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Paperback 304 pp.
6 figures; 19 photos, 6" x 9"



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Imprint: OUP Canada

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Reading Canada

Teaching Canadian Fiction in Secondary Schools

Wendy Donawa and Leah Fowler

With plot summaries, thoughtful analyses, and contextualizing discussions of selected works, Reading Canada gives teachers and teacher-candidates the essential information they need to introduce secondary-school students of all reading levels to outstanding Canadian works of fiction.

Readership : Teacher candidates intending to teach English Language Arts at the secondary level as well as experienced ELA teachers and professors requiring a resource for teaching contemporary Canadian literature.


  • "Reading Canada is a well-written and lively text that offers a broad range of possibilities for reading and teaching Canadian literature in secondary schools."
    --Ingrid Johnston, University of Alberta

  • "The summary of novel plots makes for a stimulating read and will certainly encourage teachers to expand their reading habits and consider Canadian books when creating their units and curricula."
    --Kedrick James, University of British Columbia

  • "A great read, Reading Canada provides a fundamental resource for educators-and for anyone interested in, or involved with, the canon of Canadian literature."
    --Thomas Trofimuk, Alberta Views

  • "The authors have succeeded in their ambitious aims to introduce a wide range of contemporary literature of exceptional literary quality, and to bridge theory and practice through pedagogical essays that delve into literary and pedagogical issues and themes."
    --Shelley Stagg Peterson, Canadian Children's Book News

