VM Book Club June 2021 – The Dads Edition
This month it’s all about Dads! In celebration of Father’s Day we’ve got FIVE books written by Vancouver Dads. From a re-imagined folktale to a lengthy list of all Dad’s jobs to the analysis of a complicated father-son relationship, the month’s books got me thinking about the relationships between Dads, or fatherly figures and kids. Growing up I’m lucky my Dad was an avid story-reader. He read aloud to me until I could read aloud to him and then we read silently beside each in backyard chairs for years. Sharing and recounting stories creates a strong bond.
Who does story time in your house? What are Dad’s favourite books? Share your book recommendations and comment on our reviews using #VMBookCub.
Great Job Dad
Written by: Holman Wang
Illustrated by: Holman Wang
Recommended audience:All ages
Publisher: Tundra & Penguin Random House
Exploring all the many hats a parent can wear and busting gender stereotypes along the way are great qualities in a story. This book, along with its counterpart Great Job Mom, are very relatable to both kids and parents. Great Job Dad is sweet and simple and has a great flow when read aloud. An incredible feature of this book is the illustrations. The author creates figures out of wool and designs their environments to photograph for each page. The details are uniquely incredible and many of the scenes distinctively Vancouver.
By night he’s our librarian with stacks of books piled high.
Find it >> https://holmanwang.com
Gurpreet Goes To Gurdwara: Understanding the Sikh Place of Worship
Written by: Harman Singh Pandher
Illustrated by Gurpreet Kaur Birk
Recommended audience: 4+
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
This story about a boy with Canadian ideas from a Sikh family is written by a local school teacher. The book explores the journey of a young child discovering the traditions of his Sikh heritage by attending Gurdwara with his family on Sunday. Learning about the religion and family values through the eyes and questions of Gurpreet was both interesting and charming as the character represents so many young children trying to understand the demands of their parents. I’ve found teaching my kids about different cultures through stories is the best way for them to understand and ask questions. My 4yo really enjoyed the story and relating it to his own experience. The unfamiliar words were well explained, and the fun illustrations brought the story to life.
You have to practice your religion to become a good Sikh, too,” said Gurpreet’s dad. “Just think of Gurdwara as God’s rink – without the slapshots. The more you go, the more you know. You know?
Find it >> https://www.chapters.indigo.ca
Written by: Raymond Nakamura
Illustrated by: Rebecca Bender
Recommended audience: 3+
Publisher: Pajama Press
This sweet story has a warm ending that surprised us all! It’s the story of a brave girl, Momoko, who pops out of a peach and sets out to confront an ogre, rumoured to be evil. Along her way she recruits some animal friends, Monkey, Dog, and Pheasant, promising them delicious dumplings. This story is a modern reimagination of a Japanese folk tale and the traditional style is evident, especially in the ending. We loved the story and the spunk of the Peach Girl, with her wise brown eyes beautifully illustrated. This book was a hit with all of us!
Favourite blurb: “Peachy,” said Momoko.
Find it >> https://pajamapress.ca
For Young Adults
Munro vs the Coyote
Written by: Darren Groth
Recommended audience: 12+
Publisher: Orca Books
This novel for young adults explores a teenager’s loss of his younger sibling. Munro travels from Vancouver to Brisbane Australia to escape his reality and process his grief. During his experience he spends time at an assisted living residence for kids with special needs which connects him to his sister. The book is a good match for its intended audience exploring the emotions, uncertainty and negative self-talk that often accompanies being a teenager. The Aussie lingo is on-point as the author acknowledges the quirks of his homeland. Munro is a relatable character and being witness to his journey to find value in himself and his friendships is inspiring.
Why here? Why an exchange to Australia? Was there something that made you want to come? Or someone?” I set my chopsticks aside and wipe my mouth with a napkin. Possible answers to her query wheel through my mind. The trip as a poor substitute for Evie’s aspirations? Nonstarter. A need to escape home for a while? Makes my parents sound like assholes – definitely not the case. A throwaway line about Down Under being a prime destination for every Canadian? It was Evie’s dream, not mine.
Find it >> https://www.orcabook.com/
For Grown Ups
The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit
Written by: JJ Lee
Recommended audience: Grown Ups
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Honestly, I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. In the first 30 pages I was hooked on the rich story of father-son love and tension elegantly woven with the history of tailoring, tailor shops and the evolution of the men’s suit. This non-fiction memoir has been a finalist of several awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award. It explores a journey the author, a journalist and apprentice tailor, makes to alter a suit worn by his father. The journey of cutting and re-creating the suit leads him down a path of unpicking stitches and memories of his past. The childhood memories and evolution to manhood under the influence of his father is both heart-breaking and so innocent. I also learned a lot about the men’s fashion industry and now know what to look for in a suit. I laughed and I cried at this colourful story of family dynamics.
Why are you never home?” “What? I always come home.” But that’s not what I meant. I wanted him to tell me why he never came home sober. Why couldn’t he be happy? What did we do to make him so unhappy? Why did he hurt Mum? Most importantly, I wanted him to tell me that I would not become like him. Instead I said, “I miss you.
Find it >> www.penguinrandomhouse.ca
Jenn Wint is a writer, communications strategist and a public relations specialist. She is passionate about storytelling and community. Jenn lives in East Vancouver with her husband, 3yo son and 1yo daughter. You’ll find them hanging around Vancouver’s playgrounds, water parks, coffee shops and anywhere that bakes fresh cookies in-house!