Pajama Press

Archive for November, 2012

The Nonfiction Detectives discover Last Airlift

Posted on November 27th, 2012 by pajamapress

…Readers will immediately be drawn in from the very first page. The book only covers Tuyet’s journey by airplane from Saigon to Toronto, Canada and her adoption to a new family who loves her very much. When Tuyet is flying to Canada, another orphan, Linh, gives her some advise. Whenever someone asks you something in English, answer, No. That will stop them from doing what they were going to do. The last three chapters are most touching as we learn just how patient Tuyet’s new family is as they learn how to communicate with each other. (They do not speak Vietnamese) Some of the changes in Tuyet’s life were difficult. For instance, Tuyet was used to sleeping with all the other orphans on the floor at the orphanage, she is unable to adjust to sleeping alone in a bed in her own bedroom.

Historic black & white photographs, including some of Tuyet, enhance the reading experience.

In a historic note, Skrypuch briefly explains the rescue operation. In her Author’s note, we learn that Tuyet currenly lives in Skrypuch’s hometown of Brantford, Ontario. It is great to see Tuyet as a grown up woman.

Click here to read the full review.

Interview with Soles4Souls

Posted on November 26th, 2012 by pajamapress

Kato, the main character in Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau’s new picture book A Good Trade, is overwhelmed with gratitude when he receives a pair of shoes. Did you ever wonder why? What makes a pair of shoes so exciting? To answer that question, we’re interviewing representatives from organizations that have devoted themselves to shoes, kids, and changing lives. Today our featured organization is Soles4Souls.

Soles4Souls first sent shoes to those in need when our founder, Wayne Elsey, saw the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami. He was a footwear executive and pulled his resources and contacts together to send shoes to the victims. He did the same during Hurricane Katrina—this led him to start the charity!

Where do your shoes come from?

Our shoes come from our incredible donors. Our used shoes come from individuals and their workplaces, schools, churches, town community centers and more. In addition, we have a team that works directly with shoe designers, manufacturers, retailers, distributors and warehouses to procure their excess inventory.

Where do they go?

Our shoes go everywhere! We distribute here in the United States and in 127 other countries around the world. We only send new shoes to locations in the United States, while we distribute both new and used product internationally. Some of our used inventory is utilized for micro businesses purposes to help eradicate poverty in third world countries.

Some people worry that an influx of donated shoes can disrupt local businesses and economies. Do you have any measures in place to protect or encourage sustainable economies in the places where you work?

We sure do! When we travel internationally to distribute shoes, we give them to orphanages and schools. These are people who could otherwise not afford a pair of shoes and who could contract diseases from not wearing shoes. We also work with micro enterprise partners to offer shoes as a means of a sustainable income. Our micro-enterprise program does not interfere, but enhances the local economy and provides long-term sustainability for women and men in developing nations.

Do you have a favorite story or experience from you work with Soles4Souls that you would like to share?

Yeah! I have the pleasure of hearing the stories from some of our top donors and sharing them on our blog. One of my favorites is of a little girl in Canada who collected shoes for us. She made a video invitation to her birthday party and asked friends and family to bring her shoes to give to kids in need, rather than buying her a gift. It’s inspiring to see someone as young as seven years old making a difference in the world!

What is your organization’s vision for the future?

There are approximately 1.5 billion people in the world without shoes and 300 million of them are children. Our vision and goal is to drastically lower that number.

Rebecca Cicione is a Social Media Engagement Specialist with Soles4Souls. She has been working with the organization since September, 2011.

To learn more about Soles4Souls, visit www.soles4souls.org.

Spirituality & Practice reviews Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

Posted on November 23rd, 2012 by pajamapress

Author and illustrator Rebecca Bender has fashioned a delightful children’s picture book for kids ages 4 through 7. It is one thing for people to laugh with one another in unison and quite another thing to laugh at others. Seeing his friend humiliated and unhappy brings out Bird’s caring and creativity. Don’t Laugh at Giraffe covers both the good and the bad sides of laughter.

Click here to read the full review.

Plan a Giraffe and Bird Party: Bird’s Best Cupcakes

Posted on November 23rd, 2012 by pajamapress

BirdTitlePic

 

What would a Don’t Laugh at Giraffe party be without some colourful cupcakes? We’ve got the perfect tutorial for kid-tested, bird-approved cupcake fun.

