What is the IFOA staff reading this summer?

Even though we’re busy planning the 2016 festival, the IFOA staff still finds time to read. Read on to see what everyone’s enjoying right now!

Catherine Coreno, communications and marketing assistant:

We're all in this together cover









The beach is my favourite aspect of summer, so I am making my way to the sand as often as possible, always with a book in hand. While taking a break from Elena Ferrante’s novels, my current beach reads include We’re All In This Together by Amy Jones and The Girls by Emma Cline.

Dean Keranovic, festival assistant:

Anansi Boys cover








As of now I’m reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, as well as Endymion by Dan Simmons.  Once those are done I’ll move on to some other sci fi/fantasy novel/comic!

Eirini Moschaki, communications and marketing coordinator:

My Name is Red cover









I love it when a story transports me to other times, traditions, and cultures. Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red is an intricate mystery that immerses you in the life of 16th century Istanbul miniaturists. Power, love, art, religion, and politics; this novel has it all!

Rebecca Hallquist, executive assistant:

The Return cover









I just finished reading Hisham Matar’s book The Return – just out – and it’s a bit of a heavier read but very important considering current events. This book discusses the repercussions of grief, loss and ultimately living history, which I just find so fascinating. At the heart of it all, this memoir is really about a son trying to comes to terms why his father has been absent from his life for some 20+ years.  I like to use the (traditionally) more time I have in the summer to read for pleasure to better inform myself about topics that interest me (history, current affairs, environment, biographies) as well as for general enjoyment. Any sort of fantasy/historical fiction series I can get my hands on to read in the shade on a sunny day is pure bliss to me.

Risa de Rege, communications and marketing intern:

Victorian & Edwardian Ghost Stories cover









I usually end up tackling really long, heavy books over the summer – past endeavours include Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; We, The Drowned by Cartsen Jensen; and (most of) A Song of Ice and Fire. But right now I’m taking it easy with a book of Edwardian ghost stories I picked up at a local bookstore. I love history, and ghost stories, so I’m really enjoying reading stories that have entertained people for so long.

Zviko Mhakayakora, executive assistant, programming:

The Bluest Eye cover










Right now I’m reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I’ll be reading some books by NoViolet Bulawayo and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie too. I’m really into a mix of non-fiction and fiction right now.


The IFOA’s Favourite Childhood Books

In preparation for the Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™, Canada’s biggest literary event for young readers, staff at the IFOA looked back at some of our favourite YA/children’s books. Some fond memories came up as we revisited a few of the first stories to ignite our passion for literature. Some of us had a hard time picking just one!

We’re excited to welcome so many students, teachers, and authors to Harbourfront Centre this week. For more information on the festival, visit our events page.

Tina Kessler, Event Coordinator

The Balloon Tree, written and illustrated by Phoebe Gilman

balloon tree gilman
“Between the fairy tale story and the beautiful illustrations, it’s a book I loved as a kid and can’t wait to share with my niece!”

Purple, Green and Yellow, written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Hélène Desputeaux

Purple, Green and Yellow

“‘Super-indelible-never-come-off-until-you’re-dead-or-maybe-even-later colouring markers!’ I still know that line by heart.”

Catherine Coreno, Communications and Marketing Assistant

Stephanie’s Ponytail, written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Stephanie's Ponytail

“This book cracked me up as a kid and I made my mom read it to me all the time. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did.”

Rebecca Hallquist, Executive Assistant

The Two Princesses of Bamarre, written by Gail Carson Levine

The Two Princesses of Bamarre

“I used to love this book so much I’ve re-read it to the point where even now I remember certain passages with such clarity. This book had everything: dragons, knights, a mysterious curse, magic, big fight scenes, romantic intrigue, and put a relationship between sisters at the centre of the narrative long before Frozen was even in production. And these spunky, quirky sisters are from the imagination of the same author who gave us Ella Enchanted so it’s not hard to see why this book was, and is, so fantastic.”

Julia Yu, Senior Event Coordinator

Guess How Much I Love You, written by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram

Guess How Much I Love You

“[I have a] vivid memory of my favourite grade school teach reading this to us during gym class… Reminds me of my mom and I.”

Something from Nothing, written and illustrated by Phoebe Gilman

Something from Nothing

“Overall a great lesson for kids to learn. LOVED the secondary storyline of the little mouse using the little pieces of leftover fabric for himself.”

Risa de Rege, Communications and Marketing Intern

Black Maria, written by Diana Wynne Jones

Black Maria

“One of my favourite books when I was growing up was Black Maria by Diana Wynne Jones. Mig arrives with her family to a small British coastal town to stay with their elderly aunt, Maria, and things soon start to go wrong. A ghost haunts her bedroom, her brother is turned into a wolf, a man is buried alive, and Mig is left to save the town from the cold clutches of her aunt. It’s a wonderfully funny, dark story about family dynamics and a bit of magic.”