Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Keitha Langston from ULS tells us about her two favourite books of 2016

Keitha picked  The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín and The Hill by Karen Bass; two books about crossing over to the spirit word, inspired by cultural traditions in their respective countries.

The Call is part dystopian, part horror mixed in with Irish folklore. Ireland has been completely isolated from the world by the people of the fairy hills, the Sídhe; no human is able to enter or leave the island. The Sídhe began taking teenagers twenty-five years ago. Back then only one in one hundred survived their call: three minutes in our world, but one full day in the land of the Sídhe, being hunted and cruelly tortured, and most likely killed. Fifteen-year-old Nessa attends survival college like all teens in Ireland. Now, one in ten teens is likely to survive thanks to the training they receive at college. But no one thinks Nessa will survive her call. Her legs are twisted from Polio; Ireland no longer has the means to produce the vaccine. But Nessa doesn’t care what others think. She means to survive. While fearing her Call could take place at any second, Nessa navigates the harsh world of survival college where students train to fight the Sídhe and learn everything they can about the Sídhe world and language. Nessa must also evade her tormentors, Conor, and his extremely violent gang, who believe she’s wasting Ireland’s precious resources by attending college and merely being alive.
The tension mounts as Conor becomes increasingly violent, his hate for Nessa bordering on obsession, and the Sídhe seem to be getting stronger, finding for more inventive ways to torment Ireland's teens.
The story is rich in chilling detail of the Sídhe hunting their prey in their perilous and toxic world. Strong emphasis is given to the emotional stress students must withstand to have to nerve to survive their Call. The boarding school setting, subtle romance, and themes of friendship that run throughout the story makes The Call an utterly satisfying read.

The Hill by Karen Bass is a modern day Hatchet based on Cree mythology to make a very spooky tale set in the vast wilds of Northern Alberta. Main character Kyle says it all when he tells Jared “Sometimes scared is the smartest thing you can be.”
Jared is a privileged white boy from Edmonton on his way to visit his father in Yellowknife. He wakes from unconsciousness to find that his private jet has crashed in the remote wilderness. Kyle, Cree and comfortable surviving in the forest, is out hunting when he spots Jared’s plane crash. Coming to help, Kyle tries to convince a panicking Jared not to climb a forbidden hill to try in order to find cell phone reception. Kyle is extremely nervous about climbing the hill - his grandmother has warned him it’s dangerous - but Jared refuses to listen and Kyle refuses to let Jared explore alone. Upon climbing the hill it becomes clear that something isn’t right. Soon, the boys realize they have entered a dangerous spirit world. To make matters worse they become aware that something is hunting them, a terrifying creature named WîhtikoThe boys desperately try to return to the real world and escape Wîhtiko. The tension increases as a raging forest fire bears down on them and Witchiko gets closer and closer to catching them. As Jared and Kyle try and evade the terrifying Wîhtiko, the two also deal with their inherent mistrust of each other, rooted in stereotypes about each other’s culture.
Together, they boys try and overcome their differences and survive. Jared must learn to believe in himself and stop thinking himself as a coward. With themes of survival, Cree legends, and prejudice, The Hill is an outstanding high action horror tale.

United Library Services is Canada’s largest book wholesaler, serving schools and public libraries for over 70 years. Keitha Langston is a graduate of the Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta, and is currently a Collection Development Coordinator at ULS.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Faves of the year!

Every year we ask a few of our favourite people to let us know about their favourite books of the year.

First up is the fabulous Linda Ludke from London Public Library.

This was a fine year for teen fiction.  My favourite book of 2016, hands down, would have to be Lisa Moore’s Flannery.  It is such a bewitching and intense story, and I stayed up way too late to finish reading it in one big gulp.  Flannery struggles with the mind games and mine fields of high school and you feel her pain.  The poetic stream-of-consciousness narration immediately pulls you in and it feels like Flannery is whispering all of her secrets and betrayals and crushes directly in your ear.  And on top of everything, she has to get her love potion invention for her Entrepreneurship class finished on time. 

No lie, I also enjoyed Teresa Toten’s Beware that Girl.  It is a deliciously dark, psychological thriller. 
Kate O’Brien is a scholarship student at a posh private school who is driven, ambitious, street smart and a really good liar.  Kate’s not afraid to use people to get ahead and she’s set her sights on a girl who is rich and needs a friend just as badly as she does.  Their friendship is full of manipulation and it isn’t just one-sided deceit, because Olivia has her own sneaky secrets.  This book is edgy, scary and gritty.  There are so many twists in the plot that you are always kept guessing.  Just when you think you have the plot figured out, the surprising ending will have you reading the chapters again to pick up on missed clues. 

Linda has worked at London Public Library for 25 years and has the best job in the world.  She's a Collections Management Librarian and select the children and teen materials for our library system.  In her life outside the library, she reviews for Quill and Quire and The National Reading Campaign.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Obama pens a piece for Lonely Planet

This is very cool; President Obama wrote a piece this month for Lonely Planet:

“Lonely Planet believes responsible travel can be a force for good. It's a belief shared by President Barack Obama, the first sitting US president to visit Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Myanmar and Laos. On his final foreign trip, he spoke to us about how the optimistic, tolerant and engaged young people he has met around the world give him hope for the future.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

Kirkus' Best Picture Books of 2016

Kirkus has released their best picture books of the year and there are lot's to choose from. What a great year for picture books!

