CBC video or from this page on the Orca Publishers site.

What is even more fascinating is what has happened with the book since it was published in 2016. Stepping Stones has won a bevvy of awards and has been translated into many different languages. Margriet decided to donate her share of the royalties from the book to organizations that help refugees, and that as well as other efforts initiated as a result of the publication of Stepping Stones has raised more than $100,000 so far. The book has solicited countless accolades including an endorsement from the Pope.

My Librarian is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs is published by Boyds Mill Press

At the conference, Margriet also told the story of two of her other books The Elephant Keeper and My Librarian Is A Camel. The publication of both has been instrumental in raising support and awareness for important environmental and literacy endeavours. Her stories about these books were riveting and by the time Margriet was finished her keynote address at the conference I was in tears.

Margriet told us that a book is a dream we hold in our hand. An author never knows when they write a book what can happen with it, what the book can do to make people’s dreams come true, how a children’s book we write might play an important role in changing the world.

Now I can hardly wait till the pandemic is over and I can visit my grandchildren in Saskatoon again so we can read Stepping Stones together and I can tell them all about the story of Margriet’s book. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more of Margriet’s stories didn’t find their way into the Grandma bag of books that always comes along on my visits.

Other posts……….

My Parents- Refugee Supporters

Thoughts on Refugees

This Woman Should Be A Saint


Filed under Books, Writing

Two Books That Intrigued Me

The last two books I read were very different but each intrigued me.

Colleen Nelson’s The Life and Deaths of Frankie D is a novel for young adults that opens up all kinds of worlds for the the reader. You learn about a rare genetic disease called lamellar ichthyosis that results in a person having scaly almost reptilian skin.

The story’s protagonist Frankie adopts a goth persona that frees her to wear heavy make-up to cover up evidence of her condition. So as you read The Life and Deaths of Frankie D you discover more about goth culture.

Frankie lives with her foster mother Kris who is a social worker, and as a result we are exposed to some of the inside workings of the foster care system and gain an understanding of how it impacted Frankie’s life before she came to live with Kris.

Frankie is having these strange dreams which will eventually help her learn about her past. In Frankie’s dreams we enter the world of circus sideshows or ‘freak shows’ as they were called nearly a century ago when people’s unique physical attributes were exploited for monetary gain.

The only physical item Frankie has from her past is a necklace with an ancient Egyptian symbol and as she tries to piece together its possible meaning we learn about ancient Egypt, in particular the process of mummification.

Colleen also addresses issues of bullying and sexual abuse and we are given a glimpse into the world of graphic novels as Frankie a talented artist, tries to make sense of the dreams she is having by drawing them out in graphic novel form.

Photo of Colleen Nelson from Dundurn Press

Have I made it sound like Colleen has to juggle a whole lot of subjects and ideas and storylines in her novel The Life and Deaths of Frankie D? Well she does and her long experience as a writer of books for young people of all ages makes it look easy.

I have never met Colleen Nelson in person but during the pandemic I have joined a book club Colleen helped to organize and we have both been participants in a bread baking session hosted by another Winnipeg author Harriet Zaidman. Colleen is a current nominee for the Governor General’s award for children’s literature. I follow Colleen on social media and so admire the way she supports other children’s authors.

Jane Heinrich’s new book Every Home Needs an Elephant has lots of clever features that intrigue the reader. The story for children ages 6-8 is about an imaginative and ingenious girl named Sarah who goes shopping with her absent -minded father one day and brings home an elephant named Mr. Smith.

Having an elephant in your home can cause more than a few problems and may not exactly be the kind of pet Sarah’s workaholic mother would prefer since she prizes running her life and family in an organized and scheduled way.

Every Home Needs an Elephant is interesting because it is what Jane calls a hybrid novel. Her charming and vivid illustrations which are in a graphic novel style often do move the story along but so does the text. The illustrations are all in black and gray and red and when a chapter in the story is being told from Sarah’s point of view the large bold chapter number is in red and when we are seeing things from the elephant Mr. Smith’s point of view the chapter numbers are in grey.

Although Mr. Smith turns Sarah’s household topsy turvy he also in a way ‘sets things to rights’ as he helps Sarah make a new friend and forces her parents to examine their priorities. Everyone in the story including Sarah learns just how important it is to be a good listener.

Did you notice the roses on the cover of Jane’s book? Roses were my mother-in-law’s favourite flower so I learned a great deal about them from her and loved the way Jane wove them into the story.

