ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD by Debut Acadian Author Tyler LeBlanc details one family’s experience during the Acadian Expulsion. This is a book not to be missed. 10 out of 10 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦

Title: ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD

Subtitle: ONE FAMILY AND THE GREAT EXPULSION

Author: TYLER LeBLANC

Genre: NON-FICTION, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, HISTORY, ACADIAN NON-FICTION

Length: 240 PAGES

Publisher: GOOSE LANE PUBLISHING  

Release Date: JUNE 2, 2020

ISBN: 9781773101187

Price: $19.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦

What a fabulous accomplishment!!!

DESCRIPTION:

– A Hill Times’ 100 Best Books in 2020 Selection

– On Canada’s History Bestseller List

Growing up on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Tyler LeBlanc wasn’t fully aware of his family’s Acadian roots — until a chance encounter with an Acadian historian prompted him to delve into his family history.

LeBlanc’s discovery that he could trace his family all the way to the time of the Acadian Expulsion and beyond forms the basis of this compelling account of Le Grand Dérangement.

Piecing together his family history through archival documents, Tyler LeBlanc tells the story of Joseph LeBlanc (his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather), Joseph’s ten siblings, and their families.

With descendants scattered across modern-day Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the LeBlancs provide a window into the diverse fates that awaited the Acadians when they were expelled from their homeland.

Some escaped the deportation and were able to retreat into the wilderness.

Others found their way back to Acadie. But many were exiled to Britain, France, or the future United States, where they faced suspicion and prejudice and struggled to settle into new lives.

A unique biographical approach to the history of the Expulsion, Acadian Driftwood is a vivid insight into one family’s experience of this traumatic event.

Review from Atlantic Books Today

MY REVIEW:

In the introduction of Acadian Driftwood, author Tyler LeBlanc writes:

“As a longtime fan of reconstructed historical non-fiction and its ability to take readers to the time and place in question and bring history alive, I have tried in these pages to give the [Acadian] Expulsion a similar treatment. This book looks at the event from the point of view of those who experienced it. It is not a grand history of the Acadian experience. I’m not a historian, and I have no thesis to advance. This is a personal book about ten siblings, all ancestors of mine, who found themselves tossed from their quiet pastoral lives into the turbulent world of eighteenth-century geopolitics… The Expulsion of the Acadians from their homeland had a direct effect on over fifteen thousand people, yet we know very few of their personal stories.”

As a person born in Ontario, Canada, I am embarrassed to admit I knew almost nothing about the expulsion of the Acadian people from Canada’s East Coast during the mid 1700s. This is a reprehensible failing of the Canadian educational curriculum. I remember taking classes in American history, but the history of our own country was skimmed over. And (of course) any shameful or negative history was ignored or “whitewashed.”

When I met my husband (an Acadian from Prince Edward Island) and in the years since, I have been fascinated by the plight of the Acadian people as well as their grit and tenacity which has allowed their community to grow and thrive to this day. My husband’s last name is Gaudet and what initially drew me to this particular book was the fact that one of the author’s ancestors was “Françoise Gaudet” who was born way back in 1623 and was married to “Daniel LeBlanc.” Further research on my part will have to take place before I can confirm whether or not this is a common ancestor.

ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD is a remarkable work of creative nonfiction. Author Tyler LeBlanc has researched his genealogy and through extensive investigation into historic documents, he has been able to write a narrative of what real people went through during the time period of the Acadian Expulsion in the 1700s.

I have read several books about the Expulsion and have even visited the Acadian Museum in Miscouche, on Prince Edward Island, and ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD is unique in the very best way.

Most books and historic documents concentrate exclusively on the lives and actions of the people in power and their lives. What has been missing, until now, is an account of the lives of ordinary people and the hardships they endured.

Tyler LeBlanc brings his ancestors to life and allows readers a look into what happened to them and how ordinary people were affected by the decisions made by politicians and military leaders. Most of these decisionmakers were people who were never seen by the Acadians whose peaceful lives were shattered and whose families were scattered over thousands of miles.

“Though this narrative is full of pain and suffering, it is a story of survival.” I am in awe of the grit and the tenacity of the Acadian people. It would have been easy to allow themselves to be assimilated into the English culture.  Despite the attempted genocide of their people, the Acadians held fast to their beliefs and their culture and are still practicing those same values today. Their belief in the power of family and faith has created a group of people who are some of the best, most honest, honorable and  hardworking people I have ever met. Although I only married into this culture, I am proud to be a part of the Acadian community.

The Acadian Flag
Photo obtained from: The Canadian Encyclopedia

Whether you already have a firm grasp on the history of the Acadian people, or know absolutely nothing about them, this book will inform and inspire you. By mixing together personal stories with the actions of historic figures, and events, the author has written a compelling narrative that is not to be missed.

I rate ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD by Acadian-Canadian, Tyler LeBlanc as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tyler LeBlanc was born and raised in a tiny fishing village on Nova Scotia’s south shore. He studied history and journalism as an undergraduate and holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

His writing has appeared in This Magazine, Modern Farmer, Explore, Dal Magazine, and the Coast.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.tylerleblanc.ca

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

GOOSE LANE PUBLISHING

Based in Fredericton, New Brunswick’s capital, Goose Lane Editions is a vital part of Canada’s ever-morphing publishing landscape.

Whether it’s homegrown Canadian fiction, singular collections of poetry, books on contemporary art, or courageous stances on environmental issues and global politics, we provide book lovers with great reads that inspire, spur conversation, and stimulate minds.

We seek to represent a balance of voices and proudly embrace Queer Lit as well as First Nations and Inuit authors and artists who are shaping & transforming our perspectives.

Goose Lane’s backlist includes:

Douglas Glover’s novel Elle, Winner of the 2003 Governor General’s Award

Reading by Lightning by 2019 Governor General Award winner Joan Thomas

Strange Heaven by 2013 Giller Prize winner Lynn Coady

Riel Nason’s The Town That Drowned, winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize (Canada and Europe)

and

Marcello Di Cintio’s Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, the recipient of the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing.

And oh yes, there are also a few image-laden CMA Award winners, including Catherine Coles’s GWG: Piece by Piece

Sarah Milroy and Ian Dejardin’s From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia

Heather Igloliorte’s SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut

and Anthropocene: Baichwal, de Pencier, Burtynsky.

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, Goose Lane Editions will continue to embrace diversity, fresh voices and novel perspectives. We will keep on sharing stories that challenge, startle, and enlighten — and enhance our ability to be surprised and to be inspired.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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Acadian Lighthouse
Photo by Pierre Forgues

BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN – The Montreal Massacre by journalist Josée Boileau is being released TODAY in advance of the Anniversary of the massacre – December 6th. This is the only book ever written to detail what happened on that horrific day in Montreal in 1989

Title: BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN

Subtitle: THE MONTREAL MASSACRE

Author: JOSÉE BOILEAU

Genre: NON-FICTION, HISTORY, TRUE CRIME, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, FEMINIST NON-FICTION, WOMEN’S ISSUES

Length: 308 PAGES

Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 10, 2020

ISBN: 9781772601428

Price: $24.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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Exterior of École Polytechnique de Montréal.
The third floor classroom in the École Polytechnique in which the attack ended.

