Just dropping a few good reads I enjoyed while on March break

By Yolanda T. Marshall




Son of Elsewhere

Son of Elsewhere: A Memoir in Pieces

Written by Elamin Abdelmahmoud, a Sudanese Canadian writer and host of CBC’s pop culture show, Pop Chat.

Arriving in Canada at age 12 from Sudan, Elamin’s teenage years were spent trying new ways of being in the world and relating to his almost universally white peers. His story is about yearning to belong in a time and place where expectations and assumptions around race, faith, language and origin make such belonging extremely difficult. Still, it’s also a story of the surprising and unexpected ways connection and acceptance can be found. In this extraordinary debut collection, the process of growing—of trying, failing, and trying again to fit in—is cast against the backdrop of the memory of life in a different time and different place—a Khartoum being bombed by the United States, a nation seeking to define and understand itself against global powers of infinite reach.” – Publisher McClelland & Stewart, 2022.



Hold My Girl

Hold My Girl: A Novel

Written by Charlene Carr, a brilliant Nova Scotian author of nine novels.

Katherine is a woman full of obsessions. Everything is clean, everything is perfect, all the time. After seven years of trying—and failing—to conceive, she finally gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child. But she’s afraid Rose may not be her daughter; her pale skin doesn’t match Katherine’s own. Tess never got her happy ending. She took on IVF alongside Katherine and a group of hopeful mothers, but her daughter, Hanna, was stillborn. After a series of poor choices, she’s divorced, broke and stuck in a job below her skill set. Ten months later, Katherine and Tess get a call from the fertility clinic that reveals shocking news: the two women’s eggs were switched. While Katherine’s perfect life begins to crumble around her, for Tess, it’s the glimmer of hope she needs to get her life back on track. But deciding who deserves to be Rose’s mother will take a custody battle, pushing both women to the brink. With themes of racial identity, loss and betrayal, this emotional novel centred around a difficult moral question that beautifully explores the complexities of motherhood.” – HarperCollins Publishers, 2023.




Akim Aliu: Dreamer

(Original Graphic Memoir)

Written by Akim Aliu, a Nigerian-born Canadian NHL hockey prodigy. Other authors include Greg Anderson Elysée and Karen De la Vega. Marcus Williams very well illustrates the book.

“Dreamer tells Akim’s incredible story, from being the only Black child in his Ukrainian community to his family struggling to make ends meet while living in Toronto, to confronting the racist violence he often experienced on and off the ice. This gut-wrenching and riveting graphic novel memoir reminds us never to stop dreaming and is sure to inspire young readers everywhere.” – Published by Graphix, 2023.





The Hockey Jersey

The Hockey Jersey

Written by the award-winning Canadian author Jael Richardson and beautifully illustrated by Chelsea Charles. Jael and Chelsea are both based in Brampton.

It’s the day of the first hockey game, and Kareema is about to take a big step into the locker room and the world of hockey. Overwhelmed and unsure of what’s ahead, Kareema enters the changeroom and meets her new teammates — a group of young players who wonder if they will fit in with the team and find their place in the game. When their coach arrives with a bag full of brand-new uniforms, and hands each player their jersey, Kareema and her teammates will discover something special while they get dressed for the game. As they take to the ice in their new uniforms, ready to play for the first time, Kareema will realise something unique about the game of hockey as her biggest fans cheer her on.” – Published by Scotiabank, 2023



We Did That!

We Did That!

An A-Z Children’s Colouring & Activity Book Showcasing Black Inventors and their Inventions

Written by the fantastic author, Cheyanne J Reid.

As an A-Z children’s colouring and activity book showcasing black inventors and their inventions, “We did That” is an exciting and colourful journey through our history that ignites an eagerness to explore our heritage and discuss the many ways that black men and women have contributed to our world. This book is a wonderful family time favourite where children and their parents can have important conversations around race that begin to plant seeds of self-awareness and self-love. “We Did That!” will create a safe space for exploring the truths about black history right in your home. The artistic and educational format encourages learning and helps make learning fun for everyone!” – Independently published, 2022.

Please support your local bookstores, such as A Different Booklist, Notability Mobile bookstore, Nile Valley Books, Knowledge Bookstore and Manifest Bookstore.