Just Think, I Could Have Been Normal: Growing up Extraordinary With Cerebral Palsy by Nova Bannatyne-Eng


From the very first paragraphs, I was drawn into Nova’s biographical account. It was hard to put down the book. While reading Just Think, I Could Have Been Normal, I went through the entire spectrum of emotions: from tears to smiles, from anger to cheer, from sadness to hope. Nova Bannatyne was born with cerebral palsy, a diagnose that is pretty bad on its own, but the tormenting remarks and actions of many narrow-minded people that Nova encountered in her life – made it even worse. Yet, nothing could alter Nova’s soul or her determination to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. As a result, Nova’s journey, in my opinion, is more epic than any epic story I’ve ever read. If it wasn’t for Nova’s sense of humour and a warrior attitude that put a light twist on everything, the book could have been a torture to read, but it’s not. Instead, it leaves you feeling empowered, in awe, and wanting to be different – brave, accepting, and forgiving – just like Nova. (Submitted by Mariya)

Would you like to meet Nova Bannatyne, talk to her, and get an autograph? Surrey Libraries can help! On Wednesday, September 27th, 6:30pm-8:30pm, there will be an event happening at the Guildford Library called – Authors Among Us. Nova Bannatyne will be joining other local authors in our panel discussion. If you would like to attend this event, please, call 604-598-7360 to register. Event is free!

They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars

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If you are looking to learn more about First Nations in BC, check out author Bev Sellars.  Her childhood memoir They Called Me Number One about life in a church-run residential school is powerful and easy to read.  Continue your learning with Sellars’ second book  Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival.  Price Paid is a personal view of First Nations history in Canada and helps explain the historic reasons for First Nations issues today.  Highly recommended! (Submitted by Kristen).




The Golden Spruce: a true story of myth, madness, and greed by John Vaillant

Image result for golden spruceThis book was excellently written – it made a topic that I wasn’t too sure was all that interesting into a fascinating and page-turning true tale. Highly recommended. (Submitted by JF).

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The Fish Eyes Trilogy by Anita Majumdar

Anita Majumdar set her interlocking trilogy of plays in the town of Port Moody, BC. Her three female high school aged protagonists grapple with issues of race, appropriation, and sexual politics through Indian dance. Through Maria Ngyuen’s illustrations the play’s characters come vividly to life in the mind of the reader, while the play staging directions tantalizingly indicate a robust physicality that would be present in the performance.  (Submitted by Meghan W.)

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For Want of Wonders by Richard Payment

In For Want of Wonders, we are introduced to 10 year-old Vishesh, a boy living in Nargol, India. He loves cricket (mostly the numbers involved in the game–keep the action away from him) and he witnesses something during one of the games that impacts his life forever. I was compelled as soon as I picked up this book to hear Vishesh’s story–Payment’s words are poetic, evocative, and soothing. As writer Frank Delaney expressed, “In Rabindranath Tagore’s footsteps, Richard Payment writes beautifully, and generates a moving evanescence, working, as he does, in the age-old but always compelling area between writing and dreaming. This is as much a prose poem as it is a novel, the kind of book and writer we must not lose in the new unsatisfying welter that corporate book publishing has become.” (Submitted by MS).

Meet Richard at Authors Among Us on Saturday, April 16 at City Centre Library at 12:45pm as part of the Write Here, Read Now festivities. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot.

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Momma, Momma, the Preacher’s Comin’ by Doreen Brust Johnson

Local Surrey author, Doreen Brust Johnson, felt compelled to write this account of her mother’s life. Born in 1939, Doreen grew up in rural northern Saskatchewan before moving to Vancouver as a teen. The story opens with adult Doreen in a coma as a result of a car accident–her elderly mother sits by her side and weaves a tale of hardship, love, and courage. To help Doreen through her coma, her mother shares the stories of growing up in the early part of the 20th century — the World Wars, the depression, and traveling north to become homesteaders.

I enjoyed this historical account of Canadian life — it reminded me of how important it is to share stories with one another. Listen to your elders, to your parents–ask questions and learn. I look forward to meeting Doreen at Authors Among Us at City Centre Library on Sat, April 16 at 12:45pm. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot! (Submitted by Meghan).

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Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive by Dr. Mark Winston

I absolutely loved Mark Winston’s Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive. This book won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2015 and it deserves all of it’s accolades. Dr. Winston is a bee scientist and a professor at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue. His writing on the topic of bees, sustainability, environment, food, science, history, and art flows seamlessly. I’ve always known that bees are remarkable and a valuable part of the ecosystems that make Earth function as a planet, but I never knew quite how valuable. This was a fascinating exploration of a topic that is more timely than ever as the environmental changes to our planet accelerate.

You have a chance to meet Dr. Winston in person at Honey, Hives, & Poetry in Surrey on Tues, March 15 at 7pm at City Centre Library. He will be joined by Surrey Poet Laureate Renee Sarojini Saklikar, Surrey poet Heidi Greco, and the Surrey Beekeepers Association. Black Bond Books will have books for sale. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot. (Submitted by Meghan)

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