A Fine Taste in Novels Can Lead to Directing Fine Movies

The Irishman, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, widely regarded as one of the all time finest directors, is one of the most anticipated movies of the year, opening to highly positive reviews at early festival screenings before it hits Netflix on November 27th. This decades spanning organized crime saga is adapted from the account of a hitman who claimed to have worked for, and later killed Jimmy Hoffa. You can get an early taste of the movie by placing a request on the library’s copy of the book, I Heard You Paint Houses.

Scorsese has excelled at nearly everything in his career from the crime genre he is most associated with in films such as The Departed and Goodfellas, to biopics such as Kundun (about the Dali Lama) and The Aviator (about Howard Hughes). One constant of Scorsese’s choice of films is adaptations of books, not just any run of the mill bestseller either, but some of the best of the best. Not even limited to a few genres but covering the whole spectrum including memoirs, children’s books, religious themed fiction, and literary fiction. Here, in alphabetical order, are some of the novels Scorsese has most successfully brought to the screen.

Book cover of The Age of Innocence

Age of Innocence is one of those novels with such a classic story. A man who is quite popular in the local social circle of the upper class has a perfectly nice fiancée but he desires a more socially controversial woman. The book offers a finely crafted protagonist and picture of it’s setting (1870’s New York) that it is a must read for any aficionado of the English novels cannon.

Book cover of The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a children’s novel with such a great coming of age story at the center of it. An orphaned boy lives in a train station stealing parts to fix his father’s final project until he meets a family that changes his life. In the midst of all this the historic element sneaks up on you. One of the main characters in the story is one of the real life pioneers of cinema, Georges Melies, which makes this the easy reading choice for Scorsese fans specifically interested in cinema.

Book cover of The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ was controversial enough on first publication it has been speculated it cost the author, Nikos Kazantzakis, a Nobel Prize in literature. It has since become one of the most famous Greek novels. This story offers an alternate interpretation of Jesus’s life where he must overcome much internal doubt to achieve his goals, and indeed even discover what those goals are in the first place. Kazantzakis sums up the story’s appeal perfectly in his foreword to the novel, “My principal anguish and the source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh.” The intensity of feeling in this book is remarkable.

Silence is considered a classic in world literature. This piece of historical fiction depicts two priests who go to Japan to search for their missing mentor at a time when Christianity is outlawed, a rule that is often carried out violently. The somewhat specialized subject matter does not take away from the appeal of the story, the individual who attempts to determine what is right in a situation where morals he has lived his whole life may not be useful, or the complexity of the themes. Scorsese wrote an introduction to the novel in 2007, nine years before the film came out, which appears in all subsequent editions.

Book Cover of The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street is fascinating to look back on with the end of the 2010’s so near. Currently politicians are the ones whose potentially questionable behaviour dominates headlines, but at the start of the decade it was everyone involved with heading up big business, particularly banks and other companies involved in the handling of money for clients. The tendency to potentially forget makes this book, also initially controversial due to it’s shocking content, even more vivid and unexpected then ever.

Book cover of Killers of Flower Moon.

Still looking for more? If you want a sneak peek at a movie that hasn’t even been filmed yet, Scorsese’s next film, set to star Leonardo DiCaprio, is to be based on the true crime non-fiction book Killers of Flower Moon. It details the FBI’s mishandling on one of the first major cases they ever took on. Here’s hoping it’s the first of many more decades of great books to be adapted by this master filmmaker!


Lecture recommendée – Dix petites poupées

Enfant, j’étais fascinée par les poupées gigognes, ma grand-mère m’en ayant rapporté une de Pologne. C’est pourquoi j’ai choisi de lire Dix petites poupées, de B.A. Paris.

L’histoire en elle-même commence d’une façon des plus banales : un couple revient de vacances, s’arrête sur une aire d’autoroute, se dispute, lui va aux toilettes et, à son retour, elle, Layla, a disparu. Aux policiers, Finn racontera sa vérité des événements. Douze années passent. Il s’apprête à épouser Ellen, la sœur de la jeune femme. Moins banal tout d’un coup. Puis, régulièrement apparaissent ci et là la plus petite des poupées gigognes, que collectionnaient les deux femmes, à des endroits stratégiques connus du couple original.

