Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Kate McLaughlin : Author

Last Friday we were lucky enough to have a CEC alumna, and published author, speak to a couple of English classes. She spoke about the craft of writing and shared her expertise with several grade 11 and 12 students. 

Kate, who graduated from CEC in 1989, grew up in rural Nova Scotia with only her imagination and the Bay of Fundy to keep her entertained. That imagination was encouraged by her mother, and Kate began writing at age eight. She’s published more than 50 books under different pen names, including What Unbreakable Looks Like, Daughter, and Pieces of Me. She, her husband Steve, and her four fur-kids live in Connecticut.

Please stop by the CEC library and check out Kate’s aforementioned novels.

”Lex was taken--trafficked--and now she's Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn't quite know how to be Lex again.” -WorldCat
“Seventeen-year-old Scarlet Murphy is shocked to learn that the father she never knew is a notorious serial killer, and now that he is dying, he will give the names of his remaining victims to his daughter--but only if she agrees to meet with him.” -WorldCat
“When eighteen-year-old Dylan wakes up, she’s in an apartment she doesn’t recognize. The other people there seem to know her, but she doesn't know them – not even the pretty, chiseled boy who tells her his name is Connor. A voice inside her head keeps saying that everything is okay, but Dylan can’t help but freak out. Especially when she borrows Connor’s phone to call home and realizes she’s been missing for three days. Dylan has lost time before, but never like this." -Amazon

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

4 Fiction Books to Read During Holocaust Education Week

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe and Lilit Thwaites
“Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust. Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so, Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.” -WorldCat

The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron
“Sixteen-year-old Catholic Stefania Podgórska has worked in the Diamant family's grocery store in for four years, even falling in love with one of their sons, Izio. When the Nazis came to Przemsyl, Poland, the Jewish Diamants are forced into the ghetto (and worse) and only Izio's brother Max manages to escape. Stefania embarks on a dangerous course: protecting thirteen Jews in her attic, caring for her younger sister, Helena, and keeping everything secret from the two Nazi officers who are living in her house.” -WorldCat

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
"In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners. Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism -- but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive. One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her. A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions."-- Provided by publisher

What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper
“Liberated from Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945, Gerta has lost her family and everything she knew. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor, and Michah, who helps Jews reach Palestine. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.” -WorldCat 

Monday, November 6, 2023

4 Nonfiction Books to Read During Holocaust Education Week

Night by Elie Wiesel
Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. But Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.” -Amazon

None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948 by Irving Abella, Harold Troper, et al.
“Today, we think of Canada as a compassionate, open country to which refugees from other countries have always been welcome. However, between the years 1933 and 1948, when the Jews of Europe were looking for a place of refuge from Nazi persecution, Canada refused to offer aid, let alone sanctuary, to those in fear for their lives.” -Amazon

The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender
“A teenage girl recounts the suffering and persecution of her family under the Nazis, in a Polish ghetto, during deportation, and in a concentration camp.” - WorldCat

The Holocaust: Jews, Germany, and the National Socialists by James Norton
“The annihilation of Jews during WWII is perhaps the most widely known genocide in world history. (In fact, the term “genocide” was coined in the early 194s as a result of the systematic killings of Jews during WWII.) This book takes a close look at this particular period of history, from Hitler’s rise to power and the growth of anti-Semitism to the deportation and extermination of the Jews. It also discusses the end of the war, the Nuremberg trials, difficulties that survivors faced, and how the Holocaust continues to affect us today.” -Amazon

Friday, November 3, 2023

4 Fiction Books to Read During Holocaust Education Week


Broken Strings by Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer
“It's 2002. In the aftermath of the twin towers -- and the death of her beloved grandmother -- Shirli Berman is intent on moving forward. The best singer in her junior high, she auditions for the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof, but is crushed to learn that she's been given the part of the old Jewish mother in the musical rather than the coveted part of the sister. But there is an upside: her ‘husband’ is none other than Ben Morgan, the cutest and most popular boy in the school. Deciding to throw herself into the role, she rummages in her grandfather's attic for some props. There, she discovers an old violin in the corner -- strange, since her Zayde has never seemed to like music, never even going to any of her recitals. Showing it to her grandfather unleashes an anger in him she has never seen before, and while she is frightened of what it might mean, Shirli keeps trying to connect with her Zayde and discover the awful reason behind his anger. A long-kept family secret spills out, and Shirli learns the true power of music, both terrible and wonderful.” -Amazon

Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen
“It's 1942 in Poland, and the world is coming to pieces. At least that's how it seems to Chaim and Gittel, twins whose lives feel like a fairy tale torn apart, with evil witches, forbidden forests, and dangerous ovens looming on the horizon. But in all darkness there is light, and the twins find it through Chaim's poetry and the love they have for each other. Like the bright flame of a Yahrzeit candle, his words become a beacon of memory so that the children and grandchildren of survivors will never forget the atrocities that happened during the Holocaust.” -WorldCat

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli
He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Filthy son of Abraham. He's a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He's a boy who steals food for himself, and the other orphans. He's a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He's a boy who wants to be a Nazi, with tall, shiny jackboots of his own-until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he's a boy who realizes it's safest of all to be nobody.” -Amazon

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
“Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.” -WorldCat

Thursday, November 2, 2023

4 Nonfiction Books to Read During Holocaust Education Week

Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope by Wendy Holden
“Relates the true account of three pregnant women who met in Auschwitz, where they concealed their pregnancies from infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele and fought for their survival as well as the survival of their newborns as they embarked on a treacherous journey to freedom.”-WorldCat

Heroines, Rescuers, Rabbis, Spies: Unsung Women of the Holocaust by Sarah Silberstein Swartz
“Discover nine ordinary women who took extraordinary measures to save lives during the Holocaust, resisting terror and torture while undercover or in hiding, in concentration camps, in forests, and in exile.” -Amazon

Man’s Search for Meaning: Young Adult Edition by Viktor E. Frankl and John Boyne
“Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is a classic work of Holocaust literature that has riveted generations of readers. Like Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl and Elie Wiesel’s Night, Frankl’s masterpiece is a timeless examination of life in the Nazi death camps. At the same time, Frankl’s universal lessons for coping with suffering and finding one’s purpose in life offer an unforgettable message for readers seeking solace and guidance. This young adult edition features the entirety of Frankl’s Holocaust memoir and an abridged version of his writing on psychology, supplemented with photographs, a map of the concentration camps, a glossary of terms, a selection of Frankl’s letters and speeches, and a timeline of his life and of important events in the Holocaust. These supplementary materials vividly bring Frankl’s story to life, serving as valuable teaching and learning tools. A foreword by renowned novelist John Boyne provides a stirring testament to the lasting power of Frankl’s moral vision.” -Amazon

Millions of Souls: The Philip Riteman Story by Philip Riteman and Mireille Baulu-MacWillie
“Philip Riteman is a Holocaust survivor whose mission is to educate today’s youth on the atrocities committed against millions of Jews and Gentiles by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime during World War II. From the Pruzhany Ghetto, Poland, Philip and his family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. There, his entire family was exterminated. As the lone survivor, Philip was used as a forced labourer in five concentration camps, where he witnessed the cruellest treatments that can be inflicted on human beings: degradation, dehumanization, starvation, hard labour, daily beatings, torture, and deliberate, cold-blooded murder. Millions of Souls is his story.” Amazon

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

20th Annual Holocaust Education Week November 1 – 7

Holocaust Education Week is presented by the Atlantic Jewish Council in partnership with The Azriel Foundation, The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the University of King’s College, and the United States Consulate General – Halifax, with support from the Halifax Central Library. 

If this is a topic of interest to you, please stop by the CEC library and check out our resources. We will be making posts throughout the week highlighting various nonfiction and fiction holocaust titles. What follows below is a list of links you might find informative. 

Friday, October 6, 2023

Wi’kipatmu’k Mi’kmawey

Celebrate and honour Mi'kmaq History Month with the following nonfiction titles.

