March 2019 Newsletter
News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, announced the winners of the 2019 Ezra Jack Keats Award. Canadian Matt James is an honour winner for The Funeral (Groundwood Books).
Learn more about the award here.
Julie Morstad wins the 2018 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award for Bloom by Kyo Maclear!
IBBY Canada (International Board on Books for Young People, Canadian section) is pleased to announce that Julie Morstad has won the 2018 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award for Bloom, written by Kyo Maclear, published by Tundra Books. The winner receives $1,000. The jury also selected two honour books from the list of ten finalists: Africville, illustrated by Eva Campbell and written by Shauntay Grant; and Deep Underwater, written and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher (both published by Groundwood Books). Learn more here.
We are big fans of Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves and were ecstatic to learn that Cherie will be writing the first season and will be an executive producer for the show, working with Jennica Harper to develop the series for Thunderbird Entertainment. Alexandra Raffé and Ivan Fecan are also executive producers on the project. Learn more here.
Finalists announced for 2018 BMO Winterset Award
ArtsNL has announced the finalists for the 2018 BMO Winterset Award: Melissa Barbeau, Robert Chafe, and Heather Smith. The award celebrates excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing. The winner will be announced at Government House on Thursday, March 28, 2019. Books in any genre published in 2018 were eligible for the award. A total of 30 works by Newfoundland and Labrador authors (either native-born or resident) were submitted by publishers from across the country. Read more here.
We are excited to announce the launch of our new book bank highlighting Canadian titles that focus on diversity, social justice and activism. We believe that there is a dire need for more diverse stories in Canadian children’s literature and our new book bank is a way for us to support these stories while providing a tool to help readers have quick and easy access to hundreds of titles.
This new book bank is perfect for teachers, librarians and parents to use in finding great Canadian content.
Check out the book bank here!
Introducing Red Apple Reading!
We are excited to announce the launch of Red Apple Reading, an online Facebook community for Canadian librarians and educators. We wanted to create a space for educators to connect through their love of books for children and teens. Request to join today!
30% off of bulk copies of The Landing by John Ibbitson
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.
NEW! Use our teaching guide for background information and discussion questions. Download yours here.
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Links We Love
Articles and videos of interest to educators
March Reading List: Girl Power
Our reading list this month is all about power to the girls! With International Women’s Day on March 8th, we’re celebrating books about amazing girls and women.
TANAZ BHATHENA was born in Mumbai and raised in Riyadh, Jeddah and Toronto. She is the winner of the 2009 MARTY for Emerging Literary Arts, a semi-finalist for the 2013 Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge and the Readers’ Choice pick for the 2015 U of T Magazine Short Story Contest. Her short stories have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Witness and Room Magazine. Her YA novels include A Girl Like That and The Beauty of the Moment.
First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as an author? What is your writing process like?
I loved reading as a child. By the time I was eight, I was already scribbling out my own stories. When I was 13, I was getting a few of these stories published in a youth magazine in the UAE. But it wasn’t until I was graduating university in Canada that I finally took a stab at writing professionally. Twelve years — and many, many short stories later — my first book, A Girl Like That was published.
My writing process usually starts with a character and a scene — sometimes inspired by the story’s title, or sometimes an image from a poem. Then I experiment with narrative voice, writing out various versions before deciding which one is best suited to the story. I don’t like plotting in detail, but over time I’ve learned that a little bit of outlining is useful — even essential — in longer books.
What would you most like to see as a new trend in YA books?
I’d love to see more YA books from other countries getting translated into English. There’s so much literature in the world and I love discovering new writers this way.
We loved A Girl Like That and The Beauty of the Moment! What do you draw information from?
Thank you so much! I’m a bit like a sponge when it comes to information. My sources include newspapers, TV, other books, stories I hear from family members and other people, and a lot of what I witness in reality.
This month features International Women’s Day — what does that mean to you?
International Women’s Day reminds me of how far we’ve come when it comes to women’s rights — and also how far we still have to go. I hope that one day every month will be like International Women’s Day. Women make up half of the world’s population; their achievements should be studied and celebrated throughout the year.
What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?
My second book The Beauty of the Moment was released on February 26, 2019. The book, which is set in my hometown of Mississauga, revolves around two immigrant teens from different backgrounds, who must navigate the messy and familiar roads of love and family relationships in order to find a way to each other. I’m also working on a new YA fantasy series set in a world inspired by medieval India. The first book is titled Hunted by the Sky and releases in spring 2020.
