Black History Month: Spotlight

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-5-54-35-am2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature — Longlisted
2016 RBC Taylor Prize — Longlisted

The unforgettable memoir of Giller Prize–winning author and poet Austin Clarke, called “Canada’s first multicultural writer.”

Austin Clarke is a distinguished and celebrated novelist and short-story writer. His works often centre around the immigrant experience, of which he writes with humour and compassion, happiness and sorrow. In ’Membering, Clarke shares his own experiences growing up in Barbados and moving to Toronto to attend university in 1955 before becoming a journalist. With vivid realism he describes Harlem of the ’60s, meeting and interviewing Malcolm X and writers Chinua Achebe and LeRoi Jones. Clarke went on to become a pioneering instructor of Afro-American Literature at Yale University and inspired a new generation of Afro-American writers.

Clarke has been called Canada’s first multicultural writer. Here he eschews a traditional chronological order of events and takes the reader on a lyrical tour of his extraordinary life, interspersed with thought-provoking meditations on politics and race. Telling things as he ’members them. (From Dundurn Press website).

Read the reviews at Quill and Quire, and The Globe and Mail.

  • Purchase your own copy, or check out the ESA Library copy out on the Black History Month display on the upper level of the Library.

Black History Month: Spotlight


Quentin Tarantino is co-writing a graphic novel mini-series based on his 2012 film, Django Unchained, which starred Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The graphic novels will see Django, the freed slave and eponymous hero of Tarantino’s hyper-violent slavery Western, team up with another famous big screen character, the masked swordsman Zorro.

Tarantino will co-write the novel alongside the comic book author Matt Wagner, who has already written a series of graphic novels centred around Zorro. The new book will be published by DC Entertainment.

(From The Guardian, June 2014)

Read the rest of the above article at The Guardian.

  • Purchase your own copy, or check out the ESA Library copy out on the Black History Month display on the upper level of the Library.

Poetry in Voice: In-School Finals

The day has finally arrived.  Join us after school – on Valentine’s Day – to cheer on the contestants participating in Poetry in Voice.

Two students – one in the English stream and one in the Bilingual stream – will move on to the on-line semi finals, competing for the chance to participate in the National Finals in Vancouver BC in April.

  • Bring a mug and a sweet tooth.
  • Recitations scheduled to begin promptly at 3:20pm in the ESA Library.

Black History Month: Spotlight


The classic Black Indians has been updated and reissued. This startling and readable work of people’s history chronicles both the attempts to keep black people and Indians divided in the Americas, and their efforts to unite. As one French colonial document stated, “Between the races we cannot dig too deep a gulf.” But the “digging” was not always successful, and much of the drama of Katz’ book is found in the inspiring instances of black-Indian unity, as in the Seminole Wars. Two lessons on the Zinn Education Project website draw on Black Indians: “The Color Line,” about conscious efforts in early America to create divisions between races; and “The Cherokee/Seminole Removal Role Play,” which helps students explore events leading up to the Trail of Tears.

The expanded and updated edition of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage brings the Native American and African American alliance that for four centuries challenged the European conquest and slavery into the 21st century with additional research and documentary and photographic evidence.

Learn more about this title at the Zinn Education Project website.

  • Purchase your own copy, or check out the ESA Library copy out on the Black History Month display on the upper level of the Library.

White Pine Spotlight: Fifteen Lanes by SJ Laidlaw


Fifteen Lanes by SJ Laidlaw

  • Difficult, but sensitive novel about two young girl’s, one of whom was born into life in Mumbai’s red light district.
  • I loved that the focus is fundamentally on Noor and her story.
  • I was worried at first how the author was going to bring the second story – Grace’s – to bear on Noor’s, how to make the reader see the similarities in their situations, but she does it simply and believably.
  • The themes are many: gender status and roles, secrets, hope, privilege and poverty/wealth disparities/juxtaposition, cultural relativism, reproductive choice/access to contraception, the value of human life, HIV/AIDS epidemic, friendship, and so much more.
  • Ultimately though the novel forces to reader to challenge their own assumptions/beliefs/ biases about the nature of sex work, the ‘value’ of sex workers, and western notions of ‘what to do about the situation’…
  • Clearly there are no easy answers.

Read the review at Quill and Quire.


  • Check out Forest Fridays, virtual visits with featured authors.  We will be hosting a couple of them here at ESA.
  • Students who would like to join us at the Festival of Trees, at Harbourfront, on Tuesday May 16th should see Ms. Wray in the Library.
  • Permission forms will be available closer to the date.

Valentine’s Day @ Your Library

Valentine’s Day Book Draw

  • Tell us about the most romantic book you’ve ever read… and be entered into the ESA Library Valentine’s Day Book Draw.
  • Pick up an entry form at the Library Circulation Desk and drop your submission in the LOVE bag.
  • Entries are also being accepted online.  Submit your response(s) here.
  • Every entry into the Valentine’s Day Book Draw will also be entered into Just Read It!

Go on a Blind Date with a Book!

  • Drop by the ESA Library next week and choose a book to take home and curl up with.
  • We have curated a selection of books from a variety of genres – chosen just for Valentine’s Day – and wrapped them up with pretty bows
  • They are waiting to be taken home and be loved by someone.

Looking for love on Valentine’s Day?

  • Come to the Library after school and cheer on your fellow students as they recite their way to becoming this year’s  School Champion for Poetry In Voice.
  • Fall in love with poetry…

Black History Month: Spotlight


The facts are clear-it was, by all accounts, a slug-ugly crime. Brothers George and Rufus Hamilton, in what was supposed to be a simple robbery, drunkenly bludgeoned a taxi driver to death with a hammer. It was January 1949, and the two brothers, part Mi’kmaq and part African, lived in the dirt-poor settlement of Barker’s Point, New Brunswick. Less than eight months later, they were both hanged from the gallows for their crime.

Those facts are also the skeletons in George Elliott Clarke’s family closet. George and Rufus Hamilton were the author’s matrilineal first cousins, once removed. Despite the fact that the crime lives on in Fredericton, where the murder site is known as “Hammertown”, Clarke knew nothing of this chapter in his family’s past untilhis mother told him about it in 1994. Both repelled and intrigued by his ancestors’ deeds, Clarke set out to discover just what kind of forces would reduce a man to crime, violence, and ultimately, murder. The results are an award-winning book of poetry, Execution Poems, and now George & Rue, a richly evocative fiction debut from one of this country’s literary luminaries.

The novel shifts seamlessly back through the killers’ pasts, recounting a bleakly comic tale of victims of violence who became violent themselves, an Africadian community—Three Mile Plains, Nova Scotia—too poor and too shamed to help the men, and a white community bent on condemning all blacks as dangerous outsiders.

George Elliott Clarke has written a horrific—and horrifically funny—story that is also infused with a sensual, rhythmical beauty. (From the Bukowski Agency website)

Learn more about the book at CBC Books, including listening to an interview from The Sunday Edition.

  • Purchase your own copy, or check out the ESA Library copy out on the Black History Month display on the upper level of the Library.
  • We have additional copies on the shelf in the History collection… check the ESA Library Catalogue.