Lynn Johnston’s new books

“During her so-called retirement in North Vancouver, award-winning cartoonist, Lynn Johnston (at left) began writing kidlit about robots – the Alottabotz series –  with three titles to date.FULL STORY

 

Who’s Who

Amy Mattes

A is for Amy
In the summer of 2000, grief-stricken skateboarder, Ines leaves her sheltered hometown for Montreal. Entranced by the city, she befriends goth-girl April and becomes a cam-girl. During a bar fight, Ines meets Max, another skateboarder, and a romance ensues. However, Ines has to confront the challenges of her past, Max’s mental health struggles and a threat from a regular at the cam studio. Late September (Nightwood $22.95) by Amy Mattes unfolds Ines’ exploration of self-love, trauma and mental health. 9780889714564

Shashi Bhat

B is for Bhat
In this captivating collection from the Governor General’s Award-shortlisted author, Shashi Bhat, Death by a Thousand Cuts (McClelland & Stewart $24.95), showcases short stories with breathtaking insight into the daily tribulations and societal pressures experienced by women. Each story delves into the complexities of relationships, addressing the “what ifs” and moments of profound self-discovery. From a writer grappling with her ex’s novel about their breakup to a woman embarking on a nightmarish search for answers as she begins to lose her hair, these tales are woven with honesty, tenderness and a razor-sharp wit. With a keen eye, Bhat explores themes of rage, longing, illness, and bodily autonomy, unraveling the intricate threads that bind a woman to her relationships with others and, ultimately, with herself. 9780771095115

Caroline Woodward

C is for Caroline
Embark on a coastal adventure that engages the senses through Have You Ever Heard a Whale Exhale? (Pownal Street Press $24.95). In this immersive narrative, author Caroline Woodward and illustrator Claire Watson guide readers through an exploration of touch, taste, sight and smell. From sun-warmed rocks to crackling campfires, the story comes alive, echoing the sounds of dolphins and sea lions. Encouraging little ones to delve into their surroundings and unleash their imagination, this tale invites readers to experience the world through the lens of the senses. 9781998129072

Linda DeMeulemeester

D is for DeMeulemeester
After being abandoned at birth by her father, Phineas, Effy finds a comfortable home with her great-aunt Ada, who is a women’s rights advocate. But when Ada dies, Effy’s relatives try to seize her trust fund. To prevent this, Effy seeks Phineas in the circus world, discovering a vibrant community of diverse talents. Her journey involves proving herself as a performer, saving an elephant and embracing equality. Linda DeMeulemeester’s latest novel, Ephemia Rimaldi: Circus Performer Extraordinaire (Red Deer Press $14.95), is a historical adventure set in the early 20th century, that vividly portrays Effy’s growth, highlighting issues of diversity and social justice in a lively narrative filled with eccentric characters. 9780889957299

Emily McGiffin

E is for Emily
“my body and ark, carrying successors like a chambered nautilus; what I was placed here to do, ferry the unborn across the inhospitable land…” writes Emily McGiffin, as she delves into the impact of imperial violence and colonialism, examining their pervasive influence in both South Africa and Canada. Through a multifaceted and multi-voiced approach, McGiffin explores the enduring consequences of colonialism and capitalist extraction, spanning across time and geographical locations. Her poetry book, Into the Continent (University of Regina Press $19.95), brings to life the ghosts of our collective past, emphasizing the profound impact of historical events on our present world. McGiffin’s words highlight the enduring power dynamics that concentrate wealth and underscore the persistence of violence, while acknowledging moments of generosity that exist in the shadows. 9780889779891

Meghan Fandrich

F is for Fandrich
In the aftermath of the Village of Lytton burning to the ground, Meghan Fandrich witnessed her community and business perish while her house survived. Burning Sage (Caitlin Press $20) recounts her personal journey through the trauma and ongoing natural disasters. This poetry collection explores shock, fear, anger and the challenges of single parenting in a ravaged town. Fandrich’s writing covers universal themes of loneliness, fragility and beauty, emphasizing the power of connection and understanding in the face of grief. She vividly depicts heartbreak, but ultimately conveys a narrative of healing. 9781773861289

