Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CCBC grade one book give-away

This year, the Canadian Children's Centre and the TD Bank Financial Group will be providing every grade one student across the country with a copy of Caramba, by Marie Louise-Gay.  Providing every family of a grade one student with this delightful picture book is one way to encourage parents and children to read together.  This is the 10th year the program has been operating.  This year, 547,000 grade one children will benefit from the program.  You can show your support with a generous donation to the Canadian Children's Book Centre today.  They need you, and so do Canadian children and their families.

Caroll Simpson

Caroll Simpson
Monday Dec. 6th, 7:30 pm
at the Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable

Caroll is visiting us from her remote fishing lodge, Ookpik Wilderness Lodge, in the northern interior of B.C.  She spends the off-season writing, painting and observing animals and nature. She is the author/illustrator of The First Beaver (2008) and The First Mosquito (2010), and will tell us about the creation of these original First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest creation stories.

The VCLR is open to the public . Members free ($25/year), drop-ins $5, students $4. Meetings are held at the Nellie McClung Branch Library, 3950 Cedar Hill Road, at 7:30 pm. Come early and browse Cadboro Bay Books' table, and bring a friend!

A program offered by the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sad news about Sid Fleischman

Sad news...Tricycle Press out of Berkley, California will be closing down.  They were bought out last year by Random house, and I think everyone in the kid's books world had their fingers crossed that they wouldn't be swallowed up.  Sad to see them go.  I've heard Abigail Samoun speak on a few occasions and I really like both her and Tricycle's vision.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Anita Silvey's Book-a-Day Almanac

I love kids books and I love the people who love kids books as much as I do, especially when they're bloggers.  Anita Silvey is one of my favs.  The former editor of The Horn Book review journal and a former children's publisher at Houghton Mifflin, she has set out to write about and recommend a book a day.  No, I'm not making this up...a book a day!  And if anyone out there can do, it's Silvey.  So, check out her Book-a- Day Almanac.

Harry Potter lineup in Victoria BC

The big news in books this week isn't a book at all, but a movie. Here's a short clip of the midnight lineup for the new Harry Potter movie in my part of the world. Given that it was cold last night and that I'm generally a wimp, I opted for my nice cozy bed. After all, I'm pretty sure the movie will be around town for a while.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dec. 4 is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day

So many independent book stores have gone under.  It's about time that we started supporting our local booksellers.  So here's your chance.  December 4 is the first annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.  If every reader with a child celebrates this day, booksellers and bookstores won't become an endangered species!

PW's Best Children's Books 2010

Just in case you haven't come across this list of great books yet, check this out. It's a kids' book list worth sharing. PW's Best Children's Books 2010.  And hey, it includes some of my favorite books and authors including Lane Smith's It's a Book.

NBA Winner for Young People's Lit.

The other NBA has just announced this year's winners.  The Award for Young People's Literature goes to Mockingbird by Kathryn Erkstine.  One more book for me to add to the pile...sigh.  I'll never be able to stay ahead on top of my growing list.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010 Governor General's Award winners for Children's Literature are...

Children’s Literature – Text

Wendy Phillips, Richmond (British Columbia), Fishtailing(Coteau Books; distributed by Publishers Group of Canada)
In this highly-inventive, poetic narrative, four compelling characters take the reader on a wild ride through the dangerous terrain of friendships threatened by manipulative acts. Deftly switching voices,
Wendy Phillips creates a powerful momentum in Fishtailing that leaves the reader breathless.

Children’s Literature – Illustration

Jon Klassen, Los Angeles [originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario], 
Cats’ Night Out, text by Caroline Stutson (Simon & Schuster / A Paula Wiseman Book; distributed by Simon & Schuster Canada)
In Cat’s Night Out, Jon Klassen’s highly imaginative and clever illustrations, with their subdued, delicate colours and their minimal movement, mysteriously transform a smoky New York night into a grooving and pulsating background for his cool dancing cats.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mother Reader is the place to be

today's new picture booksImage by your neighborhood librarian via Flickr
So you if are a fan of picture books, Mother Reader is the place to be. As one of the judges for the Fiction Picture Book Category of the Cybils Award Committee for the last 3 years, this children's librarian has too many books and it's time to give them away!  They'll all go...in a splashy contest that you could win...but not until after she reviews the books.  So hey, every one will end up a winner because you'll learn about some great new books.  And how could that be a bad thing!  So check it out, and while your at it, you can visit the Cybils Award site to look for more great books in other categories.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Opera Company of Philadelphia "Hallelujah!" Random Act of Culture

Literature is an integral part of culture and so is music. Sometimes people have never developed much of an interest in culture so it's easy for them not to care about funding cuts to culture. How can we combat this? Here's on cultural organization's solution...Random Acts of Culture. As you can see from the video clip, it's pretty powerful. Thanks Gizela Sherman for passing this on.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Information Book Award Announced

The Winner of the Information Book Award sponsored by the Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada has been announced.  Congratulations Valerie Wyatt and Fred Rix for How To Build Your Own Country.  Since Val lives here in Victoria, I just may have to take her to lunch to celebrate!

