Sunday, March 28, 2021

Five Dollars (short story) by Leanne Dyck

That which divides isn't as important as that which unites.

The woman's cobalt jacket matches her cobalt purse which matches her cobalt hat and gloves. Her shoes are shiny black. Each morning she painstakingly polishes them restoring their shine. The man is in shades of gray--his clothes didn't start out that colour. This is his corner--home and office.

The woman studies the array of books on the cardboard box. She reads the sign written in pen--$5 for 1, $10 for 3. She puts a ten-dollar bill in the plastic jar, smiles at the man, and takes her books home.

Every day for weeks the woman continues to buy her books from the man. Until one day she finds no books only the plastic jar remains.

"Morning, Joe. Where are your books?"

"Morning, Veronica. Someone bought them all."

"Well, I've finished reading them. I'll just bring them all back." And she does--three books at a time--and she brings more.

Others notice Veronica's donations and add to Joe's collection.

After that Joe tells her, "Oh, no, you don't pay."

So she hides a five-dollar bill in each book--hopeful that Joe will find it after she leaves.

                                                                  photo by ldyck

On this blog in April...

Sunday, April 4


Dog Hair 

Leanne Dyck

Wednesday, April 7

Author reading

Island Storyteller (short story)

written and read by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, April 11

Book Review

Rabbit Foot Bill

Helen Humphreys

Wednesday, April 14

Author reading

Avalon (poem)

written and read by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, April 18

short story


Leanne Dyck

Wednesday, April 21

Author reading

The Way of It (short story)

written and read by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, April 25

Guest Post

Savannah Cordova

How to Maintain Writing Productivity

Through Tough Times

Wednesday, April 28

Author reading

Her First Crush (poem)

written and read by Leanne Dyck

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Book Review: The Barren Grounds by David A Robertson (MG)

 The Barren Grounds is set in early November in Winnipeg and is about two Cree foster children--thirteen-year-old Morgan and twelve-year-old Eli.

The Barren Grounds

David A Robertson


an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers


Morgan has been in a string of seven foster homes since she was about three-years-old. She remembers very little about her life before foster care.

'"All I know is that my mom didn't want me."' (p. 13)

And it has taken an emotional toll on her.

'What's there about me for anybody to like? What do I even like about myself?' (p. 34)

After giving Morgan a gift of moccasins to celebrate her fourth month anniversary of being in his care, her white foster father James tells her:  '"We don't want you to feel disconnected from your culture."'

Morgan:  '"I don't even know my culture."'

Eli:  '"Who you are is still inside you."' (p. 52)

Eli has been living with Morgan, in foster care, for a week. Eli remembers his Cree culture; he still speaks the 'good words'--Swampy Cree. Can Eli lead Morgan back to her culture?

David A Robertson took inspiration from C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in his exploration of the foster system. The result--an unputdownable book.  

Difficult-to-love Morgan never-the-less wiggled her way into my heart from page one. She's a relatable character who grows through the course of the story. 

Courageous Morgan and compassionate Eli's journey has just begun. The Barren Grounds is the first book in the series. 

Author Pam Withers' interview with David A Robertson

Global Read Aloud 

On This Blog This Week

Wednesday, March 24

Podcast:  Author reading

Let the Sunshine in (poem)

Leanne Dyck

One of my favourite poems. Thank you for suggesting that I record it for this blog.

Sunday, March 28

Short story

Five Dollars (short story)

Leanne Dyck

Readers are a diverse population. What unites us is our love of books. 

Things I listened to last week...

I had fun learning about old Norse literature

and learning about old English literature

George does an entertaining job of capturing rural island life The Accidental Curator

Still listening to... Plan to listen to this week...

Writers Festival Radio:  Ottawa International Writers Festival


Penguin Podcast 

Are you following me?

Linked In

Sharing my Author Journey...

Dispatch, Hatch, Patch--2021 Manuscript Progress Report

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Catch It (short story) by Leanne Dyck

 A silly story about a toy.

photo by ldyck

My brother has a new toy. It's made of wood and shaped like a 'v'. He throws it in the air and it comes back to him.

