CCBC March 2018 Newsletter


News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Links We Love
March Book List: International Women’s Day
Author Corner: Deborah Ellis
Illustrator’s Studio: Jillian Tamaki
Booksellers’ Picks

News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends

TD Canadian Children’s Book Week will take place from Saturday, May 5 to Saturday, May 12, 2018.  Bring books to life in your classroom or library with posters and bookmarks, featuring Gabrielle Grimard’s stunning illustration.

Book Week materials will be available mid- to late-March in the CCBC’s online shop.

Learn more about creators visiting your province or territory at



Get your copy of The Landing by John Ibbitson
978-1-5253-0025-7 $12.99 | Ages 12-14

Set in Depression-era Muskoka, this  evocative and powerful Governor General’s Literary Award–winning novel follows a young musician’s awakening to the possibilities of a world beyond his borders.

The Landing is geared toward young adults, but just as easily belongs to the Canadian coming-of-age genre occupied by the likes of Alice Munro and Margaret Laurence.” — The Globe and Mail

Proceeds from this 10th Anniversary edition support the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

On sale March 6! Available in bookstores or through the CCBC’s online shop.


Kids’ books on stage!

At the recent Ontario Library Association Superconference, we had a chance to meet Carrie Libling, Founder and Artistic Director of Electric Moon Theatre Company.

Ontario schools and theatres are invited to enjoy professional, positive, superior quality live performances, programs and workshops — all within the convenience and comfort of their own venue.

From March 12-25, 2018, Big Nate The Musical is running at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. For tickets, click here.


Purchase your tickets to this year’s Festival of Trees (May 15-16, 2018)

Do you love to read? Are you ready to make some noise for books? Do you want to meet your favourite authors and illustForest of Reading Festival of Treesrators? Have you ever been to a “rock concert” for reading? This is your chance – be part of the largest literary event for young readers in Canada, the Festival of Trees!

The Festival of Trees is Canada’s largest literary event for young readers and is continuing to grow. It culminates in a two-day awards celebration for the school-aged and French-language programs of the Forest of Reading® in Toronto, with other satellite Festivals taking place across Ontario. More than 10,000 people attend the Festival in Toronto, which is co-presented by International Festival of Authors (IFOA), at the Harbourfront Centre.

Links We Love

Articles and videos of interest to educators

How a teacher encouraged her students with an ‘F’

How a ‘Comfort Cove’ helps a teacher and her students recharge

How a backwards shirt led to a lesson in kindness for P.E.I. kindergarten class

10 Canadian young adult titles to watch for in the first half of 2018

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March Book List: International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. On March 8, celebrate in your classroom or library with one of these great Canadian books featuring bold women in both fiction and history.

Picture Books

Akilak's Adventure

Akilak’s Adventure
Written by Deborah Kigjugalik Webster
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
Inhabit Media, 2016
ISBN 978-1-77227-123-2
IL: Ages 2-8 RL: Grades 2-3

When Akilak must travel a great distance to another camp to gather food, she thinks she will never be able to make it. With a little help from her grandmother’s spirit, and her own imagination, Akilak manages to turn a long walk into an adventure. Her grandmother’s reassuring words help Akilak enjoy the journey that at first seemed so daunting.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Cranky Ballerina

The Cranky Ballerina
Written and illustrated by Elise Gravel
Katherine Tegen Books, 2016
ISBN 978-0-06-235124-1
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Ada hates everything about ballet class, it’s not her thing! But then one Saturday, Ada pliés right out the door and smacks into someone who loves her moves! Kids who love ballet — and definitely those who don’t — will relish this clever, subversive tale about a kid who has to do what she doesn’t like in order to discover what she loves. This title is also available in French as Ada : la grincheuse en tutu.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers


The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Michael Martchenko
Annick Press, 1980
ISBN 978-0-92023-616-1
IL: Ages 4-7 RL: Grades 2-3

Tradition gets tweaked when an unglamorous princess outwits an arrogant dragon to rescue an equally arrogant prince in this charming, whimsically illustrated feminist fairy tale.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Water Walker

