Louise Penny's Latest

Louise Penny's Latest

Friday, November 9, 2018

Peter Panetta's Memoir: Punk the Journey of a Sixties Delinquent.

Peter Panetta is a mentor, educator, artist and adventurer. He currently lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario with his wife Norma Lee Panetta. In 1999, he founded the Underground Gym & Youth Centre for underprivileged children & youth. The goal is to reverse the downward trend of despair by providing multiple positive activities at no cost and prejudice. He is driven by passion to speak for the voiceless. Punk: The Journey of a 60’s Delinquent is his first book.
Shauna Kosoris: You recently launched your first book, Punk: The Journey of a 60’s Delinquent, which is largely autobiographical. What was it like, writing your life’s story and sharing it with the world?
Peter Panetta: I felt that this was a story that would resonate with the baby boomer generation as well as the population of children & youth that I work with at the Underground Gym. I believe that their journey is very similar to what mine was; even though there is a 50 year span, our paths are very similar.
In an interview with Lisa Laco, you said you’ve been working on the book for over 40 years. Why do you think it has taken you this long to get it finished and published?
It has taken me 42 years to complete because it wasn’t a priority for most of those years, life was.

Why did you decide to embellish some of the story?
Even though it is based on a true story, the chain of events did not fall in book form so I had to move stories around and add to make the story flow.
The proceeds of the book are being donated to the Underground Gym. What can you tell me about it?
The Underground Gym has always struggled financially in it’s 20 years of existence.  The Underground Gym offers free access to equipment and mentoring in a safe environment that is open to children & youth who lack the cultural, social or economic resources required to access existing facilities. You can learn more at www.undergroundgym.ca.
How do youth end up finding their way to the Underground Gym?
They hear about it from their friends. I think that is why 90% of my kids are of Aboriginal descent.
I know that you wrote this story to help youth who might be struggling with the same things you struggled with in the 60’s.  Have any of your kids read it? What do they think?
Yes, Breanne Brodeur (Underground Youth)has read it and here is what she wrote:
You see I’m not much of a book person. I don’t read books. It’s just not my form of entertainment. I’ve known Peter for the last 8 years, so when he told me he had started writing a book, I was excited for him and I knew I had to read it. So when the book release happened (September 17th, 2018) I went to the library and bought Peter’s book PUNK. I started reading it the following day on the plane. For someone who isn’t much into reading, I was shocked. I couldn’t put the book down. I read the first 4 chapters on my hour and a half flight. I’ve now completed the book and can honestly say it was an amazing read. It was fascinating and intriguing to hear about the way Peter grew up. The book was extremely well written and always kept me on the edge of my seat, I didn’t want to put it down, I kept wanting to know what was happening next. I look forward to reading Peter’s next book that he has started.
What are you working on now that Punk: The Journey of a 60’s Delinquent is published?
“Mountain Ash & Tiger Lilies”. A collection of short stories from 1959 to 1962. My formative years coming to Canada at 9 years old from France and growing up on Crown Street trying to adapt to a very different lifestyle.
What book or author inspired you to write?
Is there a book or author that you think everyone should read?
What are you currently reading?
I am not much of a reader.
So what made you decide to write?
I decided to write because I had a story to tell (and I have more stories to tell).
Interview by Shauna of the Thunder Bay Public Library. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Chapter Twelve of Jackie D' Acre's Memoir

The next episode of Jackie D'Arcre's very interesting memoir takes place when she is in her teens, living in the country and attending high school. For the first time she gets interested in boys but also acquires girl friends. Once again we move from sun to shadows and back again in a rawly honest account of Thunder Bay in the late fifties and early sixties. 