DESCRIPTION:

Fourteen young university students, murdered because they were women, are memorialized in this definitive account of a tragic day that forced a reckoning with violence against women in our culture.

Each of the victims of what became known as the Montreal Massacre are remembered, their lives cut short on December 6, 1989 when a man entered their school and systematically shot every young woman he encountered, motivated by a misogyny who’s roots go far beyond one man and one day.


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MY REVIEW:

Canada’s first mass femicide took place on December 6th, 1989 when an Anti-Feminist gunman named Marc Lépine rampaged through the halls and classrooms of École Polytechnique de Montréal.

This cowardly “man” separated the men from the women and opened fire, killing fourteen and wounding several others. He was not “man enough” nor “woman enough” to face up to the consequences of his actions and took his own life.

Journalist and author, JOSÉE BOILEAU has written the only book to ever examine this crime and it’s aftermath.

Not only does this book discuss the day of the Massacre, it also details the political and societal norms of the times and the specific challenges facing women in 1989.

By outlining the massacre and the changes that came about as a result, the author gives this important event the respect it is due.

The murdered women, many of whom did not specifically self-identify as “feminists,” have been honored with a Day of Remembrance that is still celebrated today – over three decades later.

In my opinion, it is about time that an accurate historical accounting of this hate crime has been written. This book needs to be incorporated into every high-school History and Civics curriculum Canada-wide. This MUST be required reading.

It is fitting that BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN is being released the day before November 11th, which is Remembrance Day here in Canada. Even though Remembrance Day is a day to honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice during their military service, the fourteen mass murder victims were unwitting pawns in a war they were unaware they were involved in. WE MUST REMEMBER THESE WOMEN.

In 1905, George Santayana, a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We CANNOT allow these women to be forgotten. With the writing of this book, Josée Boileau has ensured that their memories will live on.

I rate BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend this book to every single Canadian, male and female. I will be recommending this book to everyone I know.

With the 31st Anniversary of the shooting rapidly approaching, I will definitely be giving copies of this book to all of my local women’s shelters for their libraries.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

THE VICTIMS:

Lépine killed fourteen women (twelve engineering students, one nursing student, and one employee of the university) and injured fourteen others, ten women and four men.

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student

Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student

Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student

Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department

Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student

Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student

Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student

Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

The Quebec and Montreal governments declared three days of mourning. A joint funeral for nine of the women was held at Notre-Dame Basilica on December 11, 1989, and was attended by Governor General Jeanne Sauvé, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Quebec premier Robert Bourassa, and Montreal mayor Jean Doré, along with thousands of other mourners.

THE SURVIVORS:

Brought together by tragedy: From left, Jocelyne Dallaire Légaré, Heidi Rathjen, Nathalie Provost and Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire have developed a close bond since the 1989 massacre. The four of them are shown above at the École Polytechnique in 2014. 
PHOTO BY DARIO AYALA /Montreal Gazette CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH OF THESE OUTSTANDING WOMEN AND HOW SURVIVING THE MONTREAL MASSACRE CHANGED THE TRAJECTORY OF THEIR LIVES.

Who was that gutsy young woman who stood up to a cold-eyed killer?

Twenty-five years after surviving the Polytechnique massacre, Nathalie Provost mused about her younger self.

On Dec. 6, 1989, moments before Marc Lépine began a shooting rampage that killed 14 women at Quebec’s largest engineering school, Provost, then a 23-year-old mechanical engineering student, tried to reason with the gunman.

Lépine’s response was a hail of bullets that killed six of her classmates and wounded Provost in the head and leg.

“There’s a lot of tenderness for the young woman I was then, for her naïveté,” said Provost, now a 48-year-old mother of four who works as a senior manager for the provincial government.

“The wounds to your body, you see right away. For the wounds to your soul, it takes longer. You don’t understand them right away. It took me years to grasp what I had lived through.”Nathalie Provost

Marker of Change, memorial consisting of 14 coffin-like benches in Vancouver by artist Beth Alber.
On the 25th anniversary, fourteen light beams representing the 14 victims shine from Mount Royal.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Josée Boileau has been a journalist for more than thirty years, many of those for Quebec’s Le Devoir newspaper, where she became Editor in Chief.

Today, she is a current affairs commentator for CBC/Radio Canada and Chatelaine, and a book columnist for Journal de Montréal.

She has received a number of honors, including the Hélène-Pednault prize in recognition of her feminist activism.

She lives in Montreal.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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THE MURDERER:

Marc Lépine – the Mass Murderer in a 1989 photograph.


CBC Archives of the Massacre
https://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/society/crime-justice/the-montreal-massacre/topic-the-montreal-massacre.html
…………………


A play about the shootings by Adam Kelly called “The Anorak” was named as one of the best plays of 2004 by the Montreal Gazette.

Colleen Murphy’s play “December Man” was first staged in Calgary in 2007.

The movie Polytechnique, directed by Denis Villeneuve was released in 2009, and sparked controversy over the desirability of reliving the tragedy in a commercial film.

Several songs have been written about the events, including “This Memory” by the folk duo the Wyrd Sisters, and “6 December 1989” by the Australian singer Judy Small.

VIDEOS ABOUT THE MONTREAL MASSACRE:

END OF THE ROPE: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood by Acclaimed Canadian Mountain Climber and Author JAN REDFORD is available now. This memoir will make you laugh out loud, as well as cry your heart out. This is one Canadian book that shouldn’t be missed. 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ END OF THE ROPE is the story of her struggle to make her own way in the mountains and in life; to lead, not follow.

The blue book cover is the Canadian cover. The other cover is the United States book cover.

Title: END OF THE ROPE

Subtitle: MOUNTAINS, MARRIAGE AND MOTHERHOOD

Author:  JAN REDFORD

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, CANADA, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, MOUNTAIN CLIMBING, FAMILY DYSFUNCTION 

Length: 400 PAGES

Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Release Date: APRIL 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-345-8231-5

Price: $32.00 CDN (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In the tradition of Cheryl Strayed’s “WILD“, the gritty, funny, achingly honest story of a young climber’s struggle to become whole by testing herself on mountains and life.

As a young teenager, Jan Redford runs away from a cottage where her father has just put her down for the zillionth time and throws herself against a 100-foot cliff face.  Somewhere in that shaky, outraged kid is a bedrock belief in her right to exist, which carries her to the top. In that brief flash of victory, she sets her sights on becoming a climber.

