Atlantic Books Today Issue 88 - Winter 2018

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How the gift of literature evokes scientific curiosity in children

CLASSIC COMFORTS Local flavours provide warmth this winter


The concentration of wealth should concern us all

atlantic books today FREE



Stay Warm with Books Book ’ Lovers y Holida uide Gift G ! INSIDE


Hot New Reads to Fuel Your Winter

No. 88 Publications Mail Agreement 40038836

If you like what you


. . . you’ll love what they Holiday gifts from Goose Lane Editions

SAY Available at fine bookstores or shop online at

Contents Number 88 Winter 2018




The Emergence of Wabanaki Literature Contemporary stories that honour Indigenous cultures enrich literature




Cover Story Stay Warm With Books Across the Region 10 hot new books to fuel your winter




Feature How 99% Of Us Are Getting (Relatively) Poorer And how we can reclaim our democracy and institutions from the ultra rich

Young Readers Three New Children’s Books to Bring Out Your Kids’ Inner Scientists Children need fun books that make the world bigger and better


New Book Amplifies the Voices of Transgender Youth in Newfoundland The brainchild of queer collaborators, transVersing is adapted from a play written by diverse transgender youth Young Readers Will Delight in This Year’s Winter Books: Tales of Giants, Art, Music, Concerts, Farts, Toys, Love and Fear Highlight the Action Lisa Doucet reviews the season’s most anticipated books for young readers

Food Seeking Comfort Food Hot, rich, buttery, savoury, robust, aromatic, tender, simple and above all nostalgic foods—and the books that help us make them—that give love and comfort



Reviews Ami McKay’s Adult Fairytale of New York

29 Dominique Bernier-Cormier’s Vivid Depictions Re-Cast Stories

30 Helen Escott’s Cascade of Moral Questioning



J Brent Wilson’s Personalized Accounts of The 26th New Brunswick Battalion

New Books Editor’s Picks 18 Atlantic Canadian books that are generating buzz this season


34 The World is Changing the

Gardening Experience And the new gardening experience is changing the world

Atlantic Books Today


Editor’s Message Late June, 2001, I’m sitting on a Vancouver beach reading a book called No Great Mischief, when a real-chill dude accosts me. “You’re missing the real world, man.” By the way, it’s sunset or something. In the real world. I’m all dismissive. “I like this world,” I say, stabbing the book with my index finger. I mean Cape Breton. But the dude’s words dig at me. I’m travelling, after all. Checking out new terrain. And when I look up I see that the sunset is, in fact, spectacular. Still, I love the worlds in books. That is, I love that each time I open one I know I’ll be able to escape or immerse myself at will, within new landscapes, cultures, possibilities. This magic is particularly relevant in winter, I find, when realworld travel is more burdensome and the mere act of stepping outside can sometimes seem futile at best. Yes, we have the holidays and an infant year to fete, but then it’s another five weeks till the groundhog indicates there are another two or three or four (in NL) months to go.

At this time of year, more than any other, we seek comfort in a good book and a hot meal. Both these things have the power to transport us to another time, another place. As Sarah Sawler (author of 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia and 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada) and Karl Wells (author of Cooking with One Chef One Critic) show us in this issue, comfort books and foods give us a veritable cultural tour of our region, past and present. Stories and foods are the ties that bind, in that the nostalgia they build in us become like the same family they remind us of. Chris Benjamin

Erratum In our fall issue we said Stella Bowles was the co-author of My River. In fact, Ann Laurel Carter is the sole author. We also misspelled the name of Garry Cranford, author of The Flanker Dictionary of Newfoundland English. Our apologies for the errors.

Beloved author

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Perfect gifts

for the holiday season

My River

50 Things to See With a Telescope

Worthy of Love

Kids who care about the environment will love Stella’s story of her science project on the dirty LaHave River that brought real change!

A new guide for anyone who’s looking at the heavens and wonders what they’re seeing.

Halifax slam poet Andre Fenton’s vivid and readable novel for teens By Andre Fenton | $14.95

By John A. Read | $19.95

By Stella Bowles with Anne Laurel Carter | $16.95

Bounty Anybody who loves adventure and seafaring will enjoy this tale starring Lunenburg’s tall ship Bounty. By Geoff D’Eon | $29.95

Getting to Zero For the environmentalist on your list. Highly recommended by David Suzuki. By Tony Clarke | $24.95


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Viola Desmond Graham Reynolds with Wanda Robson “Reynolds and Robson have forged a remarkable partnership to bring us a fascinating account of Viola Desmond’s life. This wonderful book is filled with new information and insight, riveting reading about an extraordinary woman’s contribution to Canada’s history.” — Constance Backhouse, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa


atlantic books today Atlantic Books Today is published by the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (, which gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canada Book Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Opinions expressed in articles in Atlantic Books Today do not necessarily re­flect the views and opinions of the Board of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association.

Exquisite Destinations: adventures of a Maritimer in lesser-known places

Peter McCreath: 188 pp. (12 col.); 200 photos (80 col.) It’s Peter’s 8th book.

9781895814743 - $22.50


NEW: astonishing year-round reading with dreams of exotic places to travel, vacation, explore –12 countries and 2 Atlantic Provinces: part travelogue, part memoir, part exotic journeys by historian and world-travelled entrepreneur with a dozen occupations, careers and hobbies in a single lifetime. Explore these magnificent destinations through the author’s eyes, pen and lens! Some may not be ordinary holiday destinations, but surely ones to consider for your bucket list or in your dreams. In all fine bookstores! e-book available: $11.99

Writers Wanted They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. — Edgar allan PoE

Nevermore Press is an independent publisher of fiction and creative nonfiction, with a particular interest in sharing stories from under-represented voices.

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PUBLISHER Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association EDITOR Chris Benjamin ART DIRECTOR and ADVERTISING SALES Gwen North ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Chantelle Rideout Printed in Canada. This is issue number 88 Winter 18. Atlantic Books Today is published three times a year. All issues are numbered in sequence. Total Atlantic-wide circulation: 100,000. ISSN 1192-3652 One-year subscriptions to Atlantic Books Today are available for $16 ($18.40 including HST). Please make cheques payable to the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association and mail to address below or contact for subscription inquiries. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40038836 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Atlantic Books Today 1484 Carlton Street Halifax, NS B3H 3B7 Phone: 902-420-0711 Fax: 902-423-4302 @abtmagazine


The Emergence of Wabanaki Literature Contemporary stories honouring Indigenous cultures are enriching new literature by Jon Tattrie


iscouraged and disgusted by the fiery politics burning through the United States of America in November 2016, Scott Kelley turned inward at his writing desk on an island off the coast of Maine. He deleted all the news apps off his phone. In the silence came the stories of his childhood, stories of the People of the First Light—stories from the same land, but a different identity. As he began to create, he did so not in the United States of America, but in the Wabanaki Confederacy. Kelley had been working on a series of portraits of Wabanaki Elders and a separate series of animals living in the woods near his home. “One night, I was sorting through my picture files and a photograph of a bear ended up next to a photograph of a Mi’kmaq chief ’s coat, and next to that was a rather dapper Penobscot gentleman wearing a top hat,” Kelley says. “I pulled out a big piece of paper and 20 minutes later had drawn a bear wearing a top hat and the chief ’s coat. I knew that there was something there, and by the time I did the painting of the rabbit smoking a pipe, the rest just fell into place. It happens, sometimes.” He started to tell a story among the striking and strange images of a wetnosed deer wearing beads, a hat and a cloak; a badger staring deep into the viewer while wearing a bright redand-black cloak and a pointed hat; and through it all, a birch tree. “The legends of Glooscap were writ large throughout my childhood, but to be honest, the story itself was an accident. I needed a place for the paintings to inhabit, and Glooscap—or at least my memories of Glooscap—just kind of popped up and I went with it.” I Am Birch (Islandport Press) came to

light. Birch talks to Beaver, Porcupine, Heron and many others, and each tries to alarm him with the same bleak fortune: a time is coming of great cold and darkness. The fear of chaos sweeps through the forest but Birch resists panic. He questions the animals, but none know the source of the rumour and none know it to be true. “There is no coming time of great Cold and Darkness,” Birch concludes. “There never was.” Kelley says in times like ours, when every morning brings headlines of a coming time of great cold and darkness, we can find strength in the different identity of the Wabanaki Confederacy. It bonded the People of the First Light: the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqey (sometimes called Maliseet), Passamaquoddy, Penobscot and Abenaki. “That old alliance was crucial to their survival and over the course of centuries, it remained largely intact. They depended on each other and their coexistence was, so far as anyone knows, a largely peaceful one,” Kelley says. “They must have been like a hive, the greater part of their days spent gathering enough protein to get through the winter. And they did this forever: the

Passamaquoddy have what I believe is the longest running government in history, over 14,000 years of uninterrupted councils. “We can’t even manage to go two years without feeling the need for upheaval. It is something we seem to have forgotten, in the modern age: we are all in this together; the needs of one pale against the needs of many.” I Am Birch, which features rich, fullpage illustrations that can be devoured by children, offers a more hopeful understanding of humanity. “Think about all the things we have been led to believe were a matter of life and death, and, hey, look—we’re still here. Humanity survived the plague, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods; I even survived Catholic military school. You either do, or you don’t. The world still turns, the sun still comes up.” Author Peter J Clair was born in Elsipogtog, New Brunswick, now lives in Tobique and was likewise called back to the Wabanaki world. His novel Taapoategl & Pallet: A Mi’kmaq Journey of Loss & Survival was published by Chapel Street Editions. “I wrote Taapoategl & Pallet to make a contribution to Mi’kmaq literature, which I call Migmagoigasig aatogaaen. Rick Mercer

Available online through:

Also available at select Nova Scotia bookstores. Atlantic Books Today



I Am Birch Scott Kelley Islandport Press

Taapoategl & Pallet Peter J Clair Chapel Street Editions

And on the larger scale, I hope to make a contribution to Indigenous literature,” Clair says. The novel itself occupies two worlds. Taapoategl lives in the mid-1700s and Pallet in the mid-1900s. Taapoategl occupies a Wabanaki world rooted deeply in his culture and family. Pallet journeys into the wilderness of a world closer to ours, searching for an identity rooted in the past. “Hopefully with the book, the reader will be encouraged to investigate the contribution of the Mi’kmaq and other First Nations and their generosity and contribution to the birth and existence of Canada,” Clair says. The pages are sprinkled with Mi’kmaw words, fragments of voices from one of the original tongues spoken in the old alliance. Another old language came dancing off the tongue of eight-year-old Ava Polchies as she sang traditional songs in Wolastoqey. At Wulastukw Elementary School near Fredericton, she learned about her Wolastoqey culture. And then, on the best day of her life, she met Luna

the pony. Her grandfather, Billy Polchies, joined her for a memorable day. Paul Lang directed a photo shoot of the grandfather, granddaughter and pony. He then created background illustrations; the photographed Polchies walk through a watercolour world of ducks, ponds, deer and trees. Author Hélène deVarennes added words, written in French, Wolastoqey and English. She says the trilingual book honours the land we all share. “Because Indigenous children here are schooled in either French or English, this book is an acknowledgement that their language has value,” she says. “Indigenous children should find books at school that they can identify with, books that celebrate their culture. Non-Indigenous children need to realize that Indigenous children can and should be part of storybooks as well.” A Pony Day was launched at Ava’s school on the first day of October. The story bubbles with warmth. Ava has an ancestor named Josephine. In the book, a little girl named Josephine travels with her grandpa on her sixth birthday for an

100 new titles coming this November! Hundreds of Atlantic-authored and published e-books are now available in the Read Local collection at Nova Scotia public libraries. All you need is your free library card.


A Pony Day Hélène deVarennes and Paul Lang Bouton d’or Acadie unimaginable treat: she will ride a pony for the first time. “Josephine looks at her grandpa. He does not seem to be joking. His eyes are not filled with stars and his mouth is not wide-open like when he laughs,” the story says. The creators of the book say its message is that all children love to imagine and need loving and joyful relationships with their extended family. “A very wise Indigenous woman once told me that Indigenous peoples seem to always be historicized,” deVarennes says. “It is important to have storybooks featuring everyday activities for Indigenous children as well.” As Josephine’s magical day draws to an end, the sounds of the ancient and modern worlds sing together. “Stars sneak into Josephine’s eyes. Her little mouth opens to let laughter spill out,” the story continues. The trio of pony, girl and grandpa ride off together on the final page. “A sweet wind and bursts of laughter float around Josephine and her grandpa,” reads the English. “La magie dans le vent et les éclats de rire virevoltent autour de Joséphine et de son grand-père,” it says in French. And in one of the original languages of this land: “Eci wolamsok naka wolihtakuk etolelomihtit Josephine naka Muhsumsol.” ■ Jon Tattrie is the author of The Hermit of Africville; Cornwallis: The Violent Birth of Halifax; Redemption Songs: How Bob Marley’s Nova Scotia Song Lights the Way Past Racism and several other titles.


Stay Warm with Books

across the region

Image: Kat Frick Miller from If I Had an Old House on the East Coast

by Sarah Sawler


Hot New Books to Fuel Your Winter


here are winter days when, even as a weather-worn East Coaster, you simply don’t feel like wearing six layers of clothing or attempting the near-impossible task of walking as briskly as possible to your car while trying not to end up with your ankles by your ears. On days like that it’s better to shake out a packet of Carnation instant hot chocolate (or, for the fancier among us, reach for that emergency stash of hot chocolate from Sugah or Newfoundland Chocolate Company), settle into the squishiest, most overstuffed armchair you own, and cuddle up with a great book. The question when planning your literary escape is, how do you choose the right books? For me, a good winter read is an immersive experience, with vivid characters, an epic story arc and a setting so real that, by the time I put down the book, I feel like I’ve lived there and then, in the world of the book (and perhaps away from all this sleet and snow). That’s the key to staying warm with books. Atlantic Books Today has the books to get you through at least a couple weeks’ worth of snow days. Buckle up, because we’re going to take you on a bit of a road trip (while the roads are still passable).