Au fil de la lecture, en fait, je me prends au jeu de ce récit où les personnages ne sont pas ce qu’ils semblent être au premier abord, au point où la fin sera déroutante, soulignant l’approche psychologique choisie par l’auteure pour parler d’une relation passionnelle, mais ô combien pernicieuse et ravageuse. En fait, le temps lui-même est un personnage : impassible, qui passe et repasse dans notre esprit, tel un ouragan, donnant un pouvoir incroyable à quelque chose qui va nous ronger, comme ces courriels à la signature codée que reçoit Finn de plus en plus régulièrement ou comme ces petites poupées qui semblent occuper de plus en plus d’espace dans sa vie et dont il redoute qu’Ellen découvre l’existence.

C’est un livre intriguant, c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire, car il nous emporte non seulement dans les méandres de l’obsession qui elle-même s’empare de la lucidité de ceux et celles qu’elle habite et dont elle précipitera la fin, mais aussi, car il nous place devant des relations humaines complexes et critiquables, mais de quel droit…


Talking to Kids about Remembrance Day

Cover image for Remembrance Day  Cover image for Proud as a peacock, brave as a lion
With Remembrance Day approaching, there is a need to discuss and explain the significance of the commemoration to the younger generations.  Many children have personal connection to veterans through their families or are curious to learn about war and its legacy here in Canada and the world.  Our library staff are often asked by parents about what we can recommend to them that would be age-appropriate and not too graphic for their kids.  This can be a challenging topic to take on due to the harsh reality of the topic but the library does have material available to help learn about this very important day and the people it is meant to honour.

Remembrance Day and Canada

The library has books that explains the significance of Remembrance Day for Canadians (like the “Remembrance Day” from the  Canadian Celebrations series), explaining the roles of soldiers, what the symbols and rituals mean and where they came from, and a brief overview of the conflicts Canada took part in in it’s history,  in easy to understand terms.   The excellent and beautifully illustrated book “Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion” takes the perspective of a young boy asking his veteran grandfather about his wartime experience while preparing  for the Remembrance Day parade.  As questions pour out of his young grandchild, the grandfather talks about how, as a very young man, he was “as proud as a peacock in uniform, busy as a beaver on his Atlantic crossing, and brave as a lion charging into battle”. Soon, the old man’s room is filled with an imaginary menagerie as the child thinks about different aspects of wartime.  But as they attend the laying of wreath ceremonies together, the most important animal for them both remains the elephant, and its legendary memory. In an author’s note, Jane Barclay reveals that her son returned safely from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, and she dedicates the book to peace.   

Remembering the end of the First World War 

Cover image for The eleventh hour

Montreal Gazette cartoonist Jacques Goldstyn, has written and illustrated “The Eleventh Hour,” a picture book about two friends who enlist as soldiers in the First World War. Jim has always been stronger and faster than Jules, who is always two minutes behind his friend.  We see them go through training, cross the Atlantic and battle the cold and the mud of the trenches together. But in the end, only one of them will see the Armistice begin at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  This tale of friendship was inspired by true events and is meant to commemorate the centennial of the end of the First World War, as well as its cost and the overall futility of war.  

75th Anniversary of D-Day

Cover image for World at war, 1944

The commemoration of the Normandy Landings on June 6, 1944 have been the subject of intense media coverage and have stimulated renewed interest about its significance, including in children eager to learn more about this topic.  The ever reliable Magic Tree House series, where a brother and sister team travel through time thanks to a magic library (in the tree house), has a volume dedicated to D-Day called “Danger in the Darkest Hour”.  The duo soon find themselves parachuting at night ahead of the invasion force on a secret commando mission behind enemy lines to find a lost friend and help save many endangered lives.  All the while avoiding close-calls with the occupying Nazi forces.  While the book takes the time to explain the reality of living under military occupation, who were the key players at this stage of the war, and the high stakes that were in play, the humour and cheerful attitude of the heroes keep the story from becoming too dark for a young audience.  An information section of facts about the Second World War is included at the end as well.

Cover image for Invasion!