Falling in love with climbing eventually leads to falling in love with the climbers in her tight-knit western Canadian climbing community. It also means that the people she loves regularly vanish in an instant, caught in an avalanche or by a split second of inattention. It almost crushes Jan when her boyfriend, the gifted climber Dan Guthrie, is killed. Instead of marrying Dan, she marries one of his best friends, a driven climber who was there for her when she was grieving and becomes the father of her two children. Not what either of them planned.

End of the Rope is raw and real. Mountains challenge Jan, marriage almost annihilates her, and motherhood could have been the last straw…but it isn’t.

How she climbs out of the hole she digs for herself is as thrilling and inspiring as any of her climbs–and just as much an act of bravery.

MY REVIEW:

Upon initial perusal of END OF THE ROPE, potential readers may think the same as I originally thought: with a subtitle like Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood, I expected this to be one of those annoying books about a woman whose life is perfect; one who has it all, and who is now going to “teach” readers how they too can have it all and become the perfect “Super-Mom.” YUCK!!! (Plus, I call Bullshit on those people – I think they are full of crap.)

On the surface, potential readers might think that if END OF THE ROPE  isn’t about being a “Super Mom” then it must be about mountain climbing, and only mountain climbing. Wrong again, this is definitely not the case.

Yes. It does contain quite a few mountain and mountain climbing stories, as well as some of the multitude of accomplishments of the author – female Canadian climber, Jan Redford.

This surprising and engaging memoir is so much more than just a story of mountain climbing, and so much more interesting.

Jan Redford tells the story of her life so far; a life that has been anything but normal, and anything but easy. 

Jan Redford learned to climb after high school, in Wyoming at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). She writes about her time at NOLS at the age of eighteen that: “I felt like I’d been sleepwalking through my life, and climbing propped open my eyes. Made me fully alive.” She knew from then on that Climbing would be a large part of her existence for the rest of her life.

While Jan Redford’s life did revolve for many years around her climbing and the climbing “lifestyle,” Jan is much more than just a climber.

In reality, this is a memoir about growing up in a highly dysfunctional family – one that presented the image of perfection to those around them. That outer, superficial image of the perfect family was a sham. Jan’s father was an alcoholic and her mother, although physically present, was emotionally absent. The entire family lived in an atmosphere which required everyone to ‘walk on eggshells’ lest they pull the pin on the ticking time bomb that was the family patriarch. Who could blame Jan for wanting to run away as far, and as fast as possible?

Climbing was the escape that offered Jan not only a way out, but also a way forward. The West Coast of Canada offers amazingly scenic mountain ranges and a large, insular community of like-minded individuals. It was in this climbing community Jan found her home and her people.

Tales of the antics of her youthful indescretions will have the reader fondly remembering their own youth capers. 

END OF THE ROPE is a story of running away and finding yourself. Falling in lust. Challenging yourself. Finding your soulmate and losing him to the mountains you both lived.

It is a tale of being hurt down to the core of your soul, digging deep and doing what is right for you; no matter what other people think or say.

As it states in the subtitle, this book is about Mountains, Motherhood and Marriage. Each of these three M’s will bring Jan joy and happiness as well as unspeakable pain and sorrow.

END OF THE ROPE is a memoir not to be missed.

Any book that can cause me to laugh out loud, snort in disbelief and/or  exasperation, as well as have me in tears is a book that I will not soon forget. END OF THE ROPE did all of these things to me, and more. Because of this, I would be doing a disservice to potential readers to rate this book as anything lower than 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jan Redford may be an awesome mountain climber, but she is an even better writer.

In August 2020, the Paperback version of this book is being released. It can be pre-ordered now at your favorite bookstore.

I would love to hear back from any of you that go on to read END OF THE ROPE. After you finish reading it, come back here to let me know what you thought.

To read an excerpt from this book click HERE.

Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.

And be sure to also follow me on Social media where I sometimes offer chances to win books. ** I might just be offering a chance to win books sometime over the next few weeks.** 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo by Jannicke Kitchen

JAN REDFORD is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU and holds a master’s in creative writing from UBC.

Her stories, articles, and personal essays have been published in the Globe and Mail, National Post, Mountain Life, Explore, Catapult, LitHub, and anthologies and have won or been shortlisted in several writing contests.

She lives with her family in Squamish, BC, where she mountain bikes, trail runs, climbs, and skis.

Her memoir, End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood is her first book.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.janredford.com

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THE EAGLE MOTHER written by Indigenous Author and HETXW’MS GYETXW (BRETT D. HUSON) with illustrations by award-winning Métis Illustrator NATASHA DONOVAN – A Feast for the eyes and the soul

Title: THE EAGLE MOTHER

Series: MOTHERS OF XSAN SERIES – BOOK THREE

Author: HETXW’MS GYETXW (BRETT D. HUSON)

Illustrator: NATASHA DONOVAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, MIDDLE GRADE NON-FICTION, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, INDIGENOUS NON-FICTION, CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION

Length:  32 PAGES

Publisher: HIGHWATER PRESS – A Division of PORTAGE AND MAIN PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 28, 2020

ISBN: 9781553798590 (Hardcover)

Price: $23.00 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Return to the valleys of the River of Mists with award-winning author Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson).

Nox xsgyaak, the eagle mother, cares for her brood in the embrace of a black cottonwood with the help of her mate.

Will both eaglets survive the summer in an environment that is both delicate and unforgiving?

Learn about the life cycle of these stunning birds of prey, the traditions of the Gitxsan, and how bald eagles can enrich their entire ecosystem.

Evocative illustration brings the Xsan’s flora and fauna to life for middle years readers in book three of the Mothers of Xsan series.

*A Note From the Publisher *


Other Titles in the Mothers of Xsan series include:

The Sockeye Mother

The Grizzly Mother

The Wolf Mother [forthcoming]

The Frog Mother [forthcoming]
.

MY REVIEW:

THE EAGLE MOTHER is a stunningly beautiful illustrated non-fiction book.

THE EAGLE MOTHER is a feast for the eyes and for the soul.

It is the story explaining the life cycle of a female eagle as well as the story of how everything is connected.

An example of what I mean by that is that both the words and the illustrations show how the fish caught by the mother eagle is brought by her to the nest to feed her babies, the bones and other detritus are discarded on the ground around the trunk of the cottonwood tree holding the nest. This in turn leads to a rich mixture of soil encouraging plant growth. There are several other examples of the circular cycle of life detailed in the text, as well as in illustrated form.

Where words appear that may be new, or unfamiliar, included on that page is a box containing the words and their definitions. This is a wonderful touch.

The only area I could possibly come up with as needing improvement would be the inclusion of a text box, similar to the one containing definitions, that listed the Gitxsan words alongside how to pronounce them phonetically. I would love to know that I am reading the words correctly when reading this book to my children and/or grandchildren.

