Best (Inside) Places to Read

IMG_8311Are you an indoor person? We can be too. It’s nice to be outside when it’s nice outside, but sometimes, enjoying the summer sun is impossible – it’s too hot, or it’s storming, or the bugs won’t stop landing on your page. Why not stay inside instead and enjoy the great indoors (and a good book)?

Here’s our list of our favourite places to snuggle up to the AC and turn pages in temperature-controlled comfort.

Catch up at a coffee shop
Hot drinks and books have been best friends since the dawn of time. Find a local coffee shop that’s cool with you staying for a while, grab your favourite latte (perhaps even in a real mug!), and hunker down in a cozy leather armchair to catch up on your reading.

We recommend Indigenous Writes – perfect for stimulating insightful conversation while catching up with your friends over a round of coffee.

Buy a new page-turner at a bookstore
This one might be obvious, but bookstores are the best place to find your new paper friend and take them home forever. Once you make a purchase, many stores invite you to stay for a while and explore your new books – perhaps at an in-house coffee shop or simply in a classic sturdy armchair. You might have to buy another book if you get caught up reading!

Build a blanket fort
Why go out? Pile your own bed or couch with your fluffiest pillows, softest blankets, and piles of your old favourites and hide away for a few hours. Make a rule for yourself: no phones, no computers, no screens – just you and your books. You might not want to leave!

This one is especially great if you have little ones – they can pick their favourites from the Seven Teachings Stories to bring with them to the fort!

Take a trip to the library
No budget? No problem! Your public library has thousands of titles waiting for you to read them for free. Libraries have changed a lot in the past few years – many of them have upgraded and you can search and reserve your titles online before you make a visit. But you can also do it the old-fashioned way – spend some time wandering the aisles and collect an arm-weakening pile of books to take home.

On your commute (as a passenger, of course)
There’s no better way to pass the time than with reading! Long weekends are the time for road trips, so when your driving shift is over and you’re sitting in the backseat, stretch out your legs (as much as you can) and pull out your summer read. Or if you’re traveling solo, listening to an audiobook (like The Evolution of Alice or April Raintree) can do the trick too!

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5 Summer Reading Necessities

PMPSummer_58BJuly is here, and that means it’s time to soak up the two hottest months of the northern hemisphere’s year. Summer is all about hitting the beach, going hiking, heading out to the lake and enjoying some well-deserved time off with your loved ones, but our favourite summer activity is crossing books off that ever-growing reading list. Here’s our list of the absolutely essential things you need to pack in your bookbag this summer.

A good pair of sunglasses
The sun is tough on your eyes, and it can be even tougher when the light rays bounce off the white pages of your book and right into your retinas. Even if you’re not staring into the sun, be sure to get a nice pair of sunnies (that match your bookbag, natch) so you can keep reading and relaxing for summers to come.

Reusable water bottle
Stay hydrated, people.

The perfect picnic blanket
To make your reading spot as comfortable as possible, remember to pack a thin, foldable blanket to spread out on the ground, or if it’s a breezy day, wrap around your shoulders. It’ll keep those new white shorts from getting grass stains.

Sunscreen with a high SPF
When you get lost in a good book, your mind wanders off and you lose track of time. It’s the best feeling in the world – but not if you’re in the blazing sun. Be sure to protect your skin so you don’t have to deal with that sore, flaky burn. Ouch!

Portage & Main Press’s summer reading bundle

You don’t want to go through your reading list too quickly, especially when half the fun is building it up. Get our three-book summer reading bundle – including Come Walk With Me, The Evolution of Alice, and The Stone Collection for only $50 and only this summer, including free shipping, right here.

 



Come Walk With Me:
In 1983, the book In Search of April Raintree was published to great acclaim, heralding the voice of an important new writer, Beatrice Mosionier (then Culleton). With honesty and clarity, Mosionier explored the story of two Métis sisters as they struggle with loss, identity, and racism. Yet readers have long asked: How much of April’s story comes from the author’s own life?

