Opinion | 27 books to make shopping easier for those on your gift list: part 2 of the Toronto Star’s Books Gift Guide

Children, culture lovers, fans of historical fiction and children. In Part Two of our two-part Book Giveaway Guide, we asked some of our regular writers from the Star Book section about their options for making gift donation easy, and I added a few more. Happy Holidays.

Culture vultures: for those who want artistic attacks

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir, Ai Weiwei (Doubleday Canada) A favorite of Canadian art lovers when shown in public spaces and in museums and galleries, read about his life and artistic practice, and how he refused to be silenced under a totalitarian regime.

Forsaken: Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama (Crown) America has been mythologized in its popular culture, so it seems natural to marry the opinions and thoughts of one of its most popular artists with its first black president. A unique look, with many photographs, in the United States today. And don’t forget the music.

A similar view, Ian AC Dejardin and Sarah Milroy (Canadian McMichael / Goose Lane Collection) A magnificent book featuring the art of the Group of Seven, yes, but also an examination of how their painting fits into a longer history of this land that includes and excludes indigenous peoples. Beautiful and inspiring.

Award Winners – For those who like the jury’s seal of approval

Tainna: The Invisibles, Norma Dunning (Douglas & McIntyre) Dunning won the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction for this small volume, a collection of short stories that focus on Inuk characters who face prejudice and hostility, but who also experience reconnection and community.

The Promise, Damon Galgut (Ediciones Europa) This year’s Booker Prize winner is Galgut’s poignant family saga set in South Africa and spanning three decades. The award judge, Chigozie Obioma, said: “The novel can best be summed up in the question: Is there true justice in the world? And, if so, what would it be like?”

The Seeker, Will Ferguson (Simon & Schuster) Winner of the Crime Writers of Canada award for best novel, Ferguson takes us around the world in search of lost and found items including the Fabergé eggs of the Romanovs and Buddy Holly’s glasses, wrapped in a story in the that an Interpol agent hunts down a shadowy figure called the Seeker.

Permanent amazement, Tomson Highway (Doubleday Canada) The Memoirs of Highway, which won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Award for Nonfiction, is about his experience as a Cree child, growing up in the sub-arctic and attending a residential school. He takes as a touchstone the last words of his brother: “Don’t cry to me, rejoice.”

Blasts From The Past – For Those Who Like Their Well-Written Story

Letters Across the Sea, Genevieve Graham (Simon and Schuster Canada)

Bringing little-known aspects of Canadian history to life, Graham writes with poise about aspiring journalist Molly Ryan and her first forbidden love, Max Dreyfus, during the post-depression and World War II struggles in Toronto, when neighbors from across the Life face each other as hatred engulfs the world. From dark times come moments of grace.

The Hollywood Spy, Susan Elia MacNeal (Cocky)

Fearless special operations executive Maggie Hope reunites with her former love, Royal Air Force pilot John Sterling, in Los Angeles in 1943, where she discovers a fascist cell of “homegrown American Nazis” and a brave group of fighters. of resistance. A page flipper with cameos from George Balanchine and Dorothy Parker.

Tuscan daughter, Lisa Rochon (Harper Avenue)

Readers of your list will want to immerse yourself in Tuscany of the early 16th century, the happy years when Michelangelo sculpted “David” from a prized block of Carrara marble and da Vinci painted his enigmatic “Mona Lisa.” A magnificent and moving debut full of lush detail and wisdom of life.

The Perfume Thief, Timothy Schaffert (Double day)

The protagonist, 72-year-old, queer-identified Clementine, a renowned con artist, brings comfort through her scents in 1941 Paris. Her bespoke business is grounded in chemistry and psychology: Clients must believe what they she tells them. Vividly imagined, this celebration of love and life captivates on every page.

The Magician, Colm Tóibín (McClelland and Stewart)

A comprehensive biographical portrait of the Nobel Prize-winning German novelist Thomas Mann, nicknamed the Wizard by his fascinating sons. Tóibín masterfully explores the tension between the admired public figure and his shy private self thanks to the now known contents of his diaries. Fully immersive.

Young and middle-grade adults

Across the Rainbow Bridge, Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love (Candlewick Study)

This luscious and dramatic collection of five Norse tales of deceptions, riddles, rewards, and the glory of the natural world is an excellent read aloud or solo. Crossley-Holland’s poetic language emphasizes courage, wit, and mystery; The art of Love introduces children to a strange and fascinating world.