“Joseph explains how Indigenous peoples can step out from under the Indian Act and return to self-government, self-determination, and self-reliance-and why doing so would result in a better country for every Canadian." –WorldCat
“Eric Gansworth is telling his story in Apple (Skin to the Core). The story of his family, of Native folks everywhere. From the legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds.” -WorldCat

Beyond the Orange Shirt Story is a unique collection of truths, as told by six generations of Phyllis Webstad’s family that will give readers an up-close look at what life was like before, during, and after their Residential School experiences.” -Amazon
As a botanist, Robin has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together. -Summary

“An Indigenous leader who has dedicated her life to Indigenous Rights, Wilson-Raybould has represented both First Nations and the Crown at the highest levels. She is not afraid to give Canadians what they need – straight talk on what has to be done to move beyond our colonial legacy.” -Amazon
"This stunning work of investigative journalism follows a series of unsolved disappearances and murders of Indigenous women in rural British Columbia along Highway 16, a 450-mile stretch of dirt and asphalt, surrounded by rugged wilderness and snowy mountain peaks."--Publisher
"In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.” -Amazon
“Hereditary chief and leading Indigenous relations trainer Bob Joseph is your guide to respecting cultural differences and improving your personal relationships and business interactions with Indigenous Peoples.” –WorldCat

In L'nuk, First Nations educator Theresa Meuse traces the incredible lineage of today's Mi'kmaq people, sharing the fascinating details behind their customs, traditions, and history.” -WorldCat

“Highway animates the magical world of his northern childhood, paying tribute to a way of life that few have experienced. Infused with joy and outrageous humour, Highway offers insights, both hilarious and profound, into the Cree experience of culture, conquest and survival.” -Amazon
This up-to-date account of the residential school system discusses aboriginal life before the schools, the history and negative repercussions of the schools, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. -Summary

The groundbreaking and multiple award-winning national bestseller work about systemic racism, education, the failure of the policing and justice systems, and Indigenous rights by Tanya Talaga. -Summary
“Guided by acclaimed Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith, readers will learn about the lives of residential school survivors and listen to allies who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action." -Amazon
"Suffer the Little Children tackles one of the most compelling issues of our time - the crime of genocide - and whether in fact it can be said to have occurred in relation to the many Original Nations on Great Turtle Island now claimed by a state called Canada.” -WorldCat

Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, The Inconvenient Indian distills the insights gleaned from Thomas King's critical and personal meditation on what it means to be "Indian" in North America, -Summary
The Reason You Walk is a poignant story of a towering but damaged father and his son as they embark on a journey to repair their family bond. 

In this step-by-step approach on where Indigenous peoples are today as nations, how they arrived at this point and where they are headed, this book offers reconciliation guidance. -Summary

"In this book, David B. MacDonald uses genocide as an analytical tool to better understand Canada’s past and present relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples.” –WorldCat
Using Nova Scotia as a case study, Ingrid R. G. Waldron examines environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada. -Summary
“Discover the amazing story of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas from the end of the Ice Age to the arrival of the Europeans. You'll learn what people ate, how they expressed themselves through art, and how they adapted to the land.” -WorldCat

“Unsettling Canada chronicles the modern struggle for Indigenous rights covering fifty years of struggle over a wide range of historical, national, and recent international breakthroughs.” -WorldCat

Monday, October 2, 2023

Wi’kipatmu’k Mi’kmawey

October is Mi’kmaq History Month. Visit the CEC library to check out our fiction titles by aboriginal authors.