This book is available in eBook format as well as in printed form. I based my review on the eBook version, but the illustrations are so gorgeous that I have decided to purchase it in printed form as well.

I have not yet had the pleasure of reading the other two books in the MOTHERS OF XSAN Series, but I plan to read and review each of them. Also, coming soon are two more book in the series. Their titles are: THE WOLF MOTHER and THE FROG MOTHER.

This book (in fact, the entire ‘Mothers of Xsan’ series) should be available at every Canadian library, and in every Canadian school. Parents who want their children to learn about the animal kingdom as well as learn about different cultures should order this book immediately.

I rate this children’s non-fiction book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

**** Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.****

P.S. Since I READ CANADIAN DAY is only two days away, this book series would be perfect as your choice for that day.

.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

HETXW’MS GYETXW also known as Brett D. Huson (he/him/his), is from the Gitxsan Nation of the Northwest Interior of British Columbia, Canada.

Growing up in this strong matrilineal society, Brett developed a passion for the culture, land, and politics of his people, and a desire to share their knowledge and stories. 

Brett has worked in the film and television industry, and has volunteered for such organizations as Ka Ni Kanichihk and Indigenous Music Manitoba.

The Sockeye Mother (winner of The Science Writers and Communicators Book Award) was Brett’s first book for children.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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…………

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Natasha Donovan – Self-Portrait

NATASHA DONOVAN (she/her/hers) is a freelance artist and illustrator from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Her sequential work has been published in The Other Side and This Place: 150 Years Retold anthologies.

She is the illustrator of the award-winning graphic novel Surviving the City, as well as the award-winning children’s book, The Sockeye Mother (shortlisted for the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction), the first book in the Mothers of Xsan series.

Natasha is a member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia.

To learn more about this Illustrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Portage & Main Press (PMP) is an educational publisher of K-12 resources including the curriculum-based Hands-On series and professional resources for inclusive and diverse classrooms.

HighWater Press (HWP), an imprint of PMPM, publishes a wide range of award-winning Indigenous-authored stories. These authentic stories, told by some of Canada’s most recognized Indigenous writers, include globally relevant social justice themes and the re-telling of historical events. HWP’s vibrant and thought-provoking books include a rich mix of non-fiction, novels, graphic novels, and children’s literature.

To learn more about this Publisher, visit the following links:

PORTAGE AND MAIN PRESS

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

YOUTUBE

TWITTER

Let me know in the comment section below what book you and/or your child is reading for
“I Read Canadian Day” and you may win a bookish prize.

#mothersofxsan #NetGalley #theeaglemother #eaglemother #indigenous #childrensnonfiction #kidlit #brettdhuson #hetxwmsgyetxw #natashadonovan #illustrated #illustratedbook #multicultural #diversity #diversebooks #noxxsgyaak #Gitxsan #gitxsannation #culture #indigenousculture #eagles #xsgyaak
#youngadultbooks  #indigenousstorytelling  #indigenousbooks

FROM THE ASHES by Métis Canadian Author JESSE THISTLE has become One of my Favorite Books of All Time. ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK. Open Worldwide

Title: FROM THE ASHES

Subtitle: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way

Author: JESSE THISTLE

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, ADDICTION, MENTAL HEALTH, MÉTIS, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, HOMELESSNESS

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: AUGUST 6, 2019

ISBN: 9781982101213

Price: $24.99 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heart-warming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education—and newfound love—he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.

An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.
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MY REVIEW:

FROM THE ASHES is written by the uber-talented Métis-Cree Canadian author JESSE THISTLE. This is a touching and incredibly honest  memoir written by the man most people believed would not live long enough to straighten out his life.

Those people have been proven wrong and FROM THE ASHES tells Jesse’s life story so far.

FROM THE ASHES by Jesse Thistle is one of the most well written and honest memoirs I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Jesse is a Métis Canadian and although he never once blames his situation on colonization, his story and the situations his family was forced into by the Canadian government are perfect illustrations of it’s cause and effect.

Jesse’s memoir is written with bone-jarring honesty and will get under the reader’s skin. Only a sociopath would be able to read this book and not feel the power of the written word.

This is the story of a young man who turned to drugs and alcohol to try to push down the pain he felt inside. It is a story that seems bleak at times, but ultimately shows the strength of the human spirit. It is the story of the struggle, literally, for Jesse’s survival.

Without giving away too much of Jesse’s story, I want potential readers to know that this memoir is one that will remain with them long, long after the final page. To go from homeless to becoming a celebrated memoirist is a feat worthy of legend.

Jesse Thistle might not agree, but I see him as a modern day Theseus, fighting his way out of the labyrinth of poverty and Addiction.

This book is one of my Top Ten Best Books of the Modern Era.

To win a softcover copy of this book, leave a comment on this post, then click HERE for ways to get additional entries into the Giveaway. OPEN WORLDWIDE. ENDS FEBRUARY 29, 2020.

You can also enter to win this book on my Instagram account: http://www.instagram.com/Amiesbookreviews
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photography Credit:
LUCIE THISTLE

JESSE THISTLE is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

He is an assistant professor in Métis Studies at York University in Toronto.

He won a Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2016, and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar.

He lives in Toronto with his wife, Lucie.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

AWARDS WON BY JESSE:

  • Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Award – Ph. D., Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. 2016 – 2019 ($240,000; $40,000 per year of study, plus $20,000 annual research and travel budget).
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS SSHRC) – Ph.D., Canadian Institute of Health Research and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2016 – 2019 ($150,000 – $50,000 per year of study).
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) – Doctoral of Philosophy, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2016 – 2019 ($105,000 – $35,000 per year of study). (Declined because he took the Trudeau Award and the Vanier CGS SSHRC Award).
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) – Master’s, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2015 ($17,500).
  • 2016 Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada Post-Secondary Student of the Year Award—Nation-wide. (Prestige).
  • Dan Watt Scholarship (Awarded to the Master’s level graduate student with the top GPA entering Waterloo’s Master’s program) – Master’s, Waterloo University. 2015 ($1,500).
  • President’s Graduate Scholarship, University of Waterloo, 2015 ($10,000).
  • Odessa Essay Prize for the Study of Canada (York University, university wide). 2015 ($1000).
  • The Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, York University. 2015 (Prestige: Name inscribed on Vari Hall Rotunda, Keele Campus).
  • The Dr. James Wu Prize Best Honours Thesis/Major Research Paper for York University’s 3rd Annual Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Fair 2015 ($1000).
  • Miziwe Biik: Aboriginal Education Award, 2015 ($1000), 2014 ($1000), 2013 ($2000).
  • Desmond Hart Memorial Essay Award Winner. History; York University, 4000 level, 2014 ($200).
  • Indispire: Building Better Indigenous Futures Post-Secondary Education Award, 2015 ($7500), 2014 ($5000), 2013 ($6900) & 2012 ($2000).
  • The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Essay Prize Winner, York University, 3000 level Anthropology, 2014 ($100).
  • York University Faculty Association Foundation Undergraduate (YUFA) Scholarship, highest cumulative grade point average in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. GPA 8.59 and Major GPA 8.73. 2014 ($3500).
  • International Scholar Laureate Nominee. Golden Key IHS: 2013.
  • Arthur Francis Williams Award in Canadian Studies, 2013 ($500).
  • Morris Krever History Prize Winner, History, York University. 2013 ($1000).
  • The Enbridge Inc. Scholarship Award, 2013 ($2365).
  • The Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Toronto Award Winner, History, York University. 2013 ($300).
  • William Westfall Canadian Studies Essay Prize, History, York University, 3000 level, 2013.
  • York PhD Graduate Scholarship, York University, 2017 ($3000).

