Our Holiday Gift Book Picks, Part 3

Our Holiday Gift Book Picks, Part 3

Each December, NWT Literacy Council staff members choose books that they will be giving as a gift, would like to receive and read over the holiday, or a favourite book they have been given in the past. This is the third group of our picks. Read our blogs from December 3 and 11 for parts one and two.  

A book I am going to share this holiday season is The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim. Jooyoun Kim tells the story from the viewpoint of two characters: Margot and her mother, Mina. Margot goes on a trip to where she grew up in Koreatown, Los Angeles for a long overdue visit with her mother, only to find her dead in her apartment. Margot begins to search for clues so she can piece together the mystery of both her mother’s life and her death. At the same time, the intertwined story of Mina’s past life in Korea and her journey as an undocumented immigrant unfold, and the story of what really happened slowly starts to come together.

-- Charlotte Upton, Family and Community Literacy Coordinator   

Amahl and the Night Visitors is a wonderful Christmas classic. It is an opera that aired first on TV on Christmas Eve in 1951. Since then, it has been performed on every continent and in many languages, and it has been seen by more people than any other opera in history.

It reads beautifully as a story. The main characters are a young shepherd boy and his mother who live in poverty. Despite their struggles, they share what they have with the three special visitors who seek shelter for the night.  The mother struggles with acknowledging that her son is getting older and she learns to let go of her son.  The son gets caught up in the Wise Men’s story of a loving kingdom, and offers a simple gift to the Christ Child. Then a miracle happens.

I grew up listening to the songs from the story and was very excited when I found this beautifully illustrated book.

-- Karen Johnson, Community Connections Coordinator

I have two books that I am hoping to read during the holiday. 

The first has been in my reading pile for a while now, as I chose it during a trip to Nova Scotia in the summer of 2019.  Doug Knockwood Mi’kmaw Elder Stories, Memories, Reflections, by Doug Knockwood & Friends, is a memoir of Doug Knockwood’s life, including his time spent working in Yellowknife.  He is a highly respected Elder in Mi’kmaw Territory, which is where I am from, and the book also says he is one of Canada’s premier addictions recovery counsellors.  The back cover states the story of his life is one of unimaginable colonial trauma, recovery and hope.

The second book on my holiday reading list is Moccasin Square Gardens, by a great friend of the NWT Literacy Council, Richard Van Camp.  I always enjoy listening to Richard’s stories when our paths cross, and I am very much looking forward to reading his latest short story collection.

  • Kathryn Barry Paddock, Executive Director







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