Come Walk With Me, Beatrice’s answer to that question, is a moving memoir that follows a bewildered three-year-old through a dramatic journey to adulthood. She recounts a life that, at times, parallels that of her most memorable fictional character, and at others, diverges from it. Mosionier searches to make sense of her losses—her sundered family, her innocence, and her dignity—to triumph as a woman and as a writer, fulfilled artistically, politically, and personally.

The Evolution of Alice: This haunting, emotionally resonant story delivers us into the world of Alice, a single mother raising her three young daughters on the rez where she grew up. Alice has never had an easy life, but has managed to get by with the support of her best friend, Gideon, and her family. When an unthinkable loss occurs, Alice is forced onto a different path, one that will challenge her belief in herself and the world she thought she knew. The Evolution of Alice is the kaleidoscopic story of one woman’s place within the web of community. Peopled with unforgettable characters and told from multiple points of view, this is a novel where spirits are alive, forgiveness is possible, and love is the only thing that matters.

The Stone Collection: In these 14 unique stories, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm takes on complex and dangerous emotions, exploring the gamut of modern Anishinaabe experience. Through unforgettable characters, these stories—about love and lust, suicide and survival, illness and wholeness—illuminate the strange workings of the human heart.

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50 Years of Books – Send Us Your Stories

May_2017aDid you know that when we started as Peguis Publishers in 1967, we were Manitoba’s first full-time publishing company? This year, we’re celebrating a half century of trailblazing, from publishing educational materials that help guide the next generation, to award-winning books from Indigenous authors that tell stories of inclusion and reconciliation.

We started fifty years ago as the brainchild of Winnipeg bookseller Mary Scorer after she realized that Manitoba didn’t have its own publishing company. She wanted to give Manitobans a voice both within and outside the province’s borders. The first work she published was a reprint of Women of Red River for the Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg, followed by her first original work, Four Recorders of Rupert’s Land by Roy St. George Stubbs. Peguis Publishers would also go on to publish books of poetry, including three volumes by young Manitoba poets, and one by Winnipeg Free Press book writer Thomas Saunders, Red River of the North.

Mary Dixon bought the company in 1985 and turned its focus to K-12 educational resources. During her time as owner, she won the Manitoba Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1993, and Peguis Publishers became Portage & Main Press in 2001.

Annalee Greenberg and Catherine Gerbasi bought P&M in 2007 and started HighWater Press, our trade imprint, which publishes books that portray a wide-ranging expression of Indigenous culture and experience. Our titles include a rich mix of novels, graphic novels, memoirs, and children’s books for readers of all ages.

We’re going to party like only we can – by reading a ton of books! We want you to celebrate with us, so stay tuned for special 50th anniversary sales and exclusive social media content (like us on Facebook!).

Do you have any special memories of Portage & Main Press or HighWater Press books? We want to hear about them! Send us your story at portageandmainpress50@gmail.com to be part of our anniversary celebrations.

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Coming soon! Indigenous Writes

From guest contributor, author Chelsea Vowel:

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada

At a NATO press conference in 2002, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was widely panned for saying: “Reports that say something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

As ridiculous as Rumsfeld sounded, I actually find his words to be immensely useful. I like to boil it down to a simpler version: there are known knowns, there are known unknowns, and there are unknown unknowns. I have been having the same conversations for the past 20 years. I challenge “known knowns” about Indigenous people – the myths and attitudes that so thoroughly permeate public perceptions and discourse. I answer the “known unknowns,” questions – like who has Indian status and who the Métis are. Most important, I try to get people to face the fact of “unknown unknowns” – the vast number of things people in Canada are simply unaware of when it comes to Indigenous peoples.

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada is my attempt to gather together these conversations and put them in an easily accessible place, with lots of resources to investigate further if a particular topic catches one’s fancy. Reading this book will give Canadians a basic understanding of Indigenous issues, finally allowing us all to have that “new conversation” so many people have been talking about.

***

Click here to pre-order your copy of Indigenous Writes.

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Inquiry – the teaching method where mistakes matter!

