The FOLD Picks: One Book, One Brampton

The Festival of Literary Diversity team have made their picks. They’ve defended them live and here are their final arguments.


Find out who Sheridan College professor Shoilee Khan, author Jael Richardson, author Amanda Leduc and publishing professional Leonicka Valcius are rooting for. Which title will get your vote for ONE BOOK | ONE BRAMPTON? Voting can be done at the Brampton Library website. Voting closes December 31, 2016.



Shoilee’s Pick: The Amazing, Absorbing Boy, by Rabindranath Maharaj


The Amazing, Absorbing Boy tells the story of Samuel, a Trinidadian boy who loses his mother at the age of 17 and moves to Toronto to reunite with the father he’s never known. But Samuel soon discovers that his father remains a stranger, distant and removed.


To cope with this new and lonely world, Sam transforms his new city into a strange and fantastical place reminiscent of the comic books he loves. He learns to adapt and thrive in his new home and in so doing, he sees how heroic qualities emerge from the everyday struggles of the people he meets. He that it doesn’t take something (or someone) special to see the extraordinary all around you.


The Amazing, Absorbing Boy is a novel for every person who’s ever been lost—both literally and figuratively. It’s for everyone who’s ever struggled to figure out not just where to belong, but how to belong. And in reading it, readers will discover the same power Samuel possesses—the power to pay attention to the amazing details rising up around us. This novel is about imagination, transformation, and belonging. When you read it, you’ll see yourself in Sam, and then when you’re done the book, you’ll recognize The Amazing Absorbing Boy in everything you see.



Jael’s Pick: Fifteen Dogs, by André Alexis


Would dogs be as unhappy as humans if they knew what we know? This is the question Andre Alexis explores in his Giller Prize-winning novel Fifteen Dogs – a powerful and impeccably crafted apologue. This moral fable delves into the essence of humanity through the lives of fifteen canines who awaken in a kennel in downtown Toronto with the power of human thought – a gift imparted on them as part of a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo.


While the majority of the pack set out on their first big adventure – outliers together in a strange, new world – their differences and their new found outlook will inevitably drive them apart, leading the remaining dogs on journeys both touching and heart-wrenching – adventures that will force you to look at your relationship with mankind (and mankind’s best friend) in a whole new light.


In this epic battle of the gods, readers will wrestle with the perils of human consciousness as the dogs are thrust into the streets of Toronto with a new sense of what it means to be awake and alive, exposing the inherent challenges of existing in a world where you have the power to understand without the means to be truly understood.


What is the role of government and religion? What do we gain or lose when we serve another person out of love…or out of duty? What lies at the heart of the most despicable acts of humanity? Fifteen Dogs is both a relevant and essential read, the kind of iconic literature that will define Canadian literature, and the essence of humanity for years to come – the perfect book for ONE BOOK | ONE BRAMPTON readers.



Amanda’s Pick: The Juggler’s Children, by Carolyn Abraham


The Juggler’s Children is a story of genetic investigation and discovery, the result of Globe & Mail journalist Carolyn Abraham decision to research her family history via genetic testing. But Abraham never could have imagined what the journey would uncover – long-held family secrets and stories that would shed light on unexpected surprises.


Armed with a DNA testing kit and the cautious approval of her parents, The Juggler’s Children chronicles Abraham’s search for two elusive family ancestors: her father’s grandfather, the Chinese juggler, and her mother’s grandfather, a sea captain who never lived to know his children. The Juggler’s Children documents the journey that takes Abraham and her family from India to Canada, to Jamaica, and to a few other places besides, looking for long-lost clues. It is a book about family, first and foremost—a family that picks up and moves from place to place time and time again in search of new and brighter opportunities. It’s about a family that struggles with being unrooted as a result.


The Juggler’s Children is a book that helps us to see the richness of the stories that lie within our own family histories—a book that reminds us that sometimes, all you need to do to look for adventure is follow the stories of your family right out the window, to wherever they may lead. A book about people who come from a variety of different cultures and eventually build a life for themselves in Canada, The Juggler’s Children is a great choice for ONE BOOK | ONE BRAMPTON – a city rich with diverse stories and people.





Léonicka’s Pick: Six Metres of Pavement, by Farzana Doctor


Six Metres of Pavement is a novel about belonging and the ways that we come back timg_2471o ourselves after grief. It’s the story of Ismail Boxwala, a middle-aged man grievingthe mistake that led to the death of his daughter years after she passes away. When Ismail meets Celia, his next-door neighbour—a woman dealing with grief of her own—the novel unravels a surprising yet gentle romance, a romance that shows us how our worlds can open and reawaken in unexpected ways.


After an interaction with Fatima, his young queer neighbour—Ismail sets off for the library to learn about her sexuality and how he can best support his newfound friend. A testimony to the importance of books and libraries in shaping and building strong communities rich with diversity.


Six Meters of Pavement is a novel that would be particularly meaningful for younger readers in their late teens, especially those exploring identity or those struggling with grief. But it’s also a story that can resonate with a wider audience, in a powerfully told story by one of Canada’s most poignant fiction writers. The underpinning themes of friendship and openness make the novel a perfect choice for ONE BOOK | ONE BRAMPTON. Because you never know what you might learn from the person who lives right next-door.