John MacLachlan Gray

G is for Gray
Dora Decker, a.k.a. the Fatal Flapper, becomes internationally famous for stabbing her employer in 1920s Vancouver. Meanwhile Ed McCurdy, Canada’s first radio personality who reads news as “Mr. Good-Evening,” fears becoming the next victim. John MacLachlan Gray’s latest historical fiction, Mr. Good-Evening: A Mystery (D&M $34.95) also includes Inspector Calvin Hook as he navigates gritty streets and uncovers connections between the murder, Al Capone, Winston Churchill and a mystical cult leader on DeCourcy Island in this page-turning tale. 9781771623957

9781990773105

Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson)

H is for Hetxw’ms
Explore the life cycles of bees in The Bee Mother (Portage & Main Press $24.95), the seventh installment of Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson)’s Mothers of Xsan series. As flowers and trees bloom, Nox Ap, the bee mother, awakens from winter sleep, serving as nature’s gardener to the Gitxsan people. This picture book follows her journey from the first thaw of spring to the end of autumn, allowing readers to discover the vital roles played by bumblebees, honeybees and yellow jacket wasps in the Xsan ecosystem, thus emphasizing the significance of pollinators in fruits like strawberries and huckleberries. This book is illustrated by Natasha Donovan. 9781774920800

Guy Immega

I is for Immega
Guy Immega, a retired aerospace engineer and entrepreneur living in Vancouver, has published his debut sci-fi novel Super-Earth Mother, the AI that Engineered a Brave New World ( ‎ EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing $20.95). The story is a journey into the heart of humanity, artificial intelligence and the uncharted realms of life beyond our home planet. It shows how humans could colonize the 40 billion habitable planets in the Milky Way. Guy Immega’s company, Kinetic Sciences Inc., built experimental robots for the ISS space station, robots to clean up nuclear waste, and invented miniature fingerprint sensors for cell phones. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer and has a lifelong interest in sub-Saharan Africa. He continues his volunteer efforts as a founding member of the Solar Option Group, providing an engineering proposal to save Lake Chad in the Sahel.  9781770532274.

Jan DeGrass

J is for Jan
It’s 1941. Eighteen-year-old Anna Leonova’s dreams of studying botany in Stalin’s Soviet Union are shattered when her mother, who is a scientist, disappears during a field trip in Finland, and is accused of treason. Evacuated during Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, Anna vows to return to besieged Leningrad to find her mother. With help from her friends, Grigor and Volodya, she navigates the harsh winter of 1941/1942, where starvation plagues the city. In Jan DeGrass’ latest novel, Winter of Siege (Mw Books Publishing $20), will Anna be successful in her search for her mother in a city with no heat, light or food? ‎ 9780995277830

Gail Kirkpatrick

K is for Kirkpatrick
Museum curator Margaret gets an unexpected inheritance of eight million dollars from her late sister Shirley, along with a whimsical request to revive an abandoned railway line. Despite skepticism, Margaret undertakes the transformative adventure, facing challenges that extend beyond her role as executor. Margaret’s ensuing decisions impact her career, marriage, friendships and personal legacy. Gail Kirkpatrick’s novel, Sleepers and Ties (Now or Never Publishing $19.95) unravels Margaret’s journey, which forces her to confront not only her sister’s wishes but also her own future, creating a profound and lasting change in her life. 9781989689462

Hayley Lowe

L is for Lowe
Noor and her grandfather bond over a shared love for pies and creating cherished memories during summer holidays. Once school commences and they are separated physically, they keep in touch through weekly video chats focused on life updates over a piece of pie, which they call “pie reports.” As Granddad faces health challenges and withdraws, Noor preserves the tradition by documenting her reports, maintaining a heartfelt link until he’s ready to reconnect. The Pie Reports (Orca $21.95) for ages 6-8, by writer and illustrator Hayley Lowe, emphasizes the enduring connection between a child and grandparent, and shows how to stay close across physical and emotional distances, particularly in times of illness. 9781459838079

Michael Clague

M is for Michael
Author of the memoir, So, How Have I Been Doing at Being Who I Am? (Self Published, 2023), Michael Clague, delves into the concept of social progress, tracing it back to ancient Greece and emphasizing its continuity in Western thought. His latest book, In Search of Progress: Questions from a Life in Community Work in a Time of Fear and Disillusionment in Democracy (Self Published $10.00) highlights community development from the 1950s, built on the belief that social progress involves enhancing people’s well-being through inclusive, just and participatory socio-economic and political structures. The book underscores community work as a catalyst for positive change, especially amid global challenges like climate collapse, asserting that it empowers citizens to collaboratively address crises and invokes hope in the human spirit. 9781999166533

