Pajama Press

Archive for June, 2012

Kirkus believes in Emily For Real

Posted on June 18th, 2012 by pajamapress

After being dumped by her boyfriend, an emotionally shaken 17-year-old high school senior makes friends with an angry young man and discovers that the secure family she always considered rock-solid is riddled with lies and secrets.

This is a story about familial ties-ties of blood, ties of love, ties that bind. It’s also about family lies and the way these lies affect core connections. Although protagonist Emily Sinclair’s family is small, it’s complex and is comprised of a variety of household situations: intact, divorced, step, gay, straight, illegitimate and adoptive. The story… is set in motion when Emily’s grandfather dies, and the family learns that he had both a longtime mistress and an illegitimate daughter. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Sinclair family’s surprising but believable secrets, and their eventual revelation shocks Emily to the quick. The other story thread concerns Emily’s realistically depicted budding friendship with Leo Mac, a new classmate with a plateful of family problems of his own, and their testy but ultimately supportive relationship.

…[The story] is genuinely touching at its tear-inducing, hopeful end. (Fiction. 12 & up)

School Library Journal hails Acts of Courage as a great read for students

Posted on June 15th, 2012 by pajamapress

In this novel, Laura Ingersoll Secord grows from a curious 12-year-old in Massachusetts to a fearless heroine in Upper Canada. The book is based on the true story of an American family trying to prosper during the years leading up to the War of 1812. Laura’s father is a captain in the American militia who travels frequently. After years of fighting rebel discord, he moves his family north to create a new settlement in Upper Canada. Laura marries genteel James Secord, a businessman and Loyalist, who fought to protect Upper Canada. Her journey to heroism and fame begins here. After boldly rescuing James, injured in battle, she overhears American soldiers planning a surprise attack on Canadian troops. Laura embarks on a dangerous 19-mile journey past enemy lines, through snake-filled swamps and rocky terrain, to warn the soldiers. This decision leads to the Canadian victory at the Battle of Beaver Dams. The rich and detailed descriptions of the rigorous lifestyle settlers endured in the early 19th century will enthrall readers… Secord’s story is a great way for students to learn about the politics of the period and the relationship between the United States and Canada during post-Revolutionary War times. Maps of the Ingersolls’ journey to Canada and Laura’s walk are sure to pique students’ interest and encourage further research.

Amy Shepherd, St. Anne’s Episcopal School, Middleton, DE

Ten Stories Up wants you to read Emily For Real

Posted on June 13th, 2012 by pajamapress

I love books that remind me exactly what it felt like to be a teenager.  And books where guys and girls have relationships that aren’t about the luuuurve.  And books that have so much real-life drama that they don’t need magic and vampires and the end of the world (although I love those too).   Most of all, I love books that are sweet and funny and then kick you in the gut with totally poignant lines.

Emily For Real is all of those books at once.

–Lindsey Carmichael

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Mrs. Ashby is Reading… True Blue!

Posted on June 12th, 2012 by pajamapress

This is an amazing book that pulls you slowly into Jess’s mind.  It wasn’t until fairly far into the book that I was struck by Jess’s character.  It’s difficult to describe without giving away too much because the joy for me was when I realized what the author was doing and began to squirm a bit in reading Jess’s words.  Read it!

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“Historical fiction with an ‘Aha!’ moment or two”CanLit for LittleCanadians reviews Acts of Courage

Posted on June 6th, 2012 by pajamapress

“By staying true to Laura’s undertaking while adding an interesting twist (fictional, of course), Connie Brummel Crook has taken this book from biography to historical fiction with an “Aha!” moment or two.

…[N]o subplot or component of the story is gratuitous, each important in explaining and moving the plot to Laura’s climactic walk, probably best described as a combination trudge, plod, wade, slog and creep.  Luckily Connie Brummel Crook’s telling of Laura Secord’s story lacks the toil and anguish of our heroine’s defining moment and instead takes the reader through Laura’s life’s journey to better understand the choices and connections she has made throughout.”

–Helen Kubiw

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Don’t Laugh at Giraffe lives up to expectations at Sal’s Fiction Addiction

Posted on June 5th, 2012 by pajamapress

I was very much looking forward to seeing this second tale about Giraffe and Bird. I so enjoyed Rebecca Bender’s first story about the two (dare I say it?) friends. They were funny the first time, and she is able to keep the humor fresh.

…The artwork is so expressive and appealing to the book’s young audience. They will see the emotional reactions of each character clearly and know just how they are feeling. The colors are bright, the setting is lush and lovely, and the characters close-up and personal. I think that my favorite is a double page spread of the two friends facing the sadness of Giraffe’s gaffe and the solution. But, I also love the constantly changing design and the many perspectives that give this funny (and tender) story life. As with the first, the author makes some sparkling decisions about word choice, encouraging an expressive and engaging shared reading.

We can only hope that we will meet these two again!

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Open Book Ontario’s “Read To Me” series features Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

Posted on June 4th, 2012 by pajamapress

Open Book’s new series Read To Me features “magical children’s books that kids will ask you to read multiple times, and that you’ll love reading.”

On May 31 Read To Me featured Don’t Laugh at Giraffe and explained why it’s a great read for everyone:

WHY KIDS WILL LOVE IT: The relationships in Don’t Laugh at Giraffe cleverly reflect the often-confusing relationships kids have with other kids. Figuring out how to be with others is tricky for children, and they will likely welcome the conversation the book can inspire. Bender’s illustrations are gorgeous, colourful and lively.

WHY GROWN UPS WILL LOVE IT: The book’s message is lovely and an important one for children to understand: we all need to be strong enough to stand up against bullies and to stick up for our friends. The book’s appeal doesn’t just lie in its message; Bender’s charming and funny writing and vibrant illustrations make Don’t Laugh at Giraffe a very entertaining book to read out loud.”

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Don’t Laugh at Giraffe is “Highly Recommended” by CM Magazine

Posted on June 4th, 2012 by pajamapress

internal artYoungsters who first met this delightful animal odd couple in Giraffe and Bird…will be pleased that the sometimes squabbling duo are back again in another story about friendship. As author/illustrator Bender demonstrated in Giraffe and Bird, she knows when a picture, rather than words, should carry the story. …A fun read, but one which still speaks to the meaning of friendship.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM‘s editor, livesin Winnipeg, MB.

Click here to read the full review