Photo from Jane Heinrichs’ website

Jane Heinrichs is a former student of my husband Dave’s. She grew up in Steinbach, Manitoba as I did and attended Elmdale School where I was once a teacher. Jane now lives in London England. Jane has done lots of illustration work for Orca Book Publishers but this is the first time she has provided both the text and the pictures for one of their books. I follow Jane on social media and so admire her creativity and the unique ways she reaches out to her followers with a handcrafted newsletter and daily sketches and posts that pose interesting questions.

Other posts…………

Sadia- A Muslim Girl From Winnipeg

Authors Who Bake

Teaching Kids About Being Homeless

Living Intentionally

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Jane Austen and Slavery

I just finished my second Jane Austen puzzle. I enjoy her books and had completed another puzzle about characters from her novels a few weeks ago. This latest one had quotes from her writing. I have a subscription to The New York Times and perhaps because I was working on a Jane Austen puzzle I was drawn to an article about her in the paper a few days ago.

Photo of the Chawton Museum from Wikipedia

A former home of Jane Austen’s in the English village of Chawton England has been turned into a museum and in light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests a decision has been made to include a display in one of the museum rooms which explains the Austen family’s connection to the slave trade.

Jane’s father, Reverend George Austen was the trustee of a sugar cane plantation which had slaves. The plantation located in Antigua was owned by a scholarly acquaintance of Jane’s father.

On the other hand Jane’s brother Francis was in the navy and in letters to Jane he reports his revulsion at encountering Portuguese slave ships in Caribbean waters. In some of her own letters Jane mentions reading abolitionist literature.

Sir Thomas Bertram a character in Jane’s novel Mansfield Park spends two years in Antigua, and although it isn’t talked about directly in the book clearly he was managing a plantation with slaves there which afforded a good income to his family.

On the other hand in her book Emma Jane makes a reference to slavery talking about the misery of its victims and the guilt those who are a part of it should feel.

Of course Austen scholars and aficionados have studied the issue extensively and conclude that on the subject of slavery Jane was mostly silent.

The museum intends to present the facts only in their presentation and leave it up to visitors to come to their own conclusions. They have no desire to engage in any kind of major conflict over the matter. None the less their decision to talk about slavery in relation to Jane and her work has caused some consternation amongst Austen fans and British tabloids have labeled the museum’s decision to mount the display as “woke madness” and a “revisionist attack.”

I think it is neither. Had the museum decided to close its doors because Jane’s family had a connection to slavery would indeed have been “woke madness” but they are simply presenting another aspect of Jane Austen’s biography that may not have received attention in the past and can provide a more balanced view of her life and place events in her books in a realistic historical context.

The museum director has stated they continue to press on with their goal of championing the late author’s genius and her contributions to the literary world.

These days it seems that everything has to be turned into a culture war and I wish we could have more reasonable discussions about how we deal with troubling events in history. The Chawton Museum appears to be trying to do just that.

Other posts……..

Suess Is Celebrating All the Way to the Bank

A Possible Alternative to Tearing Down Statues

Cancel Culture

The Mr. Potato Head Scandal


Filed under Books, History

Do You Have Reasons For Buying A Book?

I just purchased the book Treasures of Winnipeg’s Historic Exchange by George J. Mitchell. I had four reasons for buying it.

The first reason is because I live in Winnipeg’s Exchange District and I am always trying to learn more about our area. Mitchell’s book did not disappoint as he looks at the history of the Exchange District as well as its ethos and activity in the present day.

George Mitchell author of Treasures of Winnipeg’s Historic Exchange – photo from the Heritage House website

The second reason I bought the book is because it was published by Heritage House in Victoria, the same publisher for my novel Lost on the Prairie. I have been trying to buy books by other Heritage House authors to lend them my support and become more familiar with the different kinds of materials my publisher prints.

The third reason I bought the book is because Harriet Zaidman did a very positive review of it in the Winnipeg Free Press. I was introduced to Harriet by Beryl Young another Heritage House author last June. I am so pleased Harriet will be the guest author and interviewer for my book launch with McNally Robinson Booksellers on June 16th.

One of the themes George Mitchell pursues in his book Treasures of Winnipeg’s Historic Exchange is fire escapes. You need to buy his book to check out the other amazing fire escape photos he has included.

The fourth reason I bought the book is because I am a photographer, although not a professional one like George Mitchell, and I too have taken a host of photos of the Exchange District. Many of the photos in George’s book have been digitalized in a unique style and so they look more like paintings to me. George focused his camera on some interesting themes that I’d like to pursue as well.

Sometimes I buy a book on impulse but this one was purchased because someone I knew recommended it, I have a connection with the author, it is about a subject I’m interested in, and I thought it would inspire me to try something new.

What are some reasons you buy a book?

Other posts……….

Autumn in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

Cocktails in a Stable

A Woonerf in my Back Lane

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