Cole Nowicki

N is for Nowicki
A collection of short nonfiction pieces by Cole Nowicki, Laser Quit Smoking Massage (NeWest $21.95) delves into the intricacies of Canada’s urban and rural West. With witty and insightful reportage, Nowicki explores the dynamics of community, family and belonging in prairie towns and sprawling cities. The essays reflect a childlike curiosity, uncovering peculiarities like missing relatives, home-based businesses, and even lasers, transforming simple finds into complex yet relatable stories. Nowicki’s warm and humorous examination of small-town life creates a nostalgic album of memories, capturing moments of love, grief and the passage of time. 9781774390900

Oriane Lee Johnston

O is for Oriane
What to do when you leave a long-time job and then shortly afterwards your long-time relationship ends? In the case of Oriane Lee Johnston, former program director for the Hollyhock Leadership Centre on Cortes Island for 16 years, she googled “Africa + Horses + Volunteer” as she relates in her memoir The Geography of Belonging: A Love Story of Horses and Africa (Salmonberry $25). The resulting journey led her to Zimbabwe, a wildlife safari on horseback, an enduring love affair with an African horseman, a wilderness conservation project and a new lease on life. While Cortes Island is still her home, Johnston continues to return to the families, communities and wild places in Zimbabwe that she writes about. 9781777149222

Prudence Emery

P is for Prudence
Step into London’s Savoy Hotel in the 1960s with Princess of the Savoy (D&M $19.95), the third volume of a cheeky bestseller series written by Prudence Emery with Ron Base. The hotel may look perfect to outsiders, but the Savoy Press Office tells a different story. Miss Priscilla Tempest, a Canadian who works at the office, navigates challenges from her boss, an American gangster and a Tarzan movie star. Soon, a fascist plot emerges from an English estate, threatening British democracy. Reluctant crime-fighter Priscilla teams up with Fleet Street writer Percy Hoskins to unravel the deadly conspiracy. This installment promises readers an escape into a world of glamour, danger, treachery and a touch of romance. 9781771624053

Sally Quon

Q is for Quon
A disabled writer living in the Okanagan Valley, Sally Quon has published the collection of poems, Beauty Born of Pain (Okanagan Publishing House $23.99), containing four groupings. Secrets details the experience of an abusive marriage. Echoes is about the return of childhood memories once free of the hurtful relationship. Damage is about the lingering effects of the past on mind and body. The final section, Recovery, is about moving forward with hope and healing. Quon has published her poetry widely in creative nonfiction anthologies, and her photographs have appeared in magazines including Canadian Geographic, and the birding brochures of Nature Alberta. In her spare time, Sally explores the back roads near her home. 9781990389306

Ray Harris

R is for Ray
Pastor, teacher, musician and writer, Ray Harris of Abbotsford is the author of Fullness of Time: Devotionals, Poems, Pictures, and Prayers (Mill Lake Books $34.99). The meditations are drawn from all 66 books of the Bible. They provide words of encouragement, challenge and inspiration for winter, spring, summer and fall, following both the standard calendar and the church year. In addition, the book contains photos and artwork, aphorisms (brief thoughts), poems and anecdotes (brief stories). Fullness of Time is based on devotionals the author shared with various gatherings at Tabor Village (a residence for older adults in Abbotsford) during the years of his chaplaincy 2017-2021. As a coffee-table book it can be a source of aesthetic interest and inspiration. 9781998787050

J.T. Siemens

S is for Siemens
Now a fully-fledged private investigator, Sloane Donovan navigates the mundane task of keeping a celebrity in Vancouver alive, but is thrust into a gripping cold case when a grieving mother seeks her help. In the second book of the Sloane Donovan mystery series by J.T. Siemens, Call of the Void (NeWest $22.95), Sloane delves into a clandestine world of missing girls, narcotics and unresolved mysteries spanning four decades. Her relentless pursuit puts loved ones in jeopardy. The lightning-paced narrative and Sloane’s hard-boiled determination solidify her role among the new generation of compelling sleuths in this unputdownable thriller. 9781774390863

