This is the second of our annual book recommendation blogs. Check out last week’s blog here to read more recommendations and watch for next week’s as well. This list focuses on biographies and memoirs.
As I didn’t manage my goal of reading 10 books in 2021 (yet… there is still time!) I have a few books I plan to read in 2022. I am a big fan of fiction, especially stories that create intricate new worlds full of all sorts of characters and debacles. However, in 2022 I am looking to learn more about the world we currently live in. As such, I am going to read Indian in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power by Jody Wilson-Raybould. My wife recently read it and told me it was a very interesting look into our country’s politics and governance.
This book recommendation, From Bear Rock Mountain: The Life and Times of a Dene Residential School Survivor by Antoine Mountain, comes from our partnership on the Cabin Radio Book Club. Ollie Williams of Cabin Radio interviewed Antoine and asked him about five books that had shaped his life. My part as NWT Literacy Council staff is what makes my job so great: I got to read Antoine’s book and discuss it! The podcast is great as well and, as mentioned above, comes with some more book recommendations – check it out here!
I really loved how this book was written. Antoine’s style of braiding together the past and the present through vignettes, poetry, Indigenous knowledge, and sharing thoughts and feelings really brought this book to life. His reflections on his childhood in Fort Good Hope, his experience attending residential school, his art, family and friends, sport and experiences all shine through to make this a rich and beautiful read.
I love to read books that tell stories from other countries. By immersing myself in a story of another culture, I can travel without leaving home! Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah reads like an adventure story at times. Trevor, the son of a Black mother and a White father, grew up in South Africa in a time when mixed race relations were not allowed. He was born just before Apartheid ended and faced many challenges to fit in. I was surprised to read that he was treated differently from the other grandchildren because of his colour. Trevor was a mischievous child and he got into some tricky situations. However, his mischievous ways also led to some entrepreneurial successes. He overcame many obstacles to become a very successful comedian, now based in the United States.
This is a story of resilience, the strength of a mother’s love, and the challenges of growing up in a place where you don’t really fit in.
The book is full of wisdom. My favourite quote is:
Learn from your past and be better because of your past. My mother would say, “but don’t cry about your past…Don’t be bitter.”
This book suggestion is one you have to make yourself! Kids love to read books that they feature in. And it’s really easy to make your own… all you need are some photos and a good imagination. Websites like Photo Book Canada, Chatbooks and Shutterfly make the process easier. Making your own book is a lot of fun and, believe me, kids will ask you to read it again and again. They also love to tell you the story. After all, it’s their story! You can also check out our Book Making and Comics and Graphic Novels How to Kits for more book making ideas.
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