The Water Walker
Written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson
Second Story Press, 2017
ISBN 978-1-77260-038-4
IL: Ages 6-9 RL: Grades 2-3

Nokimis — our grandmothers — walk to protect our water, and to protect all of us. This book tells the true story of the determined Ojibwe Grandmother Josephine Mandamin who walked around all of the Great Lakes to raise awareness for the protection of our most precious resource.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Junior & Intermediate Fiction


The Breadwinner
Written by Deborah Ellis
Groundwood Books, 2015 ©2000
ISBN 978-1-55498-765-8
IL: Ages 10-14 RL: Grades 5-6

Parvana, 11, lives in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. When her father is arrested, conditions grow desperate for her family. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy, and become the breadwinner.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy

Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy
Written by Gareth Wronski
Aladdin, 2017
ISBN 978-1-4814-7177-0
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 4-5

Holly Farb is not the Princess of the Galaxy. Unfortunately, alien pirate kidnappers believe she is, and so she finds herself on a pirate spaceship together with her teacher Mr. Mendez and irritating classmate, Chester. Now all she has to do is escape the pirates, find the missing princess and get back to Earth in time for her big test on Friday.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Laura Monster Crusher

Laura Monster Crusher
Written by Wesley King
Puffin Canada, 2017
ISBN 978-0-670-07002-2
IL: Ages 10-12 RL: Grades 4-5

When Laura’s family moves to a fixer upper in a new town for grade eight, she expects more of the same: kids bullying her about her weight. What she doesn’t expect is making real friends for the first time or being given the most important job in the world: Monster Crusher. Her new role? To protect the world from the horrors beneath the Earth.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Mary Anning's Curiosity

Mary Anning’s Curiosity
Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrations by Melissa Castrillon
Groundwood Books, 2017
ISBN 978-1-55498-898-3
IL: Ages 8-12 RL: Grades 4-5

In 1811, 12-year-old Mary, with her brother Joe, found what they believed to be the skeleton of a gigantic crocodile, the Great Croc of legends. Mary took almost a year to excavate what would later be termed the Ichthyosaurus. Now considered the world’s greatest fossilist, Mary Anning and her world are brought to life in this story about scientific discovery for young readers.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Young Adult Fiction


The Farmerettes
Written by Gisela Tobien Sherman
Second Story Press, 2015
ISBN 978-1-927583-64-7
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 8-9

Defying convention, a group of mismatched girls live and work on a farm during the summer of 1943: dutiful Helene; fun-loving Peggy; Isabel, whose fiancé is in Europe; rich Binxie and reliable Jean, whose family farm is taken over by the group of “farmerettes.” And then there is the mysterious “X,” who feels the most out of place, always longing for what lies out of reach.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers


Girl Mans Up
Written by M-E Girard
HarperCollins Publishers, 2016
ISBN 978-1-44344-704-1
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 7-8

Why does everyone have a problem with Pen being the kind of girl she’s always been? They think she should quit trying to be something she’s not. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships and feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth — respect and loyalty are often empty words, and that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers


Li Jun and the Iron Road
Written by Anne Tait with Paulette Bourgeois
Dundurn, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4597-3142-4
IL: Ages 12-15 RL: Grades 7-8

It’s 1882, in southern China, and Li Jun, disguised as a boy, has been working in a fireworks factory earning enough money to sail to British Columbia to find her father and fulfill a promise to her dying mother. In forging a new life, she joins thousands of Chinese men who face danger, deceit and prejudice as they blast a path for the new railway through the Rockies. Based on the award-winning film, Iron Road.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Patsy Walker

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Hooked on a Feline
(Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Volume 1)
Written by Kate Leth
Illustrated by Brittney L. Williams and Natasha Allegri
Colour by Megan Wilson and Natasha Allegri
Marvel Entertainment, 2016
ISBN 978-1-302-90035-9
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grades 8-9

Patsy Walker has escaped her past, her enemies and Hell itself — but nothing compares to job hunting in New York City! As she goes from living a double life to a triple one, what the Hell is Patsy supposed to do? There’ll be friendship and burgers, monsters and rent cheques; old friends like She-Hulk and Valkyrie and a ghost from the past with questionable motives!

