News from the Canadian Children’s Book Centre & Friends
Staffing Announcement: Carol-Ann Hoyte joins the CCBC as Program and Events Coordinator
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is excited to announce some changes to the team. Our Program and Events Coordinator, Amanda Halfpenny’s last day with the CCBC was June 10, 2022. Amanda has done a wonderful job over the last two years coordinating all our events. We wish her the very best in her new leadership role in the public library!
We are thrilled to share that Carol-Ann Hoyte will be joining the Centre’s team as the new Program and Events Coordinator. Carol-Ann brings several years of experience as a school librarian, bookseller and board member of Geordie Theatre and Poetry in Voice. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Concordia University and a Graduate Certificate in Book Publishing from the University of Denver. She is also a graduate of John Abbott College’s Information and Library Technologies and is currently completing a Fundraising Management Certificate from Algonquin College. Carol-Ann’s experience also includes many years as the CCBC’s Book Week Coordinator for Quebec, a regular reviewer for Canadian Children’s Book News as well as a book award juror. Carol-Ann will begin with the CCBC on Monday, June 27, 2022. We are very pleased to have Carol-Ann join the team!
Fast Friends Selected as the 2022 TD Grade One Book Giveaway
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is proud to announce the title for the 2022 TD Grade One Book Giveaway. Fast Friends, written by Heather M. O’Connor, illustrated by Claudia Dávila and published by Scholastic Canada, will be distributed to over 550,000 Grade 1 students in fall 2022. Translated into French by Isabelle Allard, francophone Canadians and French immersion students across Canada will receive copies of Amis instantanés, published by Éditions Scholastic.
Purchase One-Of-A-Kind Art to Support the CCBC!
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is excited to share the virtual Picture Book Gallery. Award-winning Canadian illustrators are selling original art to support the CCBC’s annual Canadian Children’s Book Week program. Illustrators are donating 60% of the value of their original art in support of the CCBC.
Visit the gallery here!
Be a Friend, Share a Book!
Be a friend, share a book! Support the CCBC by purchasing this vintage style poster by celebrated children’s book illustrator Pierre Collet-Derby. Produced entirely in Canada, these prints are letterpressed by Everlovin’ Press and are signed by the illustrator. Proceeds go to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
Support the David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award
Established in 2022, the David Booth Children’s and Youth Poetry Award is intended to recognize excellence in Canadian children’s and youth poetry. The award honours David Booth, former Professor Emeritus in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), who passed away in December 2018. The biennial award is a cash prize of $3,500 and is sponsored by David’s colleague and dear friend Shelley Stagg Peterson.
Nominations for the 2022 CSL Awards are now open
Canadian School Libraries is seeking nominations for their two biennial awards, the Angela Thacker Memorial Award and the Leading Learning Implementation Award. Learn more here.
Open a Book, Open a World at the 14th Annual Telling Tales Festival
This September, Telling Tales returns to a live and in-person festival with 2 fun-filled days of programming, 5 stages featuring your favourite authors, illustrators, and storytellers, and over 40 presenters representing the best in Canadian children’s literature and arts!
Accessible books for all readers!
Accessible books open the world of reading to everyone. But, it can be a challenge to identify and locate accessible books for young readers. As part of our mission to help readers “discover great Canadian children’s books,” work is underway at Bibliovideo and the CCBC to promote the production, discoverability, and use of accessible Canadian books for young readers.
With support from Canada Book Fund, the project includes producing an Accessible Books playlist on Bibliovideo where some of the growing number of books in accessible formats from Canadian creators and publishers will be showcased. Look for the launch of the pilot playlist April 28, with more videos added every month.
Please take the time to fill out our survey about the playlist.
Do you have a video featuring accessible books you’d like to share? Let us know! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada.”
« Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce au gouvernement du Canada. »
Announcing the 2022 Winner of the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature, part of the 2022 Alberta Literary Awards. This year’s award winners were announced at and in-person gala in Edmonton on June 11th. The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize will be presented at The Calgary Awards on June 15th. This year’s winner is:
Lorna Schultz Nicholson (Edmonton) – When You Least Expect It, Red Deer Press
Letter-Writing campaign for #OurLondonFamily
Educators and students are invited to write digital Letters of Remembrance for #OurLondonFamily—the Afzaal family—marking one year after the London terror attack. 3 generations of the Afzaal family: Grandmother Talat, Father Salman, Mother Madiha, and daughter Yumnah were brutally murdered in London, ON in June 2021. Only Fayez, now 10, survived. Letter-writing is a way to heal, reflect, and learn. It’s also an instant action against Islamophobia, and will keep the memories of the Afzaal’s alive.
