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Fresh! Canadian Award Winners

by Betsy - 0 Comment(s)

You Are StardustYou Are StardustPress releases with this year’s winners of the Canadian Library Association's children's book award-winners and honour books were released on April 15th. In all three cases the committees have chosen a book dealing with potentially weighty subjects, offering parents, teachers, and librarians opportunities not only for sharing and discussion with children, but also titles appropriate for inclusion in classrooms.

The 2013 Amelia Frances-Howard Gibbon award for illustration has been presented to first-time illustrator Soyeon Kim, for the illustrations in Elin Kelsey’s You Are Stardust. Kim’s process for this environmental picture book involved photographing three-dimensional dioramas, giving the double-sided spreads an extra richness. They complement the text by an award-winning environmentalist, which discusses how all of us are part of the natural world.

Reluctant JournalReluctant JournalThis year’s CLA Book of the Year for Children was awarded to Susin Nielsen’s The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (who is only writing this because his therapist said he had to, which stinks.) Henry is certainly a reluctant hero; he is also smart and funny, which makes him an appealing protagonist from the very first page. By the time readers find out why his therapist assigned him to write in a journal about the tragic and life-changing incident that he calls “IT,” they will be unable to put down this book. That IT does deal with issues that have been in the news, including bullying, suicide, and school shootings, from the point of view of a survivor and in a manner that is neither condescending, nor didactic, nor preachy, should only make it a more relevant and important book for libraries, teachers, and parents to know about. This title is also available in Overdrive.

Book of Life by AngelBook of Life by Angel

High River’s Martine Leavitt is the winner of this year’s YA Book of the Year award for her verse novel My Book of Life By Angel. Sixteen-year-old Angel is living in downtown Vancouver when a shady character named Call starts giving her “candy” and turns her onto prostitution. Things go from bad to worse when Angel’s friend Serena is just one of the women who disappear from the area. Readers will be drawn into this book, that tells a haunting story about a difficult time in Vancouver’s history and a sad-but-true lifestyle.

All of the prizes will be awarded at the CLA Conference in Winnipeg at the end of May.

FRESH! Local Talent

by Stephen - 0 Comment(s)

The Calgary Public Library’s collection includes many books written by talented authors right here in Alberta. Here are two titles in our collection which I’ve recently enjoyed:

Bonfire: the Chestnut Gentleman

Bonfire: The Chestnut Gentleman by Susan Raby-Dunne

Told from the perspective of his horse Bonfire, this is the story of Canadian poet John McCrae’s experiences during World War I which ultimately led to the writing of the famous poem In Flanders Fields. Bonfire provides an accurate account of the conditions which faced both soldiers and the animals that served alongside them in the battlefields of Europe from 1914-1918. Amidst the chaos and destruction of the conflict an unbreakable friendship is formed between McCrae and his war horse which would last until the very end.

Great for those interested in history, horses or both, this well-researched offering from local author Raby-Dunne is well worth the read.

Rose’s Move by Graham McComiskey

Definitely one I’d pick for story-time with the kids, Rose’s Move tells the story of Rose, a flower who has grown too big for her bed and must make the transition to a new home. Told by McComiskey with charming style, Rose’s move is a great way to introduce young children to the concept of change and new experiences in their lives.

Complete with beautiful illustrations by Janice Blaine, (also local!) Rose’s Move is a wonderful choice to share with the whole family.

Tax Clinic at Your Library; a Unique Volunteer Opportunity

by Katie R - 0 Comment(s)

Tax Clinic at Your Library is a drop-in program that offers one-on-one tax preparation help to lower income Calgarians with assistance from trained volunteers. This is a unique library program that offers individuals with a specialized background in accounting, tax preparation or other related field an opportunity to utilize these skills in a volunteer capacity.

Volunteers in this program attend training provided by the Canada Revenue Agency through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program which provides training on the Software used in this program as well as the eligibility guidelines of the program.

For more information on volunteering for the Tax Clinic at Your Library please call 403-221-2009

The Tax Clinic at Your Library runs on a first-come, first-served basis and registration is not required, though space is limited. Please note that there are eligibilty guidelines based on income. The Tax Clinic at Your Library will run at the following locations:

Alexander Calhoun

Thurs. April 18, 4:30pm-8:00pm


Louise Riley

Sat. April 20, 10:00am- 4:00pm



Sat. April 27, 10:30am-3:00pm


Fresh! Kelly Oxford

by Jan S - 0 Comment(s)

One publishing trend that has been gaining popularity steadily over the past few years is books written by people who rose to fame blogging, tweeting or as Youtube sensations. In the past year notable titles include Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened and the very Canadian The Best of Down Goes Brown: Greatest Hits and Brand New Classics-to-Be from Hockey's Most Hilarious Blog by Sean McIndoe.

