All posts by Heather

About Heather

Heather is the Librarian II, Literacy and Readers' Advisory, with the Vaughan Public Libraries. Her job is to connect leisure readers and aspiring writers with the endless space of imagination and creation through words in all forms.  |  Meet the team

Black History Month Author Visit: Kern Carter

Celebrated Toronto author Kern Carter, author of Boys and Girls Screaming

Celebrated Toronto author Kern Carter will be visiting Vaughan Public Libraries on Thursday, February 22, 7:00 pm on Zoom. Please register on Eventbrite and join us for an evening of great conversations on writing, publishing, parenting, Black heritage, and more!

I’m really excited about this event because Kern is a “long-lost” friend. Last spring when I was waiting for my massage therapist at her clinic, I saw a familiar face on the TV screen being interviewed by the CTV host, and I recognized that was Kern! He was chatting with the host about his latest novel Boys and Girls Screaming. The first time I met Kern was back in 2014 when he was promoting his first book Thoughts of a Fractured Soul. He was still an independent author back then. He was very tall and handsome (only much later I found out he was also a basketball star, lol), but with that strong presence, he was extremely polite and gentle, just like his words in that thin, little novella … Since then, I haven’t heard from Kern for years, and I can’t believe when I see him again, he’s on TV!

So, when I went back to work that day, I looked him up like a little superfan. I read and read, trying to find out what he has gone through all these years, his struggles, tears, laughs, and successes … Apparently, he has been working hard in the past ten years and has created a long list of accomplishments that he can show off on his website: “From selling thousands of books independently, building a community of emerging writers, establishing a freelance career, landing book deals with the biggest publishers in the world, to now running my own business … Add to the mix that I was a teen father and high school dropout who ultimately graduated from university and built a successful writing career …” Indeed, after all the hard work, his dream of making a good living by just writing has now come true!

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Bookfest 2023: In Conversation with Vincent Lam

Toronto physician and Giller Prize-winning author Vincent Lam, photo credit © Cynthia Summers

Toronto physician and Giller Prize-winning author Vincent Lam will be attending Vaughan Public LibrariesBookfest on Saturday, October 14 at the Civic Center Resource Library. If you want to meet Vincent in person, come join us and enjoy an afternoon of fun – we have designed lots of activities for all ages! Of course, if you prefer a Zoom meeting, you can register on Eventbrite.


In one of his interviews, Vincent said that we human were obliged to live on the surface sometimes and writing allowed him to dive down into those currents deep below the surface. The depth and authenticity of his books is what grabs me. His 2006 debut Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures follows the lives of a group of medical students as they overcome each unique challenge from qualifying medical schools to practicing in emergency rooms. The Giller winner explores both common and extraordinary moral dilemmas and offers a shockingly realistic portrait of today’s medical profession. 17 years later, Vincent’s new book On the Ravine once again captivates me from the first page as Dr. Chen brings needles and other injection supplies to the “addicts” who camp out on the ravine in Toronto’s east end. According to Health Infobase, there was a total of 36,442 apparent opioid toxicity deaths between January 2016 and December 2022 in Canada. Vincent’s new book offers a timely, in-depth look at this national crisis with piercing honesty. It raises many tough questions about doctor-patient relationship and big pharma practices.

For such a grim topic, delightfully, Dr. Lam isn’t just equipped with medical knowledge, dry stats, and hard facts, but also with unparallel literary skills that allows him to successfully deliver a powerful but beautiful story with multiple layers, complex characters, and a compelling plot.

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Make Small but Impactful Changes

Book Cover of Atomic Habits
Book Cover of Atomic Habits

Have you made any new year’s resolutions on January 1, promising yourself that you would turn in before midnight so you could get up earlier or you would eat healthier so you could have more energy, only to find yourself fall back to the old routines a few weeks later? Or, have you–just like the old me–already stopped making this kind of promises because you have given up the idea that we can change our habits?

Right, our old habits are very difficult to break, especially the bad ones! But only Ed Sheeran can make good use of his Bad Habits, and most of us don’t, lol. Over the past year, my view on habits has completely changed because my chronic pain condition had flared up uncontrollably and taken away my ability to work and live freely for an extended period of time. The western medicine and therapies that had helped before weren’t able to put my condition under control this time. I was desperate to find ways to cope. I began to look into things that I had been automatically doing for years and eventually realized some of them were so wrong – from the way I held my mouse and the way I breathed when I exercised to the food I ate and the medication I took … Had I not finally looked for changes, I would have still been stuck.

Because of this experience, I started reading about topics that I have been taking for granted, and one of them is the impact of tiny habits. For example, drinking coffee—do I really need the second cup after lunch? Does that contribute to my poor sleep quality? Perhaps you have heard of the bestselling title Atomic Habits? Its author James Clear states, “Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits … What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray.” This claim is not exaggerated at all. After my experience, I now realize good habits can help us with almost everything, from staying in shape to finding happiness.

But how? How can we recognize bad habits and break them? How do we cultivate good habits and make them stick?

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