CCBC June 2017 Newsletter
News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
You’re invited to attend our Annual General Meeting!
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Annual General Meeting will be taking place Monday, June 26, 2017 at 6:00 PM. CCBC members* and public are welcome to attend.
WHEN: Monday, June 26, 2016 at 6:00 PM
WHERE: Room 200, Northern District Library
40 Orchard View Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1B9
Coffee and dessert to follow at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Library (Suite 222)
* Members are reminded that they may appoint a proxy to attend the Annual General Meeting on their behalf. Any such appointment must be evidenced by completing and signing this form, and sending it to the CCBC prior to the date of the Annual General Meeting.
Featuring special guest speaker Elizabeth MacLeod
A Year of Celebration: Canada, Milestones and Why They Matter
Which Canadian became known as “The Man Who Saved the World” and received a top award for his work 60 years ago this year? How many important Canadian events can you name that occurred 100 years ago in 1917? Find out about the surprising number of milestone anniversaries occurring this year (besides Canada’s 150th birthday), what they mean and why they matter.
Which world-famous Canadian children’s author, who is yet again enjoying immense popularity, died 75 years ago this year? Do you remember where you were 30 years ago when Rick Hansen completed his “Man in Motion” tour or 25 years ago when the Blue Jays won their first World Series Championship? Find out how these milestones affect us not only as Canadians, but also as people who love books and are involved in creating and promoting them.
About Elizabeth MacLeod
Although Liz studied science at university, she’s always been fascinated in history. No wonder — at her first job in Canadian children’s publishing (as an editor at OWL Magazine) she wrote her manuscripts on one of those ancient machines known as a typewriter!
Liz has published almost 60 books for children on topics ranging from dinosaurs, royal murders and Albert Einstein, to Canada’s trees, Mount Everest and cats. She has written two biography series for young readers and is currently working on a third. Liz’s books have won many awards, including the Red Maple Award, Hackmatack Award, Red Cedar Award and the Arthur Ellis Award. Her recent book, Canada Year by Year, was published especially for Canada’s sesquicentennial.
CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers), in partnership with The Writers’ Union of Canada, is accepting entries by unpublished writers for their 20th annual Writing for Children Competition. The deadline for entries is June 30, 2017. Click here for more information.
The Carnegie Gallery in Dundas, Ontario will have an exhibit this month called The Art of Parenting , featuring the words of Barbara Reid, Derek R. Douglas and Hilary Leung. Find more information here.
Links We Love
June Book List: Summer Reads
This month, our Library Coordinator Meghan Howe has collected a list of great reads for the summer, featuring all new Canadian books for kids and teens.
Carson Crosses Canada
Canada | Road Trips | Travel | Dogs
Annie and her dog, Carson, live in British Columbia, Canada, and they’re setting out to visit her sister, Elsie, in Newfoundland. In their little car, packed with Carson’s favourite toy and plenty of sandwiches, Annie and Carson travel province by province, experiencing something special to each part of Canada.
Liam Takes a Stand
Siblings | Twins | Competition
Lister and Lester, identical twins, are in constant competition. Liam, their younger brother, is always left out. When the twins open lemonade stands, the competition gets increasingly out of hand. But then Liam opens his own apple cider stand and gives the twins a run for their money.
Sea Monkey & Bob
Friendship | Marine Life | Fears
Bob the puffer fish and his best buddy Sea Monkey may be little but they’ve got one ocean-sized problem. Sea Monkey’s terrified he’ll sink straight to the bottom of the ocean. After all, he’s heavy, and all heavy things sink, right? Bob on the other hand is worried that his puffed up frame will float up above the surface. He’s light, and all light things float! How will they stay together when the forces of gravity are literally trying to pull them apart?
The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do
Adventure | Challenges | Bravery | Resilience
Lou loves adventures. But Lou has never climbed a tree before. And she knows she can’t do it. She doesn’t even want to try. But this adventure does look fun, and when all her excuses run out, Lou realizes the bravest adventurers are those who TRY. This title is also available in French as Les hauts et les bas d’Amanda.
