FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Markham, ON (March 5, 2013) – Fitzhenry & Whiteside is pleased to announce that The Stamp Collector by Jennifer Lanthier, illustrated by François Thisdale, has been selected as a 2013 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Honor Book. The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award is given annually to one outstanding new writer and one outstanding new illustrator by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, co-presented by the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, and seeks “books that portray the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family, and the multicultural nature of our world.”*
The Stamp Collector was also selected for the 2013 USBBY Outstanding International Book list and is a 2013 Notable Books for a Global Society Award winner.
“It’s difficult to convey just how much this honour means to me. I come from a long line of librarians, all of whom loved Ezra Jack Keats. They passed on that love to me,” says Jennifer Lanthier. “When I heard the news I couldn’t help wishing my mother were here to share it with me. She put his books into the hands of so many children over the years; she would know what this means to me and she would have shared my incredulity and my joy.”
Inspired by real-life imprisoned writers, and illustrated by the powerful artwork of François Thisdale, The Stamp Collector is Jennifer Lanthier’s debut picture book. With the ongoing imprisonment of writers and reporters around the world, The Stamp Collector reminds us that the simple freedom of speech is not a freedom to which everyone is entitled.
“At a PEN meeting in 2009, I met the exiled journalist and writer Jiang Weiping. He told us that it was important to write to prisoners even though a Chinese prisoner would never be allowed to see the letters— because stamp collecting is popular with guards,” explained Lanthier. “Weiping had already explained that guards aren’t told the prisoners’ crimes, but even though the guards likely wouldn’t understand a letter written in English, they would notice the stamps and realize that if someone was writing from Canada or the United States, there was something special about this prisoner. And they might spare him harsh treatment. I went home that day and began writing The Stamp Collector.”
Lanthier’s story follows two boys—one who becomes a writer and the other who becomes a prison guard. As their friendship develops, readers learn that while words can imprison, they can also liberate and bring hope.
A portion of the proceeds from the book will support PEN Canada.
Jennifer Lanthier is a former wire service and newspaper reporter, speechwriter, magazine freelancer and editor. She lives in Toronto with her family.
François Thisdale is an award-winning illustrator. His style combines traditional drawing and painting with digital images. He is the illustrator of Nini and Bird Child.
*taken from Ezra Jack Keats website.
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