Hovering Above Myself: A Memoir
Chapter Twelve
I had settled into being a high school student. My special classes were exciting. I was learning French, (Bonjour!) Latin (???) and science. Mr. Gayoski was the science teacher. He’d gone to Collegiate with Mother. The way he talked, he had quite a crush on her. I told Mother I had him for science and she laughed and said, “Oh, little Eddie Gayoski. Of course I remember him. Tell him ‘Hello’ from me.”
He was short and as wide as he was tall. His jacket didn’t reach across his belly; the top button of his shirt was always undone, it didn’t fit around his short, thick neck. He wheezed instead of breathing, even while standing still. But he was always super nice to me: He still had a crush on Mother. And science was riveting.
In Grade Ten we entered the science classroom for the first class of the school year and encountered a huge metal contraption. The class was biology. On closer observation of the contraption, we saw it was full of eggs. We were to study the growth of a chick in an egg. Each class, Mr. Gayoski cracked an egg open and we studied the contents. At first it was just yolk and white. Then a few thin threads of red veins appeared on the yellow yolk. They increased and became more complex the more we opened eggs. Then one class, as usual, Mr. Gayoski brought another egg to the lab table. We were all crowded around. Mr. Gayoski cracked the egg and laid open the shells. This revealed the yolk, but this time, there was a perfect, tiny, bright red heart on the yolk. Just the heart. Pointing up. The veins trailed away from it then petered out. But, the heart was beating! I was dumbstruck. I was in awe. The class was silent. Also quiet, Mr. Gayoski stared at the beating heart. What made it beat? There was no brain, no body, no apparent source of power. Just the heart. So tiny, so valiant, striving to survive. Tears came into my eyes. Poor wee thing. What powered it? The source of the power was invisible. Was it God? Were we seeing God? Something big was happening and it was revealed to us. But we didn’t understand it. I had a heart just like that one. The same power was making my heart beat. I had always thought our brains commanded our hearts to beat. No, the same power was making everyone’s heart beat. The chick heart looked no different from our hearts, except it was so much smaller. Did that mean we were ALL connected? That we were even connected to the chicken heart? Oh! This was extremely exciting. This gave me so much to ponder.
After a protracted silence, and without uttering a word, Mr. Gayoski gently picked up the yolk with the living, beating heart and took it out of the room. After that, he didn’t open any more eggs.
I had another epiphany in Mr. Gayoski’s class, this one entirely unconnected to the science material being taught. I drew all the time. The margins of my notebooks were covered in sketches. I had recently added humans to my repertoire. Oh, I still drew horses, but I had a new fascination for the human form. My epiphany happened when I finished drawing a woman’s head in profile. I looked at it and suddenly realized that the space surrounding the head, that seemingly empty space next to the forehead, the nose, the lips, the chin, the neck, the hair, was full of invisible stuff. The stars were surrounded not by emptiness, but by…molecules? Atoms? Gases? So the ‘empty’ space was teeming with stuff and if I was an artist, I had to honour that surrounding space: Not to brush it off as boring background. The surrounding space held the head together. The space around all of us, holds all of us together.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Great story by Glenn Ponka

Pruning Roses

By Glenn Ponka
Dr. Tahir tended her garden overlooking the ocean.  A cool morning sea breeze fluttered her dress and lavender head scarf while she pruned roses.  Out across the expanse of the ocean, a patrol ship bounced over the waves from the horizon toward Ilsa Laguna’s harbour, where much of the Colony’s five thousand residents lived.
            “Dr. Tahir,” Arno asked.
            “Hmm…  Yes, Arno,” Dr. Tahir said.
            “You were going to tell me about how you came to the Island,” he prompted, his hand over his notebook.  Its pages were filled with stories from other surviving Vanguards he had interviewed over the past few weeks.
            I remember delivering you into this broken world, twenty years ago, Dr. Tahir thought.  Arno was one of the third generation of islanders.  Like most of the young, Ilsa Laguna had been his entire world.
            “Dr. Tahir,” Arno repeated.
            “That is my niece out there.” Dr. Tahir pointing down the mountain to the distantly approaching patrol ship.  “Her team is returning from another reconnaissance mission to the mainland.  I do hope there are no casualties?”
            “Would they not have radioed ahead for you to meet them at the harbor?” Arno asked.  “If any were injured?”
            “Yes, but no.  I’m not the only physician on Ilsa Laguna,” Dr. Tahir said.  “I never had any formal training.”
            “Formal training?”  Arno asked.  Your father taught you and you’ve taught all the other doctors.”
Dr. Tahir smiled.  “Arno you have learned all you know by personal instruction.  In the world before there were large schools where hundreds of professors taught thousands of students at once—and the students paid for the privilege.”
“Paid?”  Arno looked puzzled.  “For learning?”
“Nevermind.”  Again, Dr. Tahir looked out to the ship approaching the aircraft carrier moored out past the break wall.
“Dr. Tahir, you were telling me how you came to the island,” Arno said.
“Yes, we were one of the Vanguard families, fifty-seven years ago,” Dr. Tahir said.  “I don’t recall much of the old world; only a few glimpses of childhood, of my mother and father and sister, and our house in North Vancouver.”
“North Vancouver?  That was a city?”
“Yes, with millions of people and more buildings you can imagine.”
“Amazing,” Arno said, making notes.
“My strongest memories of the mainland are from that last night…”


