Wednesday, November 21, 2007

2007 Information Book Award Announced

The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada proudly announces,

I Found a Dead Bird: The Kids’ Guide to the Cycle of Life and Death
by Jan Thornhill. Maple Tree Press

At Vimy Ridge: Canada’s Greatest World War I Victory
by Hugh Brewster. Scholastic Canada

The 2007 Information Book Award prize of $500 will be presented on February 23, 2008, at the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable Serendipity Conference. Accolades and heartiest congratulations to Winner Jan Thornhill (Maple Tree Press) and to Honour Book recipient Hugh Brewster (Scholastic Canada). And… a round of applause for the other exceptional and worthy short-listed authors, illustrators and publishers: Deborah Hodge, John Mantha (illustrator) and Kids Can Press (The Kids Book of Canadian Immigration), Herb Shoveller and Kids Can Press (Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa that Brought Them Together) and Val Ross and Tundra Books (You Can’t Read This: Forbidden Books, Lost Writing, Mistranslations and Codes).

Sincere thanks to everyone who participated in the voting process of this very special award that acknowledges excellence in Canadian non-fiction aimed at informing, inspiring and connecting young readers from coast to coast.

Lois Brymer, National Chair, Information Book Award Committee,

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In My Backyard by Magriet Ruurs with paper sculpture illustrations by Ron Broda

With Canadian Children's Book Week coming up, I thought it appropriate to review In My Backyard, written by the Margriet Ruurs and Ron Broda, the illustrator who is touring Vancouver Island where I live. The title says it all in this delightful poetic celebration of nature close to home. "Welcome to my backyard! " Ruurs writes. "You will see that this is a busy place -- all year round." She with words, and Ron Broda with superb paper sculptures, proceed to demonstrate that nature is all around if you simply stop to look and listen. Spare poetic text is perfectly complimented by the rich and textured paper back drops on which Broda builds his multi-layered paper sculptures depicting slow-moving snails, helicoper-like humming birds, and bats catching insects on the wing. A legend at the end of the book supplements the text with more information as well as alerting the reader what to look for on each page. In My Backyard is a must for schools and libraries.

For information on Ron Broda's Victoria appearances, check out the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable blog.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Charlie's Point of View by Richard Scrimger

Having enjoyed Richard Scrimger's The Nose from Jupiter, I recently picked up his recent mystery, From Charlie's Point of View to pass the time on a four hour plane trip to Chicago and wasn't disappointed. Charlie and Bernadette are neighbors as well as friends, but more importantly, they are a team. Bernadette has a less than happy home life, and relies on Charlie for the support she doesn't get at home. Meanwhile, Charlie has loving but over-protective parents, but his blindness leaves him vulnerable. Bernadette willingly takes on the responsibility of being Charlie's eyes and together they manage their respective home lives and the pitfalls of bullies and even dog attacks. A third character, their quirky school mate, Lewis, also suffering from a less than perfect home life, provides comic relief. The mystery comes up when Charlie's father is mistaken for a bank robber. The three kids set out to prove Charlie's father's innocence. Interestingly, an element of mysticisms is thrown into the works with a quasi guardian angel student by the name of Gideon who pops up at opportune moments.

The design of Charlie's Point of View is as ingenious as Scrimger's plot. Black pages mirror Charlie's perspective in addition to the reader's blindness as we follow the kids' path in solving the mystery of who really done it.