CCBC September 2018 Newsletter
News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
The finalists for the CCBC Book Awards were announced last Thursday and we’re ecstatic! Thanks to the prize increase from TD Bank Group, $175,000 in prize monies will be awarded. The winners will be announced later in October/November at the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards evenings in both Toronto and Montreal, sponsored by TD Bank Group. Find more details and the full list of shortlisted books click here. Congratulations to all of the nominees!
TD and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre are once again working with CBC/Radio-Canada to present the Fan Choice Award/Choix du public littérature jeunesse. Young readers are invited to choose their favourite book from the titles shortlisted for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse. Find out more at the CBC website; the voting period will run from September 6 to October 25.
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 will take place in Toronto on Saturday November 10, 2018 at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, 209 Victoria Street.
Find out more here.
Come Visit the CCBC at Word on the Street Toronto
The Word On The Street is a national celebration of literacy and Canadian writing. Each September, hundreds of readings are hosted for visitors of all ages across Canada. Word on the Street’s 29th annual festival is taking place at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre on Sunday September 23rd from 10am to 5pm and we’ll be there all day! Come visit us on TD KidStreet at our booth KS 11 and say hello.
Find more information here.
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. Offer ends October 1, 2018!
The CCBC will be at Telling Tales Festival on Sunday, September 16th in Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton, Ontario from 10am to 4pm. Meeting authors, illustrators, storytellers and musicians, roam around the Village, enjoy music, games and historic characters. Pose for pictures and chat with Anne of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland, Tinkerbell and other characters from your favourite stories. And don’t forget to come say hi to us and enjoy the rest of the festival! Learn more here.
The Fall issue of Canadian Children’s Book News
In the Fall issue of Canadian Children’s Book News we chat with five authors who have written books about immigrant and refugee experiences. The stories are uplifting and help children gain a better understanding of the world we live in today. Be sure to check out our “Bookmark!” column where you’ll find even more titles on this topic. Award-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis, whose latest title, The Journey of Little Charlie, came out earlier this year, is featured in our profile piece. You’ll meet Sarah Sawler in our “Keep Your Eye On…” column and Larry Swartz introduces teachers to picture books they can use to discuss diversity in the classroom. Lee Edward Födi and Kallie George introduce us to the Creative Writing for Children Society which helps children nurture their love of reading and writing. And, as always, our “Red Leaf Literature” and “We Recommend” sections contain reviews of fabulous books for the children and teens in your life.
The fall issue is available for purchase in our online shop and newsstands.
The Children’s Book Bank Presents an Evening with Emma Donoghue
The Children’s Book Bank, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, will be hosting its annual author event on Thursday, September 20, starting at 6:00 pm at Artscape, 301 Adelaide Street, in the heart of the entertainment district, Toronto, Ontario.
This year, Irish-Canadian writer Emma Donoghue, award-winning author of Room, The Wonder and The Lotterys Plus One, will be joining us to talk about storytelling and her highly successful career. Ms Donoghue will be in conversation with author, Charles Foran, for what it sure to be a memorable evening in support of The Children’s Book Bank. Read more here.
Eric Walters’ 100th book, Elephant Secret, was released in August. To celebrate, users on twitter shared their favourite Eric Walters books with the hashtag #MyFaveEricWalters. We even shared our favourites! Read more here.
The CBC First Page Student Writing Challenge
Students in Grades 7 to 12 can enter to win a one year subscription to OwlCrate and 50 YA books for their school! The challenge is to write the first page of a novel set 150 years in the future, with the protagonist facing an issue that’s topical today and setting the scene for how it’s all playing out in a century and a half. Learn more here.
Students in Grades 9 to 12 can also enter to win 6 sets of the 2018 Canada Reads books for their school! Find out more here.
Links We Love
Articles and videos of interest to educators
September Book List: New Beginnings
For a lot of people, September and the end of summer mark a new beginning: a new class, a new school and a new start. Here are books about starting over, whether that means in a new school, a new town or even a new country.
Author’s Corner: Michelle Kim
Born in Surrey to a human-rights-lawyer father of British descent and a fashion-designer mother of Korean descent, Michelle attended schools in North Surrey and South Surrey. It was on a school trip to the local library to hear an author speak that Michelle decided she wanted to be a writer.
A former journalist for the BBC in London, Michelle now works in the film industry; her directorial debut, The Tree Inside, which she also wrote and starred in, played at film festivals across North America and South Korea and won audience choice awards for best feature film at the Northwest Filmmakers Festival in Portland and the Vancouver Asian Film Festival.
Running Through Sprinklers is a coming-of-age novel set in Surrey about two girls who have been best friends their whole lives and the year they grow apart. The novel is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, a literary children’s book imprint of Simon & Schuster USA. Since its release in April, Michelle has facilitated writing workshops and spoken to classrooms in schools and libraries in New York and BC.
First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as an author? What is your writing process like?