Junior & Intermediate Fiction
The Doll’s Eye
Family | Summer | Secrets | Mystery
Hadley wants everything to go back to the way it was before she lived in a musty house with her new stepfamily. When her neighbour gives her a dollhouse complete with a perfect doll family, Hadley wishes her life were like theirs — and it just might change her world forever.
Mystery | Friendship | City Life | Animals
When Kid accompanies her parents to New York City for a six-month stint of dog-sitting and home-schooling, she sees what looks like a tiny white cloud on the top of their apartment building. Rumour says there’s a goat living on the roof, but how can that be?
The Lotterys Plus One
Emma Donoghue’s first children’s book follows the domestic adventures of a large, rumbustious, multicultural family. The Lotterys, as they call themselves, are headed up by a lesbian couple and a gay couple who joined forces to create a family, won a lottery jackpot and moved into a Victorian Gothic mansion in Toronto, where their enormous brood is home-schooled. It all seems perfectly normal to nine-year-old Sumac until their hitherto obscure grandfather Grumps comes to stay, upending the Lotterys’ already chaotic family life.
Two Times a Traitor
Reluctantly touring Halifax with his family, 12-year-old Laz Berenger accidentally stumbles through a time tunnel to a 1745 war zone. Caught by English sailors from the American colonies, his only hope for freedom is to spy for them in the French fortification at Louisbourg, where his loyalties are further divided.
Young Adult Fiction
Graffiti artists Jakub and Lincoln are as close as brothers, but their lives diverge when Jakub gets a scholarship to a private school and Lincoln’s brother lures him into a gang. Jakub watches helplessly as Lincoln gets pulled deeper into the violent world of the Red Bloodz. When the gang finds out Jakub knows more than he should about a murder, they want him silenced — for good.
Blood on the Beach
Eight teens are on an island for a treatment program led by a psychologist, a social worker and an ex-cop. When one of the girls disappears, the adults ineffectually deal with the crisis. When the ex-cop dies and the social worker becomes ill, the teens take matters into their own hands to track down the killer.
The Fashion Committee
Charlie Dean is style-obsessed, while John Thomas-Smith forges metal sculptures in his garage and couldn’t care less about clothes. But they share one thing in common: they are both gunning for a scholarship to a private art school. And whoever wins the fashion competition will win the scholarship.
Optimist Die First
Feeling responsible for her sister’s death, Petula isolates herself from everyone and sees danger everywhere. Then a new boy with a prosthetic arm and darkness behind his sunny surface joins Petula’s art therapy group. She and Jacob grow close. But the reason behind his joining the group could derail them.
Meatless? A Fresh Look at What You Eat
Humans are eating more meat than ever. At the same time, vegetarianism is capturing wore widespread attention. Journalist Sarah Elton tackles the topic by explaining what vegetarianism is, why people choose it, and how their reasons — including religion, animal rights, food security and the environment — have changed over time.
Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
This timely book presents five true stories of young refugees, from 1939 to today, who risked everything on the open seas in search of safety and freedom. Ruth and her family board the St. Louis to escape Nazism; Phu sets out alone from war-torn Vietnam; José tries to reach the United States from Cuba; Najeeba flees Afghanistan and the Taliban; and after losing his family, Mohamed abandons his village on the Ivory Coast in search of a new life.
The Vimy Oaks: A Journey to Peace
A young soldier standing in a war-torn landscape pockets a handful of acorns from the blasted trees and mails them home. Over the next 100 years, those acorns grow into majestic oaks on his family farm, a living memorial to those who served at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This title is also available in French as Les chênes de Vimy: La route vers la paix.
Where Will I Live?
Written by UN Ambassador Rosemary McCarney, this book offers young readers a glimpse into what life is like for child refugees. Simple text and incredible photographs from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees convey the dangers of their situation but also their inspiring resilience and hope.