Manzanar & Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki,

While we were heading south to the Four Corners area in the US, we stopped in Bishop, California. That night, after a fabulous mexican dinner, we pulled out the maps and guide books to plan the next day's drive.  That was when we discovered Manzanar, home of the largest War Relocation Camp in the US during WWII.  At it's peak, it held more than 10,000 forcibly relocated Japanese Americans behind barbed wire.  It operated from1942-1945, and when it was closed, the inmates, who had lost businesses, homes, and other worldly possessions, were given a bus ticket and $25.  It's a shameful time in US history, and one the we Canadians share.  Today, a National Historic Site stands in place of a prison.  It is well worth a visit, especially for the oral histories which have been and continue to be collected.  

As is often the case, some very moving stories have come out of that time and place.  One that I brought home with me is Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee.  Published in 1993, by  Lee & Low Books, it is a powerful story of how both children and adults built a baseball park in the desert, of how the American game helped to ease some of trials of the internment camp and of how baseball helped to break down the scars and barriers of post-war discrimination.  The illustrations are powerful and evoke the dust and desolation I experienced when visiting Manzanar.  

I highly recommend a virtual visit to Manzanar, and I highly recommend this story.  For a north-north-of-the-border story for older readers, Joy Kogowa's Obasan is equally powerful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest we forget

Poppies Field in FlandersImage via Wikipedia
Today's post is a poem written by John Gillespie Magee, a young Canadian  pilot who did not survive World War II.  He wrote this at age 19 a few months before he died.

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft thro' footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God
*Thanks to my friend Linda Granfield for the reminder.  She's one of those special people in the world who has been able to lead the way in helping us celebrate fallen soldiers without glorifying war itself.  Thanks for all your work Linda.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And the winner is...

It's official, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre has just announced the winners...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (November 10, 2010) ― The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is thrilled to announce the winners of the four major children’s book awards it administers. The winners were announced last night at a gala event at The Carlu in Toronto.

This year’s winning titles will captivate the hearts and imaginations of children and adults everywhere. Readers will be introduced to a hunchback child who has the ability to transform himself and who is a trained secret agent; to an alluring story of mystery, perception and friendship with a surprise ending; to an exquisite, informative and delightful account of the history of China’s famed Silk Road; and to a young Sherlock Holmes on the sinister streets of Victorian London.

These books exemplify some of the best work by Canadian authors and illustrators. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is proud to share these titles with you. For a list of the honour books for each award, please click here.
. . . .
TD CANADIAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AWARD ($25,000)Sponsored by TD Bank Financial Group

The Hunchback Assignments
Written by Arthur Slade (Saskatoon, SK)
HarperCollins Publishers
for ages 11 and up

Here's the jury description...“Arthur Slade’s foray into the steampunk genre is of world-class quality and makes 
The Hunchback Assignments a fresh and unexpected addition to Canadian children’s literature… A mystery thriller, the novel’s tone is grippingly suspenseful… Literary allusions to characters and plots, from the Hunchback of Notre Dame to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, enrich the subtext of reality and illusion.”

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD ($20,000)Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

Timmerman Was Here
Written by Colleen Sydor (Winnipeg, MB)
Illustrated by Nicolas Debon (Saint-Denis, France)
Tundra Books
for ages 4 – 8

This is what the jury said of Timmerman Was Here...“This is a sublimely humanistic and memorable story about the way we discover the difference between truth and appearances… Dramatic pictures equally involve the reader, while the artistic use of dark and light further affect our emotional response… This intriguing tale with a twist delves exceptionally well into values and perceptions, the rational and the irrational, achieving a conclusion that is profoundly self-affirming for the child… This emotionally rich and suspenseful story is capped by an uplifting ending that will stir hearts from 8 to 80… A perfect pairing of text and illustration.”

