November 2018 Newsletter
News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Links We Love
November Reading: National Novel Writing Month
Author Corner: Cherie Dimaline
Amy’s Travels in Teen Fiction
Illustrator’s Studio: Ashley Spires
News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
The winners of the CCBC Book Awards were announced at a event in Toronto on October 29th, sponsored by TD Bank Group. Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith, won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, taking home a total of $50,000 thanks to the prize increase from TD Bank Group. Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid won the CBC Fan Choice Award, voted on by kids ages 5 to 12. The winners of the French-language awards will be announced at an invitation-only gala event in Montreal on November 19, 2018.
Find more details and the full list of winners here. Congratulations to all!
Applications for TD Book Week 2019 are Opening Soon!
TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is getting closer and closer! Thirty creators will be traveling throughout Canada from May 4-11, 2019, visiting children in 175 communities across the country. You can see who is touring here. On November 15, you’ll be able to see who is touring where and apply for them to visit your school, library or community centre.
The theme of the 2019 TD Book Week is Readers are Dreamers and this year’s poster will be illustrated by the talented Elly MacKay! Find out more about TD Book Week here.
The Winners for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards
The winners for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards were announced on October 30.
Young People’s Literature — Text (English)
- Sweep by Jonathan Auxier (Puffin Canada)
Young People’s Literature — Illustrated Book (English)
- They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books)
Young People’s Literature — Text (French)
- Le chemin de la montagne by Marianne Dubuc (Comme des géants)
Young People’s Literature — Illustrated Book (French)
- Ferdinand F., 81 ans, chenille by Mario Brassard and Jean-Luc Trudel (Soulières éditeur)
Find out more here.
2019 Forest of Reading® Nominated Titles Announced
Earlier this month the Ontario Library Association (OLA) announced the English and French nominees for the 2019 Forest of Reading program, the largest recreational reading award program in Canada.
SEE THE 2019 FOREST OF READING NOMINATED LISTS: accessola.com/forest
CANSCAIP Presents Packaging Your Imagination
This year’s Packaging Your Imagination features a fantastic line-up of sessions! Choose four sessions from the 12 offered, see memorable keynote speakers Deborah Ellis and Ruth Ohi, be a part of One-to-One evaluation meetings for your manuscript and enjoy a warm and welcoming day in the wonderful CANSCAIP community. The event is sold out, but you can still register for the online Packaging Your Imagination. The event will take place on Saturday November 10, 2018.
Winners Announced for the Sunburst Award and the Copper Cylinder Awards
The Sunburst Award Committee has announced the winners of the 2018 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in Adult, Young Adult, and Short Story categories.
The 2018 winner of the Sunburst Award for Young Adult Fiction is The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline.
The Sunburst Award Society also announced the winners of the seventh annual Copper Cylinder Award. The 2018 Copper Cylinder Young Adult Award is shared by two works, Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko, and Weave A Circle Round by Kari Maaren. Find out more here!
AAAS and Subaru have announced the finalists for the 2019 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books in the Children’s Science Picture Book category and Middle Grade Category. Canadian titles include The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs, by Kate Messner (Author) and Matthew Forsythe (Illustrator), Rewilding: Giving Nature a Second Chance, by Jane Drake and Ann Love and Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle, by Erica Fyvie (Author) and Bill Slavin (Illustrator). Find out more about the middle grade award here and the children’s book award here.
Winners announced for 2018 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature
The winners of the 2018 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature have been announced. Each writer will receive $10,000.
The winner for the Children’s/Young Adult Category is Rare is Everywhere by Deborah Katz (Miss Bird Books)
Find out more here.
At the 15th annual Victoria Book Prize Gala, Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith won the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize and was awarded $5,000.
The Victoria Book Prize Society establishes the policy and criteria for the prizes, appoints the juries, and administers the competitions.
Congratulations to Monique Gray Smith!
Whoopi Goldberg to Narrate The Most Magnificent Thing TV Short
Two other books by Kids Can Press are making their way to the small screen! P.U.R.S.T Agent Binky is based on the graphic novels by Ashley Spires and The Remarkable Mr. King is based on the series by Geneviève Côté.