Bursary Awards

  • York University Continuing Student Scholarship Bursary (given to students above 7.00 grade point average), 2014 ($768), 2013 ($576) & 2012 ($864).
  • Aboriginal PSET Bursary, York University, 2012 ($2600).
  • York University Undergrad Bursary, 2012 ($1010).

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TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOMELESSNESS AND/OR TO DOWNLOAD INFORMATION AS WELL AS LESSON PLANS, GO TO THE HOMELESS HUB:

NIBI IS WATER / nibi aawan nbiish BY Award Winning Indigenous Author JOANNE ROBERTSON is a must have for your library. Read below to find out why…

Title: NIBI IS WATER / nibi aawan nbiish

Author & Illustrator: JOANNE ROBERTSON

Translators: SHIRLEY WILSON and ISADORE TOULOUSE

Genre: CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, INDIGENOUS NON-FICTION, ENVIRONMENT, WATER, INDIGENOUS AUTHOR

Length: 28 PAGES

Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 14, 2020

ISBN: 9781772601329

Price: $10.95 Hardcover with Jacket

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A  first conversation about the importance of Nibi—which means water in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe)—and our role to thank, respect, love, and protect it.

Babies and toddlers can follow Nibi as it rains and snows, splashes or rows, drips and sips.

Written from an Anishinaabe water protector’s perspective, the book is in dual languages — English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe). 
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Joanne Robertson reads her new book about Josephine Mandamin to a class in Thunder Bay. They want to inspire kids to protect clean water.
(Photo by Jackie McKay )

MY REVIEW:

Beautifully yet simply illustrated, NIBI IS WATER is a gorgeous primer about water and it’s sacred role in Indigenous culture.

This book is being marketed as a children’s book, but it is also a terrific resource for those who are interested in learning a few important words in the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) traditional language.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if people in Canada (and elsewhere) picked an Indigenous language and learned to speak it fluently. I, for one, would love to learn to speak this lyrical and gentle language. After reading this book and repeating the words outloud over and over again, I have made my first steps to making this a reality.

As I was reading through the pages and enjoying the incredible artwork, I was wishing that there was a pronunciation guide. Little did I know that my wish was about to be granted. On the final page of the book is a pronunciation primer that spells out each word phonetically. I was very pleased.

Canada’s shameful history of it’s treatment of Indigenous peoples has been exposed, but has not yet been fully stopped. Water is life and too many Indigenous lands contain polluted and contaminated water supplies. This needs to be fixed and reading and purchasing books such as this one is a start.

I rate NIBI IS WATER as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would like to thank NetGalley and Orbit Books for providing me with a free advance copy of this book.

Pre-Order your copy today and come back and let me know what you thought of it once it officially releases in April 2020.
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8Diu9sgdU
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joanne Robertson is AnishinaabeKwe and a member of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.

She received her Fine Arts degree from Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. Joanne is the founder of the Empty Glass for Water campaign to bring attention to the drinking water crisis in Indigenous communities across Canada.

She produced a film about the water crisis called “Glass Action”. Today she works as a research assistant at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and continues to support the water walks through live GPS spotting to make sure the water is safe.

Joanne was chosen as the winner of a writing award. Read the article by clicking HERE.

Joanne lives near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.emptyglassforwater.ca/home.php

GOODREADS

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

WIKIPEDIA  

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

CHAPTERS

STRONGNATIONS.COM

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

#NibiIsWater #NetGalley #Indigenous #IndigenousAuthor #environmental #waterislife #waterisaright #Canadian #Canlit #ojibwe #Anishinaabemowin #nibiiswater #water #waterrights #idlenomore #nonfiction #indigenousnonfiction #indigenouschildrensbook #childrensbook

Indigenous Literary Studies Association


https://indigenousvoicesawards.org


Award recipients, finalists, and jurors after the 2019 Gala at the UBC Longhouse. Welcome page, and 2019 gala.
Photographs by Justine Crawford

LINKS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

Two Anishinaabe Grandmothers, and a group of Anishinaabe Women and Men have taken action regarding the water issue by walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes. Along with a group of Anishinaabe Kwe and supports, they walked around Lake Superior in Spring 2003, around Lake Michigan in 2004, Lake Huron in 2005, Lake Ontario in 2006 and Lake Erie in 2007, Lake Michigan in 2008, and the St. Lawrence River in 2009.
http://motherearthwaterwalk.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=53

Mother Earth Water Walkers

Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association (SASA)

The objectives of SASA are:

  • To provide cultural, social & academic support for all Anishinaabe students.
  • To increase Anishinaabe student participation in all aspects of the university.
  • To encourage communication with other Anishinaabe post-secondary organizations.
  • To assist Anishinaabe students with adjusting to the university environment.
  • To strengthen cultural awareness between Anishinaabe students and non-Anishinaabe students.