While the previous titles are for pre-teen readers, a lot of war fiction has been made for teenage audience and “Invasion” by Walter Dean Myers is a good example that offers a grittier reading experience with more mature themes while also being action-oriented.  Josiah and Marcus were friends in Virginia, but now that they are both involved in the Normandy invasion, the differences in their positions is uncomfortable, for Josiah is a white infantryman and Marcus is a black transport driver, the only role the segregated army will allow him.  Much of the book is about the frontline combat experience and its effect on the heroes, first as they land on Omaha Beach and then fight their way inland in the days and weeks following.  With themes of camaraderie and loss, battlefield trauma, and racism (the U.S. army being officially segregated at the time) are at the forefront, this is an honest look at what war was like for the soldiers who fought it, many off them barely more than teenagers themselves, while also satisfying readers looking for more adrenaline-fueled adventures.  

For beginning readers

Cover image for An anty-war story

Finally, there are also picture books for kids who are beginning to read, like “An Anty-War Story” by Tony Ross. This is the story of Douglas, the only ant with a name in busy Antworld.  Douglas just wants to fit in, but he is told that because he is big, he will be a soldier.  But what can an ant do faced with a very human war?

Let us know about your recommendation for Remembrance Day!


It’s Time to Read: The Remains of the Day

Let me tell you, dear readers, it’s weird when a book has “Winner of the Booker Prize” written on the front cover and yet, you still feel some apprehension as to whether the book will be good. Especially, when you’ve read other works by the author and have loved them. But, for me, such is the case for The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – November’s read for the Time to Read podcast.

My experience with Kazuo Ishiguro exists solely with Never Let Me Go, which was recommended to me by a dear friend who put it amongst their favourite books of all time. A coming of age novel, with the slightest bit of science fiction thrown in, the ending punched me in the gut and I tried really, really hard not to cry. And not really succeeding and it being awkward because I was in my mid 20s and trapped in a car because I was in the middle of driving across the country with my mom. And no son in their mid 20s wants to cry in front of their mom, especially trapped in a car, and especially because of a book. But it was that good.

So good, in fact, that the thought of reading another Kazuo Ishiguro book was daunting because of the fear that it wouldn’t live up to the high praise I felt for Never Let Me Go. What if The Remains of the Day doesn’t bring me to tears?

Dear readers, I hope you’ll join me as we find out. We’d love to hear your thoughts on The Remains of the Day. Did it make you cry? If it didn’t, what books have? Let us know on our Time to Read Facebook group, our website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca, or by writing to us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.  Then listen in to see if your comments made it on the air.

And don’t forget to check out this month’s episode in which we discuss Slaughterhouse-Five and where it fits among our favourite Vonnegut novels. Available now!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

Paranormal Potential

sleepy hollow

“ All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness…” — Washington Irving The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


The space under the bed, the dark recess under the stairs, the shadow behind the door, lonely roads in the mist, empty houses falling into disrepair… At some point in your life, there is a good chance you have looked at one of these places and felt the hair on the back of your neck stand up. They have a certain quality to them, as though they aren’t really anchored in the same time or space as the rest of our world. They are places that feel neither fully here nor there, spaces with the potential to become anything.

Maybe that’s why fall, being such a short season, always feels like the perfect time to reach for stories that echo this unsettling sensation. I love nothing more than recreating it in the comfort of my living room, wrapped in a blanket and with access to many lights – everyone knows that blankets and lights can ward of the creepiest things your imagination can throw at you!

In short, fall is the perfect time of year to break out the spooky stories and terrific tales, so get that protective cozy blanket, make sure all the dark corners of your room are illuminated, and get comfy with one of these ghastly gems.

The girl in the green silk gown by Seanan McGuire

Girl in the Green Silk GownBook 2 of the Ghost Roads series finds Rose, known to some as the Phantom Prom Date, and to others as the Girl in the Green Silk Gown, continuing to haunt the highways of America, sixty years after her death.

However, Bobby Cross, the man who killed her on the way to prom all those years ago, is still hunting Rose through the phantom diners of the twilight, where Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself. Forced out of the twilight, Rose will have to rely on her hitchhiker’s luck, friends, and even some frenemies to find her way back home to safety.

This book explores the places in-between the landmarks we recognize and puts an entirely new spin on life (and death) on the road. While not scary, this book is definitely haunting.

