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A Life in Panels: Graphic Novel Auto/biographies

October 9, 2015 | Diane L. | Comments (0)

Do you enjoy reading biographies or memoirs? Or maybe you don't like reading them very much? Even if you don't like reading this particular genre, graphic novels can totally transform your reading experience of it. Graphic novels, similar to comic books, use a combination of art and text laid out in sequential panels, to tell a story in book form. Graphic novels can act as a powerful vehicle for telling a story—whether it's the story of a historical figure, a personal memoir or a work of fiction, history or fantasy or anything in-between. There is the oft-quoted saying:  "A picture is worth a thousand words." With the graphic novel, a talented illustrator/writer can evoke complex ideas and emotions with their art/text—resulting in a transformative reading experience. 

Check out some of the graphic novel biographies and memoirs below:

MausMaus: a survivor's tale: My father bleeds history by Art Spiegelman

This is the story of Vladek, a Polish Jewish survivor of the Holocaust living in New York and his son, Art Spiegelman, a cartoonist, who tries to come to terms with his father's story and the historical catastrophe that shaped the course of his family's history and the world. 

Maus became the first graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

Follow it up with the second part of Spiegelman's story in Maus II: a survivor's tale: and here my troubles began or check out the complete volume, Maus: a survivor's tale.



Persepolis: the story of a childhood by Marjane Satrapi

In this wise, funny and heartbreaking memoir, Marjane Satrapi's recounts growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution: from age six to 14, Satrapi saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.  

Follow it up with Persepolis 2: the story of a return. 

Persepolis was originally published in French in 4 volumes:
Persepolis. 1 [French]  
Persepolis. 2 [French]
Persepolis. 3 [French]
Persepolis. 4 [French]


RielLouis Riel: a comic-strip biography by Chester Brown

With Louis Riel: a comic-strip biography, Chester Brown has created a historical biography of Louis Riel in a powerful graphic novel format—it is a compelling and meticulous retelling of the charismatic 19th-century Métis leader.

Brown received the Harvey Award for best writing and best graphic novel, and made several Best of the Year lists with Louis Riel. Publishers Weekly hailed the book as a "contender for best graphic novel ever."

Louis Riel was originally serialized as a comic book between 1999-2003 before being published as a book in 2003.



 El deafo by Cece Bell

In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn't—but also isolates her from her classmates. Ultimately, its the story of a little girl who just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. 

El deafo won the Newbery Honor in 2015. It also won the 2015 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids.





Smile by Raina Telgemeier 

This is Raina Telgemeier's story of her dental/orthodontic (mis)adventure after injuring her two front teeth in a trip-and-fall mishap. But at the heart of this very charming and poignant book is a very relatable coming-of-age story with first crushes, friendship dramas and the eternal angst of adolescence. 

Smile has won numerous awards and honours, including the 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor for Nonfiction and the 2011 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Teens. It was also a New York Times "Editors' Choice" in 2010. Kirkus Reviews called it "irresistible, funny and touching," with "strong writing and emotionally expressive characters."

Although marketed for teens, Smile will definitely appeal to adults as well. It will resonate with anyone who has gone through that dramatic period known as adolescence and/or gone through their own bit of dental/orthodontic trauma.

Happy reading!

Summer Day Trips

August 21, 2015 | Diane L. | Comments (1)

Summer_day_trips Beach Trip clip art by Gerald_G on 

Agincourt District Libraries Blog is pleased to present this post by Leo W., Branch Head at the Bridlewood Branch.

Running out of things to do to for those hot sultry summer days? Why not go on a day trip with your family or friends?  From hidden waterfalls to scenic lookouts, many of these perfect getaways are only an hour or so drive away. Here are some of my suggestions:

Cheltenham BadlandsCheltenham Badlands, Panorama by Ian Muttoo, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Cheltenham Badlands Trail
Located in Caledon (about a 40 minute drive away), the mars-like surface is the result of agriculture erosion that exposed the shale rock underneath. The area used to be a river bed of a long forgotten river. [Unfortunately,Cheltenham Badlands is temporarily closed].