You will need:

A batch of your favourite cupcakes

2 C icing sugar

1 Tbs margarine or softened butter

A small amount of milk

Food colouring to make yellow, blue, green, and orange

Chocolate chips

A mixing bowl

Four small containers

Five spoons

Two piping bags

(Alternate: use plastic bags with the corners cut off to pipe icing)

To make the icing:

  1. Mix the margarine or butter with 1.5 C of the icing sugar.
  2. Gradually add very small amounts of milk until the icing is smooth and spreadable.
  3. If the icing becomes too runny, add more icing sugar.
  4. Separate the icing into the four small containers, leaving a little behind in the bowl. Note that you will need more in the yellow and green bowls and less in the orange and blue bowls.
  5. Stir food colouring into each container one drop at a time until the icing reaches the desired vibrancy.
  6. You may choose to make the blue and white icing slightly runnier than the other colours, since it will be piped rather than spread.
  7. Spoon the white and blue icing into piping bags.

To decorate the cupcakes:

One_CupcakesBakeTwo_YellowThree_GreenFour_BlueFive_WhiteSix_CCSeven_Beak

Sal’s Fiction Addiction reviews A Good Trade

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by pajamapress

The author uses clear prose and descriptive language to make the reader aware of the life that Kato lives. We hear the silence of the early morning, see the soldiers as they stand guard, feel the sloshing of the water on Kato’s bare, dusty toes, catch our breath with him as he hauls the water home and must stop to rest, and smile as he and the aid worker make their ‘good trade’.

Karen Patkau creates a setting that allows a glimpse at Kato’s life and his village, the bright and happy colors that the children wear (including their new shoes) and the muted landscape he travels over daily. Each page captures our attention and begs for discussion.

Click here to read the full review.

Interview with Shoe4Africa

Posted on November 19th, 2012 by pajamapress

Kato, the main character in Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau’s new picture book A Good Trade, is overwhelmed with gratitude when he receives a pair of shoes. Did you ever wonder why? What makes a pair of shoes so exciting? To answer that question, we’re interviewing representatives from organizations that have devoted themselves to shoes, kids, and changing lives. Today our featured organization is Shoe4Africa.

What inspired Shoe4Africa to start bringing shoes to kids in need?

Seeing that something simple, and in large part unwanted/discarded, in my home could make a difference in someone’s life.

Where do your shoes come from?

You & I.  All people, every place.

Where do they go?

It used to be all over; Sri Lanka for Tamal Tigers, Morocco, the Ukraine and mainly East Africa.  Today I hone in more and more just on East Africa.  However I also am involved with charities elsewhere in the world with concentration on similar things hence the other year I delivered 1,000 pairs of new running shoes to some kids in my neighborhood, Harlem NYC.

Some people worry that an influx of donated shoes can disrupt local businesses and economies. Do you have any measures in place to protect or encourage sustainable economies in the places you work?

Yes, and the day you can buy a running shoe made in East Africa I’ll stop importing and start fund raising to support sales.  The truth of the matter is running shoes are a rare commodity in the places I work.  The last few towns I have done shoe drops will probably never ever have a “place/local business” from where to be able to get running shoes.  I work in places where food and water are hard to get, let’s not even think about ‘luxuries’ like running shoes.

Kenyan school girls run for peace at a Shoe4Africa event.

Kenyan school girls run for peace at a Shoe4Africa event.

Do you have a favorite story or experience from your work with Shoe4Africa that you would like to share?

So, so many—but I think people often think that charity has to be big to be meaningful.  Two quick examples; I started by giving one pair of shoes away; that was it.  Secondly a grandmother won a healthwalk we organized.  When she stood up on stage she hoisted up a pair of running shoes she won (we don’t just hand out shoes, you have to earn them by completing a walk/run).  Her granddaughter was in the audience cheering.  The granddaughter gets inspired to start running, and within one year she’s earning money to support her family through running.

What is your organization’s vision for the future?

Not a clue.  Right now it is building the first public children’s hospital in East Africa.  That ‘vision’ is so big I can’t see over the wall to see what the future will bring.

Toby Tanser is the founder and “Chief Beggar” of Shoe4Africa, which has been working for healthcare and education in Africa since 1995.

To learn more about Shoe4Africa, visit their website at www.shoe4africa.org.

Deborah Ellis wins with mystery novel at Hamilton Literary Awards

Posted on November 14th, 2012 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to announce that Deborah Ellis has won The Reliable Life Insurance Award for Children & Young Adult Book for her YA psychological thriller True Blue.

The award was presented on November 12, 2012, during the 18th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards at Theatre Aquarius’ Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario. Ron Ulrich, artistic director of the host theatre, announced the award and shared the compelling first chapter with the audience.

True Blue has met with critical acclaim in both Canada and the United States. School Library Journal said, “True Blue is about the courage to believe in oneself and fight for what’s right, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. A book worthy of any school curriculum.” Kirkus Reviews said protagonist Jess “grabs readers’ attention and never lets it go.”