Find out more about these upcoming shows here.
First Book Canada and Amazon Canada to deliver $100,000 in new, high quality books to children across the country for the holiday season
For every qualifying children’s book purchased on Amazon.ca over the next two weeks, Amazon Canada will donate $1 to First Book Canada, up to $100,000.
To learn more and browse a selection of children’s books on Amazon.ca that will directly contribute to the donation amount, visit amazon.ca/buy1give1.
Get your copy 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.
On sale now! Available in bookstores or through the CCBC’s online shop. Order through the CCBC and receive a FREE subscription to Canadian Children’s Book News and Best Books for Kids & Teens. Enter coupon code landing to take advantage of this limited time offer.
The Fall issue of Best Books for Kids and Teens Available November 6!
Expert committees of educators, booksellers, school and public librarians from across Canada have handpicked the materials listed in this guide. Committees look for excellence in writing, illustration or performance. Most importantly, these committees focus on selecting materials that will appeal to children and young adults.
Bonus feature! Expert tips for choosing the best books for young readers.
The 31st Helen E. Stubbs Memorial Lecture
Jan Thornhill: On Capturing Children’s Ecological Imagination
Find out more here!
Links We Love
Articles and videos of interest to educators
November Reading List: National Novel Writing Month!
November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. Writers take on the daunting task of writing a manuscript in one month, making November the perfect time to foster a life of writing in children and teens. This month’s reading list is all about the world of writing, with books to be used in classrooms or libraries.
Author’s Corner: Cherie Dimaline
Cherie Dimaline is a writer and editor from the Georgian Bay Métis Community in Ontario who has published four books of short stories, literary fiction and young adult fiction. Her latest book, The Marrow Thieves, won the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award, the prestigious Kirkus Prize for Young Readers and the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. It was a finalist for the White Pine Award, One Book – One Brampton, the Trillium Prize and the Swartz Award and was a selection for CBC’s 2018 Canada Reads. The Marrow Thieves was also named a Book of Year on numerous lists including The National Public Radio, The School Library Journal, the New York Public Library, The Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire and the CBC, and is a national bestseller. Cherie currently lives in Toronto, Ontario where she coordinates the annual Indigenous Writers’ Gathering. She recently signed a four-book deal with Penguin Random House and writes for TV.
First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as an author? What is your writing process like?
I have always wanted to write, since before I physically could write. I was privileged enough to grow up with story and as soon as I understood that you could trap a story in pages so that it could be returned to again and again, there was nothing else I wanted to do. That being said, I spent a lot of years working other jobs — magazine editor, governance consultant, museum curator, policy advisor. But in and around it all, I wrote.
My writing process is a mess, really. I get obsessed with an idea and then I am consumed with the need to say the right words in the right order that will impart that idea into the imaginations of others. I mostly write at night, but I’ll do it anywhere at any time. The next book started on the back of a barf bag while I was flying home to Toronto from Vancouver.
Congratulations on winning the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award! This definitely isn’t the first award you have won, after winning awards like the Kirkus Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. Do you have any writing advice for aspiring authors out there? How about advice specifically for young Indigenous writers?
I am so excited by winning the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award. Every time there is a shortlist that I am lucky enough to be on, it takes me hours — sometimes days, before it really sinks in. It’s like Christmas Eve every time.
The best writing advice I’ve every received came down to two simple ideas: read voraciously; and never throw anything out.
For Indigenous emerging or aspiring writers, I would just reiterate that we are the People of Story. When we write from our own truth, from our worldview, from our community, therein lies the magic. We have so many incredible Indigenous writers out there right now publishing. Reach out, find a mentor, and keep moving towards your story.
Personally, The Marrow Thieves has been one of my favourite books in a while. What was your chief inspiration in writing it?