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers



#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women
Edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale
Annick Press, 2017
ISBN 978-1-55451-957-6
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 9-10

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous girls and women across North America resound in this book. In the same visual style as the bestselling Dreaming in Indian, this is an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Because I am a Girl

Because I am a Girl: I Can Change the World
(Plan Canada International Books)
Written by Rosemary McCarney, Jen Albaugh and Plan International
Second Story Press, 2014
ISBN 978-1-927583-44-9
IL: Ages 9-13 RL: Grades 4-5

Meet some remarkable girls from all over the world. The stories of their lives can be difficult to imagine. They describe the barriers and dangers that they, and millions of other girls, face daily. Despite the hardships they must overcome, these girls have hope for the future and strive to make their lives and those of their families and communities better.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers


Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story
Written by David Alexander Robertson
Illustrated by Scott B. Henderson
HighWater Press, 2015
ISBN 978-1-55379-544-5
IL: Ages 16 and up RL: Grades 10-11

Helen Betty Osborne, following her dream of becoming a teacher, left her home to attend residential school in Manitoba. On November 13, 1971, Betty was abducted and brutally murdered by four young men. Initially met with silence and indifference, her tragic murder resonates loudly today. Betty represents one of almost 1,200 Indigenous women in Canada who have been murdered or have gone missing.

Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey: Animal Rights Activist and Protector of Mountain Gorillas
(Crabtree Groundbreaker Biographies)
Written by Diane Dakers
Crabtree Publishing, 2016
ISBN 978-0-7787-2565-7
IL: Ages 11-14 RL: Grades 6-7

For many years, Dian Fossey studied mountain gorillas, becoming a respected primatologist and a fierce champion of their preservation. She made powerful enemies because of her opposition to the gorilla-related tourism industry and her anti-poaching and trafficking campaign. In 1985, she was found murdered in Rwanda. The case remains unsolved, but her intense love for gorillas helped create a legacy that survives in the work of others.

Amazon | Canadian Bookstores | Wholesalers

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Author’s Corner: Deborah Ellis

Photo credit: Heidy van Dyk
Deborah Ellis is an award-winning author, a feminist and a peace activist. She penned the international bestseller The Breadwinner, as well as many challenging and beautiful works of fiction and non-fiction about children all over the world. With more than 30 books to her credit, Deborah’s award wins include the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. In 2016 she was named to the Order of Canada.

How did you get your start as an author?

I grew up in Paris, Ontario, and was socially awkward from the start — a great excuse for spending lots of time in the library. Reading a lot — and meeting the wondrous Jean Little when I was a kid — sent me on the path of wanting to write.

You’ve spent your career giving a voice to women and children all over the world. How do you choose your subjects? Tell us about the process you go through to research and write your books.

They are generally on the theme of how can we manage to keep ourselves strong in a world that often makes us feel we have no power. I choose where to go and what to focus on depending on my interests and what seems possible and what seems like I can be useful at.

The film adaptation of your novel The Breadwinner was recently nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award. SoPrint often, books are optioned for films but rarely come to fruition. How involved were you in the film adaption and what does it mean to you to have one of your first novels turned into a film?

I wrote the first draft of the screenplay then they brought in the fantastic writer Anita Doren who did an amazing job on what people see on the screen.

Matt Galloway of CBC’s Metro Morning recently interviewed Deborah Ellis about the film adaptation of The Breadwinner being nominated for an Oscar. Click here to listen.

March 8th is International Women’s Day. As a peace activist and author, what does this day mean to you?

Liberation is life — without freedom to decide for ourselvMoonAtNine_C_Oct5.inddes who we are and how we want to run our lives, we cannot feel fully human.