You can’t start a journey halfway to your destination, so I recommend starting with Sparrow Hill Road, the first book of the series, to ensure a smooth ride through The Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

Graveyard mind by Chadwick Ginther

This book does a great job of making you look twice at the streets and landmarks that make up your regular commute through Winnipeg, turning the familiar into the something… other.

graveyard mind

In Winnipeg’s underworld, every mortician is on the take and every revenant of myth waits to claw their way out of their tombs. The dead stay in the ground because of Winter Murray, a necromancer of the Compact. Winter stalks Winnipeg’s Graveside, preventing larger, more heinous crimes from spilling over into the lives of the Sunsiders, no matter what laws of gods and men she must break to do so. 

If you really want to dig into this book, I suggest heading to one of the landmarks mentioned in the book and reading a few pages while on scene for an immersive experience!

Gnarled Hollow by Charlotte Greene

Emily Murray has been given a chance of a lifetime: to work and study inside Gnarled Hollow, the former estate of one of her favorite authors. She doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but after her first day in the house, she knows something is off. Rooms go missing, doors close on their own, and time just seems to disappear. Emily is joined by other scholars, and together they begin to research the history of the house. Spurred on by their desire to uncover the mysteries of Gnarled Hollow and its ghostly inhabitant, they’re determined to uncover the truth, even if it means risking their own lives.

In the fine tradition of haunted houses through the ages, Gnarled Hollow plays with time and space. This is a great choice for fans of The Haunting of Hill House – the Netflix adaptation, as well as the original book by Shirley Jackson, which is similar in tone.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

small spacesBooks are eleven-year-old Ollie’s comfort,  so when she stumbles upon a distraught woman standing on the banks of the river intent on throwing a book into the water, Ollie stops her, steals the book and rides away on her bike. Within is the story of Elizabeth Morrison, who is being chased through cornfields filled with scarecrows by two brothers with deadly intent. When Ollie finds the graves of Elizabeth Morrison and her tormentors on a farm during a school trip, Ollie starts to think this book is more than just a book. 

When the school bus breaks down along the side of the road, and night begins to fall, the bus driver gives Ollie a word of advice: keep to small spaces.

Suddenly, Ollie is on the run through forests and corn mazes, dodging ghosts and  scarecrows while trying to figure out who the Smiling Man is, and just what he wants.

ghostGhost : thirteen haunting tales to tell 

Mirrors at midnight, dark ponds on a stormy night, this collection of short and shivery stories has it all, paired with some excellent illustrations, to boot. And I know we’re not supposed to pick books based on their covers, but just this once, you would be forgiven.

 No happy endings here, folks, so consider yourself warned. 

If you have some spooktacular stories you think would make good reading during the long cold nights ahead, drop them in the comments below.

Happy reading,




“Words Have No Power to Impress the Mind Without the Exquisite Horror of Their Reality.”

Edgar Allan Poe

Words form our reality. They give it shape, definition and boundaries. But words can also break and transcend those very boundaries, for in defining a word or idea, words have the power to break that same reality. Poe was a master of the subtle art of definition. He would describe an ordinary world, scenario, individual and then twist it ever so slightly; thus, calling into question everything you previously thought. This year, with the anniversary of Poe, (October 7 was his 170th Death Day); I thought a fitting tribute would be to encounter some of his work.

For my choice of stories, I am reading some of Poe’s short stories. In it are found such classics as “Rue de Morgue”, Black Cat” and “Raven”. Themes of death, obsession and feeling trapped haunt many of Poe’s tales, yet these ones always seem to strike a chord. I would also recommend Poe’s journals and other fiction collections. But don’t take my word for it. There are several books that only contain a few of Poe’s work and are a good place to dip your toe into the dark caverns of Poe’s mind. The artistry of some of the illustrations or photographs alone will really steel your breath away.

For my film selection, one of my favorites is The Raven, starring John Cusack who plays Edgar Allan Poe. A murder has happened and Poe is called in as a consultant. Through twists and turns, the story also gives on explanation as to the events that led to Poe’s death. It’s very dark, bloody and creepy, yet an excellent film. (Brief segue: On October 3, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe was found wandering the streets, and taken to hospital. He died four days later at the age of forty. No one knows the cause of his delirium, yet many have speculated.) Other selections are The Pit and the Pendulum, starring Vincent Price, Tales of Mystery and Imagination with the late Christopher Lee, Stonehearst Asylum with Kate Beckinsale and An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe where vignettes of various short stories are performed.

