NWT Literacy Council’s Holiday Book Picks, Part 1

NWT Literacy Council’s Holiday Book Picks, Part 1

NWT Literacy Council’s Holiday Book Picks, Part 1

Each December, the staff of the NWT Literacy Council write a blog series about the books we have enjoyed reading this year, books we are planning to give as holiday gifts, or are planning to read over the break. Here are the first of our choices.

The Noise Inside Boys: A Story About Big Feelings by Pete Oswald

This book has been a favourite in my house in 2023. I purchased this book for my 6-year-old son so we could talk about big emotions. It is a beautifully illustrated story of a little boy who has had his sand castle broken, and talks through his big feelings with his dad. He is encouraged to feel and name all his feelings, and to let the noise inside him out.

  • Katie Johnson, Program Director

Becoming a Matriarch and In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience by Helen Knott

This year I’m gifting author Helen Knott for friends and family to read over the holidays. Becoming a Matriarch is the most recent and second memoir by Knott, following her highly acclaimed work from 2019, In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience. She is a Dane Zaa, Nehiyaw, Métis, and mixed Euro-descent writer from Prophet River First Nations. Eden Robinson calls her “one of the most powerful voices of her generation.” In her memoirs, Knott covers themes of struggle, resilience, healing, and the journey of finding oneself. Said to write from a place of great courage, she is the perfect author for courageously welcoming in the New Year as we bid goodbye to the challenges of 2023.

  • Steph van Pelt, Project Specialist: Community Literacy


5 Ingredients Mediterranean: Simple Incredible Food by Jamie Oliver

A book I am hoping to get or to gift myself is 5 Ingredients Mediterranean: Simple Incredible Food by Jamie Oliver. It’s always nice to add new cookbooks to my collection and to add new recipes to my repertoire. Jamie Oliver is always a good choice and I appreciate his approach to quick and easy everyday recipes for week nights when you just don’t have a lot of time to make dinner. I am particularly drawn to this cookbook because the recipes are very low in ingredients (just five per recipe) and I love Mediterranean food.

  • Charlotte Upton, Senior Project Specialist: Youth Literacy


Moon of the Crusted Snow by Anishinaabe-Canadian author Waubgeshig Rice

I love post-apocalyptic thrillers, so I was excited to get into this novel. Once I did, I couldn’t put it down.  Set in a remote Anishinaabe community in northern Canada, the story follows the progression of a community after they are cut off from the rest of the world without warning.  Waubgeshig invites us into the lives of Evan Whitesky’s family and other key figures in the community as they navigate their new world.  He paints an authentic picture of the realities that would unfold and the personalities that would surface in a situation like this, and he does so at a pace that holds true to real time, all while keeping the reader on the edge of their seat.  I felt a constant pull to know what was going to happen next.  Being in the North and knowing so many people in remote communities, the novel left me in deep thought for days about the human psyche and what a post-apocalyptic world might look like here in the NWT.  I have already started the sequel to this book, Moon of the Turning Leaves, and I am so excited to see where the story leads next.

  • Christine Lewandowski-Shannon, Empowering Northern Youth Instructor


The House in the Cerulean Sea by American author TJ Klune

An enchanting and beautiful fantasy, rooted in a dystopian world much like Orwell’s 1984, The House in the Cerulean Sea is an uplifting story about a journey of the human spirit and unearthing our true selves.  The story follows Linus Baker, a lonely, quiet, and rule-abiding man living an underwhelmingly bland existence.  His world is rocked when he is assigned to investigate an orphanage designed to keep dangerous children away from the public on an isolated island in a picturesque Cerulean Sea.  This magical island chisels away at the soul and leaves you feeling motivated to stand up for what is right and to be an ally for others facing ridicule or struggle. A great read for all ages with LGBTQ+ characters.

  • Christine Lewandowski-Shannon, Empowering Northern Youth Instructor


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