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A Literary Roundup...

Here are a few things I found interesting this past week on the web that I've been wanting to share, a collection of the literary sort - the weird, the witty, and the wonderful.

- After mesmerizing the world over with her inspirational poem The Hill We Climb at the presidential inauguration news broke this week of yet another book deal for young poet laureate Amanda Gorman. Her poem will be released as a Hardcover book on March 16th with a print run of 150,000 copies, unprecedented for a poetry collection, and her other two books will be published in September 2021.

- In case you missed Gorman reciting the inaugural poem, you can watch it and read it here, and as an added bonus, you'll also find that PBS NewsHour designed a lesson plan for students in grades 6-12 to discuss the message and goals of The Hill We Climb that was written to reflect on "the history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for."

- Speaking of online learning, popular children's author Laurel Snyder was asked by readers to pen a Charlie and Mouse story for the current times, and she obliged. This is a good one to read with aloud with your kids, or grandkids.

- And this Frog and Toad take on the pandemic has been going viral, and for good reason. I think we can all relate.

- And for all you working from home, this one made me laugh, ok, that's it.

- Children's picture books are not only beautiful with their dreamy illustrations that draw us in, or their whimsical and playful stories, but they can teach us a lot about the world we live in.

- And books can also help us deal with some big emotions, especially for younger readers, and in light of Bell Let's Talk awareness campaign surrounding mental illness last week, our friend and author Vikki VanSickle released this great list of books that address mental health.

- Are you finding that you're reading more or less this past year? If you'd like to read more in 2021 here are some great tips on how to read more from people who love to read.

- Do you follow CBC's Canada Reads? Do you read all 5 contenders or do you wait until the winner is announced? This year marks the 20th edition of Canada Reads and you can read all about the 5 books battling it out here.

- CBC named Canadian author Souvankham Thammavongsa a writer to watch in 2020 and she went on to win the Scotiabank Giller Prize in the same year for How To Pronounce Knife, a collection of stories that portray the immigrant experience. And just this past week it was announced that Thammavongsa is among the US-based National Book Critics Circle finalists for the fiction prize. Winner will be announced March 25th.

- And in Canadian literary prize news, The Writers' Trust of Canada renamed their fiction prize the Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and will award $60,000 to the year's best work of fiction, up from $50,000 in previous years. The Writers' Trust was founded by Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson in 1976, alongside fellow writers Pierre Berton, Margaret Laurence and David Young. It's interesting to note that neither Atwood nor Gibson have ever won this award in their long and distinguished awards.

- And hey, Ethan Hawke wrote a new book. It's called A Bright Ray of Darkness and you can read an excerpt here.

- And here's a heartwarming story to end this week's reading list, a bright ray in the darkness, and the power of a good book club.

Happy week friends, and happy reading.

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