Atlantic Books Today



GROWING UP NEXT TO THE MENTAL Brian Callahan Flanker Press Wish Mooney is just four years old when he finds a dead man in the Waterford River at nine in the morning. For most people, the discovery would be horrific, but Wish is so young that fear isn’t his first response, or even his second. In fact, he’s not even sure the body is human. “I didn’t think it was a real person, mainly because I’d never seen a real person like this before. Absolutely motionless. Reminded me of the mannequins in the windows down at Woolworths—save for the pose, and his clothes.” The discovery puts a keen focus on a central feature of St. John’s, rich in trope and theme. Wish’s childhood is spent living just seven feet away from the grounds of the Waterford Hospital—then the Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases. To the locals, however, it’s simply known as The Mental—because it’s the 1970s and unfortunately, political correctness wasn’t really a thing yet. The Waterford Hospital opened in 1855, making it the oldest mental health hospital in North America. Callahan draws a vivid picture of what the institution was like almost 50 years ago: the chain-link fence topped with barbed wire that borders the large field, the brick buildings and the “ominous, sky-scraping smokestack.” Patients rarely use the fields but the neighbourhood kids pick up the slack, playing sports or throwing snowballs, depending on the season. Here on rare occasions, the worlds of the kids and the patients overlap. As Wish grows up, a first encounter with a patient leads to lessons that his neighbours don’t fit neatly into the boxes where society tries to shove them. SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE Lisa Moore House of Anansi Press


Depending on where you live, Moore’s latest collection of short stories may require a quick mental trip over the gulf or straight—but there’s very little time travel necessary. Most of the people who inhabit these stories don’t hail from the long-ago

version of Newfoundland we read about so often; instead this book is populated by characters with their feet firmly set in the modern world—they’ve been devastated by the Pulse nightclub massacre, empowered by #MeToo, and one is so desperate to save his grandmother’s life that he’s willing to rob an establishment with a syringe. These people—widows and students, nurses and sex workers— hustle across skywalks, watch YouTube and know a surprising number of guys named Chad. Something for Everyone is true to its title; there really is a story to suit almost any taste in literature. It’s primarily a work of contemporary fiction, but the stories contain hints of other genres, from mystery to speculative fiction. Overall, it’s a beautiful and sometimes biting depiction of modern-day Newfoundland (and in some cases, the wider world). Moore never flinches from the truth, no matter how much it hurts. And sometimes it does—but Moore’s work is compassionate. She’s received no shortage of critical praise over the years. Still, it’s worth noting again that she’s a cleareyed writer, never forgetting the effects of a parental suicide on a nurse’s life, or an unwanted pregnancy on the mental health of a young woman. Old Newfoundland isn’t completely absent from the book and it makes its presence known in more than just the story of Guglielmo Marconi. Traces of the past show up in Moore’s Newfoundland like the sound of after-dinner jigs and reels carried on the unrelenting wind. Moore’s pacing is impeccable. Her stories can be savoured one at a time or devoured as a 10-course feast.


runs through all three, highlighting the idea that no matter how quickly neighbours will pull together when someone needs a new roof, they’re still slow to help when it comes to “private matters.” These poems make it clear that the scars left by these wounds are extremely slow to fade. Later in the collection, specific Newfoundland and Labrador locales are mentioned less, but the province maintains a strong presence in the imagery of Walsh’s poems, in her mother’s “floating mind,” her “harbour of drugs,” and later, in the “bunched paw mark of moose” and the “calligraphy of bird claw.” LIFE ON THE MISTA SHIPU Robin McGrath Boulder Publications

ODERIN Agnes Walsh Pedlar Press St. John’s poet Agnes Walsh’s new collection is dedicated to her mother. It’s fitting then that the opening poem, which serves as a sort of prelude, is about her 93-year-old mother reliving old memories while recovering from a broken hip. “Made in Canada?” is about how despite spending years in Canada, it still isn’t really home to Walsh’s mother—and, as Walsh herself asks, why should it be? Her formative years were in Ireland, and “The ways of Canada were foreign to her / as hers would be to Canadians.” Walsh’s mother may have had Ireland on her mind, but Walsh is firmly planted in Newfoundland soil. While the collection’s overall narrative focuses on the decline of Walsh’s mother’s health, her death, and Walsh’s grief, the individual poems guide us through various places in Newfoundland and their histories. In “Southern Harbour, Two Cemeteries, One Name,” Walsh walks us through a Southern Harbour graveyard, where we encounter a gravestone with the word “Toslow” (a resettled fishing community in Placentia Bay) inscribed on it, prompting readers to consider the plight of a community forced to relocate and the importance of remembering where you came from. Although “Rushoon 1,” “Rushoon 2” and “Rushoon 3” are all set in different times, the common thread of domestic abuse

When Robin McGrath and her husband decided to move from Conception Bay, Newfoundland to Happy Valley-Goose Bay in central Labrador in 2006, she was looking forward to a change of scenery. But when she embarked on a journey down the Mista-Shipu (or Churchill River), she discovered that she had far more to learn about her new surroundings than she realized. McGrath’s first introduction to the reality of life in Labrador was as unfiltered as it could possibly be. Innu environmentalist Elizabeth Penashue guided the eightday survivalist trek from Churchill Falls to Gull Island. McGrath and 13 other travellers spent the time navigating strong currents, constructing Innu-style camps from scratch, searching for noncontaminated water and dining on boiled beavers and roasted porcupines. The trip also helped shape much of the work McGrath would do over the coming years. “Canoeing the Churchill River highlighted for me two of the things that became most important to me during my decade in Labrador: the people and the land.” The land and people of Labrador unite the articles and essays in McGrath’s book, Life on the Mista Shipu. Informed by her interactions with the people McGrath has met and befriended, and her experiences exploring and diving headfirst into Labrador and its culture, the non-fiction collection is broken down into categories by theme: Life on the Coast, Justice, Food, Natural History, Visitors and Sojourners, Labradorians at Home and Away, On Land and Sea, People of the Interior, Life and Death, and L’Envoy. The result is a marvellous and thorough collection where story, history and culture cross paths, intermingle and provide an informed view of an area many of us will never have the opportunity to experience firsthand.

Atlantic Books Today



A BOY FROM ACADIE Beryl Young Bouton d’or Acadie

NED PRATT: ONE WAVE Ned Pratt Goose Lane Editions “He shows us the beauty of a quiet moment in a rugged and difficult place,” writes Anne Chafe, director of The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in her forward. Perhaps this is the best description of how to find warmth in a winter space. It’s like the old adage, “There’s no bad weather, just bad preparation.” Pratt embraces this harsh land, celebrates it, in all its glorious starkness. His sharp, in-your-face angles crash hard, whether he’s giving us a glimpse of ocean from a ferry, a wave crashing over a breaker, a snowdrift, a red-striped trailer or a guardrail by the roadside, fog on rocks, a frozen slab of seawater or a lone-shack shelter in a storm of white. These photos are so illustrative one might wonder if they are in fact drawn that way. They aren’t. They simply take the elements in their arms, or lens, with well-thought-out abandon. Taking in One Wave is like watching an awesome storm through your window. —Editor THREADS IN THE ACADIAN FABRIC Simone Poirier-Bures Pottersfield Press


Stories of nine generations of Poiriers—whirlwind touring, sometimes by force, from France to Port Royal to Beaubassin to Port Toulouse to Isle Madame and Halifax—told by the Evelyn Richardson Awardwinning Simone PoirierBures give insight into the collective experience of Acadie, the physical and cultural landscape. —Editor

Just a 23-hour drive (including the ferry ride) southwest from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, nearly 90 years ago on December 18th, 1927, a baby boy was born to a large Acadian family living in Cormier’s Cove, New Brunswick. Like many children at that time, the boy didn’t have an easy childhood. His family ran a small farm and, even at the young age of six, the boy was expected to help out, fetching water from the well, weeding the gardens, piling wood and feeding livestock. His mother was devoted to her family but experienced chronic depression after losing an infant and had frequent debilitating headaches. When she wasn’t feeling well, the boy would have to be quiet and his sisters would have to step in and cover the meals. She died young, when he was around seven. All this was in addition to studying at the one-room schoolhouse with its 57 children, single teacher and a big black stove to keep them all warm. The boy wasn’t cut out for farm work; school is where he thrived. While the rest of the children in his family left school at the end of Grade 7, the boy’s sister helped pay his way through high school, and more family members chipped in to get him through university. The boy was Roméo LeBlanc, who eventually worked his way up through various political posts to become Canada’s first Acadian Governor General. In addition to the story of Roméo’s childhood, A Boy From Acadie also tells how he gave more than 800 speeches, protected the rights of Canadian fishermen by establishing the important 200-mile fishing limit off Canada’s coasts, dined with the Queen of England and hosted President Nelson Mandela. A Boy From Acadie book makes it clear that despite all this, Roméo’s family and childhood home in New Brunswick remained close to his heart. In that sense, it acts as a tour of Acadian culture itself. SEARCHING FOR TERRY PUNCHOUT Tyler Hellard Invisible Press Province hopping again, a shorter drive this time, Tyler Hellard’s debut novel takes place in a small (fictional) Nova Scotia town called Pennington. To hear Hellard’s main character Adam tell it, though, it doesn’t matter that the little community isn’t real—because it’s intended to be a stand-in for all the small East Coast towns that do exist. Within the first few pages, Adam returns to the town after spending years out west. He describes Pennington as “a small town in the way all towns in Nova Scotia are small. In the summer, it smells like salt and in the winter, it snows that wet, heavy Maritime snow—heart attack snow, they call it. Everybody knows of everybody else


IF I HAD AN OLD HOUSE ON THE EAST COAST Wanda Baxter & Kat Frick Miller Nimbus Publishing

and their business… It’s a town that thrives on routine and expectation and neighbourly kindness. There are hundreds of towns just like this— Pennington, Pugwash, Tatamagouche, Antigonish, Pictou—and the specifics don’t matter.” I won’t pretend this paragraph didn’t cause me to feel a bit of kneejerk indignation. I’m someone who doesn’t mind making the drive to Tatamagouche just for the beer, and I was recently amazed by the highquality service at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in the unique small town of Antigonish. Each place its own charms. But, shoving my Nova Scotian biases aside and reminding myself it’s the character saying this, not Hellard (who is from PEI), Pennington works well as a familiar-feeling small Canadian town obsessed with hockey. Whether or not my Nova Scotian sensibilities are comfortable with the sameness of our towns, that idea serves as a benchmark for how Adam’s feelings change. The more he learns about his hometown’s role in his family’s history, and the more time he spends with old friends, the more assumptions he shoves aside. Until he finally realizes moving away isn’t quite the same as moving on. *** This concludes your Atlantic Canadian literary road trip—now it’s time to get ready to hunker down for a few months. So hit up your local bookstores and libraries, and most importantly, restock the hot chocolate cupboard. ■ Sarah Sawler is the author of 100 Things You Don’t Know About Atlantic Canada for Kids, 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia, and Be Prepared: The Frankie MacDonald Guide to Life, the Weather, and Everything. She lives in Head of St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia.

Imagine a home as seen from above, dating way back, with slate stairs and surrounded by trees, all bright and filled with souvenirs. Think sunny kitchens where recipes come to life, wall stencils full of stories and generations of DIY ingenuity that somehow comes together just right. Think animals, inside and out. A casa abierta generates warmth from all the life inside and around it. Even in such a lively house, Baxter tells us, comes a time “to go in, cozy up, and rest for a while…and dream some new dreams, while the snow flies.” —Editor

WHAT YOUR HANDS HAVE DONE Chris Bailey Nightwood Editions Clearly we’re not above romanticizing our region. We live here for a reason after all. But, as much as we want to trumpet its many charms it has its dark side, its “world of hard-scrabble, hard-luck ports and hard-living, hard-drinking fishers” as George Elliott Clarke puts it on the jacket of Chris Bailey’s new poetry collection. Bailey’s voice here is all authentic; he’s a North Lake, Prince Edward Island fisherman and an award-winning poet. A significant portion of his poems reference fish in the title; other eye catchers include “Crow Piss: a Pantoum,” “Beetles Running Mad,” “Uncle Stormcloud” and “Like Warren Zevon.” This is the fishing life of the 21st century. —Editor Atlantic Books Today



How 99% Of Us Are Getting (Relatively) Poorer And How We Can Reclaim Our Democracy and Institutions From the Ultra Rich by Christine Saulnier


y organization (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) produces an annual Nova Scotia child and family poverty report card to help communities identify the changes that will improve the lives of our most vulnerable members. When communities ask what they can do, my message is that in order to reduce poverty, indeed eliminate it, we need to address its root causes. That includes income inequality. I love finding a new way to explain something, to reframe a problem, to be able to point to more evidence-based solutions. Thanks to Lars Osberg’s The Age of Increasing Inequality: The astonishing rise of Canada’s 1%, and to William Carroll and JP Sapinski’s Organizing the 1%: How corporate power works (published by Nova Scotia’s Fernwood Publishing), I can now enhance my presentation on why communities should care about income inequality and what we can do about it. Lars Osberg, who is an economics professor at Dalhousie, shows that “The elimination of poverty is quite within the realm of fiscally feasible policies.” He does the math: it would cost the top 90 percent of earners $378 per year to lift as many as 5.2 million Canadians above the poverty line. Osberg has been studying this topic for decades, since long before it was a hot topic. He points out that in the postwar period, the top’s share was 10 times that of the bottom 20 percent. But there was not significant growth at the top. In contrast, since the 1980s top incomes have been growing exponentially faster than those in the middle or the bottom, with no end in sight. Had somebody been listening to Osberg then, we might not be where we are today, at a tipping point certainly, particularly when considering the impact this growth is having on the state of our ecological systems. As Osberg shows, income inequality matters for many reasons: the poverty of the disadvantaged, the gap between the incomes of those in poverty and the middle class, the growing gap between the elite and the “ordinary” citizen—sometimes expressed as the 1% versus the 99%—and because of the hollowing out of the middle. While these all have different implications, requiring different policy solutions, we should be especially concerned about how the increasing concentration of income and wealth affects our democracy and our access to political power. What kind of society do you want to live in, Osberg asks? As a result of the growing wealth gap and escalating consumption,


status purchases are marketed to everyone, creating envy and discontent. The social resentment, coupled with economic insecurity, means some are pining for the good old days and looking for scapegoats—including “immigrants whose cultures are somehow threatening”—which fans the flames of class conflict and racism. While intergenerational class mobility is a marker of equal opportunity, when you are at the top the only movement for your kids is down. It therefore becomes ever more important for the kids of the rich to have a built-in and ongoing advantage over others. This advantage protects their status. Paying their fair share for public benefits, like adequately funded public education, threatens their advantage. When public education, which has always been the great equalizer, is underfunded, inequality of opportunity becomes another cost of income inequality. Wealth inequality is even worse than income inequality. Wealth inequality is likely underestimated, with the top 20 percent having a net worth of billions, while the bottom 20 percent averages a net worth of negative $1,000—in other words they are in debt. But to really understand economic power, you need to go beyond what the wealthy own to what they control via their social status and political influence. Corporate power is so pervasive we may be unaware of its presence, or the extent of it. Carroll and Sapinski mapped networks of individuals, corporations and key organizations to underscore and expose their influence. Included are many of SNC-Lavalin’s 312 direct and indirect subsidiaries, which are blamed for poor working conditions while the parent company can claim ignorance. As the authors show, layers of management mediate the CEO’s control, sometimes in different countries, while workers report to supervisors who often do not know who the owners are. The production-consumption chain makes it nearly impossible for consumers to make ethical purchases. The concentration of corporate capital has closely followed the concentration of income with an elite few. (This concentration of wealth and power has even had an impact on price-fixing; the recent bread-pricing scandal is the starkest example.) Carroll and Sapinski map networks of elites to show just how strong the interdependence is between industry and high finance, bank loans, shareholders and governance boards. Osberg does this at the individual level, highlighting who benefits and who does not. In order for the affluent to acquire more financial assets,


somebody else has to acquire liabilities. The flipside of the overspending by the debtor (households and governments) is under spending by the creditor (corporations and the very wealthy). One of the critical points made by Carroll and Sapinski is that labour power is not an object: workers are people. Their very existence depends on a social relationship marked by class, gender and racial inequalities. Carroll and Sapinski trace the current economic system historically, highlighting how it is based on making someone else pay for so-called externalities (like pollution), including through colonization, the slave trade and other forms of exploitation of humans and nature. The negative impacts of this kind of corporate power are social (poverty, homelessness, food insecurity) and ecological. Minimum wage, public pensions and public healthcare are important concessions, but ultimately corporate power and state power need each other. Even our education system has adapted to the needs of capital—best seen via the corporatization of our universities, from the board of governors and the buildings they meet in to corporate funding of research. Redistributive measures (higher wages, higher taxes on the rich, full employment), as Osberg outlines in this final chapter, would undoubtedly help constrain income and wealth concentration. However, Carroll and Sapinski argue that our solutions must enable collective strength that displaces the “antidemocratic logic that empowers and rewards those who own and control capital.” They propose a fundamental restructuring of the economy, one

Protecting, indeed strengthening our democracy, requires us to restrain the influence of the corporate elite.

The Age of Increasing Inequality Lars Osberg Lorimer

Organizing the 1% William Carroll and JP Sapinski Fernwood Publishing


St.John’s, Newfoundland 1-866-739-4420

Atlantic Books Today



that allows workers to have more control over their labour. They put forward co-operatives as an alternative to corporations, because they allow for democratic ownership and control by workers collaborating to meet human needs rather than simply amassing profit. Carroll and Sapinski also point to the need for more public ownership, including of banks, which must operate differently. They propose that our governments prioritize participatory budgeting and economic planning. Public inputs. They favour initiatives such as divestment, securities tax, increasing the role of unions, moving to codetermination of boards (half workers and half investors) like in Germany and the reinvention of jobs to balance creative control and collaboration. In order to build an energy democracy, we need to shift to renewables and increase public democratic control of economic decisions. Osberg, Carroll and Sapinski all point to honouring fundamental human rights.