"It's very important that I catch it. It could take off my head," he tells me. "Indigenous Australians used it to hunt."

I threw it in the air but I didn't catch it. It didn't come back to me.

Now I can't go outside because it's waiting to take off my head.

More silliness...

I wrote this review in 1987 for the University of Winnipeg's Children's Literature course.

I would if I could

If I couldn't, how could I?

I couldn't, without I could, could I?

Could you, without you, could ye?

Could ye? Could ye?

Could you, without you could, could ye?

I love the nonsense of this nursery rhyme. It seems to flow in a silly fashion, begging to be told. It gives far more in fun and frolic than it ever demands of the listener. It does, however, have a message:  that it is silly and unnecessary to think too much. I agree whole-heartedly with its unmistakable logic. 

Wednesday, March 17

Podcast:  Author Reading

celebrating spring with...

 Like Magic (short story)

Sunday, March 21

Book Review

The Barren Grounds

David A Robertson set in early November in Winnipeg and is about two Cree foster children--thirteen-year-old Morgan and twelve-year-old Eli.

                                                                                    photo by ldyck

Last week I enjoyed listening to...

2021 Diversity in Children's Literature Symposium

This week I look forward to continuing listening to...

Writers Festival Radio:  Ottawa International Writers Festival


Penguin Podcast 

Interviews with authors

photo by ldyck

Sharing my author journey...

Falling in love with my current manuscript is like falling in love with a puppy with big paws. I just keep telling myself, "It just can't grow any bigger." ...and then it does. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Book Review: Dirty Birds (adventure, humour) by Morgan Murray

 Update:  Dirty Birds by Morgan Murray was shortlisted for the 2021 Stephen Leacock award.

If your taste in literature is twisted like mine, do yourself a favour and read Dirty Birds by Morgan Murray. You'll laugh your tail feathers off.

Dirty Birds

Morgan Murray

Breakwater Books


Twenty-three-year-old Milton Ontario wants to become a poet like his hero, Leonard Cohen. So, in the fall of 2007, he leaves his basement apartment in his parents' house in Bellybutton, Saskatchewan. The bus he jumps onto takes him to Montreal--the most romantic city in Canada, or is it?

Milton is ridiculously unprepared to live in Montreal. He has no job prospects. He has barely a basic understanding of French. Fortunately, thanks to Craiglist, he does have a place to stay--or does he?

Dirty Birds is a dirty book with foul language and risque scenes. Shocking! I loved every page. In fact, I laughed at the beginning, the middle, and the end. And yet Dirty Birds is not fluff. Author Morgan Murray addresses some weighty questions--what is love and what is the meaning of life?

Will Ferguson describes Morgan Murray as Canada's Vonnegut. I've never read Vonnegut. (My husband thinks this is a crime.) I have read Tom Robbins. So I'd describe Morgan Murray as Canada's Tom Robbins or maybe he's Canada's Morgan Murray.

How did I find Dirty Birds?

It was on Canada Reads long-list.

Where did I get this book?

From the publisher Breakwater Books. You can buy it here and here and here.

What attracted me to this book?

I was born and raised in rural Manitoba. In my early twenties, I left to live--for nine months--in eastern Canada (Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec). The people I met and the adventures I had rocked my world--much like Milton's world was rocked.

More about Dirty Birds...

Interviewed with Morgan Murray

Wednesday, March 10

Online Author Reading


Written and read by Leanne Dyck

What would you do to make a dream reality?

Sunday, March 14

Short Story

Catch It

Written by Leanne Dyck

a silly little story to make you giggle--or scratch your head

Preparing for Canada Reads

A series of 11 podcasts

How to tune in

This week I've enjoyed an entertaining and informative podcast...

On the Road with Penguin Classics

There's a collection of seven episodes in the first series and there's is a promise of more.

...And there's also...

Penguin Podcast

Interview with authors

photo by ldyck

Join me in celebrating International Women's Day...