Coming soon – Bold School: An Inquiry Model to Transform Teaching

for all teachers

Did you know your brain rewires and makes new connections whenever you notice you have made a mistake and again when you correct a mistake? Each time you fail you provide feedback to your brain. Knowing this about the brain, we believe we should teach in a way that maximizes learning from mistakes, taking appropriate risks, as well as listening and learning from others. In the classroom, failing at something gives students the opportunity to reflect on what went wrong, what went well, and what changes need to be implemented in similar situations. In a way, we should be thankful for our mistakes, because they encourage us to be more curious and strengthen our thinking skills. Read More »

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New from author Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm

FROM THE DEBWE SERIES
by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm

 

The Stone Collection

The Stone Collection

The Stone Collection is an interconnected collection of stories i gathered and polished for more than a decade. In them are glimpses of people I’ve known, places i’ve lived, my homeland, my community, my friends, my lovers, and me. None of the stories are about me although i suppose i have a cameo in “Picking Stones,” which is a story and a preface to welcome readers into the world within the covers of the book. In each story there are small moments, turning points, where the story spins in another direction and characters are caught up in the momentum, sent spiraling.

There is darkness in many of the stories. This is the reality for Indigenous people in this nationstate called Canada. Violence and disease of all kinds surround us. The stories reflect that colonial reality. There is pain, anger, betrayal, death, abuse. There is also beauty, deep friendship, intense loyalty, constant teasing and joking, abundant laughter, and, above all, abiding love.

One of the stories was inspired by a moment i saw flipping through TV channels one day. I lingered, just for a moment, on a daytime talk show and heard a young man speak about his role in a horrifying event, the murder of his grandmother. I didn’t hear his story or any details of what happened, just a few bits of what he said. But what i heard stayed with me. How could anyone do such a thing? i wondered. I was sad and horrified and kept trying, somehow, to make sense of it in a way that I could understand. I can’t really explain why but i wanted, I needed, to understand. I thought a lot about how life could lead a boy in that direction. I thought about grandparents and their roles in Anishinaabek life. I thought about the many grandmothers I know and about my own grandmothers whom i adored. The more I thought about it, the more compassion i felt for both a boy and a grandmother whose lives intersected in such a way. Much later, I wrote “The Stone Eater.”

I hope that, in part, this is what readers find in these stories: empathy, compassion, humour, strength, reverence, and a deeper understanding of our interconnectedness to each other and to the natural and supernatural worlds we, each of us, are a part of.
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I’ve gathered these stories, like stones, into this collection, and stories, like stones, hold memory.

Stories, like stones, are alive.

Kateri
-Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm

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Faye Brownlie launches new website

Fresh off her appearance at the BCTELA Provincial Conference on October 23, author and educator Faye Brownlie has launched a brand-new website!

From FayeBrownlie.ca:

“Faye Brownlie is one of BC’s most sought after literacy and learning experts. She works in staff development in BC, nationally and internationally. A long-time advocate of improved learning for all students in inclusive settings, she fervently believes in our collective ability to make a difference for each and every learner. Faye works with students and teachers from K-12 and especially enjoys co-planning, co-teaching, and reflecting on the lessons with teams of teachers. Together we are better!”

Visit often for information on reading assessment, publications, and upcoming events!

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“The Evolution of Alice” wins On the Same Page!

We are thrilled to announce that Manitobans have selected David Alexander Robertson‘s The Evolution of Alice as this year’s featured book for the 8th annual On The Same Page, a province-wide reading initiative. Check out the full news release from the City of Winnipeg here!

Please enjoy this short excerpt from The Evolution of Alice:

***Evolution of Alice

Matthew had just finished his first tour through the rez. It wasn’t anywhere he thought he’d ever be. He’d just found out he was part Cree, and that he had distant relatives, including a cousin, living there. All the same, he was fascinated by the experience. His parents hadn’t ever been there either, and the lot of them, in their Chevy Traverse, spent about an hour driving all around the area. Matthew had been assigned a ‘Culture In A Box’ project for his grade three class back in the city, and had been alerted to his Cree heritage by his parents, albeit a bit reluctantly. It turned out that he was far more interested in being Cree than he was in being Scottish.

After finding out he was Cree he had asked his father, innocently, ‘Daddy, am I related to the homeless people?’

His father had chuckled and said, ‘Oh I don’t think so, son.’

Matthew took notes throughout the excursion through the rez. As twilight hit and they were on their way back to the city,nike air trainer he read them.

