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Local BC Books for Everyone on Your Holiday List

Take the stress out of holiday shopping with these gift-worthy recommendations.

Read Local BC 20 Nov 2023The Tyee

It’s a beautiful sight watching a loved one’s eyes light up when they unwrap that perfect holiday present.

This season, level up your gifting game by giving the people in your life a personalized reading experience, and giving back by taking your holiday shopping list to the nearest independent bookstore. When you buy a local book from your local indie, you give yourself the gift of a vibrant BC literary scene.

Here are 10 B.C.-published books for everyone on your list. For even more reading inspo, Read Local BC hosts a rich archive of local books. To kick off a season of supporting local authors, publishers and booksellers, Read Local BC is giving away one $100 gift certificate to the indie bookstore of a Tyee reader’s choice. Stay tuned!

For the kid who dreams of being a chef

Let's Eat: Recipes for Kids Who Cook
By DL Acken and Aurelia Louvet
(TouchWood Editions)

If the young gourmands on MasterChef Junior are anything to go by, lots of kids are eager to get into the kitchen. So why wait until they’re off at college facing the (gross) communal microwave in their residence lounge? Your Vancouver Island cooking squad is here to help! Seasoned cookbook author Danielle Acken, food stylist Aurelia Louvet, and their six proteges (aged 7 to 17) bring together kitchen basics, tools, terminology and 60-plus recipes with loads of variations to suit a range of tastes.

The book opens with a chapter of recipes to build basic techniques — making eggs, rice, pasta, salad dressing, mashed potatoes, bread and roast chicken (what? Yes, really) — that will set kids up for culinary success. Following this fun, choose-your-own-adventure style primer, with its bold, colourful photography, kids will soon advance from quick afterschool snacks and summer picnics to breakfasts in bed and full-course family dinners (with dessert, of course).

For the poetry lover who want to go meta with it

Hologram: An Homage to P.K. Page
Edited by Yvonne Blomer and DC Reid
(Caitlin Press)

In Hologram: Homage to P.K. Page, Canadian poets honour the legacy of the internationally acclaimed and influential poet, P.K. Page.

An excerpt from the poem "Presences":

      Our feet barely touched the earth, and memory
      erased at birth, but gradually reassembling
      coalesced and formed a whole, as single birds
      gathering for migration form a flock.

For the socially conscious teen rebel

Cardboard City
By Katarina Jovanovic
(Tradewind Books)

Cardboard City follows the lives of two young teens — members of a Romani family. Saida and Nikola experience harsh discrimination at school and crushing poverty in their informal settlement spread out under a bridge in Belgrade, Serbia. Their dreams of escape and of leaving behind deplorable conditions trigger a family crisis.

Nikola is a gifted trumpeter and aspires to be a famous musician, but it proves challenging for him to surmount the enormous barriers between his present situation and the life of self-mastery and dignity he seeks. Introducing young readers to the world of eastern Europe’s Rom, Cardboard City is evocative of the virulent racism, injustice and inhumane conditions endured by this community to this very day.

For the reconciliation skeptic seeking a way forward

Meeting My Treaty Kin: A Journey Toward Reconciliation
By Heather Menzies
(On Point Press, an imprint of UBC Press)

A thoughtful, sensitive, nuanced account of the personal groundwork that reconciliation requires, and the promise that listening with respect holds for healing our relations with one another.

An excerpt:

The door opened a few inches. In the darkness of the opening, I saw a short woman, brown skin, dark brown eyes, chin-length grey hair.

"Yes?" she said, her voice hard.

I told her my name. I knew it was pretty late, I said. But I’d come to offer her my condolences at the death of her brother.

She looked at me hard. I held her gaze: brown eyes on blue, blue eyes on brown.

She stepped back, pulled open the door.

"Come in," she said.

For the fashionista curious about BC’s local textile scene

Fleece and Fibre: Textile Producers of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands
By Francine McCabe
(Heritage House Publishing)

A fascinating look at the world of small-scale textile farms along the Salish Sea and their pivotal role in sustainable, artisanal textile production and the slow fashion movement.