A 16-year-old Lipan Apache girl from Texas and a cottonmouth person from the spirit world connect when both need help. -Summary
Life has been a struggle for Toby Goodman. Set in a small town in the 1990s, this is the story of a girl on the edge—of a breakdown, of family secrets, of learning who she really is. -Summary

“Throughout World War II, in the conflict fought against Japan, Navajo code talkers were a crucial part of the U.S. effort. Now Joseph Bruchac brings their stories to life for young adults through the riveting fictional tale of Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy who becomes a code talker.” -Amazon
A Texas Apache teen comes face-to-face with a cousin's ghost and vows to unmask the murderer. Elatsoe combines mystery, horror, noir, ancestral knowledge, and haunting illustrations. -Summary

"Taken from their families and sent to residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when released. The paths of the five crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission.” -WorldCat
When Louise's boyfriend mocks Native people she dumps him. She'd rather spend time working on the school newspaper. The paper's staff soon find themselves with a major story : the musical director's inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash. –Summary
“Saul Indian Horse is in trouble, and there seems to be only one way out. As he journeys his way back through his life as a northern Ojibway, from the horrors of residential school to his triumphs on the hockey rink, he must question everything he knows.” -WorldCat
“Inspired by a handful of old postcards sent by Uncle Leroy nearly a hundred years earlier, Bird and Mimi attempt to trace Mimi’s long-lost uncle and the family medicine bundle he took with him to Europe.” -Amazon
“When Will returns to Medicine River for his mother's funeral, he doesn't count on Harlen Bigbear and his brand of community planning. Harlen tries to sell Will on the idea of returning to Medicine River to open shop as the town's only Native photographer. Somehow, that's exactly what happens." WorldCat
Medicine Walk, a novel by Canadian First Nations author Richard Wagamese, relates the journey of 16-year-old Franklin Starlight and his dying, alcoholic father Eldon Starlight to find a burial site for Eldon at a place deep in the forest he remembers fondly from his youth. -Summary 
"The final novel from Richard Wagamese, the bestselling and beloved author of Indian Horse and Medicine Walk, centers on an abused woman on the run who finds refuge and then redemption on a farm run by an Indigenous man with wounds of his own.” –WorldCat
Reckoner; Book One
“When Cole Harper is compelled to return to Wounded Sky First Nation, he finds his community in chaos: a series of shocking murders, a mysterious illness ravaging the residents, and re-emerging questions about Cole's role in the tragedy that drove him away 10 years ago.” -WorldCat

Reckoner; Book Two
"Cole is struggling to settle into life in Wounded Sky. He may have stopped a serial killer but the trouble is far from over. A creature lurks in the shadows of Blackwood Forest, the health clinic is on lockdown, and old secrets threaten to bubble to the surface. ” -WorldCat
Reckoner; Book Three
“Cole is dead. Reynold McCabe is alive and free. Mihko Laboratories has reopened the research facility and is working to manufacture and weaponize the virus that previously plagued Wounded Sky. People are dying. And time is running out.” -WorldCat
Misewa Saga; Book One
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg. They each feel disconnected and struggle to fit in -- until they find a secret place, and a portal opens to another reality.

Misewa Saga; Book Two 
Home after their adventure in the Barren Grounds, Eli and Morgan struggle with personal issues--Eli is being bullied, while Morgan has questions regarding her birth mother. They turn to the place where they know they can learn the most, Misewa.
"In a world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream. The only people still able to dream are North America's indigenous population - and their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors.  – WorldCat 
The thrilling follow-up to the bestselling, award-winning novel The Marrow Thieves, about a dystopian world where the Indigenous people of North America are being hunted for their bone marrow and ability to dream. -Summary
From the bestselling author of The Break comes a staggering intergenerational saga that explores how connected we are, even when we’re no longer together—even when we’re forced apart. -Summary
A boy discovers his Native American heritage in this Depression-era tale of identity and friendship by the author of Code Talker -Summary

“Bugz is caught between two worlds. In the real world, she's a shy and self-conscious Indigenous teen who faces the stresses of teenage angst and life on the Rez. But in the virtual world, her alter ego is not just confident but dominant in a massively multiplayer video game universe. Feng is a teen boy who has been sent from China to live with his aunt, a doctor on the Rez, after his online activity suggests he may be developing extremist sympathies. Meeting each other in real life, as well as in the virtual world, Bugz and Feng immediately relate to each other as outsiders and as avid gamers.” -WorldCat