Afghani flight to freedom

Shahnaz Qayumi (left) writes about the aftermath of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and details life under Taliban rule for young readers in her latest novel.FULL STORY

 

Who’s Who

Gail Anderson-Dargratz

A is for Anderson-Dargatz
Author Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s book My Life Off-Key (Orca $10.95) for ages 12-17, follows seventeen-year-old Jen, as she learns that the dad she grew up with, Steve, is not her biological father. Jen, who loves singing, had been puzzled by her family’s lack of musical talent. Then, at a concert, a stranger named Mike, who is a musician, reveals he is her birth father, explaining their shared passion. The revelation causes upheaval: Steve moves out upon discovering the secret Jen’s mom kept hidden, and Jen feels responsible and lost. As her family unravels, Jen struggles with her identity and questions whether Steve or Mike is truly her dad, feeling her life has been built on a lie. 9781459834798

Frances Backhouse

B is for Backhouse
Owls are remarkable creatures known for their exceptional vision in low light, acute hearing, silent flight, and ability to rotate their heads backward. Primarily nocturnal, they are often heard rather than seen. Author Frances Backhouse’s Owls: Who Gives a Hoot? (Orca $24.95) for ages 9-12 uncovers the mysteries of these elusive birds and their crucial ecological roles. The book explores the 19 species found in Canada and the United States, from the small elf owl to the large great horned owl. It also introduces the scientists, activists and young people dedicated to preserving these iconic birds for future generations. 9781459835290

Caroline Adderson

C is for Caroline
In the third book of Caroline Adderson’s heartwarming Izzy series, Izzy’s Dog Days of Summer (Kids Can Press $16.99) for ages 6-9, Isabel and Zoë eagerly anticipate having fun at summer camp. Despite the excitement, they find the camp’s strict rules disappointing, including bans on singing their own songs, running like penguins and trading lunches. Missing her dog, Rollo, Isabel decides to create her own backyard camp. But will her mom let her? And what will they do about Mr. Entwistle, their grumpy next-door neighbor? Adderson’s engaging narrative, complemented by Kelly Collier’s vibrant illustrations, combines humor, lovable characters, and lessons in empathy. 9781771387347

JD Derbyshire

D is for Derbyshire
Mercy Gene: The Man-Made Making of a Mad Woman (Goose Lane Editions $22.95), the genre-defying debut by JD Derbyshire, combines erratic recollections, lists, daydreams and poetry to explore themes of queerness, gender confusion, institutionalization, addiction and abuse. Inspired by Derbyshire’s award-winning play Certified, the novel follows protagonist Janice/Jan/JD. Through fragmented memories and imaginings, Derbyshire explores the intense, often invisible side effects of psychiatric treatment and the unreliability of memory. The stream-of-consciousness narrative uses humour and tragedy to re-examine a life of unspoken trauma. Featuring fictional appearances by Miriam Toews and Margot Kidder, Derbyshire’s work guides readers through non-linear journeys toward treatment, forgiveness and acceptance. 9781773102948

Eric Jamieson

E is for Eric
Eric Jamieson’s Arctic Patrol: Canada’s Fight for Arctic Sovereignty (Caitlin $28.00) details the tale of Canada’s efforts to secure its Arctic territories amidst international tensions. In the 1920s, Canada’s control over the Arctic Archipelago was weak and contested by Americans, Danes and Norwegians. The North-West Mounted Police, later the RCMP, were tasked with asserting Canadian sovereignty, establishing remote detachments and conducting annual ship patrols. Increasing threats, such as the American expedition by Dr. Donald MacMillan and Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen’s activities on Ellesmere Island, pressured Canada to act. One of the most spectacular Canadian undertakings came in 1926 when RCMP Inspector Alfred Herbert Joy, recruit Reginald Andrew Taggart, and Inughuit guide Nukappiannguaq successfully completed an arduous 1,800-mile, 81-day dogsled patrol. 9781773861333

Megan Fennya Jones

F is for Fennya
A young woman navigates her modeling career between Paris and New York, juxtaposing the pressures of the fashion world with the depths of psychiatric care and romantic relationships. Megan Fennya Jones’ debut collection of poetry, The Program (Goose Lane Editions $19.95), explores female suffering through an unadorned, sometimes humorous narrative style inspired by New York school poets, Frank O’Hara, Sheila Heti and Sally Rooney. The poems cover themes of appearance and self-perception, using imagery from fashion, art and therapy. This intimate collection examines how we are seen and how we see ourselves, revealing the allure and pain of both visibility and suffering. 9781773102528

Grant Lawrence

G is for Grant
Inspired by Grant Lawrence’s bestselling memoir Adventures in Solitude (Harbour, 2010), his humourous, adventure-packed picture book for children aged 4-7, Adventures in Desolation Sound (Harbour $24.95), follows the Lawrence family on a trip to their rustic cabin in BC’s remote Desolation Sound. Initially reluctant, young Lawrence and his sister Heather prefer city life and TV. The long, winding drive makes them sick, and upon arrival, the cabin is dark, the toilet is outside, and the neighbors seem odd. However, the kids gradually discover the magic of the place, enjoying exciting and hilarious adventures. They gain confidence and learn there’s more to life than television, eagerly anticipating their return next summer. The book was illustrated by Ginger Ngo. 9781990776878

