News

Best Books and Book Week honours

Posted by on May 19, 2017

DSCN4459The latest issue (Spring 2017) of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teens arrived this week. As previously highlighted, Hugh R. MacDonald’s Us and Them was selected for inclusion!  In the same batch of mail, the latest issue of Celtic Life International also includes a review of Us and Them. And, we just learned that Hugh will be among the featured guests at a Miners Museum 50th anniversary shindig on June 14.

For some icing on that cake, the 2017 TD Children’s Book Week (May 6-13) special “Read Across Canada!” promotion (A literary journey across Canada) features Hugh’s first novel, Trapper Boy (CBUP 2012).

For forty years, hundreds of Canadian authors, illustrators and storytellers have participated in Book Week, celebrating books and stories with young readers from coast-to-coast-to-coast. This year also marks Canada’s sesquicentennial, so this year’s theme guide also features more than 150 books that pay tribute to the different regions of Canada.

Also on that list of 150 influential books for teens across Canada: The Manager, by Caroline Stellings, and Blood Brothers in Louisbourg, by Philip Roy!

Us and ThemTrapper Boystellings-managerBlood Brothers in Louisbourg

The latest issue (Spring 2017) of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teens arrived this week…. Continue»

Another literary step in the right direction

Posted by on May 11, 2017

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Book launch – Visioning a Mi’kmaw Humanities

Posted by on May 5, 2017

In partnership with Unama’ki College (Cape Breton University) we are pleased to announce the official launch of Visioning a Mi’kmaw Humanities: Indigenizing the Academy, edited by Marie Battiste.

Mi'kmaw HumanitiesA native of Potlotek and professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Battiste, led a team of scholars and researchers to bring new perspectives and new sensibilities to how Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous peoples have come to know and appreciate the deep spiritual treasure they have in them.

What is understood as the humanities celebrates the educational and humane disciplines of philosophy, history, theology, languages and literatures. Undeniably Eurocentric, the humanities are embedded in disciplinary knowledge that ignores core capacities of all societies and cultures.

Battiste-MarieAs Dr. Battiste writes, the current vision of humanities education is a kind of “cognitive imperialism” that is its own authority to define what is considered normal and desirable.

“All other ways of thinking, learning and understanding the world are viewed as deficient,” she writes, “it’s the cognitive equivalent of racism.”

In Visioning a Mi’kmaw Humanities, eleven educators contribute their perspectives and research demonstrating how generations of Indigenous peoples have endured the Eurocentric education forced on them, not just in residential schools, but also in provincial public and federal schools and in postsecondary institutions.

Eurocentric approaches have cost indigenous peoples plenty: erosion and even loss of many of the indigenous languages; loss of spiritual identities and traditions linked to their ways of knowing; disconnections from Elders, lands, livelihood; and spiritual communicative connections to the land and much more.

The authors urge an agenda of restoration—a vision of society and of education where knowledge systems and languages are reinforced, not diluted, where they can respectfully gather together without resembling each other, and where peoples can participate in the cultural life of a society, education and their community with dignity.

Visioning a Mi’kmaw Humanities is already in bookstores and on-line stores, including as an e-book. The official launch is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16, 2-4 p.m., in the Unama’ki College department (L-151) at Cape Breton University. Everyone is welcome.

 

 

In partnership with Unama’ki College (Cape Breton University) we are pleased to announce the official launch of Visioning a Mi’kmaw Humanities: Indigenizing… Continue»

Fr. Greg MacLeod (1935-2017)

Posted by on May 4, 2017

Greg-MacLeod-Ideas-Man-1We are saddened to learn of the death of Fr. Greg MacLeod (May 3, 2017). Fr. Greg was one of the last of a class of professor priests, whose footsteps walked the talk of social justice and a social economy.

Fr. Greg was instrumental in the development of what is now Cape Breton University and one of its most cherished programs: community development. His influence on the university and on Cape Breton will be felt for generations.

The May 4, 2017 edition of CBC Cape Breton’s Information Morning replayed an interview with MacLeod, which was one of a series of interviews of Cape Breton Leaders who “get things done” back in 2009. Link here to listen to that item.

Those interviews were turned into a book, by host Steve Sutherland, titled Getting it Done: Conversations with Cape Breton Leaders (CBU Press 2009). We’ve posted the chapter on Fr. Greg MacLeod -link here.leadership-195x300

 

 

 

We are saddened to learn of the death of Fr. Greg MacLeod (May 3, 2017). Fr. Greg was one of… Continue»

Living Treaties collection “stands alone”

Posted by on May 2, 2017

9781772060539_FC“Each chapter in its way speaks to the continuing relevance of the treaties and the great need for continued work toward realizing the promise of these peace and friendship agreements,” reads a review in the Journal of Folklore Research review of Living Treaties: Narrating Mi’kmaw Treaty Relations, edited by Marie Battiste.

