The deadline to submit an application for our spring Writers in the Classroom installment is fast approaching (March 4!). Here are books by just a few of the 13 participating authors. Click here to see the full list and details on how to apply.
Indigenous comic artist Cole Pauls expresses his love for pizza in this graphic novel about punks eating pizza. Originally published in Lucky’s Comics newspaper, “DUNK,” Pizza Punks pushes the limits of pizza devotion by exploring just how far an extremely dedicated punk might go to attain the cheesiest of pies. Backpack pizza? Sure. Couch pizza? Absolutely. Even Mosh pizza isn’t off-limits. Pineapple pizza, though? That’s a little more controversial. This graphic novel collects Pizza Punks 1- 4, plus a 5th issue, drawn just for this collection. Pauls’s artwork and choice of fonts and colors brim with creativity and originality and his endeavour at turning something he loves into his passion is nothing short of inspiring. A graduate from Emily Carr University, Pauls is the winner of Broken Pencil Magazine’s Best Comic and Best Zine of the Year Award for his other comic series, Dakwäkãda Warriors II, which has also won Best Work in an Indigenous Language from the Indigenous Voices Awards. Grades 10-12.
Cole Pauls is free to meet students virtually for one Writers in the Classroom session from April to June
The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson
Métis author Jen Ferguson’s debut novel is a powerful story about a young Metis girl navigating through life on the Canadian prairies and dealing with family secrets, love, and rage. The novel revolves around Lou who has just broken up with her boyfriend for whom she never really felt desire, only discomfort. Lou starts working for her family’s ice-cream shack with her former best friend, King, who has suddenly resurfaced in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago without a word. Things take a turn for the worse when Lou gets word from her biological father, who she had hoped would stay behind bars for a long time; he has just got out and wants to meet her. While King’s friendship makes Lou feel safer and warmer than she would have thought possible, when her family’s business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can’t ignore her father forever. As the title suggests, this novel explores how even in the most trying of times, there can be hope and sweetness, and is published by an imprint that centres intertribal voices and work by diverse authors. Grades 9-12.
Jen Ferguson is free to meet students virtually for one Writers in the Classroom session from April to June
For Laika: The Dog Who Learned the Names of the Stars by Kai Cheng Thom, illustrated by Kai Yun Ching
Laika was a Soviet space dog, who became the first animal to orbit the Earth in 1957. Kai Cheng Thom turns the legendary story of this stray mongrel from the streets of Moscow into a moving, gorgeously illustrated picture book. Thom imagines Laika as a dog who yearned to learn the names of the stars. Although loved by her pack, Laika is an orphan and she knows that all dogs become stars when they die, including her parents. One day, a Russian scientist named Vlad offers Laika the chance to travel to the stars by helping him with an important experiment, an event that will change the entire world. The rest, as they say, is history, and even today, Laika is remembered for her bravery and for her ultimate sacrifice for human progress and space advancement. This book is part fable, part dog story, and part history; Thom’s words and Ching’s whimsical crayon and pencil illustrations are captivating and offer important lessons about world peace, science, and the deep bonds between humans and every other creature with whom we share the planet. Grades 4-7.
Kai Cheng Thom is free to meet students virtually for one Writers in the Classroom session from April to June