This is a historic opportunity for students to affect change. All ages welcome. The #OurLondonFamily Educators Tip Sheet will help students write letters immediately.
The essential guide to today’s book market
Sales of English-language print books in the Comics & Graphic Novels and Psychology categories had large increases in sales in 2021 as compared with 2020, according to new research released by BookNet Canada. For the fourth year running, two out of every five print books sold in the English-language market in Canada were categorized as either Juvenile or Young Adult. Though the Juvenile category market share dropped slightly in the English market, the Young Adult share had a significant increase: from 3.5% in 2020 to 4.8% in 2021. More insights can be found in the 2021 edition of BookNet Canada’s annual The Canadian Book Market report. It’s a comprehensive guide to the national print trade market with detailed information on more than 50 subject categories, including:
- market share;
- weekly unit sales;
- price-point analysis;
- top 10 hardcover and paperback sellers;
- year-over-year comparative data;
- and more!
The report also includes insights into consumer buying behaviour and top-level highlights from the French Canadian market. And new this year, information about sales of books by Canadian contributors.To read a sample of the report and get your copy, visit booknetcanada.ca/canadian-book-market. Special pricing is available for those who subscribe to BNC SalesData.
The Rick Hansen Foundation School Program (RHFSP) is inspired by Rick’s belief in the power of youth and their ability to change the world. RHFSP raises awareness, challenges perceptions, and changes attitudes, through a variety of lessons and activities, empowering youth to take action on important issues.
RHFSP resources are designed for youth from K-12 and include age-appropriate lessons and interactive activities for every grade level. Free, bilingual, and connected to provincial curriculum, our resources are:
- Deliverable online or in the classroom
- Developed by educators, for educators
- Grounded in Universal Design for Learning and incorporate Differentiated Instruction Strategies
Order the Newest Issue of Best Books for Kids & Teens!
Best Books for Kids & Teens is your guide to the best new Canadian books, magazines, audio and video for children and teens. Whether you’re stocking a bookshelf in a classroom, library or at home, every title in this guide has been given the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s stamp of approval. 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.
Links We Love
Articles and videos of interest to educators and parents.
June Reading List:
Our May newsletter is all about spring! Get young readers excited about reading with this list of picture books all about spring, great for parents, librarians and teachers to use.
Written by Desmond Napoles
Illustrated by Dylan Glynn
IL: Ages 3-6 RL: Grades 2-3
Throughout history, courageous people like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and RuPaul have paved the way for a safer, more inclusive society for LGBTQ2+ individuals, and it’s thanks to them that people just like Desmond can be free to be who they really are. In this picture book, Drag kid Desmond is Amazing encourages readers to embrace their own uniqueness.
Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Orchard Books/Scholastic, 2020
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3
A joyful reminder of the ways that every child is unique and special, this inspirational picture book reminds readers to “be your own work of art.” No matter where your journey leads, remember to be curious, adventurous, patient and brave. Because there is one, and only one, YOU. A celebration of individuality, persistence and staying true to yourself. Available in French as Toi!
Dear Black Girls
Written by Shanice Nicole
Illustrated by Kezna Dalz
Metonymy Press, 2021
IL: Ages 6-10 RL: Grade 2
“Dear Black girls all around the world, this one is for you—for us.” This book is a love letter to Black girls—an affirmation that no two Black girls are the same, but they’re all special and that being a Black girl is a true gift. This poem reminds young readers that they all deserve to be loved just the way they are.
Ho’onani: Hula Warrior
Written by Heather Gale
Illustrated by Mika Song
Tundra Books, 2019
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3
Ho’onani doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) or kane (boy). She is happy to be in the middle. When Ho’onani is chosen to lead a traditional kane hula chant performance, she is proud. But can a girl lead an all-boy troupe? Based on a true story about a Hawaiian girl who learns to lead and to accept who she really is.