Dr. Mansoor Tahir set down his phone, his hand shaking.
“Who was that?” Waniya asked as she shoved clothes into a suitcase.
“One of the Minster of Health’s aides,” Mansoor said. “The Rage has moved much faster than predicted.  The infection is already in the city.”
May Allah guide us…”
“The evacuation order has been moved up.  We have to get to Horseshoe Bay by midnight.”
“Midnight?” Waniya looked at her watch in disbelief.
The first call had come forty minutes ago, instructing Mansoor to have his family at Horseshoe Bay at daybreak the next morning.  There a Canadian Coast Guard research vessel, the J.P. Tully, waited to take scientists and their families to a place of safety where they could work on a cure.  Now they had less than an hour to reach the ship, or be left behind.
“The ship will not wait past midnight.”
“No!  We had until tomorrow!”
Mansoor embraced his wife, kissing her.  “Forget the bags.  Let’s get the girls.”
Waniya wrapped a blue silk hijab around her head as they rushed to their children’s bedroom.  “Rubi!  Ghazi!” they called as turned the lights.  The sleepy girls stumbled out of bed and hastily pulled on socks and as their parents shoved sweaters and raincoats on over their pajamas.  Mansoor carried eight-year-old Rubi and Waniya held ten-year-old Ghazi’s hand as they rushed through their large house into the three-car garage.
“Papa,” Rubi said as Mansoor did up her seatbelt beside Ghazi in the back seat.  “Papa, what is it.”
“It’s time to go,” Mansoor said as Waniya tossed the girls rubber boots into the back seat. 
“Where are we going?” Ghazi asked, pulling her boots on.
“To safety.” Mansoor slipped rubber boots onto Rubi’s feet.  Waniya unplugged the Tesla from the wall and climbed into the driver’s seat.  “Hey!” Mansoor said.
“You drive like an old man!” Waniya said, pressing the button to start the SUV.
Mansoor got into the passenger seat as the large garage door opened behind them.  He was jerked sideways in his seat as Waniya accelerated backwards out of the garage and swung the SUV about.  The tires skidded across wet paving stones.  Heavy rain pounded the Tesla and Waniya flicked the wipers on full, sweeping the water off the windshield as she sped down the curving driveway flanked by trees.
“Wani!” Mansoor said, buckling his seatbelt, “Don’t kill us all before we reach the street!”  The girls screamed as the Range Rover bounced over the curb onto pavement.
“It takes my forty minutes to drive to the Horseshoe Bay on a good day,” Waniya said.  “And besides, I know how to drive, really well.”
“There were no trees in the Qatar,” Mansoor said, thinking of Doha, where Waniya had loved to drive over the sandy dunes with her brothers as a girl.
“Why are they at Horseshoe?” Waniya asked, irratated, as she sped along the wet street, the Tesla’s weight shifting side to side as she took the curves.  “There’s kilometers of coastline in this city.  Why not in the Harbour?  Or English Bay?  Those would be easier for all to reach.”
“Those areas are too populated,” Mansoor said.  “Trends suggest that the Rage infects populated areas first.”
“Yes, yes, of course.”
“Be thankful it’s not Tsawwassen,” Mansoor said, naming the ferry port far to the south of the city.
Allah save us, I thought we were safe here.”
“Nowhere is safe…we know that now,” Mansoor said.  In the back seat, Ghazi pulled her headscarf down over her eyes and Rubi reached over to grab her sister’s hand.  The girls huddled close as the SUV swayed around corners.  Waniya headed south, out of North Vancouver towards the TransCanada Highway where she could turn west to Horseshoe Bay.
“Look, there!”
The heavy rain had let up.  As they crested a hill, they saw south, into the center of the city, across the water.  Among the skyscrapers were flashes of light from fires and explosions.
The road was blocked.  Waniya pressed hard on the brakes and the Tesla skidded and slid on the rain slick asphalt, sideways, before stopping.  Everyone bounced in their seats.
A pair of vehicles had crashed into each other.  A third vehicle was on its side.  People were out, around the accident, swearing and shouting at each other.
“Is this it?” Waniya asked, pulling her scarf up over her mouth.
“We don’t know how it spreads,” Mansoor said, leaned forward, studying the two arguing men who had begun to shove and hit each other.
“Is this the Rage?” Waniya asked.  “Girls cover your mouth and nose!”

