Pajama Press

Archive for November, 2012

Resource Links calls One Step at a Time “eye-opening”

Posted on November 9th, 2012 by pajamapress

One Step at a Time is an easy-to-read book about Tuyet, a Vietnamese girl adopted by a Canadian family. It is the sequel to Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War and picks up where that book leaves off. Tuyet suffers great pain from having a weak ankle. Just weeks after her adoption, her new family decides Tuyet should have surgery to correct the problem. Tuyet goes through the surgery, learns to use crutches, and takes physiotherapy in the hope of one day being able to walk confidently on her own two feet.

At the same time, Tuyet, who speaks little English, is learning about her new family, new home, and new culture and is healing from terrifying experiences in Vietnam. Events that seem ordinary to many Canadian children are extraordinary for Tuyet, and we share her confusion and delight as situations—such as a flaming cake and a pile of pretty boxes, or the passing of a crop-dusting airplane—begin to resolve into meaning.

This is a gentle non-fiction telling of a particular period in Canadian history and of the experience of being a new immigrant with health concerns. Notes in the end matter provide some useful context for readers who may not understand the significance of polio or the conventions of narrative non-fiction. Black-and-white photos, including pictures of Tuyet and her family, add to the reading experience. Although Tuyet’s experiences are unusual and sometimes frightening, the narrative is full of love, kindness, and comfort.

One Step at a Time is a good choice for sensitive young readers interested in non-fiction about other children, other cultures, and recent history; it may be eye-opening for many readers. Although aspects of Canadian culture have changed, the disorientation that new Canadians experience may be similar to Tuyet’s. The book is likely to encourage many questions and wide-ranging discussion in a reading group, and the story is highly likeable. Readers do not need to know the author’s earlier book about Tuyet to understand this one, but many will want to read more about this brave and spirited girl.

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

—Leslie Vermeer

Letters from WWI: Another Winter

Posted on November 8th, 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.

Lawrence and one of the horses, before the war

Lawrence and one of the horses, before the war

Sept. 3, 1917

Dear May

My how I dread the thought of putting in another winter in the trenches but I suppose it must be done for we have to win before we come back.

Russia may not be much use just now but she is coming along and the U.S. are doing fine, then Canada will buck up and there will be something doing. I would not be surprised if the actual fighting ceased this fall or early winter.

Wish I could just drop in for supper but suppose like a lot of things it will have to wait.

Tonight is almost a full moon over here but usually we do not appreciate moon-light nights. I don’t think you are getting very sentimental for I sure feel that way myself. I did not think you had gotten over it years ago but just perhaps fed up for a while and I sure don’t blame you for I was anything but good company at times.

Don’t worry dear about a cake although I like them, still it is an awful lot of work and I don’t want you to do it when you are not feeling well. I am glad that Aileen is able to ride her bicycle also Gray but she wants to be careful with him in case he should stumble and throw her.

However I am sure it will do her the world of good learning to ride and then Gray is such a quiet beast to learn on. Glad to hear that you are feeling better but do take care of yourself for my sake.

Dan is going to write to you about his money as soon as he can get time. I heard that Major Hewson was over in England again but could not find out when I was over there.

I am just as anxious as you to see all again and I am hoping and trying all I can to get at least a furlough to come home but cannot tell yet if I can get it.

Well dear there is nothing very much to write about so will close and go to bed.

Lots of love for you all

Yours always

Laurie

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.

Don’t Laugh at Giraffe teaches empathy without preaching—Resource Links

Posted on November 8th, 2012 by pajamapress

This colourful picture book lives its message: one of the best antidotes for sadness is laughter. The illustrations by author/illustrator Rebecca Bender delight the reader even before the humorous and effective twist at the end of the story. A successful element in the interaction of text and image is that Bender bolds the important words—mainly the verbs—on each page. So with the bold verbs creating motion, and the energetic pictures showing action and emotion, what Bender has created is a very lively picture book for young readers, who will be able to pick out the bolded words and match them to the action in the pictures.