Running Through Sprinklers is set in Surrey — a suburb southeast of Vancouver. It is also where I grew up and where I started to write. Once, in elementary school, our class visited the local library to hear an author read from his book and talk about his writing process. It’s funny, because I have this distinct memory of him wearing jeans and talking about how he created his own schedule and worked from home and it completely blew my mind. Growing up, my dad wore suits and had to commute 45 minutes to an hour each way to get to his office. Since I loved writing already, I remember leaving the library thinking, “I want THAT job.”
I’ve always written stories; I was in French Immersion Program, so most of my stories early on are in French. After some time, I started to write stories in English, and for English class in Grade 4, I wrote a 12-page story called “The Blueberry Patch” about a girl who takes a bath and finds herself in an underwater garden where there is a blueberry patch and in order to return, she has to find a golden blueberry. Basically, it was the fantasy U-Pick. Anyway, my teacher told my mom she thought I’d be a writer. Needless to say, I tracked Mrs. Jones down and invited her to my book launch in April — she was very thrilled to hear the news and it was so so wonderful to see her!
My writing process involves carrying a small notebook around and taking notes whenever I think of something that might work for the story. Many times, it’s something that has struck me as beautiful — for instance the particular shade of peach in the sky as the sun goes down. Then I sit down and write the notes down. Another part of the process involves me just sitting down to write, which actually feels more like meditation to me. I like for my writing room to be very quiet and I write whatever comes to mind and I try not to just judge it or censor anything. Then next part is making sense of everything (!), filling in the gaps, and putting it all together. Then, I get into the finer points of editing.
Running Through Sprinklers is your debut novel. What aspects of publishing your first novel were a surprise to you? What has been one of the highlights of the whole experience so far? What books have inspired you as a reader and as a writer?
Writing the book was a complete joy… but trying to get it published was really difficult and heartbreaking. I received many rejections, for a very long time, but I think it was good because what I learned from that experience was that what others thought didn’t matter — I liked to write, for myself. One day, during some rare cosmic alignment, I sold the book to Simon & Schuster USA and the team at Atheneum. After that, it was smooth sailing — from working with my editor (which was a dream), to working with the publicity teams, to meeting (and getting hugs from) the kids reading the book! Now, I’m excited to get back to writing.
Do you have any activity suggestions or tips for teachers who would like to use your book in the Classroom?
I tried to evoke the five senses while writing Running Through Sprinklers. I suggest teachers do a 5-senses workshop with different “stations” or tables with an object that evokes a particular sense. Bubble wrap is fun for the “SOUND” table and roasted Korean seaweed for the “TASTE” table.
What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?
I’m a bit superstitious when it come to talking about what I’m working but I will say that I am working on another novel and it’s within the same world as Running Through Sprinklers. Since I’m also a filmmaker, I’m also hoping to adapt Running Through Sprinklers for the screen, as well.
Find out more about Michelle’s work at www.hapanessmedia.com
Illustrator’s Studio: Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill has worked in book publishing for 20 years, and is a Senior Book Designer at Penguin Random House Canada. She has designed books for many Canadian authors, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Miriam Toews, Ami McKay, as well as international authors Kate Atkinson and Alexander McCall Smith. Kelly has also designed many children’s books including This is Sadie (by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad), Colette’s Lost Pet (written and illustraed by Isabelle Arsenault), The Adventures of Miss Petitfour (written by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block) and Red Sky at Night (written and illustrated by Elly MacKay). She was also the designer behind the reissues of Tundra’s Anne and Emily series’, which featured the artwork of Elly MacKay, and the Alcuin award-winning hardcovers of the same series’.
Anne’s Colors and Anne’s Numbers are Kelly’s first books. She lives near Eugenia, Ontario with her husband, two daughters and their yellow lab, Jack.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I’ve worked in publishing for 20 years and as a book designer for most of those, designing fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks and children’s books. I also love to sew and had proposed sewn and embroidered covers for the redesign of the Anne of Green Gables series that Tundra was doing a few years ago. Tara Walker, the publisher, liked the idea, but pointed out that the artwork looked too young for the readers of those novels. So I came up with the idea of an Anne alphabet book in this style, while Tundra, at the same time, was developing an entire Anne of Green Gables program including concept board books — which they offered to me as an illustrator. It was very happy situation of all of us being in the same place at the same time with the same kinds of ideas.
We love how you use hand embroidery to make unique depictions of a character we all know. Can you walk us through the artistic process for your illustrative work?
I start with loose sketches, but have to refine those to solid lines, almost like a colouring book, so that I can create a pattern of the shapes I need. Then I cut the shapes out of fabric — I often try a few different fabrics, until everything is working together. Once all the shapes are laid out like a collage, I use my ($100, 20-year-old, very basic) sewing machine to stitch them to the background fabric. And then the parts I’ve left for hand embroidery come next, like the hair, braids, clothing details, flowers and eyes. Finally the “pages” are photographed and I add some freckles, smiles and rosy cheeks in Photoshop.
Can you tell us about your illustration style and how it came about? Which artists have served as an inspiration?