Friday, October 26, 2018

10X10 plays wanted

Book Bag Lady Has New Book Club Books

Hello Joan,
I am happy to tell you about some great new titles we have recently added to the Book Club in a Bag collection. As always, you can reserve these titles by using KitKeeper
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (sequel to Beartown) (purchased by the Friends of the Thunder Bay Public Library)
The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman (generously donated by the Country Neighbours Book Club)
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (purchased by the Friends of the Thunder Bay Public Library)
To Me You Seem Giant by Greg Rhyno (generously donated by the Food For Thought Book Club)
Conclave by Robert Harris (generously donated by the Club Au Vin Book Club)
Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce (purchased by the Friends of the Thunder Bay Public Library)
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (generously donated by the Surprise Lake Book Club)
Watch for more new titles coming soon!

Helen Cimone
Community Hub Assistant - Collections

Mary J.L. Black Library
901 Edward Street South, Thunder Bay, On P7E 6R2
TEL: (807)-345-8275
FAX: (807)-475-7855

WEBSITE:  www.tbpl.ca

respect.works here.
We would like to acknowledge that the City of Thunder Bay has been built on the traditional territory of Fort William First Nation, signatory to the Robinson Superior Treaty of 1850.   We would also like to recognize the contributions made to our community by the Métis people. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Many seniors bump up against a sad reality. In this memoir piece, Thunder Bay writer and poet, Margaret Cummingham, who now lives in Ottawa, writes honestly and fearlessly about her own experience. Posted with permission of the author.
Horror, Devastation and Despair
by Margaret Rose Cunningham
Plus so many more emotions. I was overwhelmed. Had I lost my best friend; had I lost a child; was I diagnosed with terminal cancer? No, I had lost my driver’s licence!

My first thought was to take lessons. My first instructor was a gentleman who fancied himself and who yelled at me if I made a mistake. I think I had gone through a stop sign. I must admit this was no small mistake. He seemed overly curious about my house and my situation. He peppered me with questions such as who mows your lawn? Who looks after your cars? Who shovels the snow? And then comments, “You have a nice house.” I did not take kindly to these comments. Needless to say, I failed my first test.

My second instructor was a kind and gentle soul who recommended that I go to Winchester to try the test. I didn’t. I failed. My next instructor was a neighbour and a friend who had taught drivers’ Ed in a high school. We went out twice a week for four weeks. The lessons lasted two hours with a break for coffee at Tim Horton’s.

At this point my hands started to give out. I had been gripping the steering wheel too tightly. They would be numb at the end of the lesson. I was later to learn this was the beginning of a carpal tunnel problem.

From time to time, this gentleman couldn’t help yelling at me also, as in “turn your freaking head.” True enough, I hadn’t and nearly had an accident. This was considered “dangerous driving.” My instructor mentioned that it might be time I gave up. Well, I couldn’t do that.

I did try again at Walkley Road Licensing Bureau and failed this time as I went through an amber light. It had turned amber just before I entered the intersection. I might not have taken any more lessons but a friend recommended another instructor who had helped a friend. He was rather a strange little man who always arrived at the house needing the washroom. I was cooking soup so he wondered if he could have some. I gave him a container full. Every time I made a mistake driving he would tell me it was an automatic failure. He was 60 and single. He was looking for a “chick.” I spent some time counseling him on where he might find a “lady.”

My last instructor was very interesting as well. He charged $67.00 an hour while the others had charged $40 to $45 an hour. When I questioned him about this, he said, “You get what you pay for.” Okay, I thought, perhaps this time I might pass. After four weeks, twice a week, I realized that during the last couple of lessons, he hadn’t been very encouraging. When I queried this, he suggested that I take more lessons. I should treat myself and not worry about leaving my money to my  children. I turned to him and said, “You think I should give it to you?”

My next scheduled appointment was in Arnprior. Not surprisingly I failed there as well. This time I went through an intersection at the bottom of a hill. There was a road running parallel to the one I was on. Another car was driving down it on my right. I failed to give it the right of way.

This instructor was different. When I asked him if I should try again, he replied “you were not the only one to make a mistake on that hill.”

I took this as encouragement and booked another test on October 10th.