True Blue has also been nominated for the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award and the John Spray Mystery Award.

Resource Links is rooting for Emily

Posted on November 13th, 2012 by pajamapress

When Emily’s Grandad dies, she’s more concerned with her break up. When a mysterious guest shows up at her Grandad’s funeral, claiming to be an old friend of her Grandad’s Emily’s life gets suddenly more complicated. Her grandfather had a secret life and as it tears Emily’s family apart, Emily finds herself questioning everything she ever knew about her family.

Although Emily’s family situation—secret affairs, hidden adoptions, illegitimate children—could have come across as an over the top soap opera plot, Emily’s genuine characterization keeps the situation grounded in real emotion that readers will be able to relate to. The book is refreshingly romance-free—save for an odd, nearly out of place romantic development in the last twenty pages—giving Emily room to focus on her family and friend relationships, includg her relationship with Leo.

Leo has a rough home situation, with an alcoholic mother. He doesn’t ask Emily too many questions about her home life for which she’s grateful and in turn she tries to be a supportive friend for everything Leo’s going through. Their relationship is unusual in teen fiction—an opposite sex friendship—and it lends realism to Emily For Real.

Teens more interested in friendship and family than romance will find themselves relating to Emily and rooting for her through her struggles.

Rating: G – Good, even great at times, generally useful!

Kat Drennan-Scace

Letters from WWI: Dear Mrs. Rogers

Posted on November 12th, 2012 by pajamapress

Lieutenant Lawrence Browning Rogers, aged 37, travelled to the front lines of World War One as a medic in the Fifth Canadian Mounted Rifles in 1915. He left behind his wife, May, his ten-year-old daughter, Aileen, and his seven-year-old son, Howard. The family exchanged hundreds of letters, ten of which we have shared over the last two weeks. This letter came to May following Lawrence’s death during the battle of Passchendaele.

Lawrence Rogers in uniform

Lawrence Rogers in uniform

France

Nov. 3, 1917

Dear Mrs. Rogers -

Words written or spoken would fail to express to you our sympathies with you in your sad bereavement.

Mr. Rogers was more than a comrade to both. Dan and myself and I can assure you we both feel the loss of such a comrade deeply.

We have at least one consolation. His sacrifice will not have been made in vain.

His medical work will be remembered by many who have been attended by him in the field and many a poor fellow has departed this world with little pain thanks to the untiring efforts of Mr. rogers.

Our Empire and our God I am sure cannot forget such deeds.

In your sorrow remember that our God knows best what is good for us, and I am sure it is God’s will that our comrade should be called to higher service.

Mr. Rogers died serving his God and Country, what better and nobler death could a man die.

In closing kindly permit Dan and myself to again offer you our sincerest sympathies.

Yours sincerely,

J.M. Wright

The Rogers family’s story is preserved in the picture book A Bear in War. For more information, including more letters, visit www.abearinwar.com.

Letters from WWI: Loneliness

Posted on November 9th, 2012 by pajamapress

Lieutenant Lawrence Browning Rogers, aged 37, travelled to the front lines of World War One as a medic in the Fifth Canadian Mounted Rifles in 1915. He left behind his wife, May, his ten-year-old daughter, Aileen, and his seven-year-old son, Howard. The family exchanged hundreds of letters, many of which were kept by their descendents. This is one of them.

May feeding the chickens at the farm

May feeding the chickens at the farm

453 Grosvenor Ave.

Westmount

Oct. 17, 1917

Dear Laurie

Think of it. I have sent you Christmas boxes already. What they said is we must do so early to ensure delivery. There will be such a lot. I had to pack in two boxes I marked them 1 & 2.

There are a couple of little gifts for Dan, they are marked from children and from me. Aileen made a sweater herself…excuse some uneven places. There is a lot of love and devotion knit into it. Howard saved up his money and that is hard, and bought your present himself and we did enjoy purchasing it.

I have been pretty sick for a week. Was not able to go out. Had to get what I could on Victoria Avenue. Have not been out for a week. Terrible pain in back across shoulders.

I guess it must be my age is breaking me up. Oh Laurie, I am so afraid it may make an invalid of me as it does of lots of women and the children need me. Pray for me to be spared that.

Children are working hard at school… Poor Aileen struggles along. I did not send her to dancing. Cost too much and she did not seem to want to go much.   So I want to give her music and can’t do everything. I have all the money I need. Don’t send me any. You may need it.

If only I could see you again I think it would make a different woman of me. Loneliness is eating my heart out and yours probably too.

I must go and get dinner for kiddies, love from us all and hoping for your leave.

I am always yours,

May

The Rogers family’s story is preserved in the picture book A Bear in War. For more information, including more letters, visit www.abearinwar.com.