In May, 2010 history was made when a document was signed between SASA and the Algoma University Students’ Union. It is a commitment to promote Anishinaabe self-determination. “This monumental agreement stabilizes and recognition for the Anishinaabe Student Association, and will promote and encourage students to self-identify as Anishinaabe. It is meant to build a stronger Students’ Union and movement. This ‘commitment to solidarity’ (Gwii Nandogikendaanaan) will also lead to greater inclusion of Anishinaabe students as representatives on Union and University Subcommittees.” (see Media Release  http://www.algomau.ca/news/2010/05/03/279)

http://www.algomau.ca/current-students/anishinaabe-students-assoc

Algoma University Students’ Union (AUSU)

The Algoma University Students’ Union represents over 1,000 students on both the Sault Ste Marie and Brampton, Ontario campuses of Algoma University. AUSU is Local 82 of the Canadian Federation of Students.

www.ausu.ca

Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)

The Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Federation of Students-Services were formed in 1981 to provide students with an effective and united voice, provincially and nationally. At the time, it was recognized that for students to be truly effective in representing their collective interests to the federal and provincial governments, it was vital to unite under one banner. Today, over one-half million students from more than 80 university and college students’ unions across Canada belong to the Federation.

www.cfs-fcee.ca

The Council of Canadians, Water

http://www.canadians.org/water/index.html
The Right to Water
http://www.canadians.org/water/issues/right/index.html
Safe Water for First Nations
http://www.canadians.org/water/issues/right/index.htm
Making Waves Blog, Analysis of Canadian water politics by the Council of Canadians’ national water campaigner.
http://rabble.ca/blog/17461

Katie Ungard, Women and Environment Youth Eco-Intern, Muskoka YWCA

Katie Ungard is the Women and Environment Youth Eco-Intern at the YWCA in Muskoka. As part of her work she will be speaking with women in the Muskoka district about water. Keep up to date with her work through this link…

http://ywcamuskoka.com

<a href="<iframe width="200" height="167" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wPega7E8Lhg&quot; frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Water Walk

A MEDIC’S MIND by Matthew Heneghan is a memoir of his struggle with PTSD. A fascinating and compelling tale

Title: A MEDIC’S MIND

Author: MATTHEW HENEGHAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, MILITARIA, PTSD, MENTAL HEALTH, INSPIRATIONAL, CANADIAN NON-FICTION

Length: 258 PAGES

Publisher: WINTERTICKLE PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: OCTOBER 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-894813976

Price: $25.96 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Matthew Heneghan weaves an intricate web that is his life, in a style all his own. Once a medic in the Canadian Forces and a paramedic in the civilian world, he has a varied and traumatic past. Facing childhood abuse, addiction, suicide ideation, incredible loss, mental illness, he finds himself left rudderless, Matthew chronicles his journey towards a better way of coping.

If you have spent time in the military, paramedicine, or just love devouring an exquisitely written tale, this book is a must-have. Learning how Matthew transitions from the stereotypical position of “hero” to becoming the hero of his own life is nothing less than inspiring.

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MY REVIEW:

“At a certain point, the very best of humans will finally break, with long-lasting implications.”

Todd McGowan, Chief Warrant Officer (Retired), Canadian Armed Forces

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Sitting on the edge of an overpass, haunted by the demons of trauma and loss, Matt is ready. Ready to end his life, and along with that would be an end to his pain and suffering. However, when an ambulance passes on the road below, he realizes that he doesn’t want the EMTs inside to be traumatized because of him. He can’t bear to be the cause of someone else’s suffering.

Thank goodness he didn’t go through with his planned suicide attempt, or A MEDIC’S MIND would not exist and that would be a terrible shame.

This book might just be the catalyst for others who are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD to seek treatment – thus saving their lives, or at the very least, helping to identify and possibly alleviate some of their symptoms.

A MEDIC’S MIND is a memoir written by an extraordinary man who has served our country and saved many lives. Although I am sure he would disagree, it is my opinion that he is the very definition of a “Hero.”

So, if he is a hero, and a distinguished retired member of the CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) then shouldn’t his life be perfect? Shouldn’t he be happy and healthy in the knowledge that without him, many more families, military and otherwise, would be mourning their losses?

You might think so, but that would be a very simplistic view of what happens inside the human brain.

I don’t believe anyone who hasn’t experienced the trauma of war has the ability to understand the emotional, physical, or psychological damage such experiences can cause.

After leaving the military, Matthew became a paramedic which further exposed him to more and more trauma. It has only been within the past few years that our society’s first responders have had their psychological health taken into account and that it has been acknowledged that PTSD is not limited only to soldiers.

Matthew Heneghan may have been a fantastic medic and EMT, but his true calling, in my opinion, is writing about his experiences. In A MEDIC’S MIND, he opens his mind and heart and lays everything bare. The bravery this takes is monumental. In a recent blog post, where he writes about the suicide of his close friend, Matthew states:

“Living with a fractured mind can be torturous. Living with a fractured mind and a broken heart… that’s torture of the rarest kind.”

Matthew, at one point in his life turned to alcohol to cope and to try to fill the pain he was feeling. He is now clean and sober and still damaged. He has learned a hard truth which he shares with the reader, that just because you kick an addiction, does not instantly mean you are “cured.” Life can, and does, kick you in the ass, but you have to hold on, even if, at times, it feels like you are only hanging on by the tips of your fingers.

I truly believe that A MEDIC’S MIND is an important memoir. This book needs to be widely read and distributed.

I have read many biographies and this one is one of the few that will stay with me for a very long time. I wholeheartedly believe A MEDIC’S MIND will become a book that anyone and everyone who wants to understand the psyche of a PTSD sufferer needs to read. This includes others suffering from trauma, their friends and families, as well as those who seek to understand and/or treat this disorder.

I rate A MEDIC’S MIND as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I sincerely hope that the author continues to blog and podcast and to speak out his truth. I think he is an important advocate for informing people about PTSD and it’s ongoing effects.

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****Thank you to the Author for providing me with a free copy of his book.****
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https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/my-therapy/episode-47-matt-heneghan-37J4KhXwHlN
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in England, Matthew and his family emigrated to Canada when he was five years old. He is now thirty-six years old. Everything written in his book and on his blog are true.

Matthew was an army medic for 6 years and after his time in the army was finished, he became a paramedic for a busy city ambulance service. Most of what he writes comes from these experiences. The Good, the Bad and the Tragic.

He was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and major depressive disorder in 2017.

He started writing his blog because he thought he was going crazy. Wanting to shout but not knowing how to do so. Not knowing where to direct it. So, this place, his blog is “Droplets of blood from an aching mind.”

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.amedicsmind.com

A MEDIC’S MIND – THE PODCAST

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

MORE LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

A MEDIC’S MIND – THE PODCAST

SPOTIFY

ITUNES

GOOGLE PODCASTS

ANCHOR FM

VOICE FOR MENTAL HEALTH COLLECTIVE

ACADEMIA

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

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TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE VOICE FOR MENTAL HEALTH COLLECTIVE, CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK
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INSTAGRAM
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TWITTER

RED RIVER GIRL: The Life And Death of Tina Fontaine BY Award Winning Journalist and Author JOANNA JOLLY – A 5 STAR LOOK AT ONE MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS TEEN

Title: RED RIVER GIRL
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Subtitle: The Life and Death of Tina Fontaine
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Author: JOANNA JOLLY
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Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, INDIGENOUS NON-FICTION

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Length: 320 PAGES

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Publisher: VIKING – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 27, 2019

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ISBN: 9780735233935

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Price: $16.95 USD (Paperback)

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

On August 17, 2014, the body of fifteen-year old runaway Tina Fontaine was found in Winnipeg’s Red River. It was wrapped in material and weighted down with rocks. Red River Girl is a gripping account of that murder investigation and the unusual police detective who pursued the killer with every legal means at his disposal. The book, like the movie Spotlight, will chronicle the behind-the-scenes stages of a lengthy and meticulously planned investigation. It reveals characters and social tensions that bring vivid life to a story that made national headlines.