Find out more about Tanaz on her website at tanazbhathena.com
Julie Morstad is an award-winning author, illustrator and fine artist known for her surreal, whimsical work. She is the illustrator of numerous children’s books, including Today, When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary, Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear, Beyond the Laughing Sky by Michelle Cuevas, and her own How To among several others. Julie has exhibited her work in galleries, animated two music videos with her brother, filled up stacks of sketchbooks, and made countless pots of soup and many loaves of bread. She lives in Vancouver with her family.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get your start as an illustrator?
My first book was with Simply Read Books and I had so much creative freedom with it, I wanted to keep going. Although, I illustrated and bound a version of a child’s garden of verses when I was 12… does that count? 😉
Which artists have inspired you as a creator and influenced your art style?
Bookmakers: Evaline Ness , Jacqueline Ayers, Alice and Martin Provensen, Gyo Fujikawa, Maurice Sendak, Roger Duvoisin, Marc Simont, Nathalie Parain, Tomi Ungerer, Ingrid Vang Nyman, Fiep Westendorp, André François, Errol Le Cain, Mitsumasa Anno and Tove Jansson!!!
Artists and photographers:
Ruth Asawa, Walker Evans, Helen Levitt, Louise Bourgeois, Kenojuak Ashevak, Shary Boyle, Paul Klee, Saul Steinberg and Barbara Nessim!
Do you have any advice for young creators?
You have illustrated books about amazing girls and women such as Julia Child, Elsa Schiaparelli, Anna Pavlova and the fictional Sadie. What other amazing women and girls would you love to illustrate?
Hmm that’s a tough one. I think I’m most interested in the quiet but no less dramatic stories of everyday people right now. My grandmother’s life would be fun to dig into… although artist Sonia Delaunay or photographer Lee Miller would fun bios to tackle!
What is next for you? What projects are you working on now?
I am working on a book of my own right now which is still secret (but not a bio). I’ve also just finished the picture book bio of Gyo Fujikawa with Kyo Maclear, a dream project with HarperCollins and Tundra Books.
Oh! And I will soon start the picture book biography of Anne-France Dautheville (first woman to ride a motorcycle around the world), written by Amy Novesky.
Find out more about Julie and her work at juliemorstad.com
Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. To find a local independent bookstore, visit findabookstore.ca.
Finns’ grandfather told him stories about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where the whales soar, and the birds float. To honour his memory of his grandfather Finn builds a sailboat to find this magical place. Ocean Meets Sky is a touching and captivating story about a boy finding his way and discovering there’s a little more out there. —Sabrina, children’s bookseller
McNally Robinson at Grant Park: 1120 Grant Ave., Unit 4000, Winnipeg, MB R3M 2A6 www.mcnallyrobinson.com
Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax, NS: How Emily Saved the Bridge: The Story of Emily Warren Roebling and the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Natalie Nelson (Groundwood Books, 2019) Ages 7-10
This charming picture book biography tells the story of Emily’s remarkable determination and strength of spirit as she defied the conventions of the time to pursue her dreams. After pursuing her studies, she met and married Washington Roebling and gave him all the encouragement he needed to accept the challenge of completing the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. When he became ill, Emily herself became the key figure in overseeing the bridge’s completion. And her accomplishments did not end there as she then chose to go to law school (where she wrote about equal rights for women). While many men questioned her abilities, Emily persevered nonetheless. Featuring bold, brightly-coloured collage-style illustrations, this book is a fascinating introduction to an inspiring historical figure.—Lisa Doucet, Co-manager
Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 1533 Birmingham St., Halifax, NS B3J 2J1 www.woozles.com
If your independent bookstore would like to participate in this feature, please contact us.
How can 20 years change an author and her reader? I first started reading Kit Pearson’s books about 20 years ago in the fourth grade. I loved the War Guests Trilogy, A Handful in Time and Awake and Dreaming. In the time between me picking up my first Kit Pearson book (The Sky is Falling) and the one I read last (Be My Love) the world and I have both changed quite a lot. And it seems that Kit Pearson’s books have changed with us, with this middle grade novel and #OwnVoices story about one girl discovering that she loves another girl a sign of that. If this type of story existed for someone my age back then, I never saw it. Be My Love still captures everything I loved about Kit Pearson’s books when I first read them — there is a nostalgic pull to this summer time story of a first crush in the 1950s, and the setting of the fictional King Fisher Island seems to hold a special childlike magic, just as it did in The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth. Her most recent novel fits perfectly with her novels of the past, but this time the main character is someone who was once never shown in a middle grade novel: a young girl who likes other girls. — Emma Hunter, CCBC Marketing and Website Coordinator
Look for our April newsletter early next month, which will be all about humour! Look forward to interviews with Richard Scrimger and Josh Holinaty.