The latter authors recommend seeking collaborative consent by Indigenous communities, respecting their collectivist ways and deep ties to the land. Solidarity among and between counter-movements including feminism, environmentalism and Indigenous and labour movements is important. Do corporate owners have something to contribute to our democracy? Absolutely, say these authors, but no more so than anybody else. Protecting, indeed strengthening our democracy, requires us to restrain the influence of the corporate elite. Simple measures include banning corporate electoral donations and restricting individual electoral donations to $100. We need to also crack down on corporate lobbying, with greater transparency regarding indirect ways corporate elites lobby, such as through pro-business think tanks. Regulatory and public bodies should have very limited corporate presence, balanced out by citizens and

DOUG Knockwood, Mi’kmaw Elder Stories, Memories, Reflections by

Doug Knockwood & Friends

This is a personal story about one man and how he overcame the ravages of colonialism, racism, tuberculosis and alcoholism to become an honoured and respected Elder.

community leaders who put the public interest first. It is also essential to build the capacity of non-profits and community-based alternatives—like my organization—to support the democratization of civil society, including the policy planning process. How have we gotten here? Carroll and Sapinski make clear the elite have been able to mute the contradictions and construct myths to cover the gap between what we aspire to in our democracies, and the way inequality undermines those aspirations. It is time to turn off the mute button. ■ Christine Saulnier is the Nova Scotia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA-NS). She serves as coordinator of CCPA-NS’ signature publication, the Alternative Provincial Budget. She is co-author of Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: A living wage for Halifax and Antigonish.

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ROSEWAY PUBLISHING www. World’s BEST SELLING Oak Island story: of the three current world/international editions by New World Publishing, this Canadian Best-Seller is the newest & the best! OAK ISLAND UNEARTHED! 3rd Canadian Edition © 2017 by John O. O’Brien.

Watch “The Curse of Oak Island” on History Channel (Sundays: 11 PM EST), then read and compare O’Brien’s fascinating theory and evidence for Mesoamericans (Maya/Aztec) being responsible for the amazing engineering: ● mine shafts, tunnels, artificial beaches, hydrographic traps/ decoys, ritual/mathematics, and ‘NEW’ shafts - on Oak Island and beyond; ● read miner John O’Brien’s (36 years underground/58 years of research) explanation for what lies buried there; ● perhaps one of the more significant archaeological discoveries of the last two centuries! Contains 38 maps/ diagrams and 26 photos; 148 pp., 12 in colour. Photos include the temples of Kulkulcan & Warriors plus marketplace & sacred cenote at Chichen Itza. ISBN 9781895814583 – PRICE: $22.50; e-book: $14.99 – www.; 1-877-211-3334


something for everyone the new story collection by

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Seasons Before the War A celebration of childhood in old St. John’s by acclaimed Newfoundland novelist BERNICE MORGAN, with artwork by award-winning illustrator BRITA GRANSTRĂ–M. “Brita GranstrĂśm’s bold and elegant illustrations and Bernice Morgan’s elegiac, vivid prose catapult us through time: we are there! Here is an older St. John’s, tangible and present. This is a gorgeous book.â€? ~ Lisa Moore, author of Flannery, February,



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Three new children’s books to bring out your kids’ inner scientists Children need fun books that make the world bigger and better by Justin Gregg


hen parents asked astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson how to get their kids interested in science and nature, his advice was to give them a pair of binoculars. “For me, at age 11, I had a pair of binoculars and I looked up to the moon. And it wasn’t just bigger, it was better,” said Tyson. Binoculars encourage kids to go outside and experience the world through new eyes. They are a catalyst for curiosity that brings distant things closer and compels kids to lift their gaze skyward. To explore. To look up. Three new Atlantic Canadian children’s books are inspiring kids to do just that. “Look up in the sky, sweetheart. A bird! What kind of bird is it?” This is the question from the opening pages of My First Book of Canadian Birds, a children’s picture book. My 10-year-old daughter—a burgeoning young naturalist in her own right—was eager to look through this book with me. “Ooh, I didn’t know that kingfishers make a sound like a rattle,” she said. This “ooh” is the jubilant sound of discovery. Every species presented in this book—a who’s who of famous backyard birds—is accompanied by an ooh-worthy factoid courtesy of Halifax-based writer Andrea Miller. Asking young readers to guess the identity of a bird being described is a clever device that appeals to the inner scientists in our kids. It’s even better when they can show off their newfound knowledge during a second (or third or fourth) reading. This is how books like My First Book of Canadian Birds become family favourites. Especially when coupled with the stunning collage-style artwork by Angela Doak, which is as colourful and exuberant as a blackbird’s song. The authors of Follow the Goose Butt to Nova Scotia are also in the business of inspiring young minds. All three are New Brunswick-based teachers and this is their third book chronicling the adventures of a Canada goose named Camelia Airheart. This illustrated early chapter book is lighthearted and may induce giggling, but it sneaks in a generous helping of geography and natural science alongside the honks and hoots. At every stop along Camelia’s tour she encounters a different animal species—learning as she laughs and sings her way across the province. Camelia even stops by Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe & Dreamery, a place where you can’t help but raise your eyes to the skies. Not to spot Camelia (who wasn’t there when I visited this summer) but to gaze at the ancient oak trees whose branches crisscross the sky above Nova Scotia’s most magical of bookstores.

My First Book of Canadian Birds Andrea Miller/ Angela Doak Nimbus Publishing

Follow the Goose Butt to Nova Scotia Weatherbee, Landry and Barr Chocolate River Publishing

50 Things to See With a Telescope John Read Formac Publishing

Spend enough time looking up and it might one day become your career. That’s what happened to John Read, author of 50 Things to See With a Telescope. Read is a telescope evangelist, producing books and videos aimed at inspiring people to “see what the sky has to offer.” In his latest book aimed at kids, Read provides an overview of the things you can see in the night sky—even if you don’t have a telescope, including constellations, planets, galaxies and all the celestial bodies that settle into view when you look up after sunset. There’s even advice on how to go stargazing with, you guessed it, binoculars. Books and binoculars are ancient technologies with the power to shape our children’s minds—to fan the flames of their natural curiosity. As parents, we must help them keep these fires burning. As Tyson notes: “I was transformed by picking up a pair of binoculars and looking up.” His transformation led him to become one of the most recognizable scientists in recent history. Our children’s greatest achievements will come of a desire to learn more about the world around them. To want to cast their eyes to the heavens and wonder what stars are made of, what kind of bird is flying overhead, or where the geese are off to today. Just give them the tools and watch them take flight. ■ Justin Gregg is an Adjunct Profess at St. Francis Xavier University and author of Are Dolphins Really Smart? and Twenty-two Fantastical Facts about Dolphins.

For gift-giving inspiration, check out THE BOOK LOVERS’ HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE!

atlantic books today



Book Lovers’

Holiday GIFT GUIDE 2018

For these books and more, visit your local bookstore.

Happy holidays! Enjoy these seasonal titles from Atlantic Canada! CHRISTMAS IN ATLANTIC CANADA DAVID GOSS In Christmas in Atlantic Canada, prolific folklorist David Goss traces the history of the holiday in our region, from its earliest celebration, quite possibly in 1604, to modern times. $19.95, Nimbus

THE MOST PERFECT GIFT HUBERT FUREY Stories of Christmas in Newfoundland and Labrador, a special time of year to gather around a festive table and enjoy the company of family and friends. $19.95, Flanker Press

CHRISTMAS WITH MAUD LEWIS LANCE WOOLAVER and BOB BROOKS Maud Lewis has become one of Canada’s favourite folk artists, and her buoyant winter pictures are among her most beloved. Full of Christmas spirit and joy, this delightful hardcover edition is the perfect holiday gift! $24.95 hc, Goose Lane Editions

Hot new fiction to warm your winter THE HONEY FARM HARRIET ALIDA LYE After beekeeper Cynthia offers young artists free room and board in exchange for help on her Edenic farm, strange things start happening: taps run red and frogs swarm the pond. This psychological thriller paints a dark portrait of creation and possession in the natural world. $24.95, Nimbus

IN THE WAKE NICOLA DAVISON Set on the shores of modern-day Nova Scotia, two women are stagnated by grief and their own flawed versions of the past. Can the truth set them free? $22.95, Nimbus CATCHING THE LIGHT SUSAN SINNOTT Though Cathy is a talented artist, she yearns for social acceptance. Hutch is everything she is not: charismatic, popular, smart. The slow burn and extraordinary lives of two ordinary people. $21.95, Nimbus

Books in the Holiday Gift Guide are available at fine bookstores throughout Atlantic Canada. For a complete list of retailers, visit Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association, 1484 Carlton Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3B7 T: 902-420-0711 F: 902-423-4302 E: Published by the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association with the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage; and the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund.

Favourite storytellers

For the thrill seeker

BEHOLDEN LESLEY CREWE A tender novel from bestselling author Lesley Crewe, exploring a sprawling Cape Breton family’s vulnerabilities and values, darkest fears, and greatest hopes. $24.95, Nimbus

SOLDIER BOY GLEN CARTER An action-packed novel of revenge that begins in the deserts of Iraq, where a US Marine dies and the circumstances surrounding his death are shrouded in mystery. $19.95, Flanker Press

A CIRCLE ON THE SURFACE CAROL BRUNEAU A powerful swell of a novel from one of Canada’s master storytellers, set amongst a backdrop of wartime paranoia in a fictional coastal Nova Scotia community. $22.95, Nimbus

OPERATION WORMWOOD HELEN C . ESCOTT Doctors race against time to determine the cause of Wormwood: a mysterious disease that some believe was created by God to kill the worst criminals among us. $19.95, Flanker Press

WHERE THE GHOSTS ARE STEVE VERNON Author Steve Vernon has covered every corner of the province in search of the spooky, bizarre, and unexplained. The perfect companion for those interested in the history of the province and thrill-seekers alike. $19.95, Nimbus

On the lighter side THE SMELTDOG MAN FRANK MACDONALD A rollicking novel about how a Cape Bretoner marshalled his accidental invention, a marijuanainduced, munchieinspired Smeltdog, into the most successful fast food franchise in Canada. $21.95, Pottersfield Press

MISS NACKAWIC MEETS MIDLIFE COLLEEN LANDRY Miss Nackawic 1981 hasn’t lost sight of her Miss World vision board. Her hilarious observations of her attempts to stay runway ready while she tries to cope with midlife will make you chuckle and relate. $14.95 pb, Chocolate River Publishing

SOME DAYS RUN LONG BILL CONALL From the winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, this new collection is like a stroll along the aisles of a rural general store stocked with whimsy, humour, ire, reflection, tall tales, and passion. $19.95, Boularderie Island Press


New in Newfoundland THE FLANKER DICTIONARY OF NEWFOUNDLAND ENGLISH GARRY CRANFORD The only dictionary of Newfoundland English you’ll need, bringing together words from Indigenous and English cultures from the discovery of Newfoundland in 1497! $19.95, Flanker Press

AGNES AYRE’S NOTEBOOK Recipes from Old St. John’s ROGER PICKAVANCE, AGNES MARION MURPHY No surprise that recipes collected during World War One by one of Newfoundland’s most outspoken advocates for women’s rights are often original and daring. $29.95, Boulder Publications

ALBUM ROCK Looking back through the lens of Paul-Émile Miot MATTHEW HOLLETT Why are French sailors painting the word “ALBUM” on a Newfoundland rock in the mid-1800s? Matthew Hollett explores the mystery. $21.95 pb, Boulder Publications

UNCHAINED MAN The Arctic life and times of Captain Robert Abram Bartlett MAURA HANRAHAN This biography of a legendary hero reveals his drive for success and the inner conflicts of a man who found peace in the Arctic. $21.95 pb, Boulder Publications

SALTWATER MITTENS FROM THE ISLAND OF NEWFOUNDLAND More than 20 heritage designs to knit CHRISTINE LEGROW, SHIRLEY SCOTT Full colour with easy-to-follow knitting designs. This is a must-have for knitting enthusiasts. $29.95 pb, Boulder Publications

HISTORICAL FICTION GROWING UP NEXT TO THE MENTAL BRIAN CALLAHAN Wish Mooney’s earliest memory is finding a corpse in the Waterford River. Jarring stuff for a four-year-old, yet far from the most shocking thing he would witness. $19.95, Flanker Press


THE CRACKIE GARY COLLINS An epic tale of war and triumph by awardwinning author Gary Collins, winner of the inaugural NL Reads literary competition, administered by the CBC. $19.95, Flanker Press

For nature lovers

FISHING THE HIGH COUNTRY A Memoir of the River WAYNE CURTIS Drawing on his experience of life along the river — as a boy, as a young man, and as a river guide among guides — Wayne Curtis has created what can only be described as a river masterpiece. $19.95 pb, Goose Lane Editions

THE TIDES OF TIME A Nova Scotia Book of Seasons SUZANNE STEWART Second Place Winner of the Pottersfield Prize for Creative Nonfiction A most literary look at the work we do in Nova Scotia: fishing, farming, baking, dairy work, maple syrup production, raising sheep, beekeeping, blueberry harvesting, foraging for wild mushrooms, and more. $21.95, Pottersfield Press

THE LOST WORDS ROBERT MACFARLANE ILLUSTRATED BY JACKIE MORRIS From bestselling Landmarks author Robert Macfarlane and acclaimed artist and author Jackie Morris, a beautiful collection of poems and illustrations to help readers rediscover the magic of the natural world. $40.00, House of Anansi Press

EATING WILD JAMIE SIMPSON From fiddleheads to spruce tips, wild food can be fun — with the right guide. Awardwinning author and conservationist Jamie Simpson shows readers what to look for in the wilds and how and when to collect it. $21.95, Nimbus

LOUISBOURG OR BUST A Surfer’s Wild Ride Down Nova Scotia’s Drowned Coast RC SHAW “This crazy beautiful quest narrative puts Don Quixote on a bicycle and sends him out to face history with a surfboard. Half hilarious dream-adventure, half marathon nightmare, the end result is all madcap love letter to Nova Scotia.” —Ken McGoogan $19.95, Pottersfield Press

Ever-popular trail guides THE BEST OF THE GREAT TRAIL, Vol. 1 Newfoundland to Southern Ontario on the Trans Canada Trail MICHAEL HAYNES Beginning at Cape Spear and ending on the shores of Lake Huron, Michael Haynes offers a connoisseur’s sampling of the finest pathways of eastern Canada’s Trans Canada Trail. $29.95 pb, Goose Lane Editions

WATERFALLS OF NOVA SCOTIA: A Guide BENOIT LALONDE Nova Scotia is blessed with numerous must-see waterfalls, and this book brings together 100 of the province’s best. Features gorgeous colour photographs and individual maps of each location. $24.95 pb, Goose Lane Editions

HIKING TRAILS OF NEW BRUNSWICK, 4th Edition MARIANNE AND H.A. EISELT Newly illustrated in full colour with striking photographs and maps, veteran trail enthusiasts Marianne and H.A. Eiselt lead hikers from one end of the province to the other while covering more than 100 trails. $24.95 pb, Goose Lane Editions


For the seafarer on your list

MUST-HAVE Medical matters

BOUNTY The Greatest Sea Story of Them All GEOFF D’EON For anyone who loves adventure and seafaring tales, starring the Lunenburg’s tall ship Bounty. $29.95, Formac

SAILING IN CIRCLES, GOIN’ SOMEWHERE FINLEY MARTIN The funny, bittersweet memoir of a Prince Edward Island man who, over seven years, builds a classic 1930s wooden sailboat and, in 2004, attempts to circumnavigate eastern North America. $22.95, Nimbus

...and the treasure hunter SHIPWRECKED North of 40 ROBERT MacKINNON High adventure. Dangerous seas. MacKinnon discovered some of the rarest coins to be minted in the early Americas. His discoveries are displayed at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic along with other institutions the world over. $19.95, Boularderie Island Press