A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart
Written by Zetta Elliott
Illustrated by Not Denmon
Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2020
IL: Ages 6-12 RL: Grades 2-3
In this powerful poem by award-winning author Zetta Elliott, a Black child explores his shifting emotions throughout the year. Summertime is filled with joy, skateboarding and basketball until his community is deeply wounded by the death of a girl in a police shooting. As fall turns to winter and then spring, fear grows into anger, then pride and peace.
Riley Can’t Stop Crying
Written by Stéphanie Boulay
Illustrated by Agathe Bray-Bourret
Translated by Charles Simard
Orca Book Publishers, 2021
IL: Ages 6-8 RL: Grades 2-3
Riley can’t stop crying. His sister, Regina, tries her best to help him figure out what’s wrong, but four-year-old Riley isn’t sure. It’s not his tummy, or his head, or the monsters under the bed. Nothing works until one day Regina has an idea. Maybe it’s Riley that is making Riley upset. Available in French as Anatole qui ne séchait jamais.
Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman
Written by Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays
Illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley
HarperCollins Publishers, 2021
IL: Ages 10 and up RL: Grades 3-4
This picture book autobiography tells the story of Sharice Davids, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress and the first LGBTQ2+ congressperson to represent Kansas. Raised by a single mother, Sharice had to work for everything in life. Along the way, she discovered her big voice and that everyone deserves to be seen—and heard!
Written and illustrated by Jami Gigot
Henry Holt and Company, 2021
IL: Ages 4-7 RL: Grades 2-3
For as long as David could remember, he felt like a stranger on his own planet. Inspired by the life and lyrics of David Bowie, this is the story of a boy enchanted by the music of the stars and the rhythm that moves through his body. Finding the courage to be himself, David sparks a dazzling revolution.
Swift Fox All Along
Written by Rebecca Thomas
Illustrated by Maya McKibbin
Annick Press, 2021
IL: Ages 6-9 RL: Grades 3-4
What does it mean to be Mi’kmaq? Will Swift Fox ever feel like part of her family? Though her father reassures her that Mi’kmaq is who she is, Swift Fox doesn’t understand what that means. Then she meets her cousin Sully and discovers he’s also unsure and that she can teach him something about what being Mi’kmaq means.
Written by Christine Baldacchino
Illustrated by Carmen Mok
Groundwood Books, 2020
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3
Violet Shrink doesn’t like parties. Large gatherings with lots of noise make her tummy ache and her hands sweat. While Violet likes to spend time alone, her whole family loves parties with loud music, games and dancing. Now the Shrink family reunion is approaching… Can Violet muster up the courage to have a talk with her dad?
Be My Love
Written by Kit Pearson
HarperTrophy Canada, 2019
IL: Ages 10-14 RL: Grades 5-6
Maisie loves her summers on Kingfisher Island. She and her beloved cousin Una run wild, and she feels the warm embrace of her extended family. But now everything on Kingfisher has changed: Una is infatuated with David, an old friend, and Maisie is jealous of their closeness, unsure of what those feelings mean. Maisie must find within her, the peace the island always brought her.
The Fabulous Zed Watson!
Written by Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester
Illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
HarperCollins Publishers, 2021
IL: Ages 9-13 RL: Grade 5
When Zed uncovered a mystery surrounding an unpublished novel called The Monster’s Castle, they were hooked, and they have been part of a small, dedicated legion hunting for the long-buried text. A breakthrough discovery leads Zed, their neighbour Gabe, and his older sister on an epic road trip following cryptic clues… If they work together, they might find the greatest treasure of all.
A Boy Named Queen
Written by Sara Cassidy
Groundwood Books, 2016
IL: Ages 8-12 RL: Grades 3-4
When the new boy in Evelyn’s fifth-grade class tells everyone his name is Queen, Evelyn doesn’t know what to think. Evelyn and Queen become friends and, although she cringes when he draws attention to himself, he is the most interesting person Evelyn has ever met. Evelyn’s friendship with Queen opens her eyes to a whole new world, and she discovers some cool things about herself along the way.
Young Adult Fiction
Girl Mans Up
Written by M-E Girard
HarperCollins Publishers, 2016
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grade 7
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.
In the Key of Nira Ghani
Written by Natasha Deen
Running Press Teens, 2019
IL: Ages 13 and up RL: Grade 7
Nira Ghani dreams of becoming a musician. Her immigrant Guyanese parents want her to become a scientist or doctor. Only her best friend and grandmother understand her. Nira must navigate changes in her relationships with family and friends and a potential new love. Can Nira find a balance between ‘old world’ expectations and the pursuit of her own dreams?
Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words
Edited by Dr. Lindsay Herriot and Kate Fry
Orca Book Publishers, 2021
IL: Ages 10 and up RL: Grades 5-6
What does it mean to be young and transgender today? This collection includes stories, essays, art and poetry created by trans youth, illustrating the trans experience through childhood, family and daily life. A story of the challenges of being a young trans person, it’s also a toolkit for what understanding, acceptance and support for the trans community looks like..
Written by Emilie Dufresne
BookLife Publishing, 2021
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 4-5
Sometimes being who you are can be difficult. From Freddie Mercury to RuPaul, discover people from across the LGBTQ2+ community who celebrate who they are and never stop fighting for what they believe in. No matter who you are, inside or out, this book is here to teach you that you can be proud of who you are.
As a fashion-obsessed Ojibwe teen, Christian Allaire rarely saw anyone that looked like him in magazines or movies. Now the Fashion and Style Writer for Vogue, he is working to change that. Clothes are never just clothes: style is self-expression, representation and transformation. Topics range from cosplay, makeup and hijabs to culture, politics and social justice.
Raised in the 1970s by a children’s librarian and a sex therapist, Cory Silverberg grew up to be a sex educator, an author, and queer (not necessarily in that order). Cory received a master’s degree in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Cory is the co-author of four books, including the ALA Stonewall Honor Book Sex Is a Funny Word, with Fiona Smyth. Their next book, You Know, Sex was released this year. Cory’s life is full of kids. All of them know where babies come from. Some know more.
First, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get your start as an author?
Well, I’ll start by saying that I’m someone who never knows where to start when it comes to saying something about myself. I’m a Taurus, I smile a lot when I talk, I like people but am also an introvert. Which is probably why I loved working in retail. I have been writing for more than 25 years, but only started thinking of myself as an author in the last 5 years or so (after having written two books). My training is in psychology and sex education, so I mostly write non-fiction, and mostly about gender, bodies, and sexuality. My first book (which was for adults and co-authored with Fran Odette and Miriam Kaufman) happened because the publisher approached me. I don’t think I would have had the patience to write a book if someone wasn’t first asking, and then expecting me to.
My books for young people, which adults are also welcome to read, came about because families in my life asked for them.
Do you think that knowledge about themselves and their bodies helps young people live more authentically?
I appreciate this question! I’m not really sure I could tell you what it means to live authentically, but I will say that whatever it means, it feels like an adult word and an adult idea of how to get something back that was taken from us when we were kids. I get why adults need help with this, but I don’t think kids do. I don’t think kids need any help to be themselves. I think they need help to learn how to live in a world that tells them that who they are isn’t good enough, is wrong, or ugly, or weak, or sick. They need help to learn how to live in a world full of racism, sexism, misogyny, colonial violence, and climate chaos.
And weirdly, that’s what our books try to do. I say “weirdly” because I think when most people think of sex education they think of a science lesson about bodies. There is a lot of science in our books, but it isn’t the core of what our books offer.
We offer young people language to talk about their bodies and experience, and we remind them that no matter how often they experience the world telling them they know nothing because they are young, they know themselves in ways no one else does, and that knowledge matters.
Books about sex and LGBTQ+ issues are often challenged in schools and libraries. Why do you think that it’s important for young people to have access to books like yours?
The right to information is part of the UN Charter of Rights of the Child, and we see young people’s rights being blocked or stolen by adults all the time. Young people not only have a right to access information that is relevant to their well-being and development, but they have a right to information that makes sense to them, that reflects their communities and experiences. Books like ours that don’t tokenize, but centre queer and trans experience are necessary, not only for kids who might be queer and/or trans, but for all kids, because all kids have queer and/or trans kids in their communities, whether or not they’re aware of it.
June is Pride Month, which inspired the theme of this month’s newsletter. What advice do you have for young people who find it difficult to be their true and authentic selves?
I know we’ve all experienced getting advice we didn’t ask for or want, and none of us needs more of that, so I don’t think about what I offer in these books, or in my public talks, as advice. What I share is what I and people in my communities have tried to do to survive in a world that tells us who we are isn’t enough, that we aren’t worthy. The core of that is to find your people. To know that it may take a while to do that, but they are out there. To remind yourself all the time that you are worthy. And to trust your instincts when it comes to what you want and need.