When I was young(er) the youth I was at the Friendship Centre with had the good fortune of spending time with an Inuk Elder who wanted to know why we were so mad; just who were we so mad at? We talked to him about Canadians and white people and colonization and attempted genocide. He responded that he thought we imagined that a ship full of warriors showing up on our shores, when in reality, because these people had killed off or severed ties with their medicine people, their teachers and their ancestors — the Pagans were being killed, women were being executed, and the Druids had disappeared. Europeans were tribal people and now they were lost. He explained that when a people lose these roots, these connections, they are a civilization of children. And so what we were dealing with was a boat full of kids. He reminded us that when children are left without boundaries, they can be quite cruel trying to survive.
Years later I was in the Northwest Territories with a group of Indigenous women writers and we were talking about motherhood. My friend Kelly Benning, a Métis writer from northern Alberta, said, “Pregnancy is exhausting. It’s because the children we carry will do anything to survive. They literally leach the vitamins from your bones. They’re just the cutest little marrow thieves.”
This idea of what we do to keep going and how that has played out for us, Indigenous people already living in our post-apocalyptic world, stayed with me.
How do you think The Marrow Thieves fits into the continuum of truth and reconciliation?
As truth. It wasn’t difficult to write about Indigenous people continuing to dream even through the apocalypse because we have already survived an apocalypse and we continue to dream. We know this because even as the schools and assimilation attempts ravaged communities, our ancestors kept the language, the stories, the ceremonies, the teachings. They kept them for us, knowing that one day we would be here, in this time. We are our ancestors’ best dream. I don’t truly think that reconciliation is possible now — not with continuing systemic racism and the inaction of the government beyond words. But I am hopeful for the next generation. And I want to put every story I can out there that might inform these youth, that might provide them with some truth.
Do you have any activity suggestions or tips for teachers who would like to use The Marrow Thieves in the classroom?
The best thing I saw was when I was visiting a grade 9 classroom in Sudbury. They had used the journey in The Marrow Thieves to kick off a map exercise that layered current Indigenous communities with language groups and traditional territory- both pre-contact and now. This lead to conversations about how Indigenous knowledges (science, geology, story, conservation) are the best tools we have to live on this particular land. They brought in Indigenous speakers and knowledge holders as part of the curriculum.
The other thing that makes me more hopeful than I’ve ever been is teachers asking kids to write their own ‘Coming To’ stories. We are all responsible for our own creation stories. When that is true, we tell the things that are important to us, what makes us who we are and how we came to be here. Its not about gender roles or assigned identities; its about honouring the ways in which a person sees themselves in the world and in their own future, from a curated past of their own memory and feeling. I love that kids are being empowered to tell their own stories and set their own markers of success and goals.
What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?
The TV series for The Marrow Thieves will shortly be underway, so that will be a huge project for me. I am very cognizant that this is now a story that belongs to the community and I want to honour the ways in which it is valuable for them. And there is another book coming out next year with Random House. Its an adult literary fiction story about a Rogarou, resource extraction, tradition and an evangelical church. And right now I am writing the next YA book. There’s so much coming and I am excited and grateful for it everyday.
Find out more about Cherie on twitter.
Amy’s Travels in Teen Fiction
My guest this month for Amy’s Travels in Teen Fiction is Michelle Barker, author of The House of One Thousand Eyes, a novel about life under the East German regime in Berlin after World War II. Listen as we explore the differences and commonalities of writing sci fi/fantasy and historical fiction, learn about the unimaginable tactics of the Stasi, and be inspired by Lena, a teen character who is thought to be simple minded but has more courage than most. I hope you will be as enthralled as I was.
Until next month, Happy Reading! —Amy
In 2014, Amy Mathers read and reviewed 365 YA books to raise funds to create the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award.
Illustrator’s Studio: Ashley Spires
Ashley Spires is the author and illustrator of many books including the bestselling The Most Magnificent Thing and the Binky The Space Cat series. She thrives when working on far too many projects and consumes large quantities of tea and chocolate to make her deadlines. Ashley lives in Ladner, BC with her husband, her dog and far too many cats.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get your start as an author and illustrator?
