Black Women Who Dared by Naomi M. Moyer

blackwomen This picture book is for young and old alike: it shines a light on forgotten, local heroes in our midst. Like Rosa Pryor, who in 1919, became the first black woman to own a business in Vancouver. This title features Rosa and other strong women who dared to demand better – better working conditions, access to education and health care. Women who dared to make learning a priority by creating an “hour-a-day” study club which allowed women to make themselves the priority for at least one hour each day. The author of this book, Naomi M. Moyer, has done a great job of compiling a collection of notable women and sharing their amazing feats of bravery, tenacity, and creativity. (Submitted by Andrea)

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Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas

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I loved “Winners Take All” by Anand Giridharadas – eye-opening and paradigm-shifting look at a different kind of world. (Submitted by Jenny)

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Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

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Penny is angry with her mom, Celeste. She’s going away to college to be a writer. Sam is stuck. He is in a low paying job as a baker/barista, his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, he has no money, and he wants to be a film director. Their paths collide in the centre of town and they become each other’s Emergency Contact. Great writing from 2 points of view, believable scenarios. (Submitted by Sharleen)

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Childhood’s End by Arthur Clarke

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Imagine overnight, dozens of huge alien ships hover above the major cities of earth. They remain in their ships, appointing a human liaison to hear their instructions and relay the message to the people of earth. It is useless to resist: they’re impervious to all man made weapons (including nuclear powers), and they have a power to block out all sunlight over an area of their choosing- from one house on a city block to entire countries. Despite their awesome power, it seems the aliens come in peace: over a period of 50 years, they solve all the world’s problems without even leaving their ships. There is no more inequality, no wars, no crime, and a world-wide one government system that sees incredible developments in technology, medicine, and architecture. Suddenly people have the ability to travel across the world for lunch, can go to university indefinitely to study all manner of topics, and form self-sufficient colonies following common interests. No one knows why the “Overlords” came, nor what they want: a common theory is that the Overlords are lost in the universe and simply bored. One day, one of the Overlords comes out of the ship, and their intentions become clear (I won’t spoil it, but their long game isn’t exactly friendly).  I found this book, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, to be really thought provoking and amazingly prescient: it was originally published in 1953, but could have been written last year. It was a very quick and incredibly engaging read – only about 200 pages, and a nice introduction to sci-fi, coming from someone who almost never reads it! (Submitted by Mandi)

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Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto

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Sakamoto’s account of his maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother is compelling reading. Both experienced the effects of World War 2 – his grandfather in a Japanese POW camp and his grandmother the hardships of BC’s forced relocation of its Japanese residents and citizens. We get a detailed look at their upbringing and lives, giving us tremendous insight into the times and character of these people, which is thoroughly engaging.

The book changes after the first half when the author begins his own story, particularly when he focuses on his mother’s journey into alcoholism and poverty, but it still leaves a deep impression on the reader. Instead of dealing with the theme ‘forgiveness’ between two people, in fact two families, with powerful reasons to hate each other, the subject is briefly glossed over. You’re left to assume they nobly put the past behind them when their children marry but are barely mentioned in the second half. Sakamoto is definitely not a great writer, some of his historical facts are incorrect, and the book feels disjointed, but I still recommend it as worth reading. It won the CBC’s Canada Reads in 2018 which says more for its champion, Jeanne Beker, than the book itself, but again, its content holds a strong message for us all. (Submitted by Pippa)

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Bodrik and His Adventures by Marta Styk

Image result for bodrik and his adventuresI came across this book because I happened to have the pleasure of meeting the author, Marta Styk. She passionately told me what the book is about and how the main character, a dog named Bodrik, was an actual dog that Marta and her husband, Igor, used to own. It was easy to fall in love with Bodrik when I was reading a book: a curious, kind, and loyal animal who loves his human family and world in general. Bodrik runs away from a farm to see a glimpse of the city life which turns out to be not all glitter after all. There is a happy ending and Bodrik goes back to what he likes most: rural life-style and his beloved owners. Great book to read with little ones! (Submitted by Mariya)

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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

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Life After Life – Does the course of your life depend on fate or do you have control based on the choices you make?  Ursula Todd is born on a snowy winter day in 1910 .. and then dies before she can take a breath.  Or does she? The very same day, she is born, the doctor arrives in time, and Ursula lives.  We follow Ursula’s childhood, adolescence, and adulthood as Kate Atkinson weaves in key historical events from the early to mid 20th century – World War I, the Spanish influenza epidemic, and then World War II, both in London during the Blitz and Germany in the ‘30s and ‘40s.  We witness Ursula’s birth and death over and over again — in each timeline she makes different decisions that lead to wildly different life paths. Or is it fate acting upon her?  A highly enjoyable read for fans of British historical fiction and alternative histories. The audiobook, read by Fenella Woolgar, brings the characters to life. (Submitted by Beth)

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