My mother, who is an expert in all things crafty, tells me that my sewing technique is called raw-edge machine applique. I’ve been sewing since I was a kid, but this style developed a few years ago when everyone I knew was having babies — I sewed pillows with names on them, buntings with words and simple pictures, playmat quilts. Then, as I went further into picture-making and developing an illustration style, I knew I it was important to me to be able see the stitches and textures and shadows and not to hide the sewing or fraying edges as traditional quiltmakers would. My favourite thing is to watch a reader touch my book as though they expect it to be three-dimensional. While I was working on these books I was inspired by illustrator Christian Robinson for his deceptively simple shapes and collages, Mary Blair for her retro colour palettes and joyful characters; and even Holly Hobbie, who I remember adoring as a kid.
I’ve found it difficult to separate the designing from illustrating with my own books — where does the art-making end and the designing begin? It’s all very interconnected for me.
I love both the designing and illustrating, but a big difference is that designing is a behind-the-scenes activity, whereas illustrating puts you front and centre. (I’m a little more comfortable behind the scenes!)
Anne’s Colours and Anne’s Numbers are your debut books — even with your familiarity with the world of publishing, was there anything that took you by surprise when it came to publishing your own book?
I’ve heard authors say that when you publish a book and it goes out into the world it doesn’t belong to you anymore, and I didn’t really understand what that meant until I published my own. You don’t have any control over what people think or say about your work, so once I got over that, I started enjoying the experience a lot more. Also, working in publishing, I know that it takes an entire team to put a book out: from editors to publicists, production to sales people, but it’s been especially thrilling (and even heart-bursting!) to see it all happen in support of my own books.
What is next for you? What projects are you working on now?
I’ve just finished the art for the next two books in my Anne series for Tundra: Anne’s Alphabet and Anne’s Feelings will be out next May. Of course, I’m flirting with some ideas for my next possible book project. And then there’s my life as a book designer: it turns out, thankfully, there are always more books that need covers!
Images courtesy of Kelly Hill.
Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. To find a local independent bookstore, visit findabookstore.ca.
Me and You and the Red Canoe offers a profound experience through the moment-by-moment details of one event.
On a quiet morning, when the world is still purple, two siblings go fishing in their red canoe. Among the towering trees and chorusing frogs, they plunge their fishing line into the blue green depths of the water, and wait for the telling tug. They return home with a trout, welcomed by the smell of bacon, coffee and smoke, and make the best breakfast yet.
Here the pages are their own stories. The illustrator has chosen wood as his canvas. The ridges, scars, and old layers of paint peek through the exquisite detail of blue skies, woodland animals and green forests. The layers convey depth, and transport readers to an outdoor landscape brimming with life. One is tempted to reach their hand out to the page, as if they’ll feel the ridges, the warmth of the wood, and the flaking paint beneath their fingers.
The words are sparse yet poignant, and in their simplicity they provide an immediacy to the experience. Every movement, sound, smell and sight is emphasized. The thwack of the beaver’s tale, the moose browsing, the steady dipping of the paddle; it’s as if you are out on the water, witnessing it all before your eyes. — Nicole, Bookseller
Mabel’s Fables: 662 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, ON M4S 2N3 www.mabelsfables.com
From drawings of cardboard boxes, Tayson Martindale tells a moving story of abuse, magic and friendship. The adorable Box Boy falls out of a tree and begins to explore. He can’t talk, so it’s only as he befriends a smart-mouthed street rat named Roam that we see that our Box Boy has a mission: to get home. Home is where his friend Max lives and we soon discover that this is a dark place where Max’s cruel uncle makes all the rules. This book strikes a good balance, with moments of genuinely joyful adventure that contrast well with the creepy environment of Max’s home life. A unique read that shows us that true friendship is the raw material from which we can create magic. Also, the last page will make you cry.
Martindale’s book sold out its first print run, but you can easily order the book through him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out a Video Link to Box Boy character design here. — Tania, Bookseller
Happy Harbor Comics: 10729 – 104 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5J 3K1 www.happyharborcomics.com
Filled with MacKay’s singularly magnificent 3D illustrations, which use cut paper and ink images that are then photographed, this delightful book features two children and their grandfather on an outdoor adventure. However, their story is really just the backdrop against which the author presents a number of common weather sayings. Her exquisitely-detailed, sumptuous and light-infused illustrations create the perfect visual representations of these sayings. Moreover, she includes information at the back of the book about each one, making it truly a book to be savoured and enjoyed by all ages. —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.
Beautifully written and poignant, Learning to Breathe is the story of 16-year-old Indira who is hiding her pregnancy from everyone around her. Scared and alone, Indy only has an old pregnancy book to guide her as she grapples with the reality of her situation and the truth as to how she became pregnant. This debut novel combines heartbreaking situations with an overall hopeful story about self discovery. — Emma Hunter, CCBC Marketing and Website Coordinator
Look for our October newsletter early next month: we’re getting ready for Halloween with some spooky books. Look forward to interviews with Joel Sutherland and Kim Smith!