‘Houses here don’t have street addresses they have broken cars. I bet people find their way around by looking for types of broken cars. There are nice things in ditches. I saw a tricycle and a car tire and a lawn chair. They all looked in pretty good condition. The front yards look fun. There are trampolines and toys and four-wheelers. I saw an old man with no shoes out front of his house carving a wooden boot. I think I’ll like being Cree.’

Matthew smiled at his notes. His teacher had said in his report card that he had exquisite handwriting.

***

You can order the print or eBook version of Alice on our website, so you can stay on the same page, too!

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A sneak peek from The Stone Collection

The Blackbird Cage

There is a cage in a sunlit room. A bird sleeps. A songless bird. In a cage covered with cotton.

The cage is round. There is no beginning, no end. This cage is a trap. This cage is a door. A trap door to freedom. Freedom wriggles and spirals and stretches like a child, for that is its nature.

In another room, breath is drawn. In this other room, dreams come fast and easy to those who sleep. The dreams are of rocks and shells, feathers and tongues, skies and wings. They are of the long ago and the yet to come. They are of bones and seeds, icicles and leaves, the Spirit Moon, Heartberry Moon, and a bear standing in the late snows of spring.

The silence will end when the dreamer awakes and the cage is opened. Read More »

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Goodbye summer – hello conferences, book launches, and more!

It’s been a busy September at Portage & Main Press! With the arrival of fall comes back-to-school time – and lots of book orders! We love sharing the work of our incredible authors and illustrators with you, and just know that our resources will be big hits in the classroom.

Summer may be over but there’s a lot to look forward to this fall. Read on for info about conferences, book launches, and more!

We’ll be heading out west for this year’s BCTELA conference, to support authors Leyton Schnellert, Shelley Moore, Faye Brownlie, and keynote speaker Richard Wagamese. This conference is always full of innovative speakers and ideas, and we’re proud to display our books there, too.

Portage & Main Press will be at several Manitoba SAGE conferences this year. SAGE takes place on October 23 this year, and we’re gearing up to display our books at four programs. And some of our wonderful authors will be speaking at them, too:

  • Jennifer Lawson is one of the keynote speakers at MAMT this year. Her session Planning for Problem Solving will explore the challenges of teaching problem-solving, the types of problem-solving tasks to focus on in the classroom, and guidelines for teaching problem-solving to enhance student engagement and success.
Jennifer Lawson

Jennifer Lawson

  • Katherena Vermette presents at the Council for Aboriginal Education in Manitoba conference. Her series The Seven Teachings Stories highlight the Seven Teachings of the Anishinaabe—love, wisdom, humility, courage, respect, honesty, and truth. Set in urban landscapes, Indigenous children tell familiar stories about home, family, and school. Katherena’s books and many of our other HighWater Press titles (including the Teacher’s Guide for Seven Teachings written by Katya Ferguson – who will also be speaking at SAGE!) will be available in the CAEM exhibitor area – and stay tuned to our website, as Seven Teachings will soon be available to download in Read Aloud format!
Katherena Vermette

Katherena Vermette

  • Our new Hands-On Science books will be at the Science Teachers’ Association of Manitoba conference. The latest edition of Hands-On Science Grade 1 and 2 are hot off the presses, and we can’t wait to share them at STAM. This resource is an inquiry-based approach, packed with hands-on, activity-based focus. Each lesson includes activities to Engage, Explore, Embed, and Enhance the learning outcomes.
Hands-On Science Grade 1

Hands-On Science Grade 1

Richard Van Camp is the keynote speaker at the Manitoba School Library Association conference. His keynote Writing from Home celebrates and honours his history and tradi­tions, in the most hilarious way he can: through stories, sweet gossip, and in all of his writing.

Richard Van Camp

Richard Van Camp

Hearing Richard speak is always a treat, so if you can’t make it to his SAGE conference – fear not! Richard will be launching his new book Blanket of Butterflies on Saturday, Oct. 24th at McNally Robinson – a co-launch with our friends at Great Plains Publications, who published Richard’s fourth collection of short stories Night Moves: Stories.

We hope to see you out at one of our many events this fall!

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