Another thing I would highly recommend (for those who don’t get scared very easily) is the audiobooks. The full collection is read by the great Basil Rathbone (of Sherlock Holmes fame) and Vincent Price (this guy really gets around within the horror genre). It’s guaranteed to give you a thrill (and the chills) before Halloween.

It always amazes me which authors survive through the decades and which ones fade away. Some were popular in life, others obscure. Yet though various twists of fate, certain authors manage to make it out of their own eras and encompass a period or a genre that stands the test of time. Whether you read Poe as a Gothic writer or a dark romantic, the next time you see a Raven, be wary if it cries “Nevermore”.

  • Katherine


October 12, 2019 was a sad day for our urban forest. In addition to snarling traffic and knocking out power for many Winnipeggers (and other communities across the province), the heavy snow and winds also bowed, bent and broke thousands of tree branches.

The damage was so severe that one local landscape worker called it a “tree apocalypse” , and the City of Winnipeg’s forester has said that it will likely take a full year to complete the cleanup job. Crews from as far away as Calgary and even Toronto have come to help.

Wondering what to do about fallen or damaged trees in your neighbourhood? See the City of Winnipeg’s Tree Removal Information.

And here are a few books – some practical, some poetic – that might help you deal with the after effects of the storm.

The Tree Doctor

Trees growing in an urban environment face unique challenges that demand an appropriate approach. The Tree Doctor provides invaluable guidance with advice on the right species for every space, whether to choose a shade or flowering tree, what to look for in choosing a tree, and how to hire qualified experts if you need to.

Pruning simplified: a visual guide to 50 trees and shrubs

This must-have guide offers expert advice on the best tools for the job, specific details on when to prune, and clear instructions on how to prune.

The Homeowner’s complete guide to the chainsaw

A chainsaw pro shows you how to safely and confidently handle everything from trimming branches and felling trees to splitting and stacking wood.

The hidden life of trees: the illustrated edition

A forester’s fascinating stories, supported by the latest scientific research, reveal the extraordinary world of forests and illustrate how trees communicate and care for each other.

The last tree

A beautiful story about the importance, care, and preservation of trees, and the small steps we can all take to care for the planet.


A lyrical narrative and lovely, graphic illustrations pay tribute to the beauty and importance of the trees all around us.

~ Danielle

The Science of Cooking

“We are passionate about cooking — discovering why recipes work and why they don’t — and sharing what we learn to help everyone cook with confidence. We test cookware and supermarket ingredients to find the best quality products for home cooks. We don’t accept advertising.” ~America’s Test Kitchen~

For our first meeting of the year, the Cookbook Club decided to review America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) cookbooks. The ATK TV show, on PBS, has been around since 2001 and has grown to include a website, an on-line cooking school and a lot of cookbooks. They also publish the popular Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines. (available at several branches, as well as, digitally at RBDigital.)

The general consensus from the group—you can’t go wrong with America’s Test Kitchen! They provide detailed instructions for each recipe and also provide the science, or “whys” behind the recipe. Everyone loved the beautiful photos and “quick tips” that are provided in most ATK cookbooks.

Prasanna found the index for Nutritious Delicious, easy to use, with the main ingredients printed in bold text – very helpful! The Super Gaucamole was very different, since it contains pomegranate and pumpkin seeds. The Turkey Shepherd Pie took about 2 hours to prepare, but the flavours were good, especially the next day.

Cheryl loves ATK’s magazines, so she chose Cook’s Illustrated Revolutionary Recipes. She made The Best Chicken Stew in her pressure cooker, the day before, then reheated the next day and served it with creme fraiche. The gravy was really rich and delicious and has a surprise ingredient—anchovy paste!

Stephanie thought some of the ingredients in The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2019 were a little complicated and hard to find, but really enjoyed the Chopped Carrot Salad with Mint, Pistachios, and Pomegranate Seeds. “Processing the carrots gave them a great texture that mixed well with the other ingredients and the pistachios added a nice crunch.” The Pan-Seared Salmon Steaks with Tarragon Chimichurri “turned out really moist, delicious, and crispy on the outside.  The Tarragon chimichurri added a nice flavour and acidity to the salmon.”

Jan really liked All Time Best dinners for Two: “The photos were inspiring and the portions were large.” The Turkey Pesto meatballs were very simple, with only three ingredients – ground turkey, pesto and Panko crumbs. The Parmesan and Basil stuffed Chicken was a little more complicated, trying to stuff the filling under the skin and keep it from oozing out.

