Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Stocking Raffle

Sylvan Lake Municipal Library

Cross-stitch Stocking

Beautiful handmade stocking
by local Artisan
Kay Johanson.
Stuffed with gifts from local businesses.
Winner will have the name of their choice
stitched on the stocking.

Tickets on sale now at the Library.
Tickets cost: $2 each OR 3 for $5
Draw Date: Friday, December 14
Stocking and contents valued at $500

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Canadian Children's Literature Award Winners 2012

The Canadian Children's Literature Awards were presented on November 21st.  They exemplify the best work of Canadian authors and illustrators.  The winners were:

TD Canadian Children's Literature Award was won by Trilby Kent for Stones For My Father

View full imageCorlie Roux's farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter. Despite this, Corlie finds solace in her friend, Sipho, and in Africa itself and in the stories she conjures for her brothers. But Corlie's world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boer families like hers from their farms. Some escape into the bush to fight the enemy. The unlucky ones are rounded up and sent to internment camps. Will Corlie's resilience and devotion to her country sustain her through the suffering and squalor she finds in the camp at Kroonstad? That may depend on a soldier from faraway Canada and on inner resources Corlie never dreamed she had….

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award was won by Geniève Côté for Without You

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In this delightful companion book to the acclaimed Me and You, two friends discover the joy of togetherness. Award-winning author-illustrator Genevi've C't? returns with another endearing story featuring two very different friends. After falling out over a spilled wagon of toys, a fussy bunny and an exuberant piggy explore all the things they can do without each other ? and gradually realize that life is much sweeter when it's shared with one another. This gently humorous, charmingly illustrated look at the ups and downs of friendship is a book you won't want to do without.

Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction was won by Susan Vande Griek for Loon

View full imageThe haunting call of a loon is quintessential summertime for many people. These majestically beautiful birds breed on northern lakes during the spring and summer, and when fall arrives, they migrate to open coastal waters. Young loons stay on the ocean for three or four years until they mature and their gray feathers molt, turning to the beautiful black-and-white patterned feathers by which they are known. At this point they return to an inland lake to find a mate and have their young. This gorgeously illustrated prose poem follows two baby chicks through this cycle. We witness their birth, and how they learn to swim, find food and avoid predators such as snapping turtles and big bass, and the possible danger of boaters. In the fall they imitate their parents as they learn to fly and are eventually large and strong enough to make their own migration to the coast. An afterword supplies other interesting facts about the common loon, which some scientists believe has inhabited lakes and oceans for millions of years. It describes these birds' amazing diving ability, their four different calls, and the different factors that threaten them, such as loss of habitat due to human proximity and environmental problems (acid rain, deadly toxins in lakes, oil spills and global warming), suggesting different ways that we might help to protect them.

Geoffrey Bilson Award Historical Fiction for Young People was won by Kate Cayley for The Hangman in the Mirror

View full imageA strong-willed 16-year-old girl fights for survival in 18th-century North America. Françoise Laurent has never had an easy life. The only surviving child of a destitute washerwoman and wayward soldier, she must rely only on herself to get by. When her parents die suddenly from the smallpox ravishing New France, Françoise sees it as a chance to escape the life she thought she was trapped in. Seizing her newfound opportunity, Françoise takes a job as an aide to the wife of a wealthy fur trader. The poverty-ridden world she knew transforms into a strange new world full of privilege and fine things -- and of never having to beg for food. But Françoise's relationships with the other servants in Madame Pommereau's house are tenuous, and Madame Pommereau isn't an easy woman to work for. When Françoise is caught stealing a pair of her mistress's beautiful gloves, she faces a future even worse than she could have imagined: thrown in jail, she is sentenced to death by hanging. Once again, Françoise is left to her own devices to survive . . . Is she cunning enough to convince the prisoner in the cell beside her to become the hangman and marry her, which, by law, is the only thing that could save her life? Based on an actual story and filled with illuminating historical detail, The Hangman in the Mirror transports readers to the harsh landscape of a new land that is filled with even harsher class divisions and injustices.

John Spray Mystery Award was won by Rob Mills for Charlie's Key

View full image"When Charlie Sykes wakes up in hospital in St. John's, he learns that he and his father have been in a car accident and that his father is dying. Charlie inherits little more than the brass key that his father pressed into his hand before he passed away. As far as Charlie knows, he has no family in Newfoundland. But then Uncle Nick shows up and is keen to meet his nephew--not because of who Charlie is, but rather because of what Charlie has: the key. That key will unlock a treasure Uncle Nick began searching for more than thirty years earlier. And he would have found it all those years ago if he hadn't been arrested and sent away for murder. But Charlie isn't convinced he should give up the key. He leads Uncle Nick on a wild chase through old St. John's, across Signal Hill and out to the coast. There, high above the rugged Atlantic, Charlie finally comes face-to-face with Uncle Nick, the treasure, and a family history that will leave him with a new understanding of where he comes from and where he's going."

Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy was won by P.J. Sarah Collins for What Happened to Serenity?

View full imageKatherine lives in a post-apocalyptic community completely cut off from the rest of the world. Her town is austere, run by utopians that have created a paternalistic order. Knowledge and the search for truth are not popular tenets. When her best friend's sister Serenity suddenly disappears, Katherine starts to question what she has been told...and nothing is as she was told. Will she have the courage to seek the truth no matter where it leads her? This haunting story about growing up and searching for the truth will challenge young readers' notions about knowledge, the search for truth, and the fight for freedom.

More information about the awards and the shortlist of nominees can be found at The Canadian Children's Book Centre

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brain On Fire

There was an interesting book on CBC Radio 1 yesterday, Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan.