Carl Cavanagh Hodge

H is for Hodge
In the current climate of growing discontent and confusion surrounding democratic governance and liberal economies, The Ethics and Economics of Liberal Democracies: Foundations for PPE (Routledge $39.16), co-authored by Carl Cavanagh Hodge (pictured at left) and Andrew David Irvine, emerges as a timely resource. Tailored for Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) courses, the book serves as a primer on essential liberal-democratic values and institutions. It covers topics from free elections and responsible government to corruption, climate issues and civil society. This comprehensive guide offers insights into key concepts like populism, globalization and academic freedom. With a focus on historical context, it appeals to students interested in public-policy work and those exploring the intricacies of democratic theory and practice. 9781032729497

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.

Joseph Dandurand

J is for Joseph
The fourth book of award-winning author, Joseph Dandurand’s “Then and Now” series, The Bears and the Magic Masks (Nightwood $15.95) for ages 6-8, portrays the relationship between the Kwantlen people and bears. When a master carver is rescued by bears after falling into a river, he expresses his gratitude by gifting them animal masks. But little did the bears know that these masks hold magical powers. What will the bears do with their newfound powers? Dandurand is the director of the Kwantlen Cultural Centre and the author of several children’s stories and books. 9780889714748

Karen Lee White

K is for Karen
Karen Lee White’s latest novel, Bonewalker (Exile Editions $28.66) follows Krie Redsky, an extraordinary Indigenous child, who possesses both a curse and a blessing that enables him to traverse between our world and the Spirit Realm. Amidst the challenges of navigating friendships, experiencing first love, and grappling with loss and betrayal, he is guided by Knowledge Keepers who see him as fearless and capable of bridging realities. Recognized as a warrior against the dreaded ancient spirit stealers known as Bonewalkers, the question remains: does he possess the strength needed for the looming battle ahead? 9781990773228

Laurie Elmquist

L is for Laurie
Mud puddles, speckled eggs and cozy sheep’s wool set the scene for a day in the country for mom and baby. Laurie Elmquist’s picture book for ages 2 and below, Country Baby (Orca $10.95), follows mom and baby’s adventure that begins with pulling on rubber boots and splashing in puddles, petting sheep, and exploring farm sights and sounds. After the fun, they head inside to hang socks to dry, take a warm bubble bath, and snuggle up in bed under the stars. Meditative and simple, Country Baby offers a farm adventure perfect for reading together. ‎ 9781459836334

Jenny Manzer

M is for Manzer
Addie and her brother, Billy, live with their mom in a shabby rental cabin in Cedarveil, near the beach. Their mom excels at surfing and storytelling but struggles with depression, often disappearing or drinking. The family frequently visits the food bank and lacks a phone or TV. For entertainment, their mom tells stories before bed when she’s in a good mood, or home at all. In Picture a Girl (Orca $14.95) by Jenny Manzer for ages 9-12, Addie senses that her mom has gone again one Monday and knows she must take care of everything to avoid being separated from Billy. After a week, their mom returns. But will this be the last time Addie has to survive alone? 9781459836662

Nicola Jones

N is for Nicola
Award-winning science journalist, Nicola Jones, writes about a heartwarming true story of the rescue and rehabilitation of Zalea, a three-week-old northern spotted owl, after she fell from her tree in Saving the Spotted Owl: Zalea’s Story (Kids Can Press $21.99) for ages 8-12. Biologists intervened to save her, bringing her to the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Centre. There, she joined others like her, receiving care until she could be released back into the wild. Through Zalea’s journey, readers learn about the biology and life cycle of owls, conservation efforts and habitat protection. Jones skillfully weaves educational content with Zalea’s narrative, while Alexandra Finkeldey’s beautiful illustrations and real-life photos enhance the details of the story. 9781525305559

Onjana Yawnghwe

O is for Onjana
A family escapes from Myanmar’s military violence to Thailand, then Canada, carrying nothing but beat-up suitcases on a luggage cart. Onjana Yawnghwe’s third book of poetry, We Follow the River (Caitlin Press $20.00) explores growing up in a foreign land, sifting through family history and grief, and the experience of travelling across cultures and continents to find a home. Yawnghwe’s poetry collection spans two decades and the poems navigate quiet moments, unruly bursts of emotion and self-distillation. Her poems offer an intimate exploration of human complexity, inviting readers to contemplate the essence of identity and belonging. 9781773861388