Author’s Corner: Itah Sadu
Itah Sadu is an award-winning author, storyteller and owner of Toronto bookstore A Different Booklist, which specializes in books from the African & Caribbean Diaspora. Her previous works include Christopher Changes His Name and Please Clean Up Your Room!, and her latest picture book, Greetings, Leroy, was published last month by Groundwood Books. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as an author? What is your writing process like?
I am Itah Sadu, the daughter of the Walcott family of Porters Rd., Barbados. I am a mother, a partner and a Sistuh. I am the Canadian potential from Scarborough, Don Mills Rd., and Overlea, Flemingdon Park, Glenhome and Gateway, St. Dennis Drive, the Science Centre. I am Africa’s history every month, every day. I am all things Caribbean and CARICOM. I am a spider weaving the tapestry of ordinary into extraordinary. I am the thread between yesterday and tomorrow. I have been given the license to tell and document the lives of the people, my people. That’s how I approach my craft.
A good story that tells well, reads well. I like that formula. The oral tradition reveals the spaces where the humanity of the listener and reader comes into play. This experience with audience allows me to craft and shape my writing. Stories are like extended family; once they move in, they become you. I see an idea in the back of someone’s stockings; I hear a sweet piece of gossip, new information comes to light; I meet an ambassador of civic engagement; I sit on the buddy bench in the playground, and suddenly, bam!, a story moves in. We greet each other, introductions made, characters assume personalities, things happen because with folks anything can happen, tension brews and life experiences kick in to resolve. As they say in the Caribbean, that is “tory.” My people have shown me over the years that stories are always there, everywhere, made and in the making, we just have to see them and be brave enough to tell all the story and the many perspectives of the story.
Your latest book, Greetings, Leroy, is out this month. What inspired you to write this picture book?
One evening, two teachers came to see me with a challenge, to create a Greetings, Leroy story, a picture book about a Canadian first day of school experience that brought diversity and universality.
Over the years, I have heard this request from community and educators alike. Other folks challenged me to write about Bob Marley. “All Black people come from Jamaica” is a North American alternative fact. Our schools are made up of students from the Caribbean looking for their reflection in books. Therefore it made sense to put these themes in a pot and cook up a Greetings, Leroy stew.
How can educators incorporate Greetings, Leroy into the curriculum? Do you have any tips or activity suggestions?
Greetings, Leroy is student voice. It is an ideal tool for the classroom as it is a welcoming book for all students, those who are new immigrants, new to a school or new grade. It is also useful for new teachers and teachers engaged in a new role. It is that book that principals should have readily available in their office as shared reading or for quiet reflection.
It speaks to media, technology and language arts as it is written in the form of an email. Mapping, geography, history, music, math, identity, community and character development are embedded in the book. It operates from an asset position, bringing the assets of the student, a Caribbean student into the classroom.
Tell us about your Toronto bookstore A Different Booklist. Why did you decide to open a bookstore?
I am thankful to have the experience of co-owning A Different Booklist with my husband Miguel San Vicente. The experience allows us to serve and intersect with all peoples in society in a community setting. This adds greater perspective to my work and a more informed approach about what students like, what families can be engaged with and what teachers see as purposeful. As the 2016 winners of The Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, we are humbled that with the help of over 150 patrons, we were able to move A Different Booklist across Bathurst Street into to a new cultural space at 777-779 Bathurst Street. It is this public expression of people, these acts of patrons that allow me to weave the tapestry of ordinary into extraordinary, the thread between yesterday and tomorrow — a license to tell and document the lives of the people that matter.
“We are who we are because of others” is an African proverb. Thanks to Don Sedgwick and Ken Setterington for the initial book journey. Thanks to Robin Battle, my family and the multiple student listeners who showed me the intersections of humanity. Plenty love to the innovative, fabulous production team at Groundwood Books, you came strong. To illustrator Alix Delinois, you captured the imagination. Sheila Barry, my publisher, you have a game, keep on keeping on.