“Toward the stated end of educating Mi’kmaw, Canadian, and UK readers about the ongoing importance of treaty relations, the book is written in a lively and accessible narrative style. Even the more technical legal sections are relatively free of specialized jargon. Many readers will appreciate that most chapters begin with a personal introduction from the author. Much of the writing manages to convey complex and exigent arguments while avoiding the sometimes obtuse stylistic conventions of the scholarly article.

“This collection stands alone among literature exploring the political life of Canada’s Atlantic provinces. Living Treaties is an invaluable resource for those interested in the Mi’kmaw nation, yet it is also applicable for other First Nations community members, lawyers, scholars, activists, and allies, as well as anyone interested in Canadian history and politics.”

Link here to the comprehensive review

 

 

“Each chapter in its way speaks to the continuing relevance of the treaties and the great need for continued work… Continue»

Company Houses, Company Towns “seminal” : Review

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Company Houses, Company TownsWe are getting caught up on some recent reviews. Acadiensis, Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region’s April 28 blog features a review of Company Houses, Company Towns: Heritage and Conservation, edited by Andrew Molloy and Tom Urbaniak (CBU Press 2016).

Company Houses, Company Towns is a “fascinating collection,” writes Andrew Parnaby. It “highlights the importance of viewing heritage and conservation as a form of social entrepreneurship.  When this type of community engagement is oriented by an appreciation of the aesthetic value of vernacular places, dedicated to breaking down barriers between issues and institutions, and buoyed by the hope that marginal places may live to see another day, the possibilities for political change multiply. In other words, in the view of the contributors to this volume, the direction of change for working-class communities in post-industrial settings need not always be down and out.”

You can link here to the full review

The April 2017 issue Midwest Book Review’s online book review magazine “Reviewer’s Bookwatch” also features a review of Company Houses, Company Towns, stating that the “seven seminal articles [are] very highly recommended for both community and academic library collections…. [I]t should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.”

You can link here to the full review

 

 

We are getting caught up on some recent reviews. Acadiensis, Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region’s April 28… Continue»

Two-for-two for Hugh MacDonald

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Us and ThemWe are delighted to report that Hugh R. MacDonald’s new novel for young adults, Us and Them, has been selected for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids and Teens, Spring Edition 2017.

Hugh’s first novel Trapper Boy was also selected for BBKT, in Spring 2013.

Us & Them is a stand-alone sequel to Trapper Boy. Both are set in 1920s Sydney Mines, the story of JW Donaldson, who twice interrupts his education to work in the coal mine to help support his family.

A fatal accident in the mine awakens JW to just how dangerous working conditions are and to how management seems to care more about production than about the men and boys who are the means of that production.

JW enlists the aid of union activist and local hero, JB McLachlan, and learns that even the young can be a positive voice for change.

CM magazine says “Us & Them is both entertaining and educative. […] Well-structured … Us & Them … brings to life a dramatic and significant part of history.”

Resource Links (vol. 22, no. 2), a valued resource for Canadian learning materials, says Us & Them is an excellent piece of storytelling that should be in the Canadian history curriculum for Grades 7-12. The historical content is accurate, and very compelling, not just as a coming of age story, but as a story that both male and female readers can enjoy […] a remarkable book that will have the reader hoping for the next installment…. Highly recommended for both public and school libraries….”

Us and Them regularly cracks Amazon’s top 100 sales in categories like Canadian historical fiction.

We are delighted to report that Hugh R. MacDonald’s new novel for young adults, Us and Them, has been selected for… Continue»

Novel-inspired Gaelic forest trail inaugurated

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May'17-Inverness-6We were privileged to be part of a special Gaelic Nova Scotia Month event yesterday in Inverness. May 1 is not only May Day, it’s La Bealltainn (Beltane), the Celtic May Day, and it coincides with Arbor Day (U.S.).

What better way to celebrate such a day than to mark the beginning of “Calum’s Forest,” a Gaelic forest trail at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts (ICCA).

Thanks to Frank Macdonald’s world-class novel, A Forest for Calum (CBU Press 2005), readers around the world know that the Gaelic alphabet coincides with the names of trees: A is alm (elm); B is beith (birch).

