ALU Summer Book Club: Follow-Up Reads After Monster Child

As the last of summer slips away, we’re looking for anything that can help us hang on to those sweet, sweet summer book club vibes. If you enjoyed our August read Monster Child by Rahela Nayebzadah (Wolsak and Wynn), we’ve compiled a few follow-up recommendations that offer more stories about complex family bonds and the diversity of immigrant experiences within Canada—along with a touch of magic.


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If you appreciated Monster Child’s glossary and enjoy learning new languages…

Dakwakada Warriors by Cole Pauls (Conundrum Press)

An allegory of colonization in graphic novel format that features Indigenous protectors who use language revitalization to save the Earth from evil pioneers and cyborg sasquatches. Pauls worked with his Elders to have this comic translated into the two different dialects of the Southern Tutchone.

If you’re looking for more stories on the immigrant experience of families from Afghanistan…

The Wanderersby Kawa Ada (Playwrights Canada Press)

An Afghani family flees to Canada after their country is invaded by the Soviets. But their fresh start is fraught with the hardships of displacement along with personal and emerging intergenerational traumas as their family begins to grow and evolve. Their only hope for a peaceful future lies in the power of their family mythology and the bonds of love.

If the “otherness” that sisters Beh and Shabnam felt in different ways throughout the book made your heart feel heavy…

The Allspice Bath by Sonia Saikaley (Inanna Publications)

Four daughters, all first generation Lebanese Canadians, are born to the Azar family with the youngest, Adele, told from birth by her sister that she was meant to be a boy. As Adele grows up, she must confront her conflicting identities—between what it means to be “a good Lebanese daughter” and her dream of becoming an artist. Before Adele can work up the courage to defy her father, a deceitful trip to their ancestral home threatens to tear the close-knit family apart.

If the bond of family and a touch of imagination is what your TBR list needs…

The Nap-Away Motel by Nadja Lubiw-Hazard (Palimpsest Press)

In a hunched motel in the heart of Scarborough, Ontario, Suleiman longs to rebuild his broken family torn apart by mental health, grief and addiction. The escape of an imaginary world and the search for their lost brother consumes the children, while a litter of stray kittens helps the family of three find friendship, joy and hope in their darkest of times.

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That’s a wrap on our August edition of #ALUbookclub! Catch up on the month’s happenings with our Monster Childstaff discussion, and interview with Rahela Nayebzadah. Remember you can still pick up your own copy of Monster Child on All Lit Up.