Thursday, November 10, 2016


My close personal friends at This Is That (a.k.a. they spoke at our sales conference) have just released This Is That: A Travel Guide To Canada.
To celebrate it's awesomeness check out their video which is a weird and wacky ode to selling books!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Marnie Jackson on The Next Chapter

Don't I Know You  was one of my fave reads of the year. It is journalist Marni Jackson's first foray into fiction. In the book, the main character, Rose's life intersects with a wide number of celebrities: Bob Dylan, John Updike, Taylor Swift, etc. My favourite scene is Rose in the beauty salon with Gwyneth Paltrow. Shelagh Rogers interviews Jackson on The Next Chapter...fun!

Monday, October 31, 2016

And another list!

Indigo's top 10 books of the year...it's a good one!

  1. The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall (House of Anansi Press)
  2. Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire (Simon & Schuster Canada) and Wenjack by Joseph Boyden (Hamish Hamilton Canada)
  3. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Bond Street Books)
  4. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Random House Canada)
  5. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (S&S Canada)
  6. Morning Star by Pierce Brown (Del Rey)
  7. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (St. Martin’s Press)
  8. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (S&S Canada)
  9. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (HarperCollins)
  10. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (Crown)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Here's a pretty cool list

The Literary Review of Canada is celebrating it's 25th anniversary. In recognition of this occasion, they asked some pretty awesome writers to compile a list of the the top Canadian books of the past 25 years. They said the criteria was "what books did we—and you—argue about over the dinner table?"  The list is amazing. Margaret Atwood discusses Kiss of the Fur Queen; Ibi Kaslik presents The Tipping Point. Check it out and see which ones got your discussions going.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I Am Not A Number

I Am Not A Number is an incredible (and not unheard of) story of a young girl's brutal experience in the residential schools. This is Jenny Kay Dupis' retelling of her grandmother's childhood. Gillian Newland's amazing illustrations and Kathy Kacer's wonderful words illuminate this remarkable story.
You can hear more on this story on Matt Galloway's show on CBC.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Not So Super Power Generator

Clara (the star of Clara Humble and the Not-So- Super Hero Powers) wants you to find out your Super Power Name. Go to Clara Humble's Not So Super Power Generator. to find out yours. What was mine? The Fancy Bookish Girl...not much of a surprise ('cept maybe the Fancy part) :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Small Victories...My Favourite Cookbook of the Season!

This is such a smart book. Julia called the book Small Victories as she believes that cooking is a bunch of small victories and shouldn't be overwhelming. She gives one recipe and has 5 adaptations of it. Julia has worked on cookbooks with Gwyneth Paltrow and Mario Batali. Ina Garten is a big fan.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fatty Legs

Fatty Legs is an amazing story of resilience and survival in Canada's Residential schools. It was won countless awards and been on numerous best-of lists. The CBC interviewed both of the authors. You can hear the full conversation here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

CBC's Fan Choice Contest

Fan Choice with Books logoThe CBC, Canadian Children's Book Centre and TD Bank have joined together to create the CBC's Fan Choice Contest. To vote for your favourite of the 5 books go here and you get a chance to win a visit by one of the finalist authors to your school, copies of that author's book for all of the students in your class, $2000 donation to your school library and $500 spending money.
What are you waiting for! Vote!!!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Happy B-Day Annick Press!

Anne and Rick working out of Anne's basement in the early days of Annick Press, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
PW did a great piece on the history of Annick Press who have been publishing for 40 years! From working out of a basement on a shared desk to one of the top children's publishers, it is an amazing story. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Happy B-day Curious George!

It's everyone's favourite monkey's 75th birthday this year! Created 75 years ago by Margret and HA Rey, the very first Curious George book has never been out of print. Here's a link to some fun facts about the cheeky wee monkey. If you would like to celebrate his b-day, you can download an activity kit here.    

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lois Lowry: 6 books that changed my life

Lois Lowry's Looking Back: A Book of Memories, will be coming out in a new edition early next year. She recently talked to the CBC about the 6 books that changed her life. 2 of the books she picked were by our very own Robertson Davies and Margret Atwood. You can see the full list here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Star Wars Reads Month is Coming!

DK has downloadable activity kits on their website. If you'd like Star Wars Bookplates and Star Wars Bookmarks, send them an email at general.dkcanada@dk.com by October 1st! 
Enjoy - and may the Force be with you!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Time to Get Your Yum On!

Chatelaine has posted the 18 hot cookbooks to watch for this Fall. So many to choose from! These books make the impending cold weather seem more bearable...at least I can eat my way thru Winter ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Canada Rocks...But We Already Know That...


SLJ wrote a super article on how Canada publishes so many diverse kid's books. Written by our very own Ken Setterington, the article profiles lots of our fabulous publishers and creators.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Batman Day...September 17th...Save the Date!

And if you are really into it, you can download some really cool activity kits from the DK website...enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Star Wars Reads Day is....the Whole Month of October!

Yup that's right...there will be 31 days to celebrate all things Star Wars. Stay tuned for more details on how publishers will be celebrating this month. For now you can go here.