Read Aloud Program

Our full repertoire of books is available to educators and librarians doing online story-times! Let’s share stories and get through this together.

“As we collectively grapple with school closings and the shift to online learning, we want to help ensure educators and librarians can confidently bring Canadian stories and literature to students and others during this challenging time.

Many Canadian publishers have received requests from educators and librarians seeking permission to read part of or all of a book and to share a video of the reading for ‘online story-time’.

In response, the Association of Canadian Publishers has formed the Read Aloud Canadian Books Program with Access Copyright.”

Learn more:

1 Million Books to Low-Income Families during COVID-19

Books are essential and everyone deserves access to them. That’s why we’re so happy to support this amazing initiative by First Book Canada

“The campaign aims to get 1 million books to children who don’t have home libraries or Internet access…

Canadian publishers who have committed books to the program include Kids Can Press, Penguin Random House Canada, HarperCollins Canada, Breakwater Books, Simon & Schuster Canada and Inhabit Media. Donations are also being made by distributors like Raincoast Books and Publishers Group Canada and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.”

Our Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to develop and spread, and we understand that everyone is facing many challenges during this time. We are committed to doing our part – the health of our customers, authors, and staff is of the utmost importance to us.

Effective end of day Wednesday, March 18:

  • Our retail shop at 1 Stamp’s Lane, St. John’s, will be closed to the public;
  • Our offices will be closed as staff commence working from home for the foreseeable future. While working from home, staff will still be accessible during regular business hours via phone and email. Behind the scenes, our management team will continue to monitor incoming orders/shipments to maintain availability of our books;
  • All in person meetings and author events will be postponed.

Supporting local authors remains a key priority for us during this time. Here are some great ways you can help us support local authors too:

  • Though our shop is closed, all of our books, eBooks, and audiobooks remain available for purchase via our website. This time of social distancing presents a great opportunity to catch up on those books you always wanted to read or discover new authors you haven’t read yet.
  • From March 18 to April 1, we’re offering up to 50% OFF SELECT EBOOKS AND AUDIOBOOKS purchased on our website. A full list of participating titles is available here. Additional titles will be added over the duration of the sale, so check back regularly.
  • We’re also working on some online author events to help our authors reach their audiences and fans during this time. Please stay tuned to our website and social media for updates.
  • And share your thoughts about any books you read online – Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon/Indigo reviews, Instagram – word of mouth and reader recommendations are one of the strongest influences on author and book discoverability. Your feedback can directly help authors find new audiences!

Up to 50% off select eBooks & audiobooks

From March 18 to April 1, we’re offering up to 50% OFF SELECT EBOOKS AND AUDIOBOOKS purchased on our website.

Full list of participating titles with sale prices below. Additional titles will be added over the duration of the sale, so check back regularly.












Family Literacy Day

Very excited to announce that we’ve partnered with First Book Canada and McDonald’s Canada for Family Literacy Day!

To celebrate and support Family Literacy Day, special literacy themed McDonald’s Family Night events will take place in 10 cities across the country on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 from 4-7 PM and will feature live readings from local authors.

Children attending one of the literacy themed McDonald’s Family Night events will receive a copy of the author’s book to take home (100 available per event). As well, those in attendance will have the opportunity to enjoy all the regular activities that take place at a McDonald’s Family Night – which happen every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. at participating McDonald’s restaurants in Canada – such as crafts, games and other activities!

Cara Kansala, author of All Around the Circle and the forthcoming book The Moon King, will appear at the McDonald’s location on 1278 Topsail Road, Paradise, NL.

Christine Gordon Manley, author of The Secret of Bowring Park, will appear at the McDonald’s location on 427 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PE.

Full Details:…/mcdonalds-canada-partners-first…

2019 Christmas Book Blitz

50% off all in-store purchases

Let us help you get ready for the gift-giving season with Breakwater’s annual Christmas Book Blitz. For one day only everything purchased in-store is 50% off! From popular new releases to backlist classics, this is your chance to stock up on books by your favourite local authors. Come celebrate the season with us!