A number of years ago, I was in Peshawar, Pakistan, during International Women’s Day. Women from Pakistan and from Afghanistan, from the refugee camps, came together in a huge event, and I was honoured to be asked to say hello as one of the other nations represented there. It was incredible to see all these women, some of whom have struggles beyond what we generally have in Canada, coming together to celebrate Women’s Day and to talk about what more needs to be done. There were all ages, kids doing plays, older women talking about the changes they have seen, and everyone taking the event and the celebration seriously. In Canada, we can mark the day or not, celebrate or not. For other women in other parts of the world, celebrating it is almost seen as a duty to those who went before, those who did not make it, and those who are coming after us.

On your website, you have this quote: “Books can help us remember what we have in common.” In today’s political climate, your books are more important than ever. Do you have any tips or suggesNo Ordinary Daytions for teachers using your books in their classrooms or advice for how to approach the issues raised in your books?

Encourage students to find out and write down their own family histories — who were their grandparents, their great grandparents? We all deal with loneliness, fear, insecurity, and we all can also overcome these things and assist others to do the same.

What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?

The book that will be out in the fall is a collection of interviews with young people in the criminal justice system.

Find out more about Deborah Ellis in her 2014 AMA (Ask Me Anything) interview  or by visiting

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Illustrator’s Studio: Jillian Tamaki

Jillian-TamakiJillian Tamaki is an illustrator and comics artist living in Toronto, Ontario. She is the co-creator, with her cousin Mariko Tamaki, of Skim and This One Summer, the latter of which won a Caldecott Honor and Printz Award in 2015. Her own graphic novels include SuperMutant Magic Academy and Boundless. Her first picture book, They Say Blue, which explores our perception and experience of the natural world, will be released in 2018.

How did you get started as a cartoonist/illustrator?

I went to the Alberta College of Art and Design for “Visual Communications” but I really just wanted to be a designer and get a Real Job. As it turns out, I was much better at illustration than design. I was recruited from school to work in video games, at BioWare in Edmonton. I was there for two years and also moonlit as much as possible doing editorial illustration. I also started making mini comics at that time and shortly after started attending comic conventions. I started freelancing full time in 2005, when I was 25. I moved to New York and… just continued to do illustration and make comics, I guess!

Groundwood Logos SpineCan you tell us about your illustration style and how it came about? What is your illustration process and what materials do you use?

I switch it up a lot and there is no one process, to be honest. I think what ties it all together is Drawing. I’m a drawer, as opposed to a painter. In my new picture book, They Say Blue, I painted the backgrounds then drew on top of it with a Cintiq (a digital drawing tablet).

Your debut picture book, They Say Blue, comes out this March. What was your inspiration for this story?

It’s quite a simple book. On the surface it is about colour and nature. On a deeper level, I think it’s about perception and critical thinking. The girl in the story is contemplating her environment through many different lenses: logical, scientific, emotional, what she’s been told, what she knows.

Click to enlarge

How is the process of writing and illustrating a picture book different from a graphic novel?

It’s very different. A graphic novel requires a different kind of labour and stamina. There’s an element of sheer volume with, say, a 300 page book. And, to be a little pedantic here for a second, a graphic novel is not an illustrated book. It’s a comic. The function of the pictures in a comic are legibility first, beauty (and all other surface considerations) second. Illustrating a kids’ book (or any other type of illustration) can be a little bit like trying to conjure magic on demand. It’s tricky.

Layout 1You’ve collaborated with your cousin, Mariko Tamaki, on a couple of projects. What is it like to work so closely with a family member, and how is it different than working on one of your solo projects?

I enjoy both. They have their own challenges. I love working with Mariko because she is a very generous collaborator. I think the books we make together have been unique – I certainly can’t produce stories quite like that on my own. I like working with set parameters. It’s like a puzzle.

Working on my own, of course you’re responsible for all of it, which is a blessing and curse. It can be easy to change ad infinitum because everything is so malleable always. It’s pretty cool how even if you are the only creator it always ends up pretty different from what you set out to do.

Do you have any activity suggestions or tips for teachers who would like to use your books in the classroom?