1. Introduction: More than Wheat and Snow: Curating Our Narrative Culture
A Word about Book Choice
- Concerns for the Teacher: Censorship and Appropriation
Structure and Layout of the Book
Chapter Summaries
2. Re/Presenting the Present: Contemporary Realism in Canadian Fiction
A Recognizable Vision of the Human Condition
- The Evolution of "Real" Youth Literature
Context and Challenge in Social Realism: Friend, Fears, Families, Fitting In
Tesserae in the Canadian Mosaic
- Aboriginal Narratives
- African-Canadian Narratives
- Asian-Canadian Narratives
- The Gender Spectrum
- Capabilities Differing
Curriculum and Pedagogy: The Why, What, and How of Canadian Literature in the Classroom
- Why Narrative is Important
- Canadian Content: The What of Canadian Fiction Pedagogy
- The How: Teaching Canadian Fiction
Case Studies
- What Fear Makes Us Do
- What Friendship Makes Possible
3. Historical Fiction: "Making and Remaking the Past"
Intersections: Historical Thinking and Literary Insight
- Historical Thinking and Primary Evidence
- Historical Fiction and Interpretive Insight
- Expanding Perspectives: Theoretical Lenses
"The Past is a Foreign Country"
- Representing Canada in Fictional Overviews and Series
- "A History of Bindings": Pre-Contact, Exploration, and Early Settlement
Personal and National Identity in the Nineteenth Century
- The "Psycho-Geography" Emerges: American and British Cultural Templates
- The Company Store: Unpacking "Heroic" Myths
- Drawing Boundaries: From Colony to Nation
Where Does "History" End?
- Entering the Century, Entering the Country
- World War I: War Literature and the YA Reader
- Between the Wars
- The World War II Decade
- Reading Postwar Canada
Teaching Historical Fiction Case Studies
- Historical Thinking and Literary Insight in The Crazy Man by Pamela Porter
- Historical Thinking and Literary Insight in the Canadian Section of Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes
4. Speculative Fiction: Imagining the World Otherwise
Speculative Genres: "Nailing Jelly to the Wall"
- Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction
- Speculative Genres and Canadian Identity
Myth, Magic, and the Transcendent Imagination
- Mythic Foundations
- High Fantasy Influences and Perilous Realms
- Hybrid Heroes
- Intertextuality
Historical Fantasy: Illuminating our Collective and Individual Past
Contemporary Speculation
- Modern Fairy Tales
- Urban Fantasy
- Paranormal Powers
- Things that Go Bump in the Night
Dystopian Warnings and New Cartographies of the Imaginary Future
Speculative Fiction Pedagogy: Educating the Imagination: Multiple Worlds, Imaginative Bridges
Case Studies
- Archetype and Future-Vision in The Keeper of the Isis Light
- Who is Rocking the Blue-Green Cradle? Studying Symbolism in Wake by Robert Sawyer
5. Visual Literacy, Dual Texts, and the Expanded Eye
Picture Books: A Metacognitive View
- Picture-Books and the Older Reader: "Crossover" Appeal
- Illustrated Genres: Text or Image as Carrier of Meaning?
- Alphabets of Visual Literacy: Line and Colour, Style and Medium
- Synthesis: Text, Metatext, Peritext
Graphica and the Canon: Adult Prohibition and Guilty Pleasures
- Comic Book Ancestry and Edgy Issues
- "Crossover" Maps of Place and Memory
Pedagogy: In/Visible Reading, Expanding Vision
- Visual Literacy and the Dual Text
- Visual Learning and the Twenty-First Century Learner
Case Studies
- The Dual Text and Sense of Place in Josepha
- Loss and Imagination: Child's Experience, Adult World
6. The YA Reader in the Digital Age
Literary Thinking and Digital "Continuous Partial Attention"
- What Changes? What Abides? Finding Spaces of Thoughtful Attention
- Literary Resources Online: Journals, Media, Organizations
- More Online Resources: Author and Publisher Websites
- The Electronic Style Migration: Digital Characteristics of YA Literature
- Navigating Non-Linear Literature: Hypertext and Rhizomes
Literature, Pedagogy, and Community in a Digital World
- Engaging the Digital World: Enhancing the Reading Experience
- Theoretical Frames for Digitally-Enhanced Pedagogy
- Technology and the Reading Process
Media, Literature, and Implications for the Teacher
- Changing Relations of Power
- Instructional Scaffolding in the Digital Classroom
- Implications for Evaluation
Case Studies for a Digital Age
- Cross-Country Bookshelf: National Bio-Literary Mapping Project (Age 12 and up)
- Classroom Reads Canada (mid-late teens)
7. "A Nation Taking Shape"
"Real People Wrote These Books!"
Beyond the Canon
National Myths and Literary Traditions
Canadian Fiction, Canadian Readers
Appendix A: Governor General's Awards for French-Language Children's Literature and Illustration 2003-2010 and English- to-French Translation
Appendix B: "Crossover" Novels
Appendix C: Curriculum Resources
Appendix D: Anti-bullying Resources
Appendix E: Close Reading of a Novel
Thematic Index
Author and Title Index
General Index

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Wendy Donawa is associate faculty in the Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication program in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University. She has previously taught at Barbados Community College, the University of Victoria, the College of the Rockies, and the University of Lethbridge. She has illustrated a book on Caribbean folklore for children, And I Remember Many Things by Christine Barrow (Ian Randle Publishers, 1992).

Leah Fowler is a full time faculty member in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge. In June 2010, Professor Fowler was awarded the University of Lethbridge's Distinguished Teaching Award. Her first book, entitled A Curriculum of Difficulty: Narrative Research in Education and the Practice of Teaching, is published by Peter Lang Publishing (2006).

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Special Features

  • Thematic coverage of Canadian fiction. Makes this a one-of-a-kind resource for teacher-candidates and full-time teachers alike.
  • Contemporary selections. Includes critically acclaimed and prize-winning Canadian fiction from the past two decades, exposing students to the current literary landscape in this country.
  • Inclusive. Provides suggestions for all reading levels, from the advanced to the reluctant reader.
  • Reflects current ELA curriculum. Covers current topics relevant to the curriculum such as new definitions of "text", new genres, media representation, and computer technology.
  • Extensive classroom resources. A series of appendices include province-specific curriculum resources, a list of renowned French-language literature, novels for advanced readers, and general anti-bullying resources.
  • Case studies. Included in every chapter, case studies highlight key points from selected works of fiction and offer practical advice on designing and implementing lesson plans.