From a global perspective GETTING TO ZERO Canada Confronts Global Warming TONY CLARKE For the environmentalist on your list. Highly recommended by David Suzuki. $24.95, Lorimer


SAWBONES Hospitals, Institutions, Medicine and Nursing 1749–2018 DEVONNA EDWARDS 269 years of the history and development of regional hospitals, medicine, nursing, cemeteries and disease – new, old and still an issue. $27.50, New World Publishing

CONSPIRACY OF HOPE The Truth About Breast Cancer Screening RENÉE PELLERIN For decades, women have been told that mammograms save lives. Today the evidence is starkly clear: screening does more harm than good. This explosive book exposes the truth about breast cancer screening. $22.95 pb, Goose Lane Editions

OIL AND WORLD POLITICS The real story of today’s conflict zones: Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ukraine and more JOHN FOSTER For anyone looking for the insider’s story of the role oil plays in conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, and beyond. $27.95, Lorimer

NON-FICTION Crime and punishment FIRST DEGREE KAYLA HOUNSELL Through interviews with friends and relatives, as well as transcripts, journalist Kayla Hounsell tells the full story of Will Sandeson’s trial for the murder of Taylor Samson. Includes previously unpublished photos and details. $24.95, Nimbus

THE MURDER OF MINNIE CALLAN THOMAS GRUCHY The dramatic memoir of retired RCMP Officer Thomas Gruchy and the story of a criminal investigation that changed the lives of many, including the author, forever. $17.95, Flanker Press

War and Remembrance

REMEMBRANCE ROAD JUSTINE MacDONALD Nova Scotian photographer Justine MacDonald’s poignant impressions from her 2001 and 2017 tours of western European battlefields are indelible reminders of the horror and utter futility of war. One cannot read this book and not be profoundly moved. $25.95, SSP Publications

A SOLDIER’S PLACE EDITED BY THOMAS HODD A collection of short stories on the horrors and triumphs of war by the “Unofficial Bard of the Canadian Expeditionary Force”: Will R. Bird. $19.95, Nimbus

IN THEIR OWN WORDS EDITED BY ROSS HEBB A collection of letters from three Maritimers who served overseas during the the First World War: a nurse, a front-line soldier, and a conscripted fisherman. $21.95, Nimbus

BETRAYAL OF TRUST Commander Wyatt & Halifax Explosion JOEL ZEMEL Commander Wyatt was the only person criminally indicted in connection with the Explosion tragedy. This is his personal life story by the award-winning author of Scapegoat. $19.95, New World Publishing

CALLED TO SERVE Georgina Pope, Canadian Military Nursing Heroine KATHERINE DEWAR This long overdue biography of Georgina Pope (1862–1938) details her path to power, from her sheltered life on Victorian Prince Edward Island to her critical roles as a nursing leader in the Boer War and the First World War. $27.95, Island Studies Press

A FAMILY OF BROTHERS Soldiers of the 26th New Brunswick Battalion in the Great War J. BRENT WILSON The powerful story of the “Fighting 26th,” the only infantry unit from New Brunswick to serve continuously on the Western Front from 1915 until the Armistice in 1918. $22.95 pb, Goose Lane Editions


Best books in

Nova Scotia

BLUENOSERS’ BOOK OF SLANG VERNON OICKLE From Nova Scotia’s greatest collector comes the Bluenosers’ Book of Slang: How to Talk Nova Scotian, the ultimate collection of Nova Scotianisms. From blowin’ a gale, bed lunch, and fill yer boots, this is a book that will make you feel “some good.” $12.95, MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc.

THE NOVA SCOTIA BOOK OF LISTS VERNON OICKLE Also from the master collector comes The Nova Scotia Book of Lists. From Jimmy Rankin’s 10 favourite songs performed by a Nova Scotian to Michael de Adder’s list of the top Nova Scotians that a political cartoonist likes to draw, this is a collection that is sure to start family arguments, provoke a wry smile, or just generally entertain you on a cold winter night. $19.95, MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc.

FOR HISTORY BUFFS WHITE POINT RICK CONRAD Photographer Len Wagg skillfully contrasts the thens and the nows of White Point Beach Resort and Lodge with over 60 charming photos, and Rick Conrad incorporates the memories of guests and staff. $22.95, Nimbus HISTORIC HOUSE NAMES OF NOVA SCOTIA JOSEPH M. A. BALLARD Uniacke House, Winckworth, Saint’s Rest, Spruce Tree Cottage. Ever wonder how Nova Scotia houses got their names? This book provides a fascinating look at the housenaming tradition in Nova Scotia. $17.95, Nimbus


FROM 14TH COLONY TO CONFEDERATION A.D. BOUTILIER CANADA 150 BOOK. Humorous, but critical social history: founding of Halifax; original NS territory becomes Maritimes (1785), responsible government, failed Maritime Union, then Confederation. $21.95, New World Publishing

NOVA SCOTIA’S LOST COMMUNITIES JOAN DAWSON In this fascinating book, author Joan Dawson looks at 37 of Nova Scotia’s lost communities: places like Electric City, Indian Gardens, and the Tancook Islands. $21.95, Nimbus

And mystery buffs OAK ISLAND UNEARTHED! JOHN O. O’BRIEN John O’Brien appeared on The Curse of Oak Island. Follow his evidence-based theory of this 1000-year-old mystery: the stone cross, water traps, hieroglyphs, plus newly discovered shafts off-island. $22.50, New World Publishing

Home and garden ESCAPE TO REALITY MARK CULLEN WITH BEN CULLEN An informed and personal reflection on gardening in Canada from the country’s preeminent horticultural expert, Escape to Reality goes beyond the hows that are the focus of most gardening books and explores the whys. $25.95, Nimbus

IF I HAD AN OLD HOUSE ON THE EAST COAST WANDA BAXTER Featuring illustrations from artist Kat Frick Miller, this book includes practical tips for the old-home owner, from how to clear your home of ghosts to how to make rosehip jelly and maple syrup. $24.95, Nimbus

For sports fans

BRAD MARCHAND PHILIP CROUCHER A bio of the NHL’s “Little Ball of Hate,” a former Halifax Moosehead and now a scoring sensation for the Boston Bruins. $17.95, Nimbus

THE TOP 15 Nova Scotia’s Greatest Athletes NOVA SCOTIA SPORT HALL OF FAME A photo-rich keepsake book packed with names, images, and little-known facts, based on the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame’s popular Top 15 athletes of all time. $17.95, Nimbus

AN EAST COAST WEDDING PLANNER FOUNDERS OF ELEGANT PRODUCTIONS AND ELEGANT PAPER CO. Whether newly engaged and local or planning a destination wedding on the east coast, An East Coast Wedding Planner is there for readers every step of the way, from month-by-month wedding checklists to curated questions to ask all vendors, to how to prioritize and budget for your perfect day. $49.95, Nimbus

Reflections AUBADE EDITED BY E. ALEX PIERCE A unique anthology featuring over 20 NS writers who explore the aubade — the passing of night and return of day where lovers part, reflect or regret. Their comings and goings often observed from the shadows. $19.95, Boularderie Island Press

We have books year-round!


Seeing New Brunswick THE CREATIVE CITY OF SAINT JOHN EDITED BY GWENDOLYN DAVIES, PETER LAROCQUE, and CHRISTL VERDUYN An extensively illustrated account of a wide range of creators and creative work — writing, painting, natural history scholarship, filmmaking —which are part of Saint John’s colourful history. $29.95, Formac

THE LOST CITY: Ian MacEachern’s Photographs of Saint John JOHN LEROUX Architectural and social historian John Leroux presents 75 black-and-white photographs drawn from MacEachern’s exceptional archive, documenting a lost city and the effect of urban renewal on its neighbourhoods and residents. $35 hc, Goose Lane Editions


When the mighty Saint John River crested its banks in the spring of 2018, it caused the worst flooding in 50 years. At its height, more than 300,000 cubic feet per second of water raced through the Mactaquac dam just above Fredericton, 3.5 times more water than normal. In New Brunswick Underwater, Lisa Hrabluk tells the story in words and images of the evacuees, volunteers, and first responders who raced the rising river to save their communities. $19.95, MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc.

Prince Edward Island THE COVE JOURNAL Life on the Island’s South Shore JODEE SAMUELSON A charming collection of JoDee’s monthly columns written for The Buzz, these seasonal essays and illustrations capture the soft edges of rural life on Prince Edward Island. $19.95 pb, Island Studies Press


PHOTOGRAPHER’S GUIDE TO PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND JOHN SYLVESTER and STEPHEN DESROCHES For anyone interested in photography or just looking for the most beautiful sites on PEI, this new book by award-winning photographer team is the perfect gift. $24.95, Acorn Press

ISLAND AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD The Geological Heritage of Prince Edward Island JOHN CALDER Even the most fossil-crazed readers will be shocked by this in-depth look at the geological history of PEI. With important historical finds, this book tells the untold story. $19.95, Acorn Press

Music and poetry For the art lovers on your list

RÀITHEAN AIRSON SIREADH / SEASONS FOR SEEKING LEWIS MacKINNON MacKinnon’s fourth Gaelic-English bilingual poetry collection features translations of the Sufi mystic poet Rumi and original poems celebrating Nova Scotia’s Celtic seasons. Paperback or audiobook with Persian & Celtic music. $15.99 paper, $24.99 audiobook double CD; Bradan Press

PLAY IT LIKE YOU SING IT BARRY W. SHEARS The Gaelic bagpipe traditions of Nova Scotia in a groundbreaking 2-volume collection of history, culture, images, and 249 dance tunes. A must-have for pipers and fiddlers! Volume One $39.99, Volume Two $69.99; Bradan Press

PUT YOUR HAND IN MY HAND HARVEY SAWLER Biographer Harvey Sawler paints an intimate portrait of one of Canada’s most beloved singersongwriters. $19.95, Nimbus

JEOPARDY RICHARD LEMM Award-winning author and poet Lemm masterfully blends his narrative poetic style with wit and wisdom in this new collection of poetry. $19.95, Acorn Press

Remarkable Stories

EXQUISITE DESTINATIONS Adventures of a Maritimer in Lesser-Known Places PETER McCREATH “When we are young, we dream dreams, fantasize about things we want to do, places we want to go, what we wish to be.” Part memoir, part travelogue and adventure. $22.50 pp, New World Publishing

THE ONLY FILM IN TOWN STUART CRESSWELL Creswell explains how he made, against the odds, a gentle and humorous comingof-age story for the big screen, creating art and opportunity in rural Nova Scotia; with behindthe-scenes photos and stills from the film. $19.95, Nimbus

THE BLIND MECHANIC MARILYN DAVIDSON ELLIOTT Eric Davidson lost both eyes in the Halifax Explosion when he was two years old. Against all odds, he taught himself to become an auto mechanic. A remarkable true story. $19.95, Nimbus

SOMEWHERE NORTH OF WHERE I WAS NICOLE SPENCE A powerful memoir of growing up in foster care. With brazen honesty and a driving spirit of hope, perseverance and sometimes sheer will, Spence brings the reader into her world as she lived it, moving us along, pulling us apart, compelling us to continue reading. $22.95, Acorn Press


books for kids EVERYBODY’S DIFFERENT ON EVERYBODY STREET SHEREE FITCH/ EMMA FITZGERALD Sheree Fitch’s playful words invite you to celebrate our gifts, our weaknesses, our differences, and our sameness. Fitch’s quick, rollicking rhymes are complemented by Emma FitzGerald’s lively illustrations. $22.95, Nimbus

THE LADY FROM KENT A Story for Girls and Boys and Bees Dressed Up as Fleas and Crocodiles: Also Elves. BARBARA NICHOL ILLUSTRATED BY BILL PECHET Barbara Nichol is an original — brilliant and entertaining.. .. a book to read and reread and then read again, to yourself or out loud, depending on how generous you’re feeling. — Eleanor Wachtel $23, Pedlar Press

A TOOT IN THE TUB NICOLETTE LITTLE TARA FLEMING Offers a lighthearted, rhymed look at “healthful release” for kids, while upholding the importance of being kind to others! $14.95, Pennywell Books


MY FIRST BOOK OF CANADIAN BIRDS ANDREA MILLER/ ANGELA DOAK Simple, gentle text gives readers a peek into the habitats of Canadian birds and introduces child and parent to fun facts about everything from bird sounds to egg sizes! $22.95, Nimbus

FOLLOW THE GOOSE BUTT TO NOVA SCOTIA ODETTE BARR, COLLEEN LANDRY, BETH WEATHERBEE Camelia Airheart, the loveable Canada goose with the faulty Goose Positioning System is off on an adventure to Nova Scotia. She has promised to follow the goose butt, but will she stay focused long enough to keep her promise? $10.95, Chocolate River Publishing SUMMER IN THE LAND OF ANNE ELIZABETH EPPERLY/ CAROLINE EPPERLY Told through the eyes of a family travelling to PEI, this is a celebration of the books we love and all the ways they inspire us. $22.95, Acorn Press

TIME FOR BED CAROL MCDOUGALL and SHANDA LARAMEE-JONES A fun and simple step-by-step bedtime story for babies and toddlers. From bathtime to storytime, this book guides families through a healthy nightly routine with simple text and joyful photos. $9.95, Nimbus

YOU MAKE ME HAPPY DORETTA GROENENDYK Whether it be sitting by the fire, reading in the bath, or travelling, this book explores the importance of finding happiness all around you. $16.95, Acorn Press

NIGHT AT THE GARDENS NICOLE DELORY/JANET SOLEY What really happens in the Public Gardens after dark? Statues “come alive,” and one night Fountain Nymphs convince Jaun Swans to fly to the ocean – chaos! Robbie Burns helps, but is it enough? $10.95, New World Publishing

For the curious

50 THINGS TO SEE WITH A TELESCOPE A young stargazer’s guide JOHN A. READ A new guide for anyone who’s looking at the heavens and wonders what they’re seeing. $19.95, Formac

BE PREPARED! FRANKIE MacDONALD AND SARAH SAWLER Nova Scotia’s favourite weather reporter, Frankie MacDonald, along with author Sarah Sawler, shares stories from Frankie’s early years, along with facts about all things sunny, rainy, snowy, and stormy. $16.95, Nimbus

BE A CITY NATURE DETECTIVE PEGGY KOCHANOFF Why are some grey squirrels black? Does goldenrod cause hay fever? Naturalist and artist Peggy Kochanoff answers these questions and more in this illustrated guide to solving nature mysteries in the city. $14.95, Nimbus

Indigenous Stories MI’KMAW ANIMALS | MI’KMAW WAISISK ALAN SYLIBOY Colourful images depicting Canadian animals like moose, whales, and caribou, and more makes this vibrant book a perfect introduction to the Mi’kmaw language. $14.95, Nimbus

THE GATHERING THERESA MEUSE/ ARTHUR STEVENS A young Mi’kmaw girl attends her first spiritual gathering in this vibrant picture book from the team behind the bestselling The Sharing Circle. $22.95, Nimbus

COUNTING IN MI’KMAW/MAWKILJEMK MI’KMAWIKTUK LORETTA GOULD Counting from one to ten in English and Mi’kmaw, young readers will be introduced to both the ancestral language of Mi’kmaki and to Mi’kmaw culture and legend, through beautifully rendered illustrations of the natural world. $14.95, Nimbus

Not just for kids!