Sadly Margaret Rose failed this test too. She now has given up driving.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Margie Taylor, best book reviewer ever, tackles James Joyce

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 

book review

Pity the poor reviewers when James Joyce burst onto the scene with A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It was 1916, and even his most sympathetic critics, while admitting the book was well-written and the dialogue superb, were confused by the “formless, unrestrained” and “unconventional” nature of the story. Many were put off by its “occasional impropriety”, which included the mention of such unspeakable matters as wetting the bed and consorting with prostitutes – two events which, thankfully, take place several years apart.
But even then there were many – T. S Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett –  who admired Portrait and even hailed it as a work of genius. Ezra Pound, who had published it in installments in The Egoist, predicted that the book would “remain a permanent part of English literature”.
He was right, of course. While Ulysses, which began to appear in serial form two years later, revolutionized our approach to modern literature, Joyce laid the groundwork with this tale of a youthful Dubliner growing into adulthood at the turn of the last century. His use of interior monologue and free indirect speech, which influenced Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, Beckett’s Molloy, and William Faulkener’s The Sound and the Fury, became a convention of modern literature employed by such disparate writers as Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar) and Irivine Welsh (Trainspotting).
Portrait begins with a little boy listening to his father tell him a story:
“Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo…”
The moocow comes down the road where Betty Byrne lives – she sells lemon platt – the little boy wets the bed – his mother changes the sheet. From the very beginning we are seeing the world from the perspective of the child and as the child matures so will the language. The little boy is sent to school, and the bigger boys tease him and there are some boys you can trust and others you cannot. A priest beats him for breaking his glasses. He works up the courage to go to the rector about it and garners a promise that it won’t happen again. The boy is learning that he has agency.
The boy is Stephen Dedalus, Joyce’s alter ego. Heavily influenced by the religion of his mother and the politics of his father, as was Joyce, Stephen accepts everything at first, as children do. By the time he reaches adolescence he has begun to question the constraints of his church, his family, and his country. It’s a time when thousands are doing just that. Home rule for Ireland, the authority of the Catholic church, the mystery of transubstantiation – all of these are fodder for discussion and fierce argument. Charles Steward Parnell is his father’s hero, but Parnell, the great Irish hope of the nationalist movement, is discovered to be an adulterer. He dies amid scandal and disgrace, brought down, many feel, by the harsh, inflexible dictates of the Catholic church. And Stephen’s father, although passionately sentimental about the past, cannot deal with the present. Unable to manage his financial affairs, he becomes debt-ridden and loses the family home. The priests, on the whole, get off lightly, it seems to me. Perhaps if Joyce had been aware of the abuses perpetrated by so many of the clergy, he might have dealt with them more harshly.

Having won a cash prize for his performance at school, Stephen goes on a bit of a bender, you might say. He begins to frequent prostitutes, indulging his sensual nature while struggling with the knowledge that he is endangering his soul. He and his classmates are taken on a religious retreat, during which a priest subjects them, and the reader, to a harrowing diatribe on the nature of Hell. It rattles Stephen to the bone – to be fair, it rattled me; raised a Baptist as a child I sat through a few of those sermons myself and suffered all the terrors of damnation and the eternal fire. Stephen repents and mends his ways, to the extent that he’s considered a good prospect for the priesthood. (I repented, too, but nobody ever suggested I should become a pastor.)
Stephen, as written by Joyce, sees the most important question as, what is the relationship of the artist to his culture, to his race? The answer to that question is exile – the artist must leave his home, his countrymen, his culture. “Ireland is the old sow that eats her own farrow,” he tells his friend Davin. “No honourable and sincere man . . . has given up to you his life and his youth and his affections from the days of Tone to those of Parnell but you sold him to the enemy or failed him in need or reviled him and left him for another. And you invite me to be one of you. I’d see you damned first”.
So Stephen leaves Ireland, as did Joyce. In 1904 he and Nora Barnacle left for Zurich. After 1912 he never set foot in Ireland again, dying in 1942 a month short of his 59th birthday.
I wouldn’t call myself a Joycean. I warm to him when he shows Stephen at school at Clongowes, the Jesuit-run college where the shy, intellectually gifted young boy attempts to learn the schoolboy code. Later, as a student at University College, Dublin, his interactions with his classmates, especially Cranly and Lynch, have the authenticity of being drawn from life. As does the scene over Christmas dinner when Dante, his governess, is so offended by his father’s praise of Parnell she walks out in a fury. And I love the language: “his small fatencircled eyes”, a “plump woollengloved hand”, a “lavishlimbed” young woman.
Overall, though, Joyce puts me off, somehow. He overwrites. I agree with Roddy Doyle, who said he could do with a good editor. And this is A Portrait of the Artist we’re talking about. Heaven knows how I’ll get through Ulysses.