Saturday, December 14 from 10 am – 6 pm
Breakwater Books, 1 Stamp’s Lane, St. John’s
Everyone welcome. Free parking.

xmas book blitz

2019 Fall Launch Party


Thursday, November 21 from 7-9 pm
The Johnson Geo Centre
175 Signal Hill Road, St. John’s

It’s that time of year again! Join us for our 2019 Fall Launch Party. Featuring readings by James E. Candow, Gemma M. Hickey, Trudy J. Morgan-Cole, Michelle Porter, and Leslie Vryenhoek, as well as food samples by East Coast Keto authors Bobbi Pike and Geoff Pike.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Readings commence at 7:30 p.m. Reception to follow.

For each book purchased during our Fall Launch Party, you’ll receive an entry to WIN A TWO-NIGHT STAY IN BEAUTIFUL TRINITY on us! Valued at over $500 you don’t want to miss your chance to sit back, put your feet up, and read a book in this sweet vacation property.

Free Event | Cash Bar | Light Refreshments

Spring Launch Party & Welcoming Reception

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To celebrate the arrival of warm weather, new books, the Eastbound Conference, and The Atlantic Book Awards, Breakwater Books presents an evening of great literature, featuring readings by Breakwater authors Terry Doyle, Susie Taylor, and Kevin Major, and Atlantic Book Award nominees Sharon Bala, Elisabeth de Mariaffi, and Mark Critch.

Shortlisted authors Christine LeGrow and Shirley Anne Scott, of Saltwater Mittens fame, will also be on hand with a display of Newfoundland knitwear and knowledge.

Join us on June 5 at the Johnson GEO CENTRE (175 Signal Hill Rd.) to kick off the Eastbound Conference and The Atlantic Book Awards 2019.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Readings commence at 7:30 p.m. Reception to follow.

Free Event | Cash Bar | Light Refreshments
Click here for the Facebook event

National Poetry Month Feature

In honour of National Poetry Month, Katie Vautour and Tom Dawe share stories about what attracted them to writing poetry, their artistic inspirations, and more.

Join Tom and Katie on Thursday, May 9 for the launch of their books An Unorthodox Guide to Wildlife and New and Collected Poems. The launch will be held at the Breakwater Books shop on 1 Stamp’s Lane, St. John’s, starting at 4:30 p.m. Tom and Katie will be joined by Agnes Walsh and event host, and Poet Laureate of St. John’s, Mary Dalton for an evening of poetry.

Tom & Katie

When did you start writing and what attracted you to poetry specifically?

Katie Vautour: Well, to be honest, I was always “that nerdy kid” who liked books more than socializing, but I received some free tuition certificates from a previous job years ago. And I wanted to get my Master’s in English, so I thought, “Okay, poetry is optional, but it should be interesting for one class!” Now it’s three years later and I never stopped studying or reading or writing poetry, and I somehow have a book.

Tom Dawe: From a small child I’ve always been attracted to poetry and verse. In school I was lucky to have teachers who were fond of reading aloud to us in the lower grades where there were lots of concerts with dramatic reading and music. In Sunday School I fell in love with the magnificent free verse of the King James Bible. Ursula LeGuin once said that style is a very simple matter, it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can’t use the wrong words.  Ideas sometimes have to wait on the right rhythm to express them. 

Do you or have you ever belonged to a writing group? If so, how did belonging to the group affect your writing?

KV: I have been in several groups, and all the people are fantastic and offer good input, but mostly I like working on my own.

TD: Years ago I attended sessions of the Writers’ Guild at the Arts and Culture Centre which was very beneficial to me, meeting established writers such as Helen Porter, Bernice Morgan, Harold Horwood and others. This got me interested in entering the annual Newfoundland Arts and Letters Competitions where various adjudications were very helpful.

Do you have a favourite poetic form?

KV: I am a bit of a fan of the echo verse– I think I managed to pull off one version of it in my book, called, “The Aquarium.” But it’s so interesting visually and verbally, because the last word of each line in structured in a way that it creates its own sentence if read vertically.

TD: I write mainly in free verse, though I’ve used other forms from time to time. My poem “If Sonnets Were In Fashion,” among other things, has something to say about poetic forms being in and out, depending on the times.  Sometimes I’ve written light or humorous verse in more traditional rhyme schemes, for example, “Cat Poem” and “Frog Prince.”
Do you have a favourite word? What is it?