UNE JOURNÉE PONEY ! PEMKISKAHK’CIW AHAHSIS ! A PONY DAY ! HÉLÈNE deVARENNES, OPOLAHSOMUWEHS (IMELDA PERLEY) ILL. BY PAUL LANG Both bursting with laughter, a grandpa takes his granddaughter Josephine on her first pony ride. Many surprises are awaiting her! $14.95, Bouton d’or Acadie

IKWE HONOURING WOMEN An Indigenous Art Colouring Book for Adults and Children JACKIE TRAVERS IKWE is a new colouring book by Anishinaabe artist Jackie Traverse. The stunning images celebrate the spiritual and ceremonial aspects of women and their important role as water protectors. $20.00, Roseway Publishing


History & Heritage for kids

100 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ATLANTIC CANADA (FOR KIDS) SARAH SAWLER The author of the bestselling 100 Things You Don’t Know About Nova Scotia has collected the most interesting, surprising, and bizarre facts that you never knew about Atlantic Canada, just for kids. $14.95, Nimbus

A GIANT MAN IN A TINY TOWN TOM RYAN/ CHRISTOPHER HOYT This is the story of the “giant” Angus MacAskill, who travelled the world performing for crowds, but never stopped longing to return to the place he loved the best: his Cape Breton home. $22.95, Nimbus

Teen Fiction

THE GOODBYE GIRLS LISA HARRINGTON Lizzie and her friend Willa devise a genius business – personalized breakup baskets for her classmates. Then things go horribly wrong and soon family, friendship, and a budding romance are on the line. $15.95, Nimbus


WORTHY OF LOVE ANDRE FENTON Halifax slam poet Andre Fenton’s vivid and readable novel for teens. $14.95, Formac

THERE BE PIRATES! JOANN HAMILTONBARRY Learn about what everyday life was like for some of the fiercest pirates of all time. Explore the history of piracy, from the ancient Romans and Greeks to modern-day pirates. $15.95, Nimbus

A HALIFAX TIME-TRAVELLING TUNE JAN COATES/MARIJKE SIMONS This dreamy, lyrical story follows a young child and his dog who travel back in time to 1950s Halifax with a whimsical tune. Follow the pair through Halifax landmarks, showing off all the sights and sounds of the city. $22.95, Nimbus

Stories of


THE MYSTERY OF IRELAND’S EYE SHANE PEACOCK Dylan is going kayaking to the island of Ireland’s Eye off the coast of Newfoundland to see the ghost town. Why does an old man on the dock of St. John’s tell him to beware? $12.95, Nimbus

THE SECRET OF THE SILVER MINES SHANE PEACOCK A Toronto millionaire has hired Dylan’s dad to retrieve a fortune in silver allegedly stolen from his grandfather years ago. But was the fortune really stolen? And if so, where has it been hidden? $12.95, Nimbus

BONE BEDS OF THE BADLANDS SHANE PEACOCK Bone Beds of the Badlands transports readers to the heart of dinosaur country in Alberta, in the most gripping and terrifying Dylan Maples Adventure yet. $12.95, Nimbus

Inspiring tales of youth activism MY RIVER Cleaning up the LaHave River STELLA BOWLES WITH ANNE LAUREL CARTER Kids who care about the environment will love Stella’s story of her science project on the dirty LaHave River that brought real change! $16.95, Formac

BLACK WOMEN WHO DARED NAOMI M. MOYER Inspirational stories of ten Black women and women’s collectives—anti-slavery activists, business women, health-care activists, civic organizers and educators. Remarkable women whose stories will fascinate and educate. $18.95, Second Story Press

HOPE BLOOMS HOPE BLOOMS The inspiring story of Dragons’ Den darlings Hope Blooms: a Halifax–based, youth-driven social enterprise focused on growing sustainable, healthy food and youth mentorship. $24.95, Nimbus

Middle-Grade Fiction SECRETS OF SABLE ISLAND MARCIA PIERCE HARDING Shipwrecked on Sable Island, Caleb befriends the ghostly girl who rides bareback over the dunes, and realizes that he must do whatever he can to save her, and himself. $14.95, Nimbus

PIPER JACQUELINE HALSEY Dougal Cameron and his family sail from Scotland aboard the Hector, on their way to Nova Scotia. When a violent storm knocks the ship off course, Dougal must fight to stay alive. $12.95, Nimbus

HEADLINER SUSAN WHITE This stunning new middle grade novel by Ann Connor Brimer Award-winning author Susan White deals with the aftermath of a tragic accident and its effect on the surviving family. $12.95, Acorn Press

RIKA’S SHEPHERD ORYSIA DAWYDIAK This action-packed adventure by Hackmatack-nominated author Orysia Dawydiak tells the struggles of a young shepherd and will delight any young reader. $12.95, Acorn Press


Bestof the Season SANTA NEVER BRINGS ME A BANJO DAVID MYLES ILLUSTRATED BY MURRAY BAIN Based on the beloved holiday song, follow the ups and downs of the holiday season with David, his furry friends, and his family, as he pines for his most-wishedfor holiday gift. $22.95, Nimbus

150+ Canada’s History in Poetry EDITED BY JUDY GAUDET This collection of poems tells the story of 150 years as a country, recreating historical events through the vivid, concrete, human element of our poets’ responses to them. $27.95, Acorn Press

NED PRATT: One Wave The first ever book on Ned Pratt’s photography, this beautifully designed edition charts a decade of Pratt’s breathtaking vision, presenting Newfoundland’s landscapes as you’ve never seen them before. $49.95 hc, Goose Lane Editions

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New Book Amplifies the Voices of Transgender Youth in Newfoundland The brainchild of queer collaborators, transVersing is adapted from a play written by diverse transgender youth by Vashti Campbell


ransVersing is a fishy tale, to use the metaphor of cocrafter Daze Jefferies; it slips along, weaving six unique narratives of transgender (trans) youth in Newfoundland and Labrador. The beauty of the “fishy” metaphor is in its capture of the queer-ness of trans identities, its harkening to the ecosystem and culture of the province, and its use as means of connecting embodiment and place. The stories presented in transVersing are diverse. They come from around the bay, with vernacular and local accents well represented; from life in the capital city and from experiences crossing borders. There are stories of growing up in small-town Newfoundland, small-town USA and small-town Ontario. These stories converge in St. John’s. TransVersing is a layered series of convergences really, both in narrative and in its creation. It was born of a need for a transspecific opportunity for expression and grew from a collaboration between the Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland theatre company and For the Love of Learning, an arts-based and skill-building program. First funded by a Canada 150 grant, transVersing was written originally for stage. It’s had three runs and continues to evolve in an iterative, collaborative way; keeping time with lives and loves, hopes and dreams, politics and passions of the six young writers and performers. Before this collaboration was created, another had been tried. A few years prior, Gemma Hickey—local trans activist and educator and a household name for many—had invited LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual) community members to stage a performance called “Queer Monologues.” There was keen interest from folks who identify as LGB but Hickey found few trans folks wanting to participate. In a place where religion has figured prominently in community life, and where difference has been seen as dangerous, identifying as LGBT, or queer, in these parts has meant risking everything. And for trans folks, even LGB/Queer spaces have at times not been understanding of trans identities, trans embodiments or trans ways of being. It became clear to Hickey that trans people in Newfoundland and Labrador didn’t feel safe or comfortable or even welcome in many queer spaces. But if you know Hickey, you know how tenacious they can be! Hickey approached Artistic Fraud, identifying that a space for the plurality of trans narratives was needed, that it was—and is—essential to foster spaces that give rise to trans voices. And

transVersing For the Love of Learning Breakwater Books

so transVersing was born. Dramaturge Bernadine Stapleton of Artistic Fraud has helped weave these narratives into a cohesive piece of theatre they regularly receive requests to perform. The strength and vulnerability of this creation is its magic, as is its distinctly local voice. The narratives presented raise authentic, and too often silenced, voices of trans people in the enclaves of Atlantic Canada. Following a recent performance, an audience member commented that having come out as trans in their small town, they were told that there had once been someone else trans in the community … back in the 1970s. Imagine the isolation of knowing that the only other person from your hometown who might have understood your experience had left more than 20 years before you were born. Isolation in these parts is stark and true. The feeling of being frozen out is all too real. But, this person says, they have been going home as trans for more than five years; there are now three young people in that same community who have bravely opened up about their own trans identities. Sharing our trans and queer stories changes lives. Sharing our local stories creates community, builds trust and makes our lives real—and even normal—for the people around us. And now these stories are being shared even more widely. The incredible team behind this project has worked with Breakwater Books to bring their fishy tales to the page, captured this time in stillness and no longer living within their transmorphic qualities or slipping through iterative presentations. I imagine however, given the creative strengths of these youth, and of Artistic Fraud’s contributors, that while the book will freeze these narratives in a particular moment, their slippery, queer qualities will not be lost. This book is both education and emancipation. ■ Vashti Campbell is a non-binary, queer Newfoundlander completing their PhD at the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University studying intersectionality, social justice and psychiatry.

Atlantic Books Today



Young Readers Will Delight in This Year’s Winter Books; Tales of Giants, Art, Music, Concerts, Toys, Farts, Love and Fear Highlight the Action Lisa Doucet reviews the season’s most anticipated books for young readers

A Giant Man From a Tiny Town: A Story of Angus MacAskill Tom Ryan, illustrated by Christopher Hoyt Nimbus Publishing (Ages 3-7) In the 1830s, a young boy and his family leave their beloved home in the Scottish Hebrides to start a new life in a faraway land. They sail upon the seemingly never-ending ocean until they spot land: Cape Breton Island, their new home. Angus comes to love this new home, where he makes many friends and happily spends his days at school, working on his family’s farm and helping his neighbours. And he is called on for help often. Angus is extremely tall. He grows up to be 7 feet and 9 inches! Angus comes to realize that there is a whole wide world waiting to be explored. Off he goes to find his fortune.


He attracts much attention wherever he goes and sees many wonderful places, meets many equally wonderful people. Angus also discovers a very important truth during the course of his travels and adventures: there is truly no place like home. Author Tom Ryan’s first picture book is a beautiful celebration of the joys of home and family as well as a charming introduction to the life of local legend, Angus MacAskill. With poetic prose, Ryan (who hails from Cape Breton) skillfully captures a sense of Angus’s idyllic childhood. Young readers may get only a vague sense of his adult wanderings, but the most important message comes across very clearly. Angus’s unfailing love for his Cape Breton home and his desire to be appreciated not for his height or strength but for who he is inside make this book one that readers of all ages will appreciate. The delicately detailed watercolour illustrations bring every aspect of the story to vivid life, capturing the vastness of the ocean on Angus’ initial journey, the lush beauty of Cape Breton, as well as all the exquisite delights of the wider world once he embarks on his quest to explore. Together author and illustrator have created a lovely homage to an intriguing man and to the home he loved.

Anna at the Art Museum Hazel Hutchins & Gail Herbert, illustrated by Lil Crump Annick Press (Ages 4–7) One look at the scowling face of the small girl on the first page of this book confirms that “Anna was not happy.” No matter how she tries to amuse herself at the art museum, the attendant is always rushing over to tell her to be quiet or careful, or not to climb on things. Even when she offers to share her snack with him, he firmly informs her that there is no eating allowed. Clearly there is just no fun to be had for a lively little girl who wishes somehow “the museum could be turned inside out. Or the world outside in.” Then she spies a partially opened door. And just when she thinks the attendant is about to scold her again, he surprises her by arranging to let her visit this secret room, where she makes a wonderful discovery that gives Anna


a whole new perspective on the art museum. The creators of this charming picture book have crafted a delightful protagonist in young Anna, whose exuberance and frustration are immediately in evidence. (Adult readers will also sympathize with the attendant as Anna keeps him hopping!) The text is clear and concise, with short, succinct sentences that manage to capture Anna’s impatience and eventual wistfulness, as well as the attendant’s irritation. Haligonian Lil Crump’s playful and vivacious illustrations also bring these assorted individuals to life. Her cartoony characters are animated and energetic with vivid facial expressions. Each page is filled with motion and emotion, as well as with Crump’s impressive recreations of numerous great works of art (all of which are identified at the back of the book). Together, words and pictures tell a warmhearted story of one young girl’s transformation when she unexpectedly discovers she can connect with art. Santa Never Brings Me a Banjo David Myles, illustrated by Murray Bain Nimbus Publishing (Ages 4–8) Beloved songsmith and entertainer David Myles (who originally comes from New Brunswick but now calls Halifax home) brings his upbeat Christmas ditty to the printed page in what is sure to be one of this season’s most sought-after bestsellers. The songturned-storybook relates the melancholy tale of David’s childhood Christmases spent pining for a banjo, a gift which he never, ever receives. While his siblings receive the things they asked for, and despite the fact that a banjo is the only thing on his list, Santa never gets it right. Could it be that “it’s too hard for the workshop, Maybe it’s too tricky for the elves?” Whatever

the reason, poor young David is simply forced to accept that: “Santa never brings me a banjo…” This latest addition to the season’s offerings is pure, unbridled fun. Whether or not you’ve heard the song, one can’t help but hear the sweet, bluegrass-y strains as Myles repeats his lament. And the illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment: lively and bursting with energy. Not to mention banjos! There is simply no mistaking the object of the protagonists’s affections here. From the banjos that frame the very first page to the ones on his bedsheets and the snowbanjo that young Myles makes while other children are building snowmen, this is indisputably a book about a banjo-obsessed boy. Playful and quirky, the lyrics and illustrations capture a sense of whimsy and wistfulness. Astute readers will note that Santa does, in fact, get it (and demonstrates that he has both a sense of humour and compassion for those who may not share Myles’ great passion). While Santa may or may not bring David Myles a banjo, he will undoubtedly be leaving copies of this delightful book under many Christmas trees this year.

A Toot in the Tub Nicolette Little, illustrated by Tara Fleming Flanker Press (Ages 4–9) A young boy proudly proclaims, “I really must say, I’m a well-behaved boy!” and goes on to describe the many ways in which he goes out of his way to be helpful and kind to others: helping the neighbours with assorted chores; raking and sweeping up leaves and weeds for dad; being kind to all creatures. But his wild side emerges whenever he finds himself relaxing in the tub where—you guessed it—he simply can’t resist the urge to toot. He revels in the sheer joy of “foofing a big foof in the bath,” delighting in the sounds he can make and watching the big bubbles he creates. So while he encourages readers to remember that being a good person and helping those in need is always the most important thing, he also reminds us all of the need for laughter and good, clean fun. This rollicking and joyful ode to bathtime shenanigans from Nicolette Little is sure to inspire gales of laughter in its intended audience, for whom the mere mention of “tooting” and “foofing” is bound to cause bouts of snickering. The bouncy rhyming couplets flow smoothly as they keep leading back to a slightlydifferent-each-time refrain extolling the virtues of tubtime tooting. St. John’s artist Tara Fleming’s watercolour illustrations perfectly

Atlantic Books Today



capture the playful tone of the text, cheerfully depicting our ever-thoughtful protagonist in his daily endeavours as well as his utterly blissful enjoyment of bathtime. Brightly coloured with expressive facial expressions, they capture a sense of energy and exuberance. Together, the words and images will conspire to keep young readers giggling.

Seasons Before the War Bernice Morgan, illustrated by Brita Granström Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides (Ages 5–13) In this tale that begins, “Once upon a time, long, long ago…” author Bernice Morgan lovingly recounts the joys and trials of everyday life in her childhood home of St. John’s, Newfoundland. With the Second World War casting a vague but ominous shadow, she and her siblings spent their days playing in the streets and fields, the back alleys and parks. There were more horses than trucks at that time, and in their neighbourhood there were bulls-eye shops and a blacksmith shop, dressmakers and shoemakers and a carpentry shop where their father worked. Morgan recalls starting school—and the disappointment it turned out to be despite the exquisite pencil box Aunt Sophie bought her—and the long, cold winters, the almost unbearable anticipation of the announcement that Toyland would soon open, meaning that Christmas was very near. Fond memories of simpler times, just before the world would change forever, that she holds in her heart even still.


This nostalgic recollection of a particular time and place exudes a sense of wistful longing and the sober recognition of how much has changed. Morgan’s poetic descriptions are vivid and evocative, and tinged with the sadness of knowing what dreadful darkness lay just around the corner. For young readers of today, it feels like the best type of picture-book diary: one that is heartfelt and affectionate as it portrays the small but meaningful minutiae of daily life in a different time. This beautiful ode to times past is also a coffee-table book to be savoured by adults. Brita Granström’s delicate and intricate illustrations are a perfect complement to the text, beautifully depicting each scene with myriad details. The free and sketchy brushwork gives them a vague and indistinct quality that suits the narrative. Exquisitely designed, written and illustrated, this is a charming work of historical fiction/remembrance.