Inspired by the characters in the novel, an arboretum has been designed in a wooded area adjacent to the Centre. And it was officially launched with a ceremonial tree planting. We love the connection between the planting of a tree and Gaelic Nova Scotia month’s theme: “Gaelic Runs Deep Here.”

The first tree, a hazel (coll), was planted by author Frank Macdonald and Mi’kmaw Elder Tiny Cremo, who related for us the close connection between Mi’kmaq and nature and made an offering with burning sweetgrass.

When completed, Calum’s Forest will spell out in trees, the Gaelic sentiment: “cuimhnichibh air na daoine bho ’n d’thainig sibh” (remember the people from whom you came).

Calum’s Forest and trail is being developed by ICCA in partnership with the Inverness Development Assoc., Morgans Brook Landscaping, NSCC Kingstec and Strait Area campuses and students from Inverness Academy.

Visitors to the centre were also treated to its Shared Stories of Inverness County Gaels exhibit.

Frank Macdonald is the award-winning author of A Forest for Calum, A Possible Madness, Tinker and Blue, and with artist Virginia McCoy, T.R.’s Adventure at Angus the Wheeler’s.

Thanks to Inverness Gaelic learner Caroline Cameron for keeping us informed and involved.

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We were privileged to be part of a special Gaelic Nova Scotia Month event yesterday in Inverness. May 1 is… Continue»

Reader praise for novel: “Us and Them”

Posted by on February 28, 2017

Us and ThemHugh R. MacDonaldLots of buzz around Hugh R MacDonald’s Us and Them (CBUP 2016) this week. We can’t resist sharing these reader reviews posted on Amazon – especially the calls for a TV series!

Marguerite MacClavey writes:

“Yes, the trials and hardships are articulated very well but so too are the tender moments. Love between a couple married for years and the new love awakening in the hearts of the young ones in their communities reawaken my first loves and the love I now hold for my life’s partner.

“I wish I could gift this book to adolescents who have no idea of the sacrifices many of their ancestors faced. I would even go so far as to say I would love to see this book – and a third one please – made into a movie. I have no doubt that writing of this caliber would translate with ease into a documentary – or even a movie.

“The men and the women in these novels demonstrate the best of us when we are called upon to keep our families together. It would be excellent for our children to watch this with their families and talk about subjects not often enough discussed – ethics, morals, work ethics and the strength of families who forged their values through hard work, worry and love.”

Joan (Joni) Brown (in Nebraska) writes:

“Thank you to the Author. Hugh MacDonald for the story line … of how life was … and how someone can make a difference in another’s life … and pass it forward..:)..”

Fred Lavery writes:

“The themes and images portrayed here are very familiar to anyone who remembers the days of “coal as king” in Cape Breton. It’s easy to picture the faces of our ‘kith and kin’ in the personalities presented, making for affecting results as the story builds. For the younger generations … a realistic look back at the rugged history and hard won labour battles fought by miners and their families in the early and mid-1900s.

“From ‘Trapper Boy’ to ‘Us and Them,’ here’s hoping we get to follow JW’s journey further in the future, then maybe the TV series adaptation….”

TV series has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? (Oh, the Trapper Boy reference is of course Hugh’s first novel, to which Us and Them is a stand alone sequel – but you knew that.)

 

Lots of buzz around Hugh R MacDonald’s Us and Them (CBUP 2016) this week. We can’t resist sharing these reader… Continue»

CM Magazine recommends Us and Them

Posted by on February 26, 2017

Us and ThemWe are delighted for author Hugh R. MacDonald, whose latest YA novel, Us and Them, received a favourable review in CM Magazine (Vol. XXIII Number 23, February 24, 2017).

Us & Them is both entertaining and educative.”

“Well-structured … Us & Them … brings to life a dramatic and significant part of history.”

“Recommended.”

Link to the full review here.

 

 

 

Trapper_FC-webTrapper Boy references Hugh’s first novel (CBU Press 2012), to which Us and Them is a stand alone sequel.

CM (Canadian Review of Materials) is published weekly from September through June and is an all-volunteer online publication which features reviews of books and other materials that are authored, illustrated and/or published by Canadians and that are produced for/of interest to children and adolescents. CM‘s reviewers are teachers, teacher-librarians, public librarians and university professors who have an interest and expertise in materials for juveniles. CM‘s contents are of great interest to those who are seeking evaluative comments to assist them in making personal or institutional purchases of Canadian books or other materials for juveniles. CM is published by the Manitoba Library Association and University of Manitoba.

We are delighted for author Hugh R. MacDonald, whose latest YA novel, Us and Them, received a favourable review in CM… Continue»