Dundas valleyDundas Valley in Fall by RichardBH, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dundas Valley Lookout Trail 
Located in Dundas (south of Hamilton), this scenic lookout spot is best enjoyed during summer and autumn. The trail system is easy to trek and a wealth of amenities are nearby.

Rouge Park
Rouge Park by Stefan Ogrisek, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Rouge Park 
A short drive to the east end of the city is Rouge Park, Canada’s first National Urban Park.  From relaxing on the beach, to trekking in the forest trails, to canoeing among the cattails,—the 79.5 km2 green space offers something for everyone.

Humber Bay Arch Bridge Humber Bay Arch Bridge by Michael Gil, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Toronto Cycling Trails
Why drive when you can cycle?  In recent years, Toronto has been aggressively building trails across the city such as the Waterfront Trail. There are many to choose from, why not try one for yourself? If you would like some help choosing a bike trail, read about some of the trails recommended by the Toronto Star recently.

Still looking for more ideas? Why not check out the travel collection at your local Toronto Public Library branch? Here are some books to get you started:

Toronto fun places   Day trips from Toronto  A nature guide to OntarioBackroads of Ontario  Top 125 unusual things to see in Ontario

Additional online resources:

Ontario Trails 

Ontario Yours to Discover

[This post was revised on August 22, 2015 to include information about the temporary closure of Cheltenham Badlands]

Delicious Reads!

August 8, 2015 | Diane L. | Comments (0)

Too hot to cook? Feeling culinarily uninspired?  Why not check out one of these yummy books from the Toronto Public Library instead and immerse yourself in some delicious reads? Armchair cooking (and travel) for the adventurous at heart! 

 Cooking With Fernet Branca  Debt to pleasure  Like water for chocolate

Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson

Start with a handful or two of satire, add a generous dash of dark and biting wit and then throw in a bottle or two of Fernet Branca (a type of bitter herbal liqueur) and voilà—you have this very delicious story served up for your reading pleasure! This is the story of Gerald Samper, an Englishman whose idyllic life in Tuscany is shattered by the the arrival of Marta—from an unspecified former Soviet republic. The ever increasingly hysterical antics of Gerald and Marta are equally matched by the ever increasingly bizarre recipes cooked up by Gerald: take for example, his Mussels in Chocolate, or Garlic and Fernet Branca Ice Cream, or Alien Pie (which calls for among other things, 1 kg of smoked cat, 1 buzzard feather, and of course, Fernet Branca).

And if you enjoy this book, follow it up with its sequel, Amazing Disgrace.

The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester

Travel through France with Tarquin Winot, the anti-hero of The Debt to Pleasure, who warns us at the very beginning that this “is not a conventional cookbook.” And it most definitely is not. This satirical novel is full of dark wit and humour,—with surprising twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. Tarquin, an Englishman foodie, while travelling to his house in Provence (his "spiritual homeland") reveals the story of his life, peeling away his past and present—layer by layer, peppering each layer with his culinary reflections and recipes. 

Like water for chocolate : a novel in monthly installments, with recipes, romances, and home remedies by Laura Esquivel

This charming love story is set in turn-of-the-century Mexico. It's the love story of Tita and Pedro and a strong supporting cast of characters who come between their love. The novel is broken up into 12 chapters to represent the months of the year and each chapter opens up with a recipe. Tita's story is intertwined with each recipe and its preparation. A big dose of magic infuses Tita's cooking—with surprising results when people eat the food she's prepared with so much passion and feeling.

Also available as an ebook.

Are your reading taste buds hankering for something else? Give Fred Wah's biofictional story of growing up Chinese in Nelson, British Columbia a try. In the poetical Diamond Grill, read about Salisbury Steak, chicken fried rice, bird's nest soup alongside themes of family and identity in small town Canada. There is also Ruth Reichl's memoir, Tender at the bone : growing up at the table: let Reichl take you on a delightful journey of food, childhood and growing up. Or consider the implications of what's for dinner in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma: a natural history of four meals. Or read one of the fascinating histories on salt, potato, coffee, tea or sugar. There is also a growing genre of fiction where food, recipes, and cooking plays a central plot to the story. One is surely to whet your appetite!  