We loved reading You Know, Sex: what did you learn in between writing Sex is a Funny Word and this book?
I learned to trust myself a bit more when it comes to my ability to write for young people in a way that is neither cool nor boring. We have so many narratives about what young people are like, as readers, as receivers of information from adults, as peers. And of course, most of it is generalization and nonsense. Young people are not only incredibly open and generous readers, they are also great at taking what they want and leaving behind what they don’t need. This is something I first learned from Fatma Faraj. She pointed out to me that young people are their own best censors. They will put down a book that isn’t for them, and they will read over or around things that are too much or don’t connect for them. So I guess the other thing I learned is that I can trust my readers in the way I wish I felt trusted when I was younger.
This is your third book illustrated by Fiona Smyth; what can you tell us about this collaboration?
Fiona is credited as the illustrator only on the first book. She is the illustrator of all three, but after our first book we moved to both being credited as authors, which for me is a reflection of how essential this collaboration is for these books. There’s no way I could make these books with any other illustrator. We both touch every aspect of the book. I contribute to imagining the illustrations and she contributes to both the dialogue and narrative parts of the text.
We were friends before we collaborated on What Makes a Baby, so we already had trust and a foundation of a relationship to build on which is why it works. Our goals for the work are the same, and we both approach these books with humility, knowing that we aren’t experts who can tell people about who they are, we are people who are good at making people curious, making them think, and making them laugh a bit.
What projects are you working on now? Can you tell us about any upcoming books?
It takes me a long time to write books. You Know, Sex took seven years. So, it feels like I need to take a few months before diving into the next book. But I’m always collaborating, and one of my favourite things to do is support other people in making kids’ books that are full of love and justice. Right now, I’m working with Syrus Marcus Ware and Alannah Fricker on a beautiful picture book they’re making about abolition. It’s coming out in 2023 and it’s gorgeous and so much of what we need. I’m also working on a project to support more disabled artists and writers to make the children’s books we need in the disability community. I’m doing this with an arts and disability justice organization I love. We haven’t announced it yet, but it’s coming soon, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.In terms of my own writing, Fiona and I do want to continue the series, and eventually get to the volume that’s for people our age. The next one will probably be for teenagers, but we’re already imagining the one about menopause
Learn more about Cory by visiting their website at www.corysilverberg.com.
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We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Canada’s independent booksellers share their recommendations for kids and teens. Find an independent bookseller here.
Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax, NS:
A Day for Sandcastles by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng (Candlewick, 2022) Ages 4-8
This latest collaboration from these children’s book creators is a joyous, sun-soaked celebration of summer that depicts all the wonders of a day at the beach. Entirely wordless, the story begins with a busload of beachbound travellers arriving at their destination. Three siblings energetically set about building a sandcastle, but their efforts are thwarted by objects that get blown into their castle and toddlers that stumble through it and the ocean waves that crash into it. Yet their spirits remain undaunted and they earnestly set about rebuilding after each setback. Leng’s fine-lined and precisely detailed illustrations truly capture all the quiet joys of the day and the place: one can all but hear the rush of the waves and whistling of the wind, and taste the tang of salt in the air, and feel the peaceful contentment of each person on these pages. Together, these two have a crafted a magnificent evocation of a perfect summer day and have brought the beauty of the sea and the sky and the sand into every single page.
—Lisa Doucet, Co-manager
Woozles Children’s Bookstore: 6013 Shirley St, Halifax, NS B3H 2M9 woozles.com
Canadian librarians share their recommendations for kids and teens.
The Undercover Book List by Colleen Nelson (Pajama Press, 2021) Ages 8-12
Book-loving Jane and class prankster Tyson seem to have little in common, but a strong friendship develops via secret bibliophile messages tucked inside a school library book. You can’t judge a book by its cover, and as the seventh graders anonymously swap letters, their own true stories are also revealed. The specific joy that comes from talking about favourite authors and books with a kindred reader is perfectly captured. As an added bonus, all of the titles exchanged between the characters are real books, and the thoughtfully curated list appears in backmatter. Include this well-written middle grade novel about books and the connections they create on recommended reading lists.
—Linda Ludke, Collections Management Librarian, London Public Library
See you in the fall!
See you in September for our next newsletter. Have a great summer!