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Join Dorothy online for a LIVE reading of her picture book, published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, on Tuesday July 21st, 7:00 pm (Mountain Time), with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. Check back here for a link to the event: dorothybentley.net – click on “News & Events”

Gather children for this lively romp through the seasonal activities of children in Alberta.

Q & A to follow.


	

A Secret Envy of the Unsaved, Rebecca Fredrickson

Fredrickson

 

Rebecca Frederickson’s poetry in Secret Envy of the Unsaved is raw and poignant, beautiful and tragic. As another reviewer (from Amazon) said, she writes about the “lives and personalities of residents of a small, close-knit northern community in BC. It’s a book that begs to be read in one sitting but left handy for re -reading.”

Her writing adds depth to common experiences:

“… the unsaved,

who could say anything

without their hearts pounding

wild and chaotic inside them.”

 

Fredrickson’s work is unpretentious and fresh, despite being published in 2002.

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A Canadian Author

Recommended for 14+

DB

Out on the Drink, by Bill Bunn

 

out on the drink

This is Bill Bunn’s latest YA novel. At times, the best way to get an idea about a book is to compare it to others which are better known. In this case, Out on the Drink reminds me of Hatchett, by Gary Paulsen. Both are survival tales with engrossing minute details of a marooned boy trying to stay alive.

Both are well written, although I would say that Hatchett has a choppier feel as it comes from the narration of a less-literate teen-aged boy; Bunn’s protagonist, although similar in age, narrates at a slightly higher literacy level. As a result, there is better narrative flow.

Another novel that comes to mind when reading this novel is The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson; both are “problem” novels. In Hopkin’s novel, the protagonist is in foster care; in Bunn’s novel, Sean is a candidate for foster care due to his family problems. Here is the blurb about Out on the Drink from the Chapter’s site:

Sean Bulger is a 16-year-old alcoholic from Newfoundland. His life revolves around avoiding his abusive stepfather and sneaking booze wherever and whenever he can. One of his party crashes goes wrong when a group of fellow teens dare him to check out a condemned Russian cruise ship.

Stone drunk and obsessed with the promise of more alcohol, Sean scrambles aboard the ship, and  blacks out when the boat is towed from harbour–and soon he’s adrift in a ruined ship, looking for fresh water, food, navigational tools, or anything that will help him survive.

This book is based on an actual ship off the east coast of Canada.

Bill Bunn is one of those writers that someone will discover and then have to read all their back novels. His work is consistently good and smacks of all that is right and wrong with boyhood, without getting into the clumsy “coming of age” stuff.

Whenever possible, Canadian schools should look to replace assigned novels with excellent novels written by Canadian authors, whether they are published in Canada or elsewhere.

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A Canadian Author

YA age 11+

Happy Reading!

DB

Our Familiar Hunger, by Laisha Rosnau

A couple of summers ago, I was able to attend a poetry writing workshop with UBC Okanagan professor Laisha Rosnau, through the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. She is winner of the

Dorothy Livesay Award, and the BC Book Prize for Poetry.

We ate lunch, she did a short Q&A, and then we got down to it… pen on paper. She provided several writing prompts. Quite a group was squeezed around the tables at the pub, some struggling to see in the din. After scribbling for a while, we took turns reading short bits aloud. Afterwards, we broke into smaller groups to write and read more.

It was a satisfying afternoon. And best of all, I left with a copy of Laisha’s book, Our Familiar Hunger. (Nightwood Editions, 2018, Duncan, B.C.). I did not know it at the time, but the volume has proved to be stark, beautiful, and important.

The work traces through ads, farm dirt, blood, abuse, and the chronology of the migration of Ukrainian women to Canada, some legally, and some as trafficked slaves to service oil workers and farmers. Rosnau uses found texts, many sources, her own poetry previously published on the topic, and she mentions works which inspired her own. Having read volumes of poetry without a unifying theme, I can see why this one is an award winner. The theme unifies the work and creates a strong statement about a people.

Noise and light explode

and we think it’s the surging

between us, what we hold

under heavy skirts, but

it’s another spray of gunshot,

another soldier marching.

The history of wars and suffering bleeds through, as do softer moments:

We sleep in our own skin

and lie so close together

I can see how there is something

in the blue of your eyes,

as wide as sky pressed against

crops of wheat before lack

Often, people don’t like poetry because it seems obscure and impenetrable. Not this. Anyone can read, understand, and gain from this work.

Happy Reading.

DB

A Canadian Author

Two So Small

by Hazel Hutchins

About a decade ago, I participated in a children’s book workshop in Canmore with Canadian author Hazel Hutchins.

I purchased one of her books, Two So Small, which she’d used as one of the examples in the workshop. The book has the flavour of a Folk Tale with surprises sprinkled throughout as well as sweet ending.

Here is the description from an online bookstore:

A gentle story about a brave little boy and his goat who, after many wrong turns, meet a baby giant in need of their help. In order to fully capture the size of the giants, Two So Small features an extra-large fold-out picture at the story’s end.

It became one of those books which I read over and over again to my young child. And it is one of the books which will remain on my bookshelf to read with grandchildren.

A Canadian Author

Happy Reading!

DB

Autumn Kids’ Book Tour

Dorothy would love to visit your school or organization to talk about creating a picture book! Suitable for all ages.

Contact Dorothy  through her publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Autumn Kids’ Book Tour*

Come and say hello and have your copy of

 Summer North Coming  read & signed by the author!

Calgary postponed

Banff postponed

Lethbridge Saturday November 9th, Chapters, 1:00 pm

Fort McMurray Saturday November 23rd, Coles-Indigo, 12:00 pm

* cancelled if roads are closed due to a snow storm