Oh! I don’t know. I wonder if it could actually be used in some sort of scientific context. There is something about hypothesis and questioning perceived wisdom in the book. I’ve done some activities with children where we drew abstract squiggles then “completed” the drawings together — made a squiggle into a monster, and then the monster has two heads, then buck teeth, then a volcano on his head, etc. That was very fun. It really goes to show that everyone can be looking at the same thing but “see” different things in it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring graphic novelists/author-illustrators?

Get an Instagram account.

Images courtesy of Jillian Tamaki and Groundwood Books. Find out more about Jillian and her work at

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Booksellers’ Picks

Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. To find a local independent bookstore, visit

Audreys Books in Edmonton, AB: A True Home (Heartwood Hotel, Book 1), written by Kallie George, illustrations by Stephanie Graegin (HarperCollins Publishers, 2017), Ages 7-10.

When Mona the mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes the staff will let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely tTrue Home - Heartwood Hotel #1he maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury and comfort. But it’s not all acorn soufflé and soft, moss-lined beds. Danger lurks nearby, and as it approaches, Mona has to use all her wits to protect the place she’s come to love. Because this hotel is more than a warm shelter for the night. It might also be a home.

Kallie George has created an absolutely charming and whimsical story. It is full of endearing characters that young children will love, along with some great life lessons, too. She deals with bravery, compassion and self-esteem and of course the power of friendship. This book is perfect for kids who are reading early chapter books but looking for something just a little more difficult.  And as my eight-year-old can attest, it makes a great read aloud! —Kelly Dyer, Manager/Children’s Buyer

Audreys Books: 10702 Jasper Ave., Edmonton, AB  T5J 3J5


McNally Robinson at Grant Park in Winnipeg, MB: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett (Balzer & Bray, 2017), Ages 13 aEven the Darkest Starsnd up.

This book follows Kamzin and River on a snowy expedition. Racing against the clock, both must learn to navigate under the stars together if they wish to succeed. But when secrets get revealed, is the royal explorer as great as Kamzin thought? Or has she gotten herself into something more then she can handle?

Even the Darkest Stars written by Heather Fawcett was chosen by Sabrina Simmonds from McNally Robinson for it’s descriptive landscapes and page turning events. Anyone who reads it will be in store for one epic adventure.

McNally Robinson at Grant Park: 1120 Grant Ave., Unit 4000, Winnipeg, MB  R3M 2A6


Type Books in Toronto, ON: Trampoline Boy, written by Nan Forler, illustrated by Marion Arbona (Tundra Books, 2018), Ages 3-7Trampoline Boy

Through the eyes of a character we only know as Trampoline Boy, readers are invited to understand how he sees the world. His favourite thing to do is jump up and down, up and down on his trampoline. Kids walk by and tease him, but he remains steadfast and calm. One day, a quietly exuberant girl, Peaches, is fascinated by his jumping. Trampoline Boy wordlessly invites her to jump with him, and by spending this time with him, Peaches and readers get to see how important and valuable different perspectives are.

Recommended by Serah-Marie McMahon, Children’s Buyer for Type Books.

Type Books: 427 Spadina Rd. & 883 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON


Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax, NS: The Pink Umbrella, written by Amélie Callot, illustrated by Geneviève Godbout (Tundra Books, 2018), Ages 6-9Pink Umbrella

Adele and her delightful café, The Polka-Dot Apron, are beloved by all in her small village by the sea.  Everyone is a regular and regulars are always welcome at this cheery café that is so much more than just a café.  But Adele’s sunny spirit fails her whenever it rains and she retreats to her bed to wait for the sun.  Then one day she receives a mysterious gift: pretty pink rainboots.  And then a lovely pink raincoat.  Finally when she receives a wonderful pink umbrella (with polka dots!) she solves the mystery… and concludes that perhaps there is joy to be found even in rainy days.  A sweet and subdued tale that celebrates the joys of friendship and community. —Lisa Doucet, Co-manager

Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 1533 Birmingham St., Halifax, NS B3J 2J1

 If your independent bookstore would like to participate in this feature, please contact us.