What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?
What’s happening next is running into all of you and seeing you laden down with lots of copies of Greetings, Leroy in your hands ready to share with family, at camp, in the car and in the classroom. Hey, I am ready to sign, where will we meet?
Amy’s Travels in Teen Fiction
With all of the books I read from year to year, sometimes storylines and characters get jumbled up in my head. If two books are alike, set in the same city or with similar themes, I have to concentrate to sort them out in my head. Picturing the cover helps me do so. If I can see the cover in my mind, details fall into place. Plots, what made the book unique, what I liked and didn’t like, sometimes (not always) character names come flooding back to me and I can separate the books again.
I need that visual cue to make it all come back, because I’ve noticed when I read an e-copy of a book and I don’t see the cover, it is more difficult to remember. People can say the title and the author to me, and I will struggle to bring it to mind. I won’t recognize that I’ve read it when I see it in a bookstore or library.
My extensive reading tells me that how a cover looks doesn’t always represent the quality of the story inside. But there is a beautiful symmetry when the cover and the story match up. Stunning cover, stunning story. So, to start off your summer reading, I’m letting you know it’s okay to judge a book by its cover, because the following books won’t disappoint.
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
Faced with a terrible decision—marry an evil ruler who has killed three hundred women or let her sister be his next wife—the unnamed heroine of Johnston’s story has a fierce heart and intense will to save her sister. She finds her power in what seems like a hopeless situation, and the cover reflects the strength she discovers.
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman
With a story about Ingrid’s wilderness trek and journey of self-discovery, a cover of her looking up at a vast, starry sky is perfect. Ingrid is questioning her relationship with her mother, her future as a singer and her ability to cope with life. Some of the answers are unknowable, and some are tough realities to face, but nature and all its glory will help her figure things out.
Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane
Quietly beautiful and delicately illustrated, the cover of Maud compliments a story about the young adulthood of renowned Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. A must-read for any Montgomery fan, reading it is like reading an original work by her. But instead, it’s an enlightening look at Montgomery’s own life, and reveals a lot of her motivation behind writing some of Canada’s most beloved characters.
The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith
Sometimes a cover is great not because of a sweeping illustration, but because of a fabulous font. This is one of my favourites, especially with Bun herself perched in the O. The irregularity of the font mirrors Bun’s distinctive way of looking at the world and sticks in your mind as much as Bun does.
An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet
Other times though, illustrations are quite striking. In Bobet’s story about two sisters at odds with each other in this dark fantasy, mysterious birds are the harbingers of evil they must band together to defeat. Once you read about Hallie and Marthe’s farm and the plight of the world they live in, it’ll be hard to look at a crow or raven-type bird the same way again.
Enjoy your reading, and I will see you in the fall!
In 2014, Amy Mathers read and reviewed 365 YA books to raise money for the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award.
Illustrator’s Studio: Kelly Collier
Author-illustrator Kelly Collier studied illustration in college and has had lots of editorial work published. Her first picture book, A Horse Named Steve, was published just last month with Kids Can Press. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
How did you get started as an illustrator?
I studied illustration at Sheridan College. I always wanted to be an illustrator. Once I graduated I started getting freelance work illustrating editorials but I really wanted to illustrate picture books and that seemed to elude me for a long time.
Can you tell us about your illustration style and how it came about? What is your illustration process like?