Award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker Joanna Jolly delves into the troubled life of Tina Fontaine, the half-Ojibway, half-Cree murder victim, starting with her childhood on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve. Tina’s journey to the capital city is a harrowing one, culminating in drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and death.

Aware of the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Jolly has chronicled Tina Fontaine’s life as a reminder that she was more than a statistic. Raised by her father, and then by her great-aunt, Tina was a good student. But the violent death of her father hit Tina hard. She ran away, was found and put into the care of Child and Family Services, which she also sought to escape from. That choice left her in danger.

Red River Girl focuses not on the grisly event itself, but on the efforts to seek justice. In December 2015, the police charged Raymond Cormier, a drifter, with second-degree murder. Jolly’s book will cover the trial, which resulted in an acquittal. The verdict caused dismay across the country.

The book is not only a true crime story, but a portrait of a community where Indigenous women are disproportionately more likely to be hurt or killed. Jolly asks questions about how Indigenous women, sex workers, community leaders, and activists are fighting back to protect themselves and change perceptions. Most importantly, the book will chronicle whether Tina’s family will find justice.

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THIS BOOK IS ON THE TORONTO STAR’S TOP TEN BESTSELLER LIST
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MY REVIEW:

As proud as I am to be Canadian, there are many things I wish I could change. There are even things that make me ashamed of my country and one of those things is how Indigenous people have historically been treated. Even more horrifying is that although it is finally improving, at least in some areas, Indigenous people still face an unconsciounable amount of racial discrimination to this very day. This racism and discrimination is not limited to Canada, and is a Continent-Wide issue.

The reason I bring up racism is because it is definitely a factor of Tina Fontaine’s disappearance and murder as chronicled in RED RIVER GIRL.

Police map of missing limbs in the Red River – Photo obtained from the BBC

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Author Joanna Jolly has researched Tina Fontaine’s life from childhood up to, and even after her death. I believe that Joanna Jolly’s experience as not only a journalist and author, but also as a documentary film maker has culminated in a book that must be read. She does not shy away from disclosing the horror that Tina experienced in her short fifteen years of life. Not does she gloss over the cultural stigma Tina lived with every day of her life.

This book not only highlights the life and death of Tina Fontaine, it also highlights the excellent investigative skills shown by the dogged police detective who pulled out all the stops to find Tina’s killer and to bring him to justice. However, that was not to be.

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When killer Raymond Cormier’s trial ended up with him being acquitted, people across Canada (myself included) were both outraged and dismayed. The only positive that came from that trial was the spotlight that was shone on the horrific epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

If you care about the truth, if you care about our Indigenous population, if you want to be more informed regarding Indigenous homelessness, as well as other related topics, you need to buy a copy of this book.

I rate RED RIVER GIRL as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

Thelma Favel – Tina’s Great Aunt

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JOANNA JOLLY

Joanna Jolly is a multi-award winning former BBC South Asia Editor and documentary film maker. Over the past decade, she has reported from Jerusalem, Brussels, Kathmandu, Washington DC and Delhi. Red River Girl is her debut novel. In 2016, she was a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Represented by Susanna Lea Associates on behalf of Toby Mundy Associates

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

CBC BOOKS

PULITZER CENTER

HARVARD

KOBO

TWITTER

GLOSE.COM

STRONG NATIONS.COM

AMAZON

MUCKRACK.COM

CHAPTERS

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PUBLISHER LINKS:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

PINTEREST

ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY by Emmy Award Winning Canadian Actor and Author JOANNE VANNICOLA – If you only read one book this year, make sure it is this one. 5+ Stars – Compelling, Heart-rending, and Emotional. This is a MUST READ.

Title: ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY
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Author: JOANNE VANNICOLA
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Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, MENTAL HEALTH, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, LGBTQIA

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Length: 232 PAGES

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Publisher: DUNDURN PRESS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: JUNE 25, 2019

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ISBN: 9781459744226

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Price: $19.99 USD

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Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physically abusive father and a mother who had no sexual boundaries.

After Joanne is pressured to leave home at fourteen, encouraged by her mother to seek out an acting career, she finds herself in a strange city, struggling to cope with her memories and fears. She makes the decision to cut her mother out of her life, and over the next several years goes on to create a body of work as a successful television and film actor. Then, after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.

Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award–winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a testament to survival, love, and Joanne’s fundamental belief that it is possible to love the broken, and to love fully, even with a broken heart.

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MY REVIEW:

*** WARNING – TRIGGER WARNING***

This book contains scenes of child sexual abuse and physical abuse of children. If any of these topics cause emotional triggers for you, I strongly suggest you do not read this book.
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There are many memoirs that contain disturbing subject matter and ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY is no exception. However, the difference between other memoirs and that of Canadian Joanne Vannicola is that Joanne somehow managed to live through her horrific childhood and yet still emerge into adulthood full of compassion for others. Rather than allow her abusers to keep her ‘small,’ she has gone on to have a phenomenal career. To my way of thinking, Joanne being happy and successful is the best revenge. Her strength and determination are a big “F” you to her abusers. She didn’t let them win.

Not only that, but she has also become an advocate for LGBTQ youth. According to Joanne, “[Her] role meant [Joanne] could impact their lives, provide a little hope for others even though [she] still hadn’t learned to hold on to it [herself]…and it provided a deeper purpose…”

Joanne says in the book:
“I could not erase my own pain, but if I could help other kids, it meant healing was possible.”

This memoir is powerful. It is horrific in parts, especially when readers learn how Joanne was treated as a child, but it also includes some wonderful and touching moments and shows the power of friendship.

I do not want to give away too much with my review because I am hoping that everyone who reads this review runs out to buy/pre-order a copy of ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY.

YES, this book will make you shake in anger at the people who were supposed to love Joanne the most, but who turned out to be the perpetrators of her abuse, BUT I BELIEVE THIS IS A BOOK THAT NEEDS TO BE READ.

There are children suffering at this very moment, and people who see these things happening are often afraid to call Children’s Aid in case they are wrong. BUT … What if a child dies or suffers irreparable harm because you did not make that simple phone call? How would you feel? Could you ever forgive yourself?

PLEASE MAKE THE CALL. If it is determined that there was no abuse, then you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing. A bit of embarrassment is nothing when a child’s life and/or his/her mental health is on the line.