Shiny and New Robert Chafe, illustrated by Grant Boland Breakwater Books (Ages 6+) Abigail Maureen Margaret-Rose Davis loves the yearly class Christmas concert. It is her absolute favourite part of Christmas! But this year, everything has changed. For one thing, her beloved Nan won’t be there. Also, without warning or explanation, Mrs. Stevens announces

that the concert will be held in the stinky school gym instead of at the church, where it has always been. And for the first time ever, Abigail doesn’t have a solo. But before she can express her outrage to her mother, she makes another unhappy discovery: her mother is putting away their Christmas tree and all their decorations because of the new family in town, who are coming for dinner. Abigail Maureen Margaret-Rose Davis is indignant. Until Pops helps her, and all the assembled dinner guests, discover the real meaning of Christmas. Set in outport Newfoundland, this timeless and warm-hearted tale will speak to readers everywhere. Abigail’s voice is pitch perfect and the author brilliantly captures the perspective of a self-righteous eight year old who is feeling rattled by the break in familiar and cherished routines. He also convincingly depicts the experience of well-meaning individuals anxiously trying to make newcomers feel welcome and of newcomers feeling awkward and out of place. Most importantly, with simplicity and great sensitivity, he captures the experience of two human beings finding a connection through a shared experience of loss. This story is spare and sentimental in the best possible way, tender and true. It is a quietly powerful reflection on loss and love, on letting go and opening up to new ways of seeing those around us. It is a story for all ages and all times, but especially for now. (Note: the final version will be illustrated but the illustrations were unavailable for review.) Worthy of Love Andre Fenton Formac Publishing (Ages 13–18) Adrian Carter is uncomfortably aware of his weight problem and after yet another humiliating encounter at school because of it, he decides to take action. Determined to lose weight, he joins a kickboxing club. He also meets an


amazing girl named Mel who seems to genuinely like him in spite of his weight, and who offers to help him develop healthier eating and exercising habits to help achieve his goal. When Adrian doesn’t see results fast enough for his liking he decides to take more drastic measures. Soon he has to face the fact that he is now also battling an eating disorder, and that his rapid weight loss has resulted in unanticipated problems. Adrian learns many crucial life lessons as he struggles to find his way to happiness and personal fulfillment. In his first novel for young adults, Halifax spoken-word poet Andre Fenton tackles head-on several topical issues facing contemporary teens. Adrian is a realistically flawed protagonist. He is vulnerable and insecure. Fenton ably depicts the feelings of self-doubt that often lead Adrian to become lost in his own concerns, unable to appreciate what Mel or others might be going through. He also thoughtfully portrays Adrian’s realization, once he does lose weight, that he still isn’t happy and now is faced with other doubts and fears. This book explores the complexities of relationships, self-image and self-harm in a way that feels very open and honest. While Adrian’s internal monologues occasionally feel more didactic than natural (and he employs too many adjectives for his dialogue to feel authentic), he is nonetheless believable and sympathetic as a protagonist.

Blood Will Out Jo Treggiari Penguin Random House Canada (Teen and Young Adult) When Ari Sullivan wakes up, wounded and in complete darkness, it takes her some time to determine where she is and what has happened. She is at the bottom of a cistern, where someone threw her. Someone who will presumably return to finish her off. As she becomes more conscious of her predicament, the sheer terror gives her the strength to finally, painfully haul herself out of the well and back to civilization. Ari then discovers that her best friend, Lynn, has disappeared. Ari has every reason to believe that Lynn is now in the hands of a psychopathic killer. Unable to convince the authorities to take her seriously, Ari must overcome near-paralyzing fear to find a way to save Lynn and stop the would-be killer.

A heart-pounding psychological drama from an acclaimed Nova Scotian author, this book slowly, steadily works its way toward its climactic—and surprising— conclusion. Alternating perspectives between Ari and the antagonist build tension and allow the reader to see inside the dark and twisted mind of Ari’s attacker. While Ari’s chapters are set entirely in the present and highlight her mind-numbing fear and desperation, the unknown villain’s chapters tell his story from childhood to the present day, giving readers the chance to see the sad circumstances that shaped this person, and challenging us to remember his humanity and vulnerability even in the face of his horrific deeds. This book succeeds as a suspense-filled thriller but also as an invitation to think about how often we fail to look beyond the surface of the people in our lives, how easy it is to see only what we want and/or expect to see, and what a tragedy that can ultimately be. While the book is necessarily very graphic in its depiction of violence and cruelty, it is equally vivid in its depiction of friendship, making it a thriller that provides much room for thought. ■ Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

Night at the Gardens

The statues in the Halifax Public Gardens come to life when the gates are closed for the night! Nicole DeLory & Janet Soley: 32 pp. (colour); 34 ill. / maps

NEW: Delightful summer reading for 8-12 year olds; can be read to younger children at bedtime. Developed by two sisters: unique story by educator DeLory and masterful illustrations by artist Soley. Characters based on Three Centuries of Public Night at the Gardens Art and concept of film, Night at the Museum: characters by Nicole DeLory and Janet Soley day are the Garden’s historical statuary; at night they come 9781895814828 - $10.95 ... in fine bookstores everywhere ! “alive” and are joined by Toby, the ‘cast iron’ dog from the Sacred Heart School. Events take place in Public Gardens /Victoria Park www. - with Robbie Burns and Linda Oland fountain. e-book: $5.99 1-877-211-3334

Atlantic Books Today




Turkey Stuffing/Farce pour la Dinde from Alain Bossé’s The Acadian Kitchen. Photo by Perry Jackson



Comfort food Hot, rich, buttery, savoury, robust, aromatic, tender, simple and above all nostalgic foods—and the books that help us make them—to make us feel loved by Karl Wells


hese brief, cold, damp days of winter make us seek ways to counteract the gloomy emotional and physical effects of our maritime weather. When we’re not taking southern mini breaks under hot sunshine and azure skies, we often seek comfort in food: highly satisfying comfort food, like deliciously gooey macaroni and cheese or slow-cooked beef stew. Comfort food is the culinary equivalent of a mother’s embrace, wearing a favourite woolly sweater or a cozy pair of slippers, snuggling up beside a crackling fire, wrapping yourself in a fluffy duvet or finally being able to sleep in your own bed after two weeks on the road. Of course, each of us has our own idea of comfort food. Sometimes cultural or geographical differences are at play, as I was reminded last fall when I read a piece by Kimberly Pierceall of The Virginian-Pilot about the Mercy Chefs organization. These remarkable chefs prepare and serve comfort food to victims and first responders in disaster zones. Pierceall wrote, “Depending on the disaster zone, Mercy Chef ’s menus have been Kosher, Halal, Tex-Mex and Cajun.” Most recently, in the Carolinas, Mercy Chefs served those affected by Hurricane Florence “clam chowder, ham-and-sweet potato biscuits and macaroni and cheese.” No matter the recipe, there are certain qualities all comfort-food dishes share. They’re hot, rich and buttery. Ingredients are easily sourced. Flavours are robust, aromas intoxicating. Umami, the savoury fifth taste, is present. Textures are tender, cooking uncomplicated and, finally, comfort-food dishes are nostalgic. We love comfort foods because they remind us of the first, wonderful time we tasted them, when we were young and contented. They’re dishes we turn to, time and again, when we want to feel better, to have our spirits lifted. For me it’s deep brown, molasses-flavoured baked beans enriched with salt pork. Mom would make them for Saturday supper along with her fragrant, warm, white bread. When I make baked beans and white bread, I use the recipes from Edna Staebler’s classic Canadian cookbook, Food that Really

Schmecks—which celebrated the 50th anniversary of its publication in 2018. The word “schmecks” refers to something that tastes incredibly good. My mother never used recipes. She made baked beans and everything else from memory. Edna Staebler’s recipe is perfect. It tastes the same as Mom’s, as does the recipe for basic white bread in Food that Really Schmecks, which came from Staebler’s friend, Clara May, of Neil’s Harbour, Nova Scotia. In 1968 Staebler wrote, in her book’s introduction, about the first dinner party she ever gave. Fellow writers were visiting her cottage at Sunfish Lake (in Southern Ontario) from Toronto. The following passage sums up what Edna Staebler’s food was all about. I believe it’s as good a description of comfort food as you’ll find: “My dinner would not be elaborate, or exotic, with rare ingredients and mystifying flavours; traditional local cooking is practical: designed to fill up small boys and big men, it is also mouth-wateringly good and variable. “My guests from Toronto arrived. I served them bean salad, smoked pork chops, shoo-fly pie, schmierkase (spready cheese) and apple butter with fastnachts (raised doughnuts). At first they said, ‘Just a little bit, please,’ but as soon as they tasted, their praise was extravagant–lyrical to my wistful ears. They ate till they said they would burst. They ate till everything was all (nothing left).” I was curious what other people might choose as a favourite comfort food dish. So, I employed social media and asked my Facebook friends what dish they would pick. I received more than 100 responses. The five most popular choices were: macaroni and cheese, stew, lasagna, roast-turkey dinner and chili con carne. Other choices ranged from risotto and biryani to pan-fried cod tongues and enchiladas. I was surprised that only one person chose meatloaf, which would have made my top three list: baked beans, mac ’n’ cheese and meatloaf—with ketchup of course! Next, I asked some Atlantic Canadian cooks to name their favourite comfort foods, including recipes available in their books. (All have new cookbooks on the market.) Atlantic Books Today


Parents, grandparents and others we care about, and who care about us, use a special ingredient in the food they cook for us … The ingredient, of course, is love. Love is what they poured into their pots and pans, along with everything else, and we could taste it. Cajun Pralines, from Alain Bossé’s The Acadian Kitchen. Photo by Perry Jackson

Alain Bossé is the affable Acadian known as “The Kilted Chef.” His cookbook, The Acadian Kitchen, celebrates the Maritimes cuisine that originated when Canada’s East Coast and parts of the USA were called Acadie and occupied by French settlers. At least 85 percent of The Acadian Kitchen’s recipes—including Cajun and French-Acadian fusion recipes—qualify as comfort food, beginning with seafood chowders and stews like oyster chowder and wine-braised beef stew, followed by a variety of much-loved dishes like cabbage rolls, chicken pot pie and meatloaf, ending with creamy rice pudding, blueberry grunt and oldfashioned jelly roll cake. “We didn’t grow up eating any foods that could be classified as fancy,” Alain Bossé told me. “Comfort foods to me are one-pot dishes such as casseroles, and one item that I’m a bit embarrassed to share. I would have to say shepherd’s pie, hamburger and macaroni (what my Mom called goulash), and pasta with Catelli meat sauce.” The latter, as you may have guessed, is the source of Bossé’s slight embarrassment. Although, I’m sure Alain Bossé and all of us agree that apologies are never necessary when it comes to a personal choice in foods that comfort and gladden the heart. Naturally, Bossé recommends every recipe in The Acadian Kitchen but he suggests two that stand out. “Chicken fricot, which is basically a chicken stew with dumplings and the jam-jam cookies. They’re a molasses-type cookie with a jam centre. But I think Acadian food in general ticks all the comfort-food boxes. It’s just basic wholesome food. So, maybe, that’s the real definition of comfort food.” Jessica Mitton is a holistic nutritional consultant and author of Some Good, featuring many popular Newfoundland recipes she’s adjusted and classified as gluten free, dairy free and refined-sugar free. She says, “My definition of comfort food might differ from some. For me, comfort food isn’t only the food that satisfies your taste buds, but that also nourishes your mind and body … My favourite comfort foods are hot elixirs, warming soups or stews, and cookies.”


Bossé’s The Acadian Kitchen and Mitton’s Some Good are similar in that they feature the dishes of a specific region and each region’s locally sourced ingredients. Both authors believe that local ingredients are essential for taste and good nutrition. In fairness, these days most cookbook authors, cooks and chefs advocate using fruit, vegetables and protein from local farms and producers, or ingredients that come from as close to where you live as possible. Some Good has Newfoundland’s unique tasting moose, bakeapples, partridgeberries, cod, scallops, salmon and root vegetables. Bossé’s cookbook is larger, with more recipes, and taps into a wider variety of ingredients. The Acadian Kitchen, as its name suggests, focuses on much loved Acadian ingredients like oysters, herring, lobster, game and fiddleheads, often seasoned with the Acadian staple, herbes salées. Jessica Mitton identifies several comfort-food recipes in Some Good. “Seafood chowder is one of my favourites, as well as the smooth and warming curry lentil root stew. Others would be baked beans, roasted veggies, healthy hermit cookies and blueberry cottage pudding.” While a comfort food main course can easily be found amongst the rib-sticking recipes of The Acadian Kitchen and Some Good, hors d’oeuvres and appetizers occupy every inch of real estate in Jenny Osburn’s, The Kitchen Party Cookbook. Osburn says that when she dines on comfort food she feels “like the luckiest human on Earth. My youngest daughter asked me, ‘Mommy, why do you close your eyes like that when you’re eating?’ She hasn’t noticed yet that I also breathe weird, so I can really taste the food. When it’s gone there is a feeling of sweet contentment, unless I’ve overdone it, which can be a real danger with comfort food.” Osburn told me that her favourite comfort food is maki rolls, followed by her Mom’s seven-layer dip and “Italian-influenced cooking, the kind where the vegetables are soft, and you pour olive oil over everything.” The Kitchen Party Cookbook has no photos but what it lacks in visual stimulation it makes up for in plenty of well-written recipes.


The Acadian Kitchen Alain Bossé Whitecap Books

Some Good Jessica Mitton Breakwater Books

Jenny Osburn claims many of them as comfort-food recipes, including the seven-layer dip. “There are downright tasty meatballs, tiny donairs, coconut fried scallops, and snow-crab dip. There’s a recipe for the samosas I’ve made since I was 15 and the garlic-topped mushrooms I swooned over in Spain. I’ve tried to create recipes that taste amazing every time, which is key to the true comfort-food experience.” If we were to put together a multi-course comfort-food buffet, with appetizers from The Kitchen Party Cookbook and mains from The Acadian Kitchen and Some Good, then Rock Recipes Cookies by Barry C Parsons could be our dessert provider. It’s a cookie compendium of recipes that Parsons has posted on his website for the past decade. Like many of the people who responded to my Facebook survey, Barry C Parsons chose a Newfoundland favourite as his top comfort food. “A turkey dinner with all the trimmings is probably my favourite comfort food. In our extended family, this is often Sunday dinner, not just holiday fare. It takes me back to many a happy Sunday in my Nan’s kitchen.” Rock Recipes Cookies, with its colourful, mouthwatering photos of cookies of every variety imaginable, can give you a sugar rush just skimming it. Parsons’s cookie cyclopedia has them all, including the Parkin, a “sticky oat spice cake” from Old Blighty, the Australian Lamington, “cake dipped in a decadent chocolate syrup and then rolled in coconut,” and the UK’s beloved Jammie Dodger, two vanilla cookies stuck together with jam. Raspberry jam is preferred, or so my British correspondents tell me. As for especially comforting choices from his Rock Recipes Cookies book, Parsons admits, “Many are from my grandmothers and aunts. Nan Morgan’s snowballs and Aunt Marie’s date crumbles leap to mind, as do Aunt Aggie’s peanut butter cookies. I can’t count the endless numbers of those I must have eaten over the years, or the countless number of them I must have made for my own children. In our family, comfort food does not skip a generation.”