View full imageFrom her website:


One day, I woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to my bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. My medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which I have no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier I had been a healthy twenty-four year old, six months into my first serious relationship and beginning a career as a cub reporter at the New York Post.
My memoir Brain on Fire chronicles the swift path of my illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving my life. As weeks ticked by and I moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit me to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning me to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined my team. He asked me to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing me with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which my body was attacking my brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

National Book Award Winners 2012

The National Book Awards, an American institution that awards American writers for exceptional books and promotes reading in general, has announced the 2012 winners.

Fiction- Louise Erdrich for The Round House
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 One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together,The Round Houseis a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.

Nonfiction- Katherine Boo for Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

View full imageFrom Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century's great, unequal cities. In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees "a fortune beyond counting" in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter - Annawadi's "most-everything girl" - will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call "the full enjoy." But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths,the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century's hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

Poetry- David Ferry for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations

2012 NBA Poetry Finalists

Young People's Literature- William Alexander for Goblin Secrets
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A boy joins a theatrical troupe of goblins to find his missing brother. In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around--much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie's only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared. Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan--because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river. This accessible, atmospheric fantasy takes a gentle look at love, loss, and family while delivering a fast-paced adventure that is sure to satisfy

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Governor General's Literary Award Winners 2012

The Governor General's Literary Awards have announced the 2012 winners:

Fiction- Linda Spalding for The Purchase
In 1798, Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagonful of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel suddenly trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever, and sets in motion a chain of events that lead to two murders and the family's strange relationship with a runaway slave named Bett. Stripped down and as hard-edged as the realities of pioneer life, Spalding's writing is nothing short of stunning, as it instantly envelops the reader in the world and time of the novel, and follows the lives of unforgettable characters. Inspired by stories of the author's own ancestors

Poetry- Julie Bruck for Monkey Ranch
Julie Bruck

Drama- Catherine Banks for It is Solved by Walking
Catherine Banks

Nonfiction- Ross King for Leonardo and the Last Supper
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Leonardo da Vinci's transcendent painting The Last Supper defined the master artist. Until now, no one has told the full story behind its creation. Political events weighed on da Vinci and all of Italy during the time of the painting's conception and creation, as his patron, the Duke of Sforza, unleashed forces leading to a decades-long series of tragedies known as the Italian Wars. Sforza was overthrown by French forces in 1499, forcing da Vinci to flee Milan with the paint on The Last Supper barely dry. The Last Supper ensured Leonardo's universal renown as a visionary master of the arts

 Children's Text- Susin Nielsen for The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
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A third novel from award-winning author and screenwriter, Susin Nielsen. A darker novel than her previous novels, Susin returns to familiar turf with a cast of fabulous characters, dark humour, and a lovable, difficult protagonist struggling to come to terms with the horrible crime his brother has committed.

Children's Illustration- Isabelle Arsenault for Virginia Wolf

 Isabelle Arsenault

Translation- Nigel Spencer for Mai at the Predators' Ball

Nigel Spencer

The winners for the French language section can be found at the Governor General's Literary Awards

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize Winner for Nonfiction 2012

The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust has announced the Nonfiction prize winner for 2012 is:

Candace Savage for A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape
View Item Details
When Candace Savage and her partner buy a house in the romantic little town of Eastend, she has no idea what awaits her. At first she enjoys exploring the area around their new home, including the boyhood haunts of the celebrated American writer Wallace Stegner, the backroads of the Cypress Hills, the dinosaur skeletons at the T.Rex Discovery Centre, the fossils to be found in the dust-dry hills. She also revels in her encounters with the wild inhabitants of this mysterious land -- two coyotes in a ditch at night, their eyes glinting in the dark; a deer at the window; a cougar pussy-footing it through a gully a few minutes' walk from town. But as Savage explores further, she uncovers a darker reality -- a story of cruelty and survival set in the still-recent past -- and finds that she must reassess the story she grew up with as the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of prairie homesteaders. Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and imbued with Savage's passion for this place, A Geography of Blood offers both a shocking new version of plains history and an unforgettable portrait of the windswept, shining country of the Cypress Hills, a holy place that helps us remember.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rogers Trust Winner 2012

The winner of the Rogers Writers' Trust Award 2012 is:
Siege 13,  Tamas Dobozy 
Thomas Allen Publishers
Siege 13

This novel is not yet available in the Parkland Regional System. Check back or ask your 
library if they will buy this book for their collection.

From the Rogers Writers Trust website (November, 2012):

Jury Citation

"From the dark cityscapes of besieged Hungary to the émigré cafés of contemporary North America, Siege 13 spans continents and decades, and in doing so illustrates once again that old maxim: the short story can be both as broad and as deep as a novel. At times gently humorous, at times quietly wise, Dobozy’s thirteen stories dazzle with their psychological nuance and brilliant attention to detail. These stories are never less than breathtaking."

About the Book

Thirteen linked stories surround the siege of Budapest, recounting one of the fiercest and longest battles of the Second World War. The collection documents episodes of awful carnage showing how Hungarians endured the horror of that 46-day conflict and how the haunting trauma shadows over the lives’ of survivors. Like the tale of Heléna, a Hungarian-Canadian immigrant who diplomatically tries to mend the relationship between László and Jenő, members of her family whose true identities were confused and transformed by the siege. A terrible time in human history, the ripple effects of the siege transcend generations raising emotional questions in these stories about war, family, loyalty, redemption, and a legacy of silence.

About the Author

Tamas Dobozy was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and is currently an associate professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. His short story “The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kalman Once Lived” won The O. Henry Award in 2011 and appears in this collection.

Tamas Dobozy on Siege 13 Rogers Writers' Trust Winner 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Congratulations to the winners of our
Canadian Library Month Contest.

Sylvan Lake Film Society Season Pass Winners
One Year Library Membership Winners

Thanks to everyone who participated.