Cathy made a delicious Crumb Cake from The Complete Make Ahead Cookbook. It uses pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour, making the cake a lot lighter. The Quinoa Pilaf is the best quinoa recipe she has ever made. It involved toasting the quinoa, until it pops, then adding the other ingredients and uses less water than most recipes.

Ed has a very large cookbook collection, including many from ATK. After reviewing Spiced for the Cookbook club, he had to add it to his library. It includes several recipes to make your own spice blends. Ed made the Tex-Mex Cheese Enchiladas, using their “quick tip” of microwaving the tortillas in a damp tea towel instead of cooking them in oil, and thought they were as good as any restaurant enchiladas he has had.

Deb tried two recipes from Vegetables Illustrated, but would like to try more. The Indian Style Mixed Vegetable Curry was an easy recipe to make and her family gave it a 7 out of 10 – “The flavours didn’t really shine through until we added some fruit based hot sauce.” The Spaghetti Squash Salad with Chickpeas and Feta is a nice alternative for squash, instead of always using it as a pasta substitute.

Just Add Sauce has a unique section that tells you which sauces pair well with certain ingredients, which is helpful. The best recipe that Lynda & Maureen tried was the Fluffy Polenta with Slow Simmered Meat Sauce. They also tried the Everyday Pad Thai and Fideos with Chickpeas Kale and Aioli.

Jackie thought One Pan Wonders was a “good cookbook with lots of suggestions on how to make a nutritious meal all in one pan.” The Pork Tamale Pie tasted better the second night and the Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta and the Meatloaf also turned out very well.

What Good Cooks Know would be a great gift for a new cook, since it contains all the basics you need. The Eggplant Parmesan was a great way to use up the eggplant from my garden. It was a bit time consuming – dipping the eggplant in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs, then roasting, but the end result was worth it. The Southern-Style Skillet Cornbread is a basic recipe, except you toast the cornmeal first, which deepens the flavours.

Have we whet your appetite? If so check out Winnipeg Public Library’s collection of over 70 ATK cookbooks!


The Drum is Calling Us In

“there were men of good faith
Robbing babies from their cradles
Like the monsters we used to tell each other about
Ripping children out of their mother’s arms
To be imprisoned in the houses of a god
Whose teachings were love

But the things that were done were not love”

On September 30, we recognize Orange Shirt Day in solidarity with Phyllis Webstad whose brand new orange shirt was taken from her on her first day at residential school.

“When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

“Our nation is built above the bones of a genocide”
“We are not free to shed our history
Like an inconvenient skin

If you wore an orange shirt because every child matters, you can augment your act of reconciliation by vising the Millennium library to view the exhibit entitled Framing Residential Schools Narrative, Landscapes of Resiliency by Vanda Fleury-Green. Vanda has spent the last 10 years visiting the locations where residential schools once stood and has photographed what is left of them. She has made some haunting discoveries.

“and sometimes the medicine we need most
Comes from remembering who we were
So we can reconcile it against who we wish to become

The drum is calling us in”

This tobacco is in acknowledgement of the children taken and the parents left behind; of Survivors who walked these grounds while sharing their stories

                In this exhibit, you may touch the bricks of the residential schools and witness the tiny baby blankets and child size moccasins that emphasize how young the children were. Some windows have broken glass and mirrors that fracture the viewer’s image in the same way that the students’ lives were fractured from being taken away from their homes. Every object is thoughtfully arranged to carry the viewer into the past for remembering and also forward towards reconciliation.

MacKay Indian residential School 1914–1933 Fisher Island Manitoba

“Our fight is not meant to be with each other
Our fight is to be better
Always improving
Moving toward what we wish this nation to be

We can be better”

                The Framing Residential Schools Narrative is currently showing in the 2 windows on the main floor of Millennium Library by the New and Noted area. In early December the exhibit will expand into the 8 windows by the Richardson Reading Terrace. In tandem, the exhibit Reflections on Shoal Lake Water is on the 2nd floor in the Wii ghoss area and both exhibits will be showing until the end of February 2020.

“At the core of our values
Is dignity
And yet we strip mine a culture of its identity
Allow our leaders to erode each treaty
And stab flags into the land
As if mountains can be owned
As if water is property
Where is our dignity
If we cannot hold true to the promises we make?”

