Outside In: A Political Memoir, by Libby Davies (2019)

Nonfiction | Adult

Outside In: A Political Memoir, by Libby Davies

Libby Davies. Well known to me, for those who don’t recognize the name, she served for many years as the NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver East; an outspoken, passionate, and devoted public servant who never wavers (at least, not on the outside!) I never lived within her riding, but it’s a testament to her work that I was familiar enough to want to read her biography. I learned a lot, including the fact she started out in the Downtown East Side in the early 1970s while at university, ultimately giving up her studies. She served on both Vancouver Parks Board and city council, getting a grounding in politics before turning to Ottawa.

Read More »

Creating the Vintage Look: 35 Ways to Upcycle for a Stylish Home, by Ellie Laycock (2013, 2018)

Nonfiction | Adult

Creating the Vintage Look: 35 Ways to Upcycle for a Stylish Home, by Ellie Laycock

This is a brand-new addition to our Grand Forks & District Public Library, and I can’t get enough of the ideas! With the growing emphasis on keeping our discarded stuff out of the landfill and even the recycling chain, we need to think about how to reuse things that are no longer useful in their original design. That’s what upcycling is about – taking something you no longer need/want/use and giving it a new life with a new purpose. Creative folks are hard at work giving us inspiration for what to do with old bedboards, pop bottles and whatnot, and Ellie Laycock has created a terrific little tome to get you started.

Read More »

Summer, by Wenxuan Cao, illustrated by Rong Yu (2015, 2019)

Picture Book | 3-7

When a hot summer day on in the grasslands leaves a group of animals squabbling over the only spindly tree, it takes the simple scene of a father and son walking to give them a good solution – have each animal create shade for the next smaller one. Sure, the elephant ends up in full sun, but that’s exactly where he started anyway! This is a sweet story with big bold illustrations that will appeal to young readers, who will want to linger on the pages and study how each animal reacts to the changing storyline.

Read More »

Follow Your Stuff: Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester and Michael Hlinka (2019)

Nonfiction | 9-15

Follow Your Stuff: Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester and Michael Hlinka (2019)

In our consumer society, it can be a challenge to get a handle on the true price of things we want to buy, and why sometimes, it’s better to pay a little more. That’s so true in my small town where local businesses can struggle to keep prices competitive against cities’ big box stores and online distributors. To help children grasp these concepts, the Canadian creators of Follow Your Money have turned their attention to the production and distribution of five things of interest to kids: a t-shirt with a band logo, a cellphone, eyeglasses, a medical puffer, and the book itself (including the e-edition). Using colourful illustrations, factboxes, topical questions, charts and accessible text, they take the reader through the entire production process.

Read More »

Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11, by James Donovan (2019)

Nonfiction | 14-Adult

Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11, by James Donovan

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the historical first landing of humans on the moon, it’s the perfect time to delve deeply into the science and the story behind that astonishing feat of human endeavour. I was alive but not even five years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon while Mike Collins piloted the orbiting command module, so I don’t actually remember this event. Despite that, it’s definitely part of my cultural history, as I’ve spent my life looking toward the stars and planets. This book is the story of the American space mission from Mercury through to Apollo 11; in fact, of the 400 pages of the actual narrative (there’s another 50 pages for addenda and index), only about 65 pages are devoted to the Apollo 11 voyage itself, from launch to return. So if all you want is the Apollo 11 story, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Read More »

Ottolenghi SIMPLE, by Yotam Ottolenghi (2018)

Nonfiction | Adult

Ottolenghi Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi

Sometimes I’m totally oblivious to a hot new trend. Apparently Yotam Ottolenghi is practically a household name in Canadian kitchens. Never heard of him, myself. But the gorgeous cookbook on display at my local library called out to me, and the full-colour photos sealed the deal. Cookbooks without photos are cheaper but without that inspiration the recipes are likely to go untried, right? So into my bag it went, and I’ve been enjoying browsing these delicious and simple yet exotic takes on fresh produce. Ottolenghi is British, known for his modern recipes using tasty Middle Eastern spices and ingredients with a focus on fresh produce.

Read More »

Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You’ll Never Hear, by Carl Hiaasen, illustrated by Roz Chast (2018)


Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You'll Never Hear, by Carl Hiaasen, illustrated by Roz Chast (2018)

It’s graduation season at colleges and universities, so here’s a suggestion for a new grad in your life. A wee book (it’s just 43 pages, about $20 in hardcover), it is a good one to pair with the Seuss classic Oh, The Places You’ll Go, or if you can find it, H. Jackson Brown’s Life’s Little Instruction Book. This offers a gloomier perspective, and comes with couple of f-bombs along with lots of dark humour. Essentially, the message is that the world is going to hell, and you’ll find greater happiness (worth pursuing) by keeping your expectations low. Hiaasen, one of the few great writers for both kids and adults, begins by tearing apart the usual platitudes found in commencement speeches.

Read More »