The Kitchen Party Cookbook Jenny Osburn Printed by Gaspereau Press

Rock Recipes Cookies Barry C Parsons Breakwater Books

This intergenerational aspect of comfort foods is a fascinating point. After spending so much time with the cookbooks I’ve been telling you about, I noticed a strong, common theme: a warm, reassuring thread that binds the books together. It’s the devotion to treasured recipes devised—in some cases, generations ago—by close family members and friends. The evidence was in every book I dipped into in my search for comfort food. In Edna Staebler’s Food that Really Schmecks, her dear friend Bevvy, whose soups Staebler loved, is mentioned almost as much as the author’s mother. In The Acadian Kitchen, Alain Bossé refers to his mom’s delicious corn chowder, his vivid memories of selling fiddleheads as a Boy Scout and later making soup from the leftovers. Jessica Mitton borrows from her parents and grandmother in Some Good, with recipes like her Mom’s baked beans, baked bread inspired by her Dad and her grandmother’s molasses cookies. Jenny Osburn’s The Kitchen Party Cookbook and Barry C Parsons’ Rock Recipes Cookies contain similar references to parents, relatives and friends. Parents, grandparents and others we care about, and who care about us, use a special ingredient in the food they cook for us. It’s why Mom’s baked beans and the authors’ family favourites tasted so good. The ingredient, of course, is love. Love is what they poured into their pots and pans, along with everything else, and we could taste it. It’s why all other versions of our favourite comfort foods, including ones we make ourselves, never taste quite as good. Still, when we make them, long-held memories and the feelings we’ve stored in our hearts are strong enough to make those comfort foods taste better than anything we will ever taste again. ■ Karl Wells is an award-winning food writer and restaurant critic for The Telegram in St. John’s, host/producer of One Chef One Critic and a restaurant panellist with enRoute magazine. Atlantic Books Today


Reviews Ami McKay’s Adult Fairytale of New York

Half Spent was the Night Ami McKay Knopf Canada


In southern German tradition, Rauhnacht refers to the period corresponding with the 12 days of Christmas, between December 21 and the Epiphany in early January. In these waning days of the old year, legend has it, the souls of the deceased, in league with dark forces, return to the Earth to wreak mischief and mayhem. Various practices evolved to combat the unwelcome visitors from the dark side: frightened folk in masks and costumes held noisy processions in the streets or smoked out their houses with incense to cleanse them of the pesky spirits. The name means literally “rough night,” but may also be related to Rauch, smoke. This carnivalesque limbo period of spiritual upheaval is the setting for Ami McKay’s latest offering, Half Spent Was the Night, a sequel to her popular 2016 novel, The Witches of New York. The novella opens with the crisp evocative prose that has become


McKay’s signature style: “Strange things happen Between the Years, in the days outside of time. Minutes go wild, hours vanish. Idleness becomes a clever thief, stealing the names of the days of the week, muting the steady click of watches and clocks. These are the hours when angels, ghosts, demons and meddlers ride howling wind and flickering candlelight, keen to stir unguarded hearts and restless minds.” The year 1881 is drawing to a close and the three witches, Eleanor St. Clair, Beatrice Dunn and Adelaide Thom, are restless during these “dead days” between Christmas and New Year. Eleanor longs to join her lover, Georgina, in Paris, but fears for the safety of witch-in-training, Beatrice, who is, in turn, “ravenous with longing” for the Stranger who has been visiting her dreams. Adelaide, haunted by memories of her traumatic childhood, is mulling the pros and cons of marriage to her landlord-suitor, Dr. Brody. To pass the time, the three perform divinations using roast chestnuts, until Mrs. Stutt, the housekeeper, introduces them to her method of Bleigiessen, or lead-pouring. Their house is immediately visited by mysterious, anachronistically attired messengers, bearing invitations for a masked ball to be hosted by the fabled Baroness Weisshirsch (“white deer”) at the posh Fifth Avenue Hotel. Beatrice and Adelaide are thrilled to accept the invitations and to meet the enigmatic, larger-than-life Baroness, who seems eerily to know significant things about their past. Eleanor, less enthralled by the prospect of the gala, suspects Weisshirsch may possess powers greater than that of a society hostess. The invitations set off a flurry of preparation for the big night, but no adult fairytale is complete without the presence of dark forces. Adelaide encounters the abhorrent Mr. Wentworth, the man to whom she was sold as a child. Beatrice finds herself

stalked by the creepy Gideon Palsham, who sends a servant in the form of a cat to monitor her whereabouts and activities. The presence of predatory males gives the story a topical frisson for readers in the “#Me Too” era. Followers of McKay’s work will recognize some of the cast here. A younger Adelaide, then named Moth, is the heroine of her 2011 novel, The Virgin Cure. Other minor characters, including Perdu the raven-familiar and the predatory Mr. Wentworth, appear in The Witches of New York. McKay is adept with evoking the prosperous “Gilded Age” of late 19th-century New York, a time of intense fascination in the occult and spiritualism. Half Spent Was the Night continues McKay’s commitment to giving voice to women’s history and experiences through the portrayal of headstrong, complex characters. Her dedication of the book to “Grandmothers who carried winter’s magic in their hearts” underscores this preoccupation with female power and traditional knowledge. The novella includes recipes for a special curative elderflower syrup for tea and the German festive confection Engelszopf, “angel’s braid.” The slender novel feels a bit dashed off and leaves the reader wanting to spend more time with these resourceful and congenial witchy women. McKay is not stepping outside her comfort zone here; nonetheless, Half Spent Was the Night is a spirited romp, a good versus evil fable, in which the forces of feminist feistiness ultimately prevail—an engaging read and a timely one as the darker days of the year approach. ■ Clarissa Hurley is an actor, playwright and director. She has published fiction, reviews, essays and a wide range of articles. She is a fiction editor at The Fiddlehead.


Dominique BernierCormier’s Vivid Depictions Re-Cast Stories

Correspondent Dominique Bernier-Cormier Goose Lane Editions/icehouse poetry With its icehouse poetry imprint, Fredericton’s Goose Lane Editions is fast becoming one of my favourite poetry publishers in Canada. In addition to special projects like The Witch of the Inner Wood, a selection of M Travis Lane’s long poems (2016) and the Collected Poems of Alden Nowlan (2017), it has recently released a number of impressive debuts, including Stevie Howell’s eclectic and engrossing [Sharps] (2014) and Kevin Shaw’s exquisitely composed Smaller Hours (2017). It seems fitting that Correspondent, Dominique Bernier-Cormier’s first collection, should be part of this imprint. Comprising three main sections, a prologue and an epilogue, the book showcases the poet’s facility with both free verse and prose poems. The three central sections provide lyric narrative accounts of three crises from recent world history: “Kursk” sketches the sinking of a Russian submarine in August 2000; “Massoud” depicts the assassination of Afghan political leader


Ahmad Shah Massoud on September 9, 2001; and “Nord-Ost” represents the hostage crisis at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theatre in October 2003. These events are known to Bernier-Cormier through the work of his father, a CBC/Radio Canada correspondent. These sections contain the book’s prose poems, while the prologue and epilogue are written in free verse. The prologue is a bilingual poem in English and French that announces the book’s themes of communication and the limits of human language. Across the three prose sections, Bernier-Cormier will come back to this poem’s central message, the recognition that not all human language successfully transmits meaning, and that not all communication of meaning happens via the spoken word. “[M]es doigts sur le piano parlant mieux le Russe [sic] que ma bouche” the speaker says here in French, recalling his childhood in Russia—“My fingers on the piano speaking Russian better than my mouth.” The prose poems provide a narrative coherence within the book’s sections while allowing the author to explore the range of his stylistic talents. The sections are polyphonic—written from the perspective of the poet as well as those caught within the depicted tragedies—and multilingual, with brief passages in French and Russian. (I can’t comment on the Russian but the French passages are unfortunately marred by the occasional spelling mistake.) They feature text from other sources—notes from the captain of the Kursk, a Facebook post by Massoud’s son and a documentary on the Moscow theatre hostage crisis— interspersed in the poems and indicated by bold and italic characters. In relating these tragedies, the poet returns to his initial musings on language and communication. So in “Kursk” are the men in the sinking submarine shown punching “rescue signals in Morse code against the walls”, their attempts to reach the outside falling short: “They take turns punching, so the sentence never ends, the wave never breaks. Trying to write on the outside of the ship, their steel fists rising

out like Braille. So in a hundred years, tourists will dive to the wreck and run their gloved hands softly along the hull, reading their silent screams.” Bernier-Cormier’s ear is impressive. He balances short, clipped sentences and fragments with more complex sentences to create a smooth cadence. There is the occasional subtle half rhyme, as in the “Nord-Ost” sequence: “An NTV journalist breaks from the line, lifts the police tape. A cameraman and a doctor walk with him. White coat blowing in the wind, wet stethoscope around his neck. Cameras follow them. The city holds its breath.” As this passage shows, the poet also has a talent for vivid description, though he does not shy away from figurative language. A particularly evocative metaphor comes in the section “Massoud,” where the poet represents his father conducting interviews: “Behind doors my father can’t open, women lift the blue skies of their veils and tell Tania about their lives.” Here Bernier-Cormier juxtaposes a literal enclosure—the women’s houses where his father is not permitted—with a figurative opening up of narrative. Correspondent is a book of re-casting and re-telling stories. In the collection’s end matter the poet acknowledges the limits of his perspective and the creative liberties he took in the project. While his tone is deferential, almost apologetic, I am not wholly convinced that these stories are for BernierCormier to tell. Nevertheless, his poetic skill is undeniable and I am intrigued by what he has to say about human communication and the inevitable failings of our languages. ■ Annick MacAskill is a writer, poet and critic based in Halifax. Her poems have appeared in literary journals across Canada and abroad. She is the author of No Meeting Without Body (Gaspereau Press, 2018), as well as a chapbook, Brotherly Love: Poems of Sappho and Charaxos (Frog Hollow Press, 2016). Atlantic Books Today



Helen Escott’s Cascade of Moral Questioning

Operation Wormwood Helen Escott Flanker Press “For the first time in social media, God began to trend.” With that line, Helen Escott provides a moment of light relief in an otherwise harrowing story of child molesting, corrupt priests and a vengeful God. Add to that murder, suicide, PTSD and spewing blood that challenges the puking in Rosemary’s Baby and you’ve got Operation Wormwood, a new thriller out of Newfoundland and Labrador. The story takes hold immediately and doesn’t let the reader go until it’s over, featuring a plot peppered with philosophical questions, moral quandaries and personal nightmares. You might say, “my cup runneth over,” and you would be well in the spirit of this novel with its biblical quotations, religious refrains and a multiplicity of moral issues. Archbishop Keating is admitted to hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland, suffering from massive nosebleeds, agonizing pain and a thirst he can’t slake


because water tastes like vinegar to him. Other victims suffer the same symptoms and check in at ER in St. John’s and in cities across Canada, afflicted by a plague that attacks men (and at least one woman) who have abused children. It’s quickly established that, unlike a plague, the disease is not infectious. In fact, it’s limited. What the victims have in common is that they’re pedophiles. The novel turns on two main possibilities: that the plague is a poison, wormwood, that someone is using against child molesters; or that God is the guilty one, visiting revenge on pedophiles with the creation of a disease that punishes them with merciless pain. Underscoring this suspicion is that the pain seems to be worse when the victims of abuse think about the torture they experienced at the hands of unscrupulous priests, teachers and other people in power. Grappling with this mind-bending situation are Dr. Luke Gillespie, RCMP Sgt. Nick Myra and Father Peter Cooke. Dr. Gillespie considers himself duty-bound to treat these patients, distasteful as they are. He calls on doctors and hospitals nationwide to share information about the disease but a cure eludes him and one after another his unsavoury patients die. His is not a popular position. Many believe that wormwood is a justifiable plague against pedophiles. Father Peter Cooke is one of them. For him, wormwood is a blessing. He rallies the city’s Catholics to a mass of thanksgiving to the Lord for bringing this punishment down on the sinners. It brings the faithful back in droves to the church, grateful that #GODISBACK. Cooke’s prayers have been answered, his church pews filled by the justice the Lord has meted out. For him, wormwood is the cure: divine punishment for the ungodly. It provides a worldwide boost for the Catholic Church that brings Cooke to the notice of the pope. Sgt. Myra is not ready to accept the church’s view of what’s happening to pedophiles and mounts an investigation of the molesters and their victims,

The author asks readers to consider a host of moral dilemmas throughout the book and in the end tests their faith with a surprising conclusion. desperately seeking a common thread, a solution. Blood tests and common sense prove that it can’t be poisoning by a single serial killer or a string of multiple killers. But Myra doesn’t see the disease as the work of God either. So what is it? To answer that here would be telling. The ending is, at the least, unexpected. It may not satisfy all readers. The author asks readers to consider a host of moral dilemmas throughout the book and in the end tests their faith with a surprising conclusion. Or perhaps Escott has provided the ideal realistic ending; after all, in life, where are the easy solutions? The casualties mount on the way to this uncertain conclusion, made the more surprising by the revelation of two characters suffering PTSD and finally a pair of suicides that add to the mountain of tragedy. As a retired civilian member of the RCMP, Escott certainly knows her stuff. She took a decade to work on this book. It shows in her meticulous research and use of facts to flesh out a dark story of murder, abuse, suicide and human frailty. Operation Wormwood is a story that pulls readers in at the very start, draws them through a frightening series of events and finally explodes, leaving them to question their own beliefs. ■ Hilary MacLeod is a writer, broadcaster and the author of a mystery series set in a small Canadian fishing village, The Shores.


J Brent Wilson’s Personalized Accounts of The 26th New Brunswick Battalion

A Family of Brothers J Brent Wilson Goose Lane Editions/ Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society University of New Brunswick history professor J Brent Wilson’s contribution to the growing body of literature about the First World War is well timed to take advantage of the interest the centennial of the end of that war has generated. Published as Volume 25 in the New Brunswick Military Heritage Series, A Family of Brothers recounts the story of the 26th New Brunswick Battalion, an apt subject indeed. The 26th was the first infantry battalion raised in the province and the only one of nine recruited there (one of them jointly with Prince Edward Island) to fight on the Western Front in France and Flanders. The story of this unit has been told before, most recently in New Brunswick’s


“Fighting 26th”: A History of the 26th New Brunswick Battalion, CEF, 19141919, published in 1994. Wilson’s approach is different. He wanted to provide an in-depth examination of the soldiers who made up the battalion. The result is a story “about how ordinary men, many of them young, unmarried, and living at home when they enlisted, found a place in history and experienced one of the greatest and most tragic events of modern times.” It is an ambitious goal, as by the end of the war an astonishing 5,719 soldiers had served in the unit. This may explain why the book is considerably longer than most other volumes in the series. In any case, this number is in keeping with other Canadian infantry battalions that fought on the Western Front, especially those that were part of the first two divisions to see combat: 1st and 2nd Canadian Infantry Divisions (the 26th served in 2nd Division). Another major difference in Wilson’s approach to the story is his sources. In addition to standard primary and secondary documents, he relies heavily on letters, diaries and the few post-war memoirs written by soldiers who served in the battalion. Yet, as Wilson admits, “some important parts of the story are either missing or underreported, mainly because the records do not exist.” Using a chronological format, Wilson takes the reader through the formation of the battalion in late fall of 1914, followed by a lengthy period of training in New Brunswick and Britain until mid-September 1915, when it deployed to the Western Front and fought there until the end of the war. A final chapter recounts a little-known facet of the war: the battalion’s time as part of the Allied occupation force in Germany, followed by a stint in Belgium and Britain until shipping was available to transport the unit home in May 1919. Wilson also includes what he terms two thematic chapters outside the chronological timeframe, which focus on other topics not usually covered

in standard battalion histories. This includes details of soldiers’ lives at the front, especially before and after battle, the experiences of casualties once they left the unit and an examination of the men who joined as reinforcements. The accounts of the battles in which the soldiers of the 26th participated are particularly well told. This begins with the unit’s disastrous baptism of fire in October 1915 in an action the troops called the “Crater Fight”—which resulted in 21 killed and 31 wounded of the 50 plus who took part. This first taste of the harsh reality of combat also earned the battalion the nickname by which it was known for the rest of the war: “The Fighting 26th.” The stories of other battles follow— names that still resonate with us today—the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Passchendaele and this country’s most glorious feat of arms ever: Canada’s Hundred Days, from Amiens on August 8, 1918 to the Armistice of November 11. During its three years and a bit at the front, 900 soldiers from the battalion were killed and nearly 3,000 wounded. When the 26th returned home after the war, a mere 117 of the original 1,150 recruits that left Canada were still with it. Wilson has produced a fast-paced, detailed narrative of a Canadian battalion at war. By including several first-hand accounts within the wider story, he has brought his chronicle to a very personal level, allowing the reader to connect with the soldiers in ways that many military histories do not. ■ John Boileau lives near Halifax and writes historical non-fiction, especially military history. He has written eleven books and more than 450 magazine and newspaper articles. His latest book is Old Enough to Fight, Canada’s Boy Soldiers in the First World War, co-authored with Dan Black.