                Winnipeg draws its drinking water supply from Shoal Lake and the undignified building of the aquaduct is a constant reminder of broken promises for Kekekoziibii, the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation who were displaced, isolated and robbed of their own drinking water. In Urban Eclipse : Rising Tides of the Kekekoziibii, filmmaker Jesse Green travels back to his home community interviewing people about the impacts of the aqueduct in the 100 years since it was built. Through the film, viewers will come to understand the complexities of colonialism; how the web of politics, displacement, residential schooling, and the role of media affected the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

Letter from Chief Redsky asking for the payment for the Shoal Lake land
Source: Library and Archives Canada, MIKAN no. 2075667, item 138.

“If the world brings a challenge to one of us
It brings it to us all
We rise and fall together”

                Urban Eclipse will be screened at the Millennium Library on November 3rd 2019, at 2pm in the Carol Shields auditorium.  Admission is free of charge. Join Vanda and Jesse as they introduce the film and talk about their journey in bringing their vision to life. Come listen to the beat of their drum, it calls us in.

All quotes in orange are by Shane Koyczan’s Inconvenient Skin Theytus Books. 2019.


Stories and Faces

Like many library employees, I love books—mostly fiction, and the bigger the better. When my kids were younger they started bringing home graphic novels, and I must admit I didn’t really appreciate them at the time. I love words, and the pictures just seemed to get in the way. Fast forward a few years and I was picking up a hold for one of my children. It was the graphic novel Maus, a Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History, by Art Spiegelman . It is not surprising that this Pulitzer prize winning book, sometimes referred to as the greatest graphic novel of all time, drew me right in. Written over 30 years ago, Maus was a game changer, proving that complex mature themes can be retold with impact in a graphic narrative.

In recent years, amidst growing numbers of displaced people (1 in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee), there have been a number of excellent graphic novels published that put a face to the struggles that refugees endure. They provide us with a way of ‘understanding the individuals behind the numbers’, which can only encourage compassion when it is so needed.

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Threads: From the Refugee Crisis- Kate Evans

Threads takes us into the French port town of Calais where a city has developed within this ancient city of lace. Aptly known as the ‘Jungle’, hopefully a stepping stone to the UK , it is home to thousands of refugees, mostly from the Middle East and Africa. Kate Evans travelled to the Calais Jungle and gives a vivid firsthand report, ‘both capturing the wrenching reality of a seemingly intractable problem and making an eloquent argument for its solution: open borders.’ I thought Threads was an incredible, moving, raw read.

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Illegal- Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Bestselling author Eoin Colfer, of Artemis Fowl fame, along with Andrew Donkin, published Illegal in 2018. This graphic novel, although found in the children’s section, does not shy away from difficult topics. It is heart-wrenching and real in its retelling of the story of Ebo, a young boy from Ghana who makes the epic journey across the Sahara Desert to Tripoli, and eventually into the merciless sea, always hoping against hope to be reunited with his family and a new beginning.


The Strange- Jerome Ruillier

Peopled by animals, The Strange tells the story of one refugee’s journey as he tries to bring a new life in the West, where he is unable to speak the language. The story is told by a number of different narrators, people he has crossed paths with—police, neighbours, strangers, helpers. The illustrations are strikingly done in black and white, with splashes of red and orange. Ruillier collected material for the novel from “the accounts of undocumented immigrants and their families, as well as police officers and other people close to the issue”


The Arrival- Shaun Tan

The Arrival, by author Shaun Tan, is a wonder of a book. It is completely wordless, but that doesn’t detract from the story, instead drawing you in to look closely at a landscape that looks both fantastical and real. Brian Selznick (author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret) remarks, ‘how it slowly dawned on me that this bizarre world was how any immigrant might see the new place they go…everything is different and scary and magical.’

You can also check-out these other titles from the Winnipeg Public Library catalogue:

Baddawi; Escape from Syria; and Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Like games? Created in Winnipeg by Michelle Lam, Refugee Journeys is ‘based on a simple “snakes and ladders” game concept—players move forward, backward, or miss turns based on the cards they draw or the spaces they land on. Cards include integration experiences of real refugees, drawn from academic research, news and media, and the game creator’s personal experiences’.