Christopher Thompson

T is for Thompson
Following a Palestinian refugee family, Christopher Thompson’s debut novel, The Struggle Continues: An arduous journey of hope (FriesenPress $35.99) unfolds a gripping narrative, spanning a decade of violence and conflict in 1970s Lebanon. The story delves into the lives of Ali and Salim, two young men driven by the determination to protect their families. As the Middle East faces upheaval and the UN engages in contentious debates, the novel explores the impact of conflict on Ali’s reluctant involvement and Salim’s diplomatic efforts to highlight the plight of displaced refugees. The compelling plot and dynamic characters immerse readers in the heart of the Lebanese-Palestinian struggle, emphasizing the personal cost of war. 9781039157620

Ujjal Dosanjh

U is for Ujjal
Born in rural India, Ujjal Dosanjh emigrated to the UK at 18, where he worked various jobs while attending night school and learning English by listening to BBC Radio. He moved to Canada in 1968 and became a lawyer and advocate for the rights of BC farm and domestic workers. Eventually, Dosanjh rose to become the first person of Indian descent to serve as Attorney General and Premier of British Columbia. Dosanjh’s memoir, Journey After Midnight (Speaking Tiger Books $26.95) tells of that journey. 9789354471278

Collin Varner

V is for Varner
Retired horticulturalist, Collin Varner, who worked at UBC’s Botanical Garden where he also taught courses in native plant studies, continues to follow his passion for BC’s flora and fauna as an avid photographer and author of guidebooks. His latest offerings are two pocket guides: 50 Keystone Flora Species of Coastal British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest (Heritage House $19.95); and 50 Keystone Fauna Species of Coastal British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest (Heritage House $19.95). 9781772034776 (flora guide), 9781772034943 (fauna guide)

Tom Wayman

W is for Wayman
In The Road to Appledore: Or How I Went Back to the Land Without Ever Having Lived There in the First Place (Harbour $26.95), due out in May, poet and author, Tom Wayman, shares his journey from urban Vancouver to the rustic Slocan Valley. Reflecting on decades of living close to wildlife, Wayman tells of mishaps, misadventures and moments of delight—from dealing with a bear cub in his kitchen to protecting a water system. The book provides an intimate portrayal of country life in Canada, capturing the joys and challenges of immersing oneself in nature and the contemporary rural experience. Perfect for those considering a move to the countryside, Wayman offers humourous insights and transports readers to the scenic landscapes of the Selkirk Mountains. 9781990776632

Xiran Jay Zhao

X is for Xiran
They’ve got over 250,000 YouTube subscribers, 65,000 Twitter followers, 25,000 Instagram followers and a website that averages 5,000 unique visitors per month. Now, non-binary Xiran Jay Zhao of Vancouver is publishing their first sci-fi/fantasy novel Iron Widow (Penguin $21.99) for ages 14 and up. Using a blend of Chinese history and futuristic mecha (humanoid mobile robots) science fiction, the book features a heroine inspired by China’s only legitimate female sovereign, Wu Zetian (who is credited with reducing corruption and revitalizing the country’s culture and economy). Xiran is a first-generation Chinese immigrant who lives and works in Vancouver where they are training to become a biochemist. 9780735269934

Yolanda Ridge

Y is for Yolanda
“Poop can’t fight the climate crisis alone, of course. But the truth is that healthy ecosystems rely on poo-producing animals and the plants that benefit from their excrement,” writes Yolanda Ridge in her latest book for ages 9-12, What Poo Can Do: How Animals Are Fighting the Climate Crisis (Orca $21.95). From whales to dung beetles, Ridge educates children about animals fertilizing plants, storing carbon, preventing fires, reducing methane and much more – one poop at a time! 9781459835412

George Zukerman

Z is for Zukerman
In Have Bassoon, Will Travel: Memoir of an adventurous life in music (Ronsdale $24.95), George Zukerman, a concert bassoonist who played with the Vancouver Symphony, humorously recounts his worldwide tours that elevated the instrument’s profile and freed it from obscurity. Zuckerman describes his travels across Canada navigating diverse terrains, often with unconventional modes of transportation. As an impresario, Zukerman’s Overture Concerts left a lasting impact, inspiring new audiences and musicians. 9781553807131

 

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