Jaz Papadopoulos

P is for Papadopoulos
In I Feel That Way Too (Nightwood $19.95), Lambda Literary Fellow, Jaz Papadopoulos offers a poetically critical examination of sexual assault trials on survivors. As a response to the #MeToo movement, the book experimentally combines narrative poetics with art, philosophy and personal memory. Drawing inspiration from authors such as Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Anne Carson, Papadopoulos navigates past and present to dissect how media and social structures uphold patriarchal ideologies. Through lyrical and meditative poems, the collection explores the intricacies of the nervous system in both battle and recovery, offering a compelling reflection on trauma, resilience and societal power dynamics. 9780889714687

Shahnaz Qayumi

Q is for Qayumi
“You are a man now, take care of your mother,” Zia’s father whispered to Zia just as he is arrested–never to return home. Kabul born author, Shahnaz Qayumi’s debut novel, Zia’s Story (Tradewind Books $14.95) due out in June, is set in the aftermath of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, as the country descends into civil war. The Taliban’s rule brings restrictions to women working and girls attending school. The story follows Zia and his young mother fleeing war-torn Afghanistan from Pakistan to Canada. Qayumi writes of what she knows as she was also an Afghani refugee who found sanctuary in Canada. She now lives in Vancouver and teaches at Langara College. This book is illustrated by Nahid Kazemi. 9781990598142

R.W. Butler

R is for R.W.
R.W. Butler’s book, Letters from Gerald (FriesenPress $22.49) follows Eleanor Hutchinson, a young woman in post-war England navigating new societal roles traditionally held by men. Employed as a librarian, Eleanor dreams of travelling the world as an ornithologist despite her minimal education and social standing. She writes to the British Museum for advice and receives encouragement from the enigmatic Gerald Benson, who is always in an exotic location and seems oddly familiar. Their correspondence inspires Eleanor, but her journey takes an unexpected turn with a mysterious knock at her door. Who could it be? 9781038305459

 

Paul Sunga

S is for Sunga
Paul Sunga’s Because of Nothing at All (Goose Lane Editions $24.95) follows the story of an abduction of international health program evaluators near the Kenya-Sudan border, revealing their past and present — and those of their captors. Among those navigating their fates are an orphan named Money, a disillusioned wealthy doctor, and a driver who has a brief taste of prosperity. Some escape, others are recaptured, and a few are ransomed, each drawn into schemes with unexpected outcomes. This novel, set against the backdrop of modern internationalism, explores choices, identity and wealth, highlighting the blurred lines between madness and sanity, and justice and injustice in a world rife with inequities. 9781773102467

Dr. Thomas F. Pedersen

T is for Thomas
Dr. Thomas F. Pedersen examines British Columbia’s pioneering carbon tax policy in The Carbon Tax Question: Clarifying Canada’s Most Consequential Policy Debate (Harbour $26.95). Exploring the political and economic motivations behind the tax, Pedersen dispels misconceptions surrounding carbon taxation and highlights its global significance. The book outlines the evolution and implementation of BC’s policy, comparing it to other carbon-taxation efforts worldwide. Despite initial resistance, Pedersen argues that BC’s carbon tax serves as a model for effective climate action, challenging perceptions and advocating for socially just solutions. Will appeal to policymakers, economists and anyone concerned with addressing climate change effectively. 9781990776977

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

Valerie Jerome

V is for Valerie
Valerie Jerome tells the powerful story of her family’s extraordinary achievements in sports and their fight against racism in Canada in Races: The Trials and Triumphs of Canada’s Fastest Family (Goose Lane Editions $24.95). In the 1960s, Valerie’s brother, Harry Jerome, set seven world records, earning the title of the world’s fastest man. His grandfather, John “Army” Howard, was Canada’s first Black Olympian in 1912, and Valerie herself competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics. The book details their athletic careers and the racism they faced from their community, the press, their country, and even within their family. It also highlights Harry’s advocacy for youth sports and education, offering an inspiring tale of courage and conviction. 9781773102900

Ed Willes

W is for Willes
In Never Boring: The Up and Down History of the Vancouver Canucks (Harbour $28.95), Ed Willes, a veteran hockey writer, offers an irreverent exploration of the tumultuous journey of the Vancouver Canucks. Over five decades, Canucks fans have endured a rollercoaster ride of hope and disappointment, as their team has repeatedly fallen short of delivering a coveted Stanley Cup. From ownership missteps to unpredictable strokes of bad luck, the franchise’s history reads like a saga of near-misses and dashed dreams. Willes provides insight into the team’s struggles and the unwavering loyalty of its fans. 9781990776892

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

David Zieroth

Z is for Zieroth
first here and then far: Selected Poems 1971–2024 (Harbour $24.95) is a retrospective of David Zieroth’s more than fifty-year creative journey. Carefully curated and arranged chronologically, this collection showcases Zieroth’s evolution and unique voice, from early reflections on his Prairie childhood to poignant considerations of family and history. His poems, rooted in daily life, reveal unexpected insights and illuminate the intersection of mind and world. Zieroth explores themes of motion and stillness, drawing inspiration from international travels and everyday observations. This collection is an essential testament to Zieroth’s language progress as he sheds convention for a new lyricism, and captures a poet at the peak of his powers. 9781990776915

 

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