My favourite book of short stories, The Dubliners by Joyce.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Want to learn an Aboriginal Language? Here are some books at the Thunder Bay Library.

I think this would be a wonderful winter project for a family. Also for me. When January sets in, I will give it a try. I love to hear the language spoken and and have sat in on a few classes with Ma-nee Chakaby as teacher. Even if I get a few phrases......
Learning to speak the language that your grandparents spoke is a precious gift for many people.  This is especially true for Indigenous people, many of whom lost their languages as a result of colonialism.  Last week (October 1-7) was First Nations Public Library Week in Ontario, a great time to explore Indigenous languages.  Here are some books and other resources from your Library’s Indigenous Knowledge Centres to help you find language resources for all ages.
This book is by Trevor Greyeyes & Maeengan Linklater and edited and translated by Patricia M. Ningewance.  It is a simple to use guide for children from eight to fifteen and for teachers, parents, caregivers and grandparents who want to speak Ojibwe with the child in everyday situations. The book clearly states that it is not intended as an instructional language grammar, and stresses that this guide is intended for fluent speakers as well as beginners. The authors emphasize the importance of the Seven Grandfather Teachings and respectful behaviour. A pronunciation guide is provided. Highly recommended.
Author Patricia M. Ningewance uses the Lac Seul, Ontario dialect for the vocabulary. The guide is organized into everyday conversations of daily living in common situations. The book contains a list of common Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Minnesota and Ontario place names. There is an extensive glossary of English words with corresponding Ojibwe terms. The introduction discusses the Ojibwe language and provides information about pronunciation, writing systems, and grammar. This book is recommended for anyone working with Ojibwe speakers or interested in the Ojibwe language.
Author Patricia M. Ningewance is Ojibwe from Lac Seul First Nation in northwestern Ontario.  She also wrote a workbook, with accompanying CD.  Phil Fontaine, former National Chief, Assembly of First Nations, Canada, wrote this about Talking Gookom’s language:  "This is a very practical and comprehensive book that can help our Anishinaabe youth and “60’s Scoop” adults relearn their language and begin their journey “back home” wherever they are. Let us indeed honour our ancestors by keeping the language they left behind for us to speak.”
This course includes Lessons 1-10 from the Ojibwe Level 1 Program - 5 hours of audio-only effective language learning with real-life spoken practice sessions. Get a chance to test drive the incredibly effective and efficient, world-famous Pimsleur Program. Each lesson provides 30 minutes of spoken language practice, with an introductory conversation, and new vocabulary and structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the conversation. Practice for vocabulary introduced in previous lessons is included in each lesson. The emphasis is on pronunciation and comprehension, and on learning to speak Ojibwe.
This wonderful book comes with a CD of songs collected and recorded by Jim Hollander, transcribed and translated by Oji-Cree and Ojibway educators from the Matawa First Nations.  The 14 songs were written and recorded during a Sing Along Songs Workshop at the Eabametoong First Nation in 2007.  The words for all the songs are written in English and syllabics.
Born and raised in Norway House, Cree author Ken Paupanekis wrote this handy little book to promote the use of the Cree language everywhere it might be used, by speaking it.  The cover says: “What to say when visiting Cree People in Communities, at Airports, Conferences, in Hospitals, in Courts, Cities, Stores and in the Wilderness”.
Cree-Metis author and illustrator Julie Flett tells the story of a young boy picking wild blueberries with this grandmother in this beautiful picture book written in the Cree language.  She notes, “This book in set in n-dialect, also known as Swampy Cree from the Cross Lake, Norway House area.”  The story is told in both spelled-out Cree and syllabics, and the book includes a syllabic pronunciation guide.
Your Library card gets you access to the online language learning tool Transparent Language.  This fun, interactive program includes lessons in how to speak over 95 languages, including Cree, Oji-Cree, and three different dialects of Ojibwe.  Go towww.tbpl.ca/learnalanguage and follow the link to get started.  Create an account with your email address to log in, and track your progress.
Joanna Aegard and Robyn Medicine – www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!