The latest internet-star-turned-published-author is Calgary's own Kelly Oxford. Her book Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar, was released last week and has already made its way onto the New York Times best seller list. Oxford got her start as a blogger and became a Twitter phenomenon; a mom with three kids navigating all that is parenthood and pop culture. She soon had celebrity followers including Jessica Alba, Jimmy Kimmel and the late Roger Ebert. Time Magazine named her one of the Top 120 Twitter Feeds in both 2011 and 2012 and to date she has almost 500,000 followers.

I became familiar with Kelly Oxford when a publisher representative told us about her about a year ago. Since then I have been following her on Twitter and was fortunate to get my hands on an advanced reading copy of her book. While not everyone will appreciate her humour, I like that she says what most of us are thinking, but wouldn't have the guts to say out loud. And in all honesty, part of her appeal is that she is from Calgary and it's hard not to cheer for the hometown connection.

The book is a memoir of sorts; each chapter functions as an essay about an event in Oxford's life, beginning with her failed attempt at a neighborhood production of Star Wars, through to a recent family trip to Disneyland. Her unique humor is present throughout the book, but the book is also very human and honest.

My favorite chapters by far, wereTweezers (about a tenacious young Oxford single handedly launching her modelling career) and Frogger (a trip to Disneyland filled with corn dogs and Belle from Beauty and the Beast). Throughout the book she does a good job of laughing at herself and gives the impression that while she has worked hard throughout her life (starting with that Star Wars production) she doesn't take anything for granted.

Oxford and her family are currently living in Los Angeles as she works on various television writing projects. The book seems to be the start of big things for her and her family. Place your hold now on a print copy of Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar; the ebook will soon be available through Overdrive.

Fresh! Dance in Video

by Dieu - 0 Comment(s)

It was two years ago when I saw the Alberta Ballet company perform George Balanchine’s Serenade, one of the greatest ballet masterpieces of the 20th century. For those of you who are unaware of who Balanchine was, I can say without a doubt that he was the most influential ballet choreographer of the 20th century, whose vision for ballet revolutionized the form in America and beyond. Born January 22, 1904, George Balanchine was the co-founder and ballet master of the New York City ballet, and to this day, his many ballets are performed in cities all over the world including our own. This month marks the 30th anniversary of his death.

Dancer documentaryThe Dancer documentarySince I don’t get many opportunities to watch ballet, I find that I am always looking for other sources to feed my ballet addiction. To my delight, I discovered not too long ago that the Calgary Public Library has a resource called Dance in Video in its E-library.

Dance in Video features hundreds of hours of video performances, documentaries, interviews and instructional footage from influential dancers and companies covering a variety of genres such as ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary. Coincidently, I discovered that a Swedish documentary that I had bought on DVD called The Dancer is available for free through Dance in Video! The documentary follows several dancers of the Royal Swedish ballet as they struggle with the stresses and joys of perfecting their craft and rising to the top.

The Calgary Public Library also has a great collection of ballet related DVDs. One excellent film with Canadian content that comes to my mind is Ballet High, a documentary about the graduating class of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division.

Turn Your Pennies Into Books

by Shannon C - 0 Comment(s)

PenniesWe asked for your pennies – and pennies we've received – over 300,000 of them and counting! The pennies will go to new books and resources for our library branches, through the Calgary Public Library Foundation's Collections Endowment Fund. Thank you Calgary, for your support!

In addition to pennies, we've also received:

  • Mexican pesos
  • Euros
  • UK pennies
  • a New Zealand 10 cent piece
  • a Pilipinas 25 sentimo
  • Cineplex game tokens and Klondike Days dollars (!)
  • Plus, some nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies, twoonies, and even some bills once in a while

It's been great to see how people have responded to our request:

  • A family who are creating a penny floor in their house brought us $50 in pennies they weren't using.
  • A senior's residence is collecting pennies for the Library and has challenged other senior's residences to do the same. 
  • A Scotiabank near Alexander Calhoun Library is collecting pennies to go specifically towards the Calhoun branch. We don't even see those pennies—they send us a bank draft when they have a good amount!

If you have pennies you'd like to transform into books for your Library, drop by your local branch and pick up a Penny Bag.


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