I was in art school for photography, having long ago decided that I was lousy at drawing, when I took a book making class. My instructor was an author/illustrator and it was the first time I realized that writing whimsical stories and drawing silly pictures could be a career. I worked on developing a small portfolio and sent it out to all the Canadian publishers accepting unsolicited queries. Thankfully someone took a chance on me, despite my lack of experience, and here we are!
SO many! But I think the one illustrator that really inspired me (and still does) is David Roberts. His watercolour and line work made my head explode the first time I saw his books! To this day his illustrations and characters make me squeal with delight. I’m a sucker for incredible character design and I seem to be drawn to a lot of UK and European illustrators, like Alex T. Smith and Júlia Sardà.
It really depends on the book. I’ve had several stories that developed from one little doodle in my sketchbook and I’ve had stories that started as a concept. One thing is always the same though, before I even write a draft I always do a character sketch. Seeing how a character will look on the page gets me revved up enough creatively to delve into their story.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators?
Always create from your voice and experience. It’s so easy to want to make a book because you think that’s what kids/publishers/teachers/the market wants to read. If it’s not true to your voice the audience will sniff it out. Plus, if you create things that are close to your heart you increase your chances of being satisfied with the results.
Oh boy, I wouldn’t dare to tell teachers how to do their already very difficult job! I suppose the one thing I’d encourage is to use my books as a tool to show the importance of making mistakes. My stories often deal with characters messing up because I mess up all the time! I struggle to forgive myself for not doing anything perfectly, and if my books can inspire even one child to forgive themselves for the same then it’s a win.
I’ve just finished a picture book about a Fairy Scientist, I’m writing a long format graphic novel and I’ll be illustrating a new picture book series for an author that I greatly admire. Oh, and I foster way too many kittens, but that probably doesn’t count as work, even though it takes up way too much of my time!
Find out more about Ashley Spiers and her work at www.ashleyspires.com
Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. To find a local independent bookstore, visit findabookstore.ca.
When Mustafa and his family travel to a faraway land which becomes their new home, things seem very different at first. He goes to the park each day and sees flowers and birds and insects that are all so different from the ones he used to see in his old country. And he sees a girl-with-a-cat who speaks to him in words he can’t understand. With each passing day Mustafa finds himself feeling more and more invisible. Until one day the girl-with-a-cat beckons to him: “come and follow me”. Soon Mustafa knows that he really isn’t invisible after all. This gentle, heartwarming story features Marie-Louise Gay’s distinct and delightful watercolour illustrations. The loose-lined, sketchy images are filled with warmth and colour, and help capture Mustafa’s loneliness and uncertainty as he tries to adapt to his new home, as well as the joy of making a new friend. A timely tale that is told in prose that is gentle and spare and lovely. —Lisa Doucet, Co-manager
Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 1533 Birmingham St., Halifax, NS B3J 2J1 www.woozles.com
Delilah Dirk is an adventurer who does it all, with a little help from her faithful and long-suffering companion Selim. In this third installment of her story, the continent hopping and dashing heroics continue with Delilah helping the pompous writer, Van Dessel, to solve an ages-old mystery. The power of words and the power of a sword are both strong themes as we journey along with Delilah and Selim. The incredible artwork alone is enough to draw you into this fun and fast-paced world, but it’s the Indiana Jones-esque adventure, quirky characters, and meaningful friendships that keep you wanting more. — Tania, Bookseller
Happy Harbor Comics: 10729 – 104 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5J 3K1 www.happyharborcomics.com
If your independent bookstore would like to participate in this feature, please contact us.
This picture book manages to do what I only hope the upcoming film sequel will accomplish — capture the magic of the original while also creating something unique and new. Geneviève Godbout is one of my favourite illustrators and her soft pastel drawings make this book an irresistible take on an old favourite. This picture book also captures moments from the original book that fans of the 1963 film will be unfamiliar with. — Emma Hunter, CCBC Marketing and Website Coordinator
Look for our December newsletter early next month: we’re looking back on our favourite books of 2018. Look forward to interviews with Joanne Schwartz and Geneviève Godbout.