In school, there was a lot of pressure to figure out your “style.” I remember finding my style to be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. Back then I used a lot of acrylics with ballpoint pen. My teachers always encouraged us to keep evolving our style but I felt committed to it. I mean, as a poor student, once you get a portfolio and web site together and spend hundreds of dollars on postcards and mailing lists, who could afford to suddenly change styles? So I stuck with it, and that was a mistake because I got bored with it. So, I took a LONG break from pursuing illustration work. When I decided to get back to it, I decided to work with pen and ink and I was having fun. I like to start with thumbnails, then I move to a pencil sketch. Once I’m happy with the pencil sketch, I ink it and then finish it with some watercolour and pastels. What I love about working this way is that it is fast, so if I don’t like how it is turning out, I can redo it without getting too frustrated. This keeps the energy light and fun. I was notorious for overworking paintings in my previous style.
Your first book, A Horse Named Steve, was just released last month. What inspired you to write and illustrate it, and what was the process of getting it published like?
As I mentioned previously, I took a long break from illustrating. I was frustrated with the process and had given up on the idea of ever getting a picture book project to work on. One day my sister saw a pen and ink doodle I had done of a horse. She said to me that she thought it would make a great character for a picture book. I immediately rolled my eyes and then I said out loud, “He looks like a Steve,” and my sister and I laughed. I left the drawing on my dining room table and then, slowly, the basic idea for the story came to me. I decided there was no harm in sending it out to see if anyone was interested and I was really lucky to find Kids Can Press. My editor totally got him (and me).
Do you have any suggestions for teachers on how to use A Horse Named Steve in the classroom? Do you have any activity suggestions or tips?
I think A Horse Named Steve would be a great way to introduce topics about self-esteem to a class. It is also a fun read-aloud and uses fun descriptive words, which would be a great way to encourage kids to use adjectives in their own stories.
What is next for you? What projects are you working on now?
Currently I am thrilled to be working on a second Steve book. I am doing revisions to the roughs now, with final art due mid-August. I am also doing lots of school visits, which have been a lot of fun!
Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. To find a local independent bookstore, visit findabookstore.ca.
• Mabel’s Fables Bookstore in Toronto, ON: Haunted Canada 7: Chilling True Tales by Joel A. Sutherland (Scholastic Canada, 2017), Ages 9-12
This fun and quick read will give you goosebumps! I loved how different the stories all were and how excited I got every time there was one from a place I knew well. It was really easy to pick up and put down and come right back to. This would be a great spooky read aloud too — especially for summer sleepovers or by the campfire! —Erin Grittani, Kids Bookseller
Mabel’s Fables Bookstore: 662 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S 2N3 www.mabelsfables.com
• Type Books in Toronto, ON: The Fog by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Kenard Pak
(Tundra Books, 2017), Ages 4 to 8
Warble is a small yellow warbler who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human watching. But on a warm day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don’t seem to notice the fog or the other changes Warble observes on the island. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile) appears, Warble discovers that he’s not the only one who notices the fog. Will they be able to find others who can see it too? And is the fog here to stay? Kyo Maclear’s witty story, brought to life with the delicate, misty artwork of Kenard Pak, is a poignant yet humorous reminder of the importance of environmental awareness.
Recommended by Serah-Marie McMahon, Children’s Buyer for Type Books. Read her recent interview with Kyo Maclear here.
Type Books: 427 Spadina Rd. & 883 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON www.typebooks.ca
• Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax, NS: The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby (Penguin Teen, 2017), Ages 12 and up
Two teens who desperately want to attend a posh private arts school find themselves competing for a fashion scholarship. Charlie Dean’s greatest passion in life is fashion, so she enters the competition with unbridled enthusiasm. John Thomas-Smith is a creator of magnificent metal sculptures, and he is angry and resentful and deeply cynical about the world of fashion, but the scholarship represents his only chance to attend Green Pastures Academy. The narrative alternates between their two points of view and readers soon discover that once again, Juby employs her marvelous wit and clever humour to great affect. However, beneath the lightness, there are hidden depths: suffering and loss, soul-searching and self-sacrifice, powerful reflections on resilience and the surprising strength of the human spirit. Juby somehow combines the light and the dark, the humour and the tragedy in a way that is pure and powerful and uniquely her own. I loved every single thing about this book! —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.