KV: That’s tricky, but if I had to pick, it would be “bamboozled,” or “onomatopoeia,” because they are both slightly onomatopoetic.

TD: I’m in love with words and could never isolate one as my favourite.  We have many beautiful Newfoundland and Labrador words. If I had a favourite it might be “tuckamore” because this gnarled, stunted tree saved my life one time when I was a helpless child sliding over a cliff into the ocean, reaching out and grabbing it.

Name one poet whose work you consider similar to yours. In what ways is your work similar?

KV: Wow, this is tricky, because I don’t like comparing my own work to better people. But if I have to choose, I’d say Anne Compton, mostly because she writes about Atlantic Canadian regional landscapes, life, and animals, so I can relate to it.

TD: I’m hesitant to name a poet whose work is similar to mine.  We are all such a bunch of one-of-a-kind creatures.

Name one poet whose work you consider dissimilar to yours, but whose work you greatly admire.

KV: Pablo Neruda? That might be too pretentious to say, but I do love his work.

TD: Robert Bly.
What’s your favourite under-appreciated poetry collection?

KV: By T.S. Elliot, it’s called The Old Book of Practical Cats. Throughout the 1930’s, he composed the now famous poems about Macavity, Old Deuteronomy, Mr. Mistoffelees and many other cats, from the longest-running Broadway musical of all time, “Cats.” Most people don’t realize this credit. Also, I played in that musical for several years in high school, and grew up listening to it.

TD: In my opinion, The Edge of Beulah by David Elliott, published by Breakwater in 1988, could be more appreciated.

I think it’s safe to say you are both influenced by art. Can you expand on how, if at all, visual art has inspired your poetry? Are there any specific poems that were directly inspired by an artwork or artist?

KV: Actually, this is a funny story. When I moved to Newfoundland, I attended a life-drawing session at the Arts & Culture Centre, just to keep up my sketching skills. My first encounter with Gerald Squires happened that day–I didn’t know who he was, at that point. But when I took out my pencil sharpener, he grabbed it and threw it into the garbage and said, “That’s trash. This is how you do it with a real knife. Especially if you’re a good artist, which you seem to be.”

He definitely had some influence on me keeping up with art, and believing in the work I do in general. So I am extremely grateful to have met him, and I am sure he had trust in everyone who’s ever tried to make anything.

TD: Being an artist myself, I thoroughly enjoyed working with my friend, Gerry Squires, on Where Genesis Begins. We had many conversations about confronting the blank canvas or the blank page, one of the most difficult things in creativity. We both preferred strong visual imagery. As Martina Seifert writes in her introduction to our book: “Dawe’s strong sense of sight, his precision in observing detail, his painterly, highly imagistic style and use of evocative tactile imagery connect him to Squires, who not only loves poetry and is inspired in his artworks, but who actively engages in the poetic process with both the lyricism of his visual art and the poetry he writes himself.” A number of my poems have been inspired by art and artists; for example, “Daedalus,” “Lot’s Wife” and “In Picasso’s Madman.”

What, if anything, do you hope a reader takes from your poetry?

KV: I don’t start a poem with an agenda, but looking back on it, I suppose I hope it makes poetry seem less scary, and more accessible. Most people I know who enjoy reading mostly studied Shakespeare in school (whom in my opinion is cool), but they found poetry intimidating, so they kind of ran away from it. Aside from that, I love animals, and I think creatures can tell us a lot about our own existence and culture, more than what people expect.

TD: I never think about what someone is going to get from my poetry; all that depends upon what the reader or listener brings to the poem.

2019 IPPY Award Wins

Winners of the 2019 Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards were just announced, and we are thrilled two have two award-winning titles in the Canada-East Best Regional Fiction category:

GOLD: The Luminous Sea by Melissa Barbeau
SILVER: One for the Rock by Kevin Major

The IPPY Awards reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing. Independent spirit and expertise comes from publishers of all sizes and budgets and books are judged with that in mind. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to winners in national subject categories, regional categories, and e-book categories. Winners are celebrated at a ceremony on the eve of BookExpo.

Full list of award winners available here.

IPPY Award Wins