Diamond grill

  Tender at the bone  The omnivore's dilemma : a natural history of four meals  Salt: A World History

The potato : how the humble spud rescued the western world Uncommon grounds : the history of coffee Tea : the drink that changed the world Sugar : a bittersweet history

Tea and Books @ Agincourt Branch

January 14, 2015 | Margaret | Comments (0)

image courtesy Upupa4me on a CC License

Have you ever wanted to join a book club, but can't find time in your busy lifestyle to attend meetings or read a set booklist.  We have the answer for you: Tea and Books, the casual book club!  Sit back, relax and let our librarians, experts at picking the right books, tell you what they have been reading.  Get amazing and unexpected reading choices, including fiction and non-fiction selections.  There will be tea, snacks and compelling and exciting books.  If you love to read, but are often at a loss as to what to read next, or just want some great ideas, please join us.  No registration is required.



Tea and Books will take place at Agincourt Branch on the upcoming dates in the main program room.

  • Friday January 30th 2-3pm
  • Friday March 27th 2-3pm

See you there!


10 Essential Habits for Joyous Health with Joy McCarthy

January 10, 2015 | Margaret | Comments (0)

New Year, New You!  Let us help....

Joins us Tuesday, January 27th from 6pm - 7pm in the program room at Agincourt Branch for 10 Essential Habits of Joyous Health.

Joy McCarthyIn this one hour session, author and nutrition expert Joy McCarthy will share her top 10 tips for leading your most joyous life ever!  Learn the benefits of a healthy diet including the importance of key nutrients, smart food choices and key lifestyle habits to help you live joyously and feel fabulous.  This eye-opening seminar will inspire you to eat and live well putting you on a permanent path to joyous health!

Joy McCarthy is a Holistic Nutritionist, author of Joyous Health: Eat & Live Well without Dieting (eBook), professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global's Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well, Toronto's first integrated nutrition and yoga program.

This is a free program, but registration is required.  Call 416-396-8950 or visit Agincourt Branch to reigister now!

Cats on the Internet 101

January 7, 2015 | Margaret | Comments (0)

  Cats on the Internet and Beyond...

It seems like cats have taken over the Internet; every other cat now has their own celebrity website, tumblr, facebook or meme in the hopes of giving Grumpy Cat a run for her money (along with Colonol Meow, Lil Bub, Snoopy the Cat).  With this in mind, I just took home a new book with (tongue in cheek of course) instructions on how to make my own cat into the next Internet Celebrity. 


How To Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity: A Guide to Financial Freedom

 It is easy to take a pictures and video of your cat having fun or being silly, but it takes skill to make these pictures go viral on the Web or Youtube. If you want to make your cat famous, and maybe earn some extra bucks along the way, definitely pick up this book. I have read this and am well on the way to making my cat just as famous as Tardar Sauce aka....



Grumpy Cat: The World's Grumpiest Cat

Her books include:  Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book, also available as an eBook

The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations from Grumpy Cat, also available as an eBook

Agrumpybook     Grumpyguidetolife 

or A Streetcat Named Bob and his human James Bowen.

StreetcatNamedBob     WorldAccordingtoBob

Don't have a cat? No problem, I happen to have a dog too, who is often very, er, high spirited.  Another popular website I often take a look at is Dog Shaming.  The premise:  all dogs are naughty sometimes, and now owners can take a photo and show their dog's hijinks to the world with hilarious results, and maybe shame their dogs into being better behaved (doubtful).  There is also an eBook based on the popular website available through Overdrive:

Dog Shaming


Don't have a dog?  No problem!  You probably have a family.  Take a look at the website Awkward Family Photos and reminisce about all those hideous posed photos your parents made you take with your siblings when you were young.  There are even some books based on the popular website:

                     Awkwardfamilyholidayphotos     Awkward Family Photos

Awkward Family Photos eBook

Combined, these books and websites are sure to entertain you for hours on end!  Enjoy!






Summer Reads: Fiction Picks

September 11, 2014 | Margaret | Comments (0)

Summer Reads: Staff Fiction Picks Book and Sunglasses

Technically it is still summer, so this blog post is not that late. I have to say, for someone who does a lot of reading outside, Summer 2014 has been a major disappointment! When I wasn't chilled, I was rained on, and had to move my summer reading indoors, which always seems like such a waste. Nevertheless, I did manage to read a few great fiction books...some of which are randomly listed below! 

