Tag Archives: book club

Eureka! TD Summer Reading Club 2014

07.03.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

For my children, June 27 was the last day of school—the day when the bell marks one of the most anticipated moments in a child’s memory—the transition from end-of-school-year to the full freedom of summer vacation.

Xara on the last day of school with her favourite JK teacher, Mr. Vilku. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Xara on the last day of school with her favourite JK teacher, Mr. Vilku. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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The whole family with Michael's Grade 4 teacher and friend, Mr. McCutcheon. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
The whole family with Michael’s Grade 4 teacher and friend, Mr. McCutcheon. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

And now we’re here, a full two months of summer freedom, the opportunity to sleep late and sleep in, endless events to choose from, activities and crafts, and lots of free play. As a parent, it can be daunting to try to plan an entire summer that will not only entertain your children, but also keep education involved in their activities without making them feel like they’re back in school.

One great opportunity is to participate in the Eureka! TD Summer Reading Club 2014, hosted by a number of public libraries within the GTA.

Parents can sign their children up online at their local library, receive a membership ID number for future login, an activity booklet, a reading log book, a page of stickers, and the encouragement to keep reading throughout the summer.

For every two books read and logged online, equals an entry into a ballot to win a number of prizes hosted by the local library running the summer reading club. Members can win a Chapters Gift Card and an ice cream scoop from Baskin Robbins. A prize is also awarded to each club member who completes the 15 book challenge.

At the end of the summer, club members who have logged at least two books will be entered into the final grand prize draw for a chance to win a Kobo Arc!

Eureka Summer Reading Club 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Eureka Summer Reading Club 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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It’s a great motivator to keep your children eager and interested in reading all summer long with an opportunity for them to create their own, personal reading goals. It’s also a great way to keep record of the books your children have read.

As of today, both my children have been logging in the books they’ve read so far (my son tallies at six books and my daughter tallies at five) since they have both signed up for the program.

Here’s to summer—and all the great books to be read!

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If you have children, are they participating in a summer reading program?

Which books are you looking forward to sharing with the children in your life?

Have you heard of the Eureka! TD Summer Reading Club? Do you think you will enroll your children in the club?

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Book Review: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

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Book Review:

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

12.06.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

the end of your life book club

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Category: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Author: Will Schwalbe

Format: Hardcover, 342 pages

Publisher: Knopf Canada

ISBN: 978-0-307-39966-3

Pub Date: October 2, 2012

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The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe is a memoir about the author and his mother, Mary Anne Schwalbe, who carry on conversations prompted by their passion for books, those they read, and agree to read together just around the time Mary Anne suffers from a rare type of hepatitis and is then later diagnosed with an advanced form of pancreatic cancer.

And while the title of the book is stark and its subject matter expected to be melancholy, Will Schwalbe’s voice is anything but that. It is instead intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, keenly observant, and witty.

I should know since I was the primary caregiver to my grandfather while he fought his own battle against pancreatic cancer in 1999.

So, while one might expect a wallowing narrative or in the other terrible extreme, an overpowering devotion to self-help or holistic, new age, positive thinking — the book is appreciatively neither.

It has instead, a quiet, but determined resilience much like Mary Anne Schwalbe herself who you learn about through the confidence Will shares with his readers about the conversational topics they have about books.

Books become a lifeline through Mary Anne Schwalbe’s terminal illness, a collective repertoire of her attitudes and beliefs. They also become a lifeline in which Will Schwalbe is able to know his mother more and give testament to her leadership, passions, and ideals. Books in the process also become a comfort and solace, a way of bringing delight or instruction, and a means to communicate what isn’t always easily spoken, but absolutely required.

So, this memoir works two-fold. It’s an observant and graceful testament to Will Schwalbe’s relationship to his mother, honouring both who she was and what she believed in; and a testament to the significance of literacy and the power of books, and what they can mean to our own stories.

If you’re an avid reader this book will reconfirm all the reasons why you are so, even providing an Appendix of books that Will and his mother read during their two-year journey. If you’re a light or skeptic reader, or a reader at all, this book will encourage and inspire you to read more.

The honesty and tenderness in which Will Schwalbe writes (especially about such a painful and personal topic) reflects one of the things his mother believed:

[That] the written word, on the page or read aloud, was to be accorded the utmost respect,” – p. 207

which is what readers will hopefully feel by the end of reading this book.

As Will Schwalbe gives a heartfelt thanks to his mother in his memoir, we should return the favour to him, the author, as its humbled readers.

Zara’s Rating

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If you were given an opportunity to write a memoir, what topic do you think you’d like to write about?

Has anyone close to you ever battled cancer or another terminal illness?

What do you find hardest about watching someone you love fight such a battle?

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