For me, the holidays aren’t the same if I don’t have a new book to read. I always made sure my kids got a new book for Christmas, and even now, as adults, they look forward to the tradition.
But it can be difficult to know what book to give. With that in mind, I asked some writer friends to recommend a few titles. You’ll find their picks here over the next few weeks. And don’t stop at their recommendations. Check out their bios and their own books too. Many of those are ideal for gift giving as well! This week, several non-fiction recommendations, one board book for little ones, and a French YA novel.
Fiona McQuarrie: Swim Through the Darkness: My Search for Craig Smith and the Mystery of Maitreya Kali by Mike Stax (Feral House). Part biography, part detective story, and part pop culture history, Swim Through the Darkness chronicles the author’s 15-year quest to find Craig Smith – a clean-cut ’60s musician who became a “psychedelic messiah,” released a legendary self-funded double album, and then disappeared. It’s an epic story, and it’s thoroughly engaging and poignant.
Fiona McQuarrie is the author of Song Book: 21 Songs From 10 Years (1964-74) (New Haven Publishing). https://writingonmusic.com/song-book-the-book/
Lea Tassie: The Green New Deal and Climate Change by Lynne Balzer (Faraday Science Institute/Kindle edition). This is an excellent and clear explanation of the scientific concepts about climate change, by a science teacher. Over the past couple of years, I’ve read reams of articles on the subject, so can say with confidence that Balzer nails all the facts.
Lea Tassie is the author of Two Shakes of a Lamb’s Tail. For more information, check her website: http://leatassiewriter.com
Karen Hibbard: Mary: Who Wrote Frankenstein, written by Linda Bailey; illustrations by Julia Sarda (Penguin/Random House). This atmospheric picture book is the inspiring story of the young woman who wrote one of the greatest horror novels ever written, and one of the first works of science fiction. For ages 5 – 8.
Karen Hibbard is the illustrator of Nimoshom and His Bus, written by Penny M. Thomas (Portage and Main Press). Visit Karen’s website at karenhibbard.ca
Marjorie Gann: HERE babies, THERE babies, written by Nancy Cohen; illustrated by Carmen Mok (Nimbus). A wonderful board book for parents or young ones expecting a new addition to the family. Bouncy rhyming verse accompanies boldly coloured paintings; combined, they give young ones lots to talk about. Suitable to about age 4.
Marjorie Gann is the author of Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery (Tunda/Penguin Random House 2015) Her website: www.gannwillen.com
Monique Polak: Félines by Stéphane Servant (Rouergue). In this un-put-downable book, set in the not too distant future, teenage girls around the world begin to develop feline characteristics. The shape of their eyes changes, their skin turns to fur, and they can sense the feelings of others. Fearing this “mutation,” the authorities try to control and confine the girls. But les félines are not about to let that happen.
Monique Polak’s most recent titles are Room for One More (Kar-Ben) and The Taste of Rain (Orca Book Publishers). Find her at: www.moniquepolak.com
Next week, more fiction titles for all ages and tastes.