This book is not only about abuse. It is also about growing up and trying to come to terms with your sexuality. Joanne came of age not too long ago, but it was long ago enough that being gay, bisexual, trans, or queer was not acceptable to society at large. In fact, the phrase “non-binary” did not even exist. People kept their sexual orientations quiet and this fact made Joanne question what exactly was “wrong” with her. This memoir follows her journey from questioning her sexuality to accepting it and to become an advocate and role model for other LGBTQ youth.

Joanne’s life has been full of pain and agony, but it has also been a life filled with many triumphs, including her winning the her battle with anorexia.

I could go on and on about how amazing Joanne Vannicola is (all based on her book as I have not met her yet.) Instead, I will encourage everyone reading this review to pre-order her book immediately. Don’t wait to do it. Order it immediately. You will not be disappointed. ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY is a 5+ Star Book and you will continue to think about Joanne and her life long after the final page has been read. It is impossible not to. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning Canadian actor and writer, who has been working in film, television, and theatre since she was eight years old. She has also been nominated for a Genie, a Gemini, and an ACTRA award.

Joanne is a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ community and has an essay in the anthology Cuarenta y Nueve, a book by 49 artists for the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse club massacre. She is the Chair of the first LGBTQ+ committee for the actors union, ACTRA, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee at ACTRA for women in film and television.

Joanne’s forthcoming memoir, All We Knew but Couldn’t Say (Dundurn Press) will be available 1 June 2019.

She is a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Grant in 2016—Writer’s Works in Progress for her memoir. Joanne was selected for the Diaspora Dialogues Program in 2013 and worked with author David Layton for six months. Her short screenplay His Name Was Steven, was selected for the Queer Ideas Screenplay competition.

Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, between 2004-2009, to raise awareness about child abuse and sexual violence.

Equity issues have always been at the forefront of Joanne’s work both in her artistic world and in her personal/political life and she is very passionate about youth, women, and LGBTQ equity and rights.

To learn more about Joanne Vannicola visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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OFFICIAL AUTHOR WEBSITE
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BLOG
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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INSTAGRAM
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DUNDURN PRESS ON INSTAGRAM

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TWITTER
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DUNDURN PRESS TWITTER

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IMDb

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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
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WANT TO ATTEND THE OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH???

WANT TO MEET JOANNE IN PERSON?

WANT TO HAVE YOUR BOOK SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR?

SIGN UP FOR FREE TO ATTEND HER OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH HERE

****This book is my “A” entry in the GingerMom’s 2019 A to Z Reading Challenge****


FEEDING MY MOTHER by Jann Arden – A MUST READ by this multi-talented Canadian Icon

Title: FEEDING MY MOTHER

Subtitle: COMFORT AND LAUGHTER IN THE KITCHEN AS MY MOM LIVES WITH MEMORY LOSS

Author: JANN ARDEN

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, FAMILY, ALZHEIMERS

Length: 210 PAGES

Publisher: RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Type of Book: HARDCOVER

Received From: MY HUSBAND AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT

Release Date: NOVEMBER 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-7392-4

Price: $26.00 USD / $35.00 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Jann Arden moved into a house just across the way from her parents in rural Alberta to be close to them but also so they could be her refuge from the demands of the music business and a performing career. Funny how time works.

Since her dad died in 2015, Jann cooks for her mom five or six times a week. Her mom finds comfort in her daughter’s kitchen, not just in the delicious food but also just sitting with her as she cooks. And Jann finds some peace in caring for her mom, even as her mom slowly becomes a stranger.

“If you told me two years ago that I’d be here,” Jann writes, “I wouldn’t have believed it. And yet we still fall into so much laughter, feel so much insane gladness and joy. It’s such a contrast from one minute to the next and it teaches me constantly: it makes me stronger and more humble and more empathetic and caring and kind.”

The many people who are dealing with a loved one who is losing it will find inspiration and strength in Jann’s wholehearted, loving response and her totally Jann take on the upside-down world of a daughter mothering her mother. Feeding My Mother is one heck of an affirmation that life just keeps on keeping on, and a wonderful example of how you have to roll with it.

MY REVIEW:

I was drawn to this book initially by the beautiful cover and once I read the blurb inside the cover, I knew this was a book I just had to read. After reading the small poem that starts the book, I was enchanted.

“Another year, another page.
A million moments melt away.
The ticking-tocking hands of time,
what’s found and lost, remains sublime.
The details that we hold so fast,
are nothing more than memories past.
For love is all that lingers true,
the bond that ties my heart to you.”
– Jann Arden (2013)

Jann Arden is a Canadian icon and the fact that she is now dealing with a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease makes her seem less like an untouchable superstar and more like just another person of my generation who is dealing with aging parents. I can relate to her struggle.

Filled with gorgeous photography and touching moments, this book is one that everyone will want to read.

Jann may disagree, but her unflinching honesty and relentless positivity are inspiring. When discussing social media, she writes:

“Words are big. They define who you are. They are permanent… What you say is who you are. So try to be gentle on social media. Lift others up … Don’t always turn your words into weapons when you can just as easily make doves.”

She has articulated my exact feelings in a much more poetic and lyrical way than I ever could. I guess that’s why she is such an accomplished singer and songwriter.

The book is written in diary entry format beginning in June of 2014 with the final entry having been written in February of 2017. Jann has also included many of the recipes that she cooks for herself and her mother.

The recipes are written as if they had been noted down for you by a good friend after an enjoyable dinner party and yet they are also easy to follow and detailed enough that anyone and everyone should be able to recreate them in their own kitchen.

It would be impossible for me to rate this heartwarming and inspirational memoir as anything other than 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jann Arden’s latest book has kindled my interest in her, not only as a singer/songwriter, but also as an author and I plan to pick up her previous books as well. In short, BUY THIS BOOK – You will not be disappointed.

To see a terrific video interview where Jann Arden talks about this book, visit the CBC Website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

PHOTO BY: ALKAN EMIN

JANN ARDEN is a singer, songwriter, broadcaster, actor, author and social media star. The celebrated multi-platinum, award-winning artist catapulted onto the music scene in 1993 with her debut album, Time for Mercy, featuring the hit single “I Would Die for You.” A year later she had her international break-out hit, “Insensitive.”

She has written three books, the most recent being the #1 bestselling memoir Falling Backwards.

She is much in demand as a public speaker, and a favourite frequent guest on CBC’s Rick Mercer Report and a guest host on CTV’s The Social.

To learn more about this Jann Arden, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

SPOTIFY

YOUTUBE

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS BOOK:

“The cliché is that we are supposed to live our lives in ‘gratitude.’ But gratitude is not something you acquire like a Happy Meal from McDonalds. It’s something you have to slowly create in your daily life through intention and sincere acts of goodness and kindness.”

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This book is also part of a Reading Challenge that is being hosted by GINGERMOM READS BLOG where I have committed to reading at least one book title from every letter of the alphabet in 2018. It is the #2018AtoZChallenge