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Helen Kubiw, CanLit for LittleCanadians blog: "I only review what I like."

What was the first book you ever read all by yourself?

I have no idea. I’m too old to remember that far back.

What was the first book you bought with your own money?

It must have been a Nancy Drew book. I recall stopping at a convenience store on the way to piano lessons and using my coins to purchase a new Nancy Drew book every once in a while.

What book did you love as a kid that you realize now was “of its time” and would not be published today?

I think there are a number of books that reflect society of that time but have elements that would be considered problematic today and might needed to be edited. Most use stereotypes or slurs related to Indigenous people, immigrants and persons of colour. I’d have to include Anne of Green Gables and Pippi Longstocking here.

Tell us a favorite opening line from any children’s book.

It’s from The Bad Beginning, the first of Lemony Snicket’s books in A Series of Unfortunate Events. “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.” Sets the tone for the story, doesn’t it?

Which fictional character do you wish was your best friend?

Hermione Granger. Smart, strong, fearless.

Choose three adjectives to describe yourself.

If I was being positive, I would say principled, curious and compassionate. (If I was being negative, I’d say insecure, judgemental and tired.)

Have you ever written fiction? In what form?

I have written several short stories and have started several books of fiction, including a couple of middle grade novels and an adult mystery. I have finished none of those novels. However, I have completed the text for two picture books. Fingers crossed something comes of those.

Is your policy to only review books you like? Or do you review anything you think your readers will want to know about, even if you have negative things to say?

I only review what I like. I know that there are many works out there that are labours of love and I just don’t feel it is my place to criticize those works which authors have worked on so passionately. After all, just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it. That said, many times I just don’t get to all the books that are sent to me. So, not getting me to review your book doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, though it might.


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