NORMA FLECK AWARD FOR CANADIAN CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION ($10,000)Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road
Written by Priscilla Galloway (Penetanguishene, ON) with Dawn Hunter (Toronto, ON)
Annick Press
for ages 10 and up
The jury called Galloway's work “A gripping account of three remarkable historic journeys; cultural, spiritual and commercial, enable the reader to imagine this fabled ancient route taken by the adventurous of long, long ago. Galloway’s excellent research, clear text, stunning photographs, art and maps updates this history for our times. A wonderful resource for research and reports."

GEOFFREY BILSON AWARD FOR HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ($5,000) Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund 

Vanishing Girl
(The Boy Sherlock Holmes, Book 3)
Written by Shane Peacock (Baltimore, ON)
Tundra Books
for ages 9 and up

The jury describes  how “Peacock delves into the young mind of one of the best-known characters in literature, creating a story that is well-plotted, with plenty of action, adventure and plot twists… Beautifully written and fast-paced… Peacock’s writing has a distinctive voice and tone that is perfectly suited to the story being told.”

For more information on how you can help support these awards visit www.bookcentre.ca.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Wow...so much has happened

The Star of KazanImage via Wikipedia
Wow...In the month I've been away, so much has happened...sadly, the great Eva Ibbotson, author of a couple of my favorite books, Journey to the River Sea, and The Star of Kazan, passed away.  And, surprisingly, one of  of my favorite bloggers in the agenting business,  Nathan Bransford has changed careers and stepped out of the world of agenting, and likely blogging about kid's books.  I'm sure a lot more has gone on since I've visited Mesa Verde, Chaco, and Arches National Park, but between doing laundry, paying bills, catching up on my mail, and grocery shopping, I haven't had a chance to discover it yet.
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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Next travel installment

Here's the next travel installment...

Weather has been fabulous...we're so lucky.  Went to Arches National Park and had a really hard time leaving.  It's one of those magical places in the world, especially with so few tourists visiting during the late fall. Having stayed in nearby Moab, Utah, we were able to get there quite early.  The sky was crystal clear, and we definitely need our toques, gloves and down jackets.  We did several short hikes which added up since the elevation was between 3900 and 5800 feet.  One of the hikes we took was led by a young volunteer and his theme was survival of the park.  This is a place whose survival is in our hands.  These parks are such a treasure.  This is a place I want to go back to...

Down the road in another canyon cut by this lovely sedate river, we discovered some amazing petroglyphs.  There were dozens of panels that stretched about 125 feet along a rock face.  I'm including one of the panels.

We left these amazing petroglyphs just as the sun was setting and drove some long hours through two mountain passes that had me white knuckling the steering wheel so that we could be close to Zion National Park the next morning.  It was worth the drive even though it was probably the most developed of the parks we'd been to, complete with shuttle busses.  See for yourself.

The road out of Zion to Bryce is seriously scary with 1000 foot drops and no rail guards and a series of tunnels blasted through the sandstone during the depression.  One of the tunnels was over a mile long.

We stayed just outside of Bryce National Park that night and it's a good thing we did.  Although we woke up to sunny clear skies, by 2 pm, the first snow storm of the season hit. The altitude made for hard hiking.  We started out at 6500 feet and topped out at 9100 feet.  The last time I was there (30 years ago) I hiked the entire way up to Rainbow Ridge, but this time, we drove most of the way.  Still, it was beautiful.

After Bryce, we did a lot of driving...and driving...and driving until we hit the Columbia River Valley.  We decided to go to the top of the ridge for the views and discovered wind, and power in the form of 500 + wind turbines (soon to be 1000) in high ranch country.  I was kind of excited about the whole renewable energy in action concept until we had lunch in the tiny town of Bickleton (population 90) where a man by the name of Bob, the County Highways Supervisor informed us that most of the power produced in the area goes to California...go figure!

At least Bickleton is getting a new school out of the deal, although not much else seems to have changed there in the last fifty years.

The last place on our list to see was Mount St. Helens National Volcano Park.  On the way there the rain was coming down so hard that we could hardly see the road.  We were almost ready to cancel the Mount St. Helens portion of the trip, but decided to hang around to see if the weather cleared.  Lucky us...it did. The views were stunning.  I remember when this volcano blew back in 1980.  The blast snapped trees as if they were matchsticks, and ash filled the air for months.  It changed the face of the valley, and the pacific northwest.  It reminded us that nothing is permanent.  After a few hours of fog, and a climb of a few thousand feet (by car, not foot), this was our reward...

We've only a few days left before crossing the border and taking the ferry home.  It's been a wonderful adventure.  Glad to have shared a little of it with you...