A child is not a ghost, Edeet Ravel (Groundwood)

A sequel to the award-winning “A Child Is Not a Bird,” this captivating biography continues the difficult adventures of Natt and his mother, sentenced to Siberia under Stalin. The two books are a suspenseful and poignant read in which Natt, stubbornly brave despite his fear, relies on the uncertain kindness of strangers and endures everything from bed bugs and lice to the Soviet secret police.

The genius under the table, Eugene Yelchin (Candlewick)

Yelchin’s scathing humor and sense of the ridiculous permeate these fun and serious childhood memories of growing up in Cold War Russia. A mix of comedic family drama, commotion, and the stakes in communist Russia makes it entertaining and enlightening, and an inspiration for budding artists.

The Case of the Stolen Package, Michael Hutchinson (Second story)

The four crime-solving friends of the fictional Windy Lake First Nation spring into action when the treaty package disappears during the Cree Peoples National Assembly. A captivating, fast-paced mystery, exceptional in its interpretation of children’s humor, community relationships, and traditions of teaching and learning. Combine all three “Mighty Muskrat Mysteries” for a perfect gift for young mystery geeks.

The Thief Girl, Franny Billingsley (Candlewick)

Robber Girl’s life with outlaw Gentleman Jack, a wild girl with daggers and breeches, is turned upside down when she is adopted by the same judge who captured her hero. This magical wild west fantasy shines with the intricate intelligence of its plot, language, and themes. An irresistible read to get lost in it.

The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne, Jonathan Stroud (Knopf)

In dystopian and weather-scarred Britain, Scarlett has survived thanks to her wits, agility and talents as a bank robber, but when she rescues the hapless and naive Albert Browne from a freak bus accident, even she is shocked by the chase. Whats Next. Incisive and stylish action scenes filled with daring escapes and shooter showdowns keep this racing fantasy well-written.

The words in my hands, suffocating (Annick)

Growing up deaf, Piper had to adjust to the world of hearing by speaking and lip reading. Then she comes across Australian Sign Language and communication opens up for her. In a time of food shortages and environmental collapse, his newfound passions for deaf culture and sustainable living converge in a vital activism against a dystopian future. The vibrant illustration and welcome engagement with deaf culture and language make this stand out.

The Last Storyteller, Donna Barba Higuera (Dear Levine)

Upon awakening from a 380-year-old induced sleep, Petra discovers that, save for herself, an authoritarian collective has erased the memories of Earth from the passengers sent to colonize a new planet. In the tradition of his storytelling Granny, Petra brings together her memory of Mexican folklore and how to weave stories to get through the brainwashing and fear caused by the Colectivo.

Here was paradise / Here Was Paradise, Humberto Ak’abal (Groundwood)

Amid all the tales of dystopias, refugees from totalitarian regimes, and environmental collapse, the words of this Mayan poet are vital and refreshing. Reading them allows us, young and old, to take a moment to look and feel our world as it is now, observe the moon in a puddle, see the air as “a great bird” and “feel the breath of its wings,” Bees “pollen shoes” and inhale that moment of spring when “the earth already smells like mother.” Highly recommended.

From children’s books to picture books

Santa in town Tiffany D. Jackson, illustrated by Reggie brown (Mark books)

Deja loves Christmas, but worries that Santa might not be able to catch up with her in her apartment building. Her mother comforts her and reminds her that anything is possible.

Something Good, Marcy Campbell, illustrated by Corinna Luyken (Small, brown)

This book models how a community comes together to address an incident of hate speech using art as a form of healing.

Our Table, Peter H. Reynolds (Scholastic Canada)

This book explores how a little girl uses the “dinner table” to bring her family together during these difficult and busy times.

A Heavenly Bank, Bahram Rahman, illustrated by Peggy Collins (Pajama press)

Aria is excited to start school again, and through her own knowledge, skills, and support from her local community, she is building a bank. This bench will help you learn comfortably and support your new auxiliary leg prosthesis.

We will be together again Lucy Menzies, illustrated by Maddy vian (Children’s books by Frances Lincoln)

Belle and her grandfather Jack share their own perspectives in this uniquely designed book. They look back at all the fun activities they did together and share their hope that they will get back together.

Sushi and samosas: a journey of tasty transformations, Rishma Govani (Tellwell)

By trying new foods from different communities and cultures, Raine and Asha learn that we are all similar and different. These elements make our communities incredible places.


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