It’s That Time Again

“No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy.” 

– Los Angeles Times, “A Child Literacy Initiative for the Greater Los Angeles Area”

Family Literacy Day here in Canada is on January 27th.  It’s a day set aside to remind us all about the importance of literacy, and to help promote reading. It’s a time for family, and reading, and anything regarding the written word. You can find out more about Family Literacy Day by checking out the ABC Life Literacy  Canada Site.

In honour of Family Literacy Day I thought it would be fun to give a shout-out to some great Canadian books enjoyable to those of us who are young at heart.

51UHUD2iHkL._SL500_AA300_How To Tend A Grave. I’m currently reading Jocelyn’s book. Seriously enjoying this read. Here’s the backcover blurb.

When Liam’s mom dies, he thinks life can’t get any worse. He’s wrong. Forced to live with a grandfather he’s never known, in a small town where Youth and Crime are king and queen of a hick-town gang, Liam only wants to be left alone. Not easy, considering the gang’s favourite hangout is the cemetery where his mom is buried. A popular place, this cemetery, as there he meets Harmony, a gorgeous but unusual girl who records the names of all the babies buried there long ago. Like Liam, she has a secret. The very different stories of these two grieving fifteen-year-olds interweave brilliantly in this fast-paced, engaging and unforgettable book about family, love and healing.

Amanda in England: The Missing Novel– This book by blogging buddy, Darlene Foster, is one in a series of books aimed at kids from 8-12.  Amanda in Arab :The 31cqxPKolDL._AA160_Perfume Flask is the first in this charming series of books about Amanda and her best friend, Leah. Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting was published in 2011. There’s lots of travel in these books and plenty of adventure.  If you’re into series you might want to give this one a try.


Amanda Ross is visiting England and taking in all the sights. She gets lost in the maze at Hampton Court, does some shopping at Harrods, meets the ravens in the Tower of London, explores Windsor Castle, and rides the London Eye. When she discovers a vintage book is missing from a collection, she is determined to find out who stole it. Amanda befriends a pair of tough teenagers from the streets of London, an elderly bookshop owner, and a big, friendly, clever, Maine Coon cat named Rupert. Follow Amanda through cobblestone streets, medieval castles, and underground tunnels in her quest to find the missing novel!
41ErVLb6JgL._AA160_I met Sylvia Gunnery last spring at the Bridgewater Library when she launched her new YA book, Emily for Real. It’s always nice to give a shout out to a local author. Here’s the description from Amazon. ca . Seventeen-year-old Emily’s world crumbles when her boyfriend dumps her, and when she thinks her life can’t possibly get any worse, a series of secrets are revealed that threaten to tear her beloved family apart. Emily’s heart has been broken into a hundred pieces and she feels like there is no one to turn to, until an unexpected friendship blossoms with a troubled classmate named Leo.
Maxed Out is Daphne Greer’s first book is part of the Orca Currents series. Daphne and I met at the 51vp6OkWyWL._AA160_launch for A Maritime Christmas in 2008. Here’s a description for Maxed Out.
More than anything, twelve-year-old Max wants to play hockey like he used to. But since the death of his dad, his mom does more crying than mothering, and Max has to take his special-needs brother, Duncan, with him everywhere he goes. The team needs Max to win the upcoming game against the Red Eagles, but one practice with Duncan makes it evident that it’s not safe to leave him unattended on the sidelines. With only a week to figure out how he can play in the big game, Max is feeling the pressure. Will he find a way to be a good teammate, a good brother and a good son, or is it too much for one kid?
51ZlnwRkaVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_Last but not least, Stolen Child by  Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. I read this book a few years back and really enjoyed it.
Stolen from her family by the Nazis, Nadia is a young girl who tries to make sense of her confusing memories and haunting dreams. Bit by bit she starts to uncover the truth—that the German family she grew up with, the woman who calls herself Nadia’s mother, are not who they say they are.Beyond her privileged German childhood, Nadia unearths memories of a woman singing her a lullaby, while the taste of gingersnap cookies brings her back to a strangely familiar, yet unknown, past. Piece by piece, Nadia comes to realize who her real family was. But where are they now? What became of them? And what is her real name?
So there are five books for young adults I’m passing along, but really they can be read and enjoyed by any age. I hope you find a way to celebrate this important day. The written word is all around. Reading should be as natural as eating and breathing. For some of us it is. Hopefully there will come a time when  illiteracy will be a thing of the past.
Happy Family Literacy Day ! Now go read something.

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  1. Thank you so much Laura for mentioning my book! I feel honoured to be on this list. I will definitely check out the other books. I have been wanting to read Stolen Child for some time now. Happy reading to everyone.


  2. I agree with Darlene – it’s definitely an honour to be on your list! Thanks for the shout-out for How to Tend a Grave. And thanks for reminding everyone of Family Literacy Day.


    • I’m loving your book, Jocelyn. I’m so glad you wrote about the destruction to our cemeteries in the book. I’d saved a clipping from a paper about one such incident thinking it would be a good idea sometime, and I was right. It is!!. Just wish I could read faster is all. 🙂


      • Thanks, Laura. I was inspired by a newspaper clipping too – back when I lived in Kingston ON. Cemetery vandalism was a big problem there. I did some research and was horrified to learn how widespread the problem is. So that’s where How to Tend a Grave started. There’s a reader’s guide up on my publisher’s website that goes into more detail about how I wrote the book:


        • Thanks for the link, Jocelyn. I enjoy reading about the process and how writers come to choose a certain topic to write about, and your story is certainly an interesting one..

          I think this also shows that even though we set a story aside it doesn’t mean we won’t pick it back up when the time is right. Taking a break can give us a whole new perspective, we see what we couldn’t before.


  3. I always love discovering new books. Thanks, Laura! 🙂 On Family Literacy Day, I plan to spend the afternoon curled up with one of the two books I just got from the library: JJ Lee’s memoir, THE MEASURE OF A MAN, and Matthew Quick’s YA novel, SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR. I expect my son will join me, reading whatever YA he’s got on the go right now (last I saw, he was reading SON, by Lois Lowry).


  4. cluculzwriter

     /  January 26, 2013

    They all sound so wonderful. If only one had more hours in a week just for reading. I’m so far behind. When I’m writing, and I love writing, I do miss my reading time. But something’s got to give, I suppose. Thanks for these titles, Laura. Hope you’re keeping warm.


    • As writers we are always forced to compromise in one way or another. I’d love to have more reading time as well.

      We’re having a cold snap at the moment, but I’m sure it will soon warm up. 🙂


  1. Family Literacy Day « Darlene Foster's Blog

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