An excerpt:

Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands have hundreds of farms currently breeding sheep, alpacas, llamas, goats and other fibre-producing animals. I spent over a year sourcing island fibre and visiting 31 farms and their fibre animals.

Along the way, I kept hearing similar stories of processing woes and the growing cost of feeding and caring for animals. This made me wonder: Why aren’t we, as a province, investing more in fibre infrastructure? Why are there multiple agricultural grants for farmers looking to produce food, but so little financial help for starting fibre-related farms?

We need sustainable startup options for fibre mills. Fortunately, we are beginning to realize that our textiles are just as impactful to our region as the food we eat. Closing this gap is one of the goals of the fibreshed movement.

For the nerdy tradesperson

Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood
By Hilary Peach
(Anvil Press)

A deep dive into the secret language and hidden culture of one of the most esoteric heavy construction trades: boilermaking.

An excerpt:

Since I didn't have seniority, I only got called to work when they were busy. Like any boom-or-bust industry, the shipyards would swing from all the overtime you could handle to completely empty.

One Christmas, the administrator at our union hall was handing out scratch-and-win lottery tickets, and an apology, when guys went in to ask about upcoming work. Jobs were scarce and getting scarcer. But a few of our members had won a different kind of lottery; they’d been called out to work in the United States.

For the comedy lover who wants to indulge in some Vancouver nostalgia

East Side Story: Growing Up at the PNE
By Nick Marino
(Robin's Egg Books, an Arsenal Pulp Press series)

An excerpt:

In 1980, when I was 12 years old, I got my first job working at Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition, or PNE. My dad drove me to the fairgrounds, where I was hired without an interview.

I copied down my social insurance number, had my picture taken and was told to come back in a week. The PNE was the largest employer of young people in the province, hiring 1,000 or so teens for two weeks of the fair. They didn’t have much time to vet the candidates.

For the strong-willed go-getter who wants to carve out their own path

Canoes
Maylis de Kerangal, translated by Jessica Moore
(Talonbooks)

In Canoes, seven stories orbit a central novella, resonating with the vibrations and frequencies of women’s voices.

An excerpt:

We don’t really like sugary little voices here, Zoé had recently been told, a way of warning her that her access to the microphone was compromised and that she’d do better to take her dreams down a notch. She heard this portent as an incitement to prove her worth, to show that she was persistent, and above all, to work on her voice in order to make it lower, deeper, calmer. More masculine, you mean? I asked. Less feminine in any case, she retorted, lighting a smoke.

So Zoé went in search of her low voice, the one that connotes all the competence, authority and assurance no one would grant her high voice. Every week she went to a vocal coach who taught her how to lower her frequency, because it’s not easy with high voices, you know, they don’t do as well on the radio, it’s technical, it’s linked to the human ear, we have to think of the listeners.

For the feminist music lover

Rubymusic: A Popular History of Women's Music and Culture
By Connie Kuhns
(Caitlin Press)

In Rubymusic, award-winning journalist and broadcaster Connie Kuhns takes readers on an explosive journey through the Pacific Northwest’s groundbreaking women’s music scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

For the little one dipping their toes into reading

Emi and Mini
By Hanako Masutani, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
(Tradewind Books)

Emi gets a new pet, Mini, a lovable fat hamster. But unfortunately, Emi is not a huge fan of hamsters — she really wanted a dog. After Mini escapes from her cage and hides somewhere in the house, Emi finally realizes how much she loves her new little friend.

About Read Local BC

At Read Local BC (a project of Books BC), we celebrate the vibrant community of authors, publishers, bookstores and libraries that make up our province’s literary landscape.

Read Local BC acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, Creative BC and the City of Vancouver.  [Tyee]

Read more: Books

This article is part of a Tyee Presents initiative. Tyee Presents is the special sponsored content section within The Tyee where we highlight contests, events and other initiatives that are either put on by us or by our select partners. The Tyee does not and cannot vouch for or endorse products advertised on The Tyee. We choose our partners carefully and consciously, to fit with The Tyee’s reputation as B.C.’s Home for News, Culture and Solutions. Learn more about Tyee Presents here.

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