Margin Notes

GUEST WRITER SPENCER MACKEEN RECOMMENDS DUCKS BY KATE BEATON

Mar
05

Ducks tells the emotional story of the author, Kate Beaton, and her journey from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to the oil sands of Alberta. Her story will resonate with many Canadians, but especially those from the East Coast who so often need to leave their hometowns for financial reasons. This familiar theme makes Ducks a great addition to the classroom library as many students would have someone close to them who must travel for work, and will empathize with the issues Beaton articulates. The trials and tribulations Beaton experiences during her time in the oil sands of Alberta are very real, and because of this Ducks is best suited for mature readers who are prepared to grapple with, and reflect on, experiences of misogyny, coarse language and assault while working in the predominately male centered fields. On the whole, this slice of life story is a great way to get readers interested in different types of texts and can be a great resource to show that autobiographies can come in many more forms than students may have previously realized.

Besides the emotion present in Beaton’s story, the decision to make it a graphic text allows it to beautifully illustrate her journey.  This element allows readers a clearer window into the reality of these events to the point where one can almost feel as though they were present. As well, because this work is the culmination of many individual comics, it can be broken into smaller, individual, sections rather than needing to be read as a whole, and as well makes her story accessible to a wider audience of readers. Overall, the images and text work together to reveal Beaton’s struggles in a thoughtful manner.

Spencer is currently working towards his BEd at the University of New Brunswick, focusing on English, Social Studies and the International Baccalaureate. He grew up in Nova Scotia and studied at ST.FX University before continuing with his education in New Brunswick. Spencer has been an avid reader through much of his life and wants to promote different forms of texts, like graphic novels, as an equal form of literature, compared to traditional texts, in his future teaching.

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