We Were Liars by e. Lockhart

We Were LiarsThis is a young adult book, but as with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, I think this one will appeal to adults too. It is set on a small, secluded New England island. Cady has spent every summer here for the past 15 years with her cousins and their friend Gat, collectively known as "the liars". Then one summer everything changes. Cady has an accident diving into the water, hits her head and now the memory of that summer is gone. Cady herself is changed from a fun loving teen to a dark, depressed young woman. Against her mother's wishes, Cady returns to the island for one last try and remember.

Available as an eBook and eAudioBook.


One Plus One by Jo Jo Moyes

One Plus One Jess's life is pretty bad. She is dumped by her husband, struggles to make ends meet, watches her stepson being bullied regularly, and her daughter is a mathematics genius who desperately wants to attend a posh private school.  Then there is Ed, a tech millionaire who makes a one mistake that costs him almost everything. He's in no mood to drive Jess and her family cross country to a Mathematics Olympiad, but somehow that is exactly what happens and away they go, learning some home truths about themselves and each other along the way. This is a heartwarming read that will leave you rooting for the under-dog.

Available as an audiobook, large print edition, and eBook.



The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

The Good Luck of Right NowIf you loved The Silver Linings Playbook, as I did, here is another great read from Matthew Quick. For 38 years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his Mom. He watches her deteriorate from a brain tumor, then die, and Bartholomew, for the first time in his life, is alone. Filled with typically quirky and flawed characters, this is the story of how Bartholomew learns to live again and how he fills an empty existence with true friends. In an interesting twist, this novel is told in letters from Bartholomew to the actor Richard Gere (his Mom's favourite)!

Available as an audiobook, large print edition and eBook.



What were some of your summer favourites this year? We'd be thrilled to hear about them!

TD SRC: Eureka!

June 27, 2014 | Faye | Comments (0)

Looking for something to do in the summer?


Join us at the Agincourt Library for our awesome Summer Programs, which are listed as follows:

  • Tuesdays , 2-3pm, July 8th - August 12: Programs for kids between 6-9 years old.
  • Wednesday, 2-2:30pm, July 9th - August 13: Program for kids between 0-5 years old.
  • Thursdays, 2-3pm, July 10th  - August 14th:Programs for kids between 10-13 years old.

Please also note that book reporting starts Monday June 30th.

Registration has already begun!




Customer Appreciation Day: Agincourt Library

June 27, 2014 | Faye | Comments (0)

On Saturday June 14th, Agincourt Library held its Customer Appreciation Day.95 participants came to our firefighter storytelling session which was told by our very own local community firefighters. Kids were very enthused about our firefighters and were given various safety tips, including how to plan for a fire escape. Agincourt library was filled with lots of activities and music, including Clogging and Zumba demonstrations, along with Pan Man Pat (steel drums).  In addition, Agincourt Library’s book sale had a great turn out of buyers.  Thanks to our customers for helping us celebrate the day!






Customer Appreciation Days: Steeles and Agincourt Branch

June 5, 2014 | Margaret | Comments (0)

Thank-you for being such great library customers.  Help us say thanks at our great Customer Appreciation events at Steeles Branch and Agincourt Branch.

Steeles Branch Customer Appreciation Day!

Saturday June 7th come and experience all the library has to offer:

  • Booksale at 11:00am
  • Facepainting at 11:30am
  • Henna Tattoos at 1:30pm


Agincourt Branch Customer Appreciation Day!

Saturday June 14th come and enjoy some fun for the whole family!

  • Giant Booksale 10:30 am - 3:00pm
  • Firefighter Storytime 10:30am - 11:00 am
  • Craft Time 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Steel Drum Performance by Pan Man Pat 12:00pm - 2:00pm
  • Clogging & Zumba Dance 2:00pm - 3:00pm

and more.....

Welcome to the Agincourt District Libraries blog. Our purpose is to provide information about local events and news, library programs, user education classes, author visits and other special events.