Atlantic Books Today



Editor’s Picks 18 Atlantic Canadian books that are generating buzz this season POLITICS & SOCIETY Crossing Troubled Waters MacQuarrie, Pierson, Stettner, Bloomer Island Studies Press “Trouble” serves as a euphemism for unwanted pregnancy, in the old parlance. The trouble is magnified in societies lacking effective reproductive care. This work examines modern barriers to healthcare in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Prince Edward Island, an apt comparison given the power of the church on each. Hell’s Flames to Heaven’s Gate Jack Fitzgerald Breakwater Jack Fitzgerald, journalist cum folklorist cum historian, talks about the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Newfoundland, which has been a historical sanctuary for Irish-Catholic immigrants and is one of the most powerful political and social influencers on the Rock.


Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times Graham Reynolds with Wanda Robson Roseway Publishing Nine years before Rosa Parks made US history, Viola Desmond was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat in a segregated movie theatre in Nova Scotia. Desmond’s younger sister, Wanda Robson, played an active role in winning a posthumous pardon for Desmond. With Graham Reynolds,

Robson tells Desmond’s life story, including her role as a pioneering African Canadian businesswoman. Westray: My Journey from Darkness to Light Vernon Therriault as told to Marjorie Coady Preface from Steve Hunt, United Steelworkers Nimbus Publishing This is the memoir of a brave person, a survivor and a fighter. It is the story of the Westray mine disaster told by a man who worked in the mine and who won a Medal of Bravery for his part in the unsuccessful rescue efforts. In the aftermath—fraught with chronic pain and PTSD—Theriault found purpose in fighting for the Westray Bill to hold negligent companies criminally responsible for the losses they cause. HOLIDAY GIFTS Christmas in Atlantic Canada: Stories True and False, Past and Present David Goss Nimbus Old-world countries like England have grand narratives by beloved authors to give them a sense of Christmas past. But the holiday didn’t gain significance here until … well, 1604 as it turns out. Thankfully we have folklorist David Goss tracing the history of Christmas in our region, from the first live Santa sighting to the first awed crowd surrounding a Christmas tree in a store window. Cape Breton’s Christmas, Book 5 Ronald Caplan, editor Breton Books Collected Cape Breton Christmas stories have become an annual tradition, and for editor Ronald Caplan a year-

round endeavour. The Cape Breton Post reported him scouring the beaches for prospective writers saying, “everyone has at least one good Christmas story to share.” He proves himself right every year, with a diverse collection of wellcrafted, touching stories. Saltwater Mittens Christine LeGrow & Shirley Scott Boulder Publications This is a very Newfoundland book in one sense, but anyone north of say the 42nd parallel is sure to appreciate a good pair of wool mittens, especially ones as stylish and authentic as those knitted by LeGrow & Scott. A perfect gift for your favourite knitters. FICTION The Smeltdog Man Frank Macdonald Pottersfield Press Think: burgeoning fast-food empire. Think: Cape Bretoner with the munchies. Think: the smeltdog. Macdonald’s latest novel showcases his usual sense of satire and silliness, nods to an old character from Tinker and Blue, with a bit more of a freewheeling sensibility. But as always, common sense wins out over greed—at least in the hearts of the wise. Treason’s Edge Susan MacDonald Breakwater Books This is the third and final installment in MacDonald’s YA fantasy series, The Tyon Collective. The tension is


ramped up on high for protagonist Alec, whose terrifying abilities are being controlled by the traitorous Anna, with the fate of the world at stake. HISTORY Halifax Harbour 1918 Anabelle Kienle Ponka Goose Lane Editions As significant as a centennial is, it is equally fascinating to envision the site of a disaster a year after the fact. How fortunate that Harold Gilman and Arthur Lisman—a co-founder of the Group of Seven—were working in Halifax as war artists a year after 1917’s Halifax Explosion. Their contrasting styles depict a critical moment in the history of Canadian art, and of the nation itself. Album Rock Matthew Hollett Boulder St. John’s visual artist and writer Matthew Hollett became fascinated with the question, “Why are a group of French sailors from the mid-1800s painting the word ‘ALBUM’ on a rock?” Album Rock: Looking back through the lens of Paul-Émile Miot is Hollett’s personal journey to solve the mystery of NL history. HMS Bounty Geoff D’Eon Formac Bounty was the 1787 ship where the most infamous mutiny in British naval history took place. They made a Hollywood movie about it in 1962 using a re-creation of the ship built in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which eventually sank in Hurricane Sandy in 2012. D’Eon’s account of

the famous ship spans 400 years of “romance…cruelty, lust, loyalty, jealousy, misadventure, hubris, heroism and death.” The Blind Mechanic Marilyn Elliott foreword Janet Kitz Nimbus Publishing Eric Davison lost both eyes in the Halifax Explosion. Supporting his fascination with cars and mechanics, his brothers read him auto-repair manuals. He learned well and went on to a decades-long career as an auto mechanic, winning the hearts and loyalty of his Halifax customers. PERSONAL ACCOUNTS The Other Side of the Sun Thien Tang Pottersfield Press Given the number of people from troubled spots across the globe who have found refuge in this region, it’s remarkable how rare published refugee memoirs are. Prince Edward Islander Thien Tang’s eloquent, honest, lyrical and heartrending story, in addition to personalizing the kind of harrowing account most of us only hear on the news, contributes an important thread to the fabric of our regional culture. New Brunswick Underwater Lisa Hrabluk, photography Michael Hawkins MacIntyre Purcell The 2018 Saint John River flood was a record breaker that affected thousands of New Brunswickers, cost millions to clean up after, and was but a glimpse of a changed-climate future. Award-winning journalist Lisa Hrabluk personalizes the statistics with moving individual accounts of despair, heroism and resilience.

The Nova Scotia Book of Lists Vernon Oikle MacIntyre Purcell Be they to-do, to-see, bucket, top-ten or otherwise, we love our lists. Oikle’s collection, a combination of his own lists and those of experts from across the province, is geared to Bluenosers and anyone looking to get to know Nova Scotia better. Here you’ll find out where to see the best waterfalls, eat the best pizza, drink the best wines, find the best sea-glass… SPORTS Brad Marchand: The Unlikely Star Philip Croucher Nimbus Publishing Hammonds Plains’ Brad Marchand is widely considered one of the 20 best male hockey players alive. He’s also the single most annoying hockey player to non-Bruins fans. Whatever your perceptions of Marchand, there’s no denying the 5’9” forward, drafted 71st overall, has defied expectations, becoming an elite scorer, Stanley Cup winner and World Cup hero. Croucher’s account features personal interviews and 40+ photos. Hockey Card Stories 2 Ken Reid ECW Pictou native Ken Reid is back with “59 more true tales from your favourite players,” the follow up to his highly readable national bestseller of 2014. Reid’s a TV sportscaster but other than the sports angle these books have relatively little to do with his day job. It’s his childhood passion for collecting that drives his quest for the stories behind quirky cards featuring mullets, broken noses and, in one case, a rhinoceros and Hall of Famer together. Atlantic Books Today



The World is Changing the Gardening Experience And the new gardening experience is changing the world


A highly accomplished American journalist living in London, England, takes a walk in the park each day for some months; it changes everything. He feels better, has more energy, his memory improves (no more sticky notes on his computer screen), and he feels less stressed. A seven-year-old child who was once “addicted” to computer games was afraid of the outdoors. He wanted to stay indoors, “where the electrical outlets are.” He felt safe there. He understood it and there were no bad things to make him nervous. Once he was introduced to the outdoor experience, the same kid was able to shed the false security from four walls and a climatecontrolled environment. He discovered that there was adventure out there, in wide-open spaces that engaged his intellect and imagination. He was challenged in ways that he could only have imagined while indoors, and only if a computer program led him down that path. The metamorphosis experienced by this child out of doors inspired the writing of the landmark book The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, published in 2005. I went to visit an old friend, a very “senior” senior; okay, he was 97. Hugh Beaty could only move around using a walker. He was on oxygen and was housebound in a modern facility built for the aged. To all intents and purposes, he was well taken care of. Clean, well fed, and before bed he was allowed one ounce of his favourite Scotch to help him sleep. Life was grand, except when it wasn’t. “What do you miss most Hugh?” I asked. “Freedom to move and go out of doors,” he answered. “How would you like to go for a drive? It is a beautiful July day and we can roll the windows down,” I said. He looked at me incredulously. It was a look that I had become used to, one that said, Are you out of your mind? A long pregnant pause while he thought about it. “Yeah! Let’s do it.” The words had no sooner left his mouth than he was gently tugging at the translucent tubes that flowed from a portable oxygen tank up his nostrils. “Are you OK without your oxygen, Hugh?” He assured me that he was just fine. Slowly, carefully, with some assistance, we manoeuvred the big man into my car. He landed in the passenger side bucket seat with a quiet thump. I tossed his walker into my trunk and slid into the driver’s seat. “Where would you like to go?” I asked as we pulled away from the curb. “I don’t know. But this is nice,” was all he said. “How ’bout I take you to the farm?” Another sidelong stare. “Really?” “Why not. It is only ten minutes away. We can see how things have changed since you left a few months ago.”

It was agreed. Windows down, wind gently blowing into the cabin of the car, we were off. As I pulled slowly into the driveway, I knew that there was no way that I could get him out of the car, so I pulled in to park square to the front of the house that Hugh was born in, where he had spent all but four years—the “war years” of 1940–1944. I parked directly in front of the steps that he had hidden under when he was four years old, trying to get away from a father who was about to mete out some well-deserved discipline for some infraction on Hugh’s part. “Would you like a coffee?” I asked, as I reached around to the back seat of the car for my thermos. He accepted my offer. I poured. And we sat for a long moment, enjoying the shade of his sugar maple tree on a typical summer day. I didn’t really know how much Hugh enjoyed that trip until three weeks later, at his funeral. His son Bob told me that his dad had called him the same day at his home in Calgary to say that I had picked him up and taken him to “the farm.” A trip down the road with fresh air flowing through the windows. A moment to reflect on the past. A man discovers a new life through the discipline of walking through public parks in the densely populated UK city of London. A child discovers a world of adventure outside the four walls of his home, the only one he really knew, until he discovered a different place in his own backyard. And an elderly friend revisits his past on a final trip to his family farm. As a lifetime gardener and writer, I am fascinated by the changes that have taken place over the last couple of generations in the Canadian garden and nature’s power to affect us. Not too many years ago, we adopted chemicals and machinery to mould and craft our landscapes into images that suited us, regardless of the environmental costs: 2,4-D and gas-powered leaf blowers are two cases in point. We gardeners are now passionate people with less of an interest in the newest rose introduction or another addition to our dahlia collection but a much greater interest in attracting pollinators, creating biodiversity, and pursuing the social benefits of the gardening experience through community gardens, social media, and even farmers’ markets. This book explores this new mentality. Escape to Reality turns our attention away from the many things that distract us, many of them electronic, and focuses our attention on experiences and lessons from the world outside four walls, many of them in our own yards. An Excerpt from the Preface of Mark Cullen’s New Book, Escape to Reality. Copyright Mark Cullen, courtesy Nimbus Publishing.


Life on the Mista Shipu

Sawbones: a 269-year history of Hospitals, Institutions, Medicine & Nursing in the region

A lively and engaging collection of stories about the people of Labrador, by Robin McGrath.


Life on the Mista Shipu

ISBN 9781895814521 – coffee table book – 10” x 8”: $27.50 224 pages, 230 photos; ample references, bibliography. Book Launch: Nov. 7 at 7 PM: Keschen Goodwin Lib., Clayton Park. In all fine bookstores. www.; 902-576-2055 709.895.6483

Book Review

The ABC’s of Viola Desmond Grade 4 students at William King Elementary School and teacher Beatrice MacDonald. 54 pages, $23.95 Reviewed by Lauri Taparluie for Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.

Delmore “Buddy” Daye

Learning Institute

Excellence in Africentric Education & Research

From the first hospital ship in Halifax in 1749 to the early & modern military/naval hospitals; the evolution to civilian A lively and engaging collection hospitals, including the four incarnations of the Halifax of stories about the people of Labrador, Infirmary; the many phases of the Victoria Hospitals to the by Robin McGrath. modern QEII and VG complexes; the Nova Scotia Hospital and the Dartmouth General; the early Grace Maternity, Infant’s Home & Children’s to the modern IWK-Grace; newer rural hospitals; institutions for the Blind, Deaf and the Poor. The info@boulderpublications.caevolution of medicine (historic doctors who led the way) plus the www.boulderpublications.cadevelopment of schools of nursing & the continuing fight against 709.895.6483 ancient and modern diseases. PLUS special chapters on the ‘40+ temporary hospitals’ after the Halifax Explosion; early hospital ships & those in both world wars; then add historic cemeteries and disease: old, new and “what is old is new again.” Author Devonna Edwards is a former nurse; her 4th historical publication – a five year labour of love!

“A is for African Canadian.” The events of the fateful night when Viola Desmond was refused access to the “whites-only” section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, unravel page by page in this thoughtful and powerful book. In The ABC’s of Viola Desmond, readers are presented with the history of one of Canada’s esteemed civil rights activists in an alphabetical format. Written for an audience of grade three students, words such as “discrimination,” “inspiration,” and “segregation,” underscore the role Viola Desmond played in the fight for equality of all people, regardless of race. This book, written by Grade 4 Nova Scotian students for the African Nova Scotian History Challenges, speaks not only of Viola’s courage and strength when faced with racism, but also of the struggles of all Black Canadians of the time, the key people who aided her in her fight and details of her story overlooked in traditional historical texts. Exposure to diverse literature is imperative for students belonging to all communities.

History textbooks alone do not adequately expose students to the histories of Canada. Discrimination based on skin colour, ethnic origin and religious affiliation happens every day with examples frequently broadcast in mainstream media. Acknowledging the past and present struggles of people who have been marginalized will lead to a better understanding and appreciation of our history and our present day. This book can be used effectively as a mentor text to increase students’ cultural awareness and historical knowledge. While it has direct links to the Grade 3 social studies curriculum, it could also be used as a text to support understanding in Grade 6 social studies and Grade 7 and 8 history as students learn about the different communities that make up Canada and the privileges or lack thereof experienced by different groups. Lauri Taparluie is a member of Greater Essex County Teacher Local.

Order your copy through the Delmore Buddy Day Learning Institute at

The best books of the season!

WESTRAY BY VERNON THERIAULT 978-177108-674-5 Memoir | $18.95

FIRST DEGREE BY KAYLA HOUNSELL 978-177108-666-0 True Crime | $24.95

ESCAPE TO REALITY BY MARK CULLEN & BEN CULLEN 978-177108-693-6 Gardening | $25.95


HOPE BLOOMS BY MAMADOU WADE AND THE YOUTH OF HOPE BLOOMS 978-177108-695-0 Community and Culture | $24.95

WHERE THE GHOSTS ARE BY STEVE VERNON 978-177108-699-8 Guidebook | $19.95


CHRISTMAS IN ATLANTIC CANADA BY DAVID GOSS 978-177108-687-5 Holiday | $19.95



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