In the scorching heat of the African sun, Giraffe and Bird—best friends but always bugging each other—have a tussle and are hot and thirsty. Already, many young readers will identify with two friends who are so dissimilar but yet “you rarely see them apart.” When Giraffe has trouble bending all the way down to the water, and ultimately falls in, all of the animals—including Bird—laugh at him. True to the age of the readership, this hurts Giraffe’s feelings, and he goes away, sad and humiliated. Bird, an insightful little chap for all his flighty ways—soon figures out that there is something he can do to help his friend. No moralizing here, just a little bird thinking about how his friend obviously feels. Young readers will be able to internalize the lesson of empathy well, as it is so subtle; Bender does not preach at all, but merely shows her readers—largely with her beautiful illustrations—one option in this social situation. The answer Bird comes up with is to make a laughing stock of himself: he sings, he dances, he teases the other animals, he makes a complete fool of himself, laughing all the time with the animals he is teasing—even Giraffe. “Anyone can see that the bird loves the attention…and the giraffe finally has a drinkand the reader feels happy and giggly watching Bird floating on his back, spitting water up into the air.

Rating: E – Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

—Karen Huenemann

A Bear in War “Highly Recommended”—Resource Links

Posted on November 7th, 2012 by pajamapress

In this book Teddy, a stuffed teddy bear, tells his story from the time he is taken home to a farm in Quebec by his owner ten-year-old Aileen Rogers, through being sent to France in a care package sent to her father, Lawrence Browning Rogers, as he was fighting in the First World War, and his return home alone as Lieutenant Rogers died at the Battle of Passchendaele. This book conveys the true story of one family during war time. Gently told through the voice of the teddy bear it provides some insight into life during war time for a group of young readers.

In 2002 Lawrence Rogers grand-daughter, Roberta Rogers Innes, found Teddy along with letters and other war memorabilia inside a large family briefcase. As she delved deeper she discovered the story of Teddy and her daughter, Stephanie Innes, along with Harry Endrulat decided to share it with others in the form of a picture book. Brian Deines beautiful illustrations poignantly bring the story to life along with the historical photographs, posters and other memorabilia which are interspersed throughout the book.

…Today Teddy resides in a glass display case at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. A portion of the royalties earned from the sale of this reissue will be donated to the Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command Poppy Trust Fund, which supports the benevolent care of veterans and promotes remembrance.

This book is highly recommend for school and public libraries and should be a great choice to share with young readers on November 11.

Rating: E – Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

Victoria Pennell

Letters from WWI: London

Posted on November 7th, 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.

 

A photo of Lawrence

A photo of Lawrence

London, Aug. 15, 1917

Dear May

I suppose by this time you are at home again and have received some of my letters. The last letter I had from you, you had not heard for quite a long time. Don’t quite understand that unless they were not sent on to you.

As you see I am still in London enjoying a well earned holiday. I went to see Major Fische but he could not do anything for me so I am going down to Shorncliffe tomorrow to try and find Capt. Goodall and see what he can do for me.

I went to the theatre Monday and hardly knew how to behave. The play [ineligible] was awfully funny musical comedy and I laughed hard til I had a pain in my side. Sunday Fritzes tried to pull off an air raid and it was not a great success.

Today though the King received a lot of American soldiers, fine looking fellows they are and well equipped, very anxious to get to business. I had a chat with some of them. They were afraid they would be too late to get any fighting but I assured them they had lots of time.

I had my picture taken and the proofs look rather good. I had it taken with the hat off this time and hope you will like it.

Mrs. Richards wishes to be remembered to you. I hope to have seen Capt. Goodall before I write again, and perhaps will have some news but dare not hope too much. I am going to the theatre again tonight to see romance, don’t know much about it but it ought to be good as it has been running now for two years.

Good night for now sweetheart. Take care of yourself and rest all you can.

Love to all from Daddy.

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: Easter

Posted on November 6th, 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.

Aileen's Christmas report card

Aileen’s Christmas report card

May 4, 1917

Dear Aileen

I received a letter from mother today enclosing a copy of your Easter report. It was fine and Dad was so proud of it. He showed it to all the boys and Dan came in and of course I  had to show it to him, he was almost as pleased as I was.

I received the Easter parcel yesterday so was able to give Dan his bunny card also the bunch of grapes, which he and I are eating now. He had never seen anything like them before so was very pleased with them.

I would liked to have had Howard’s report too. It must have been fine and I am very much stuck up about you both.

The weather is sure lovely just now and the sun is fine and warm and as you know I like warm weather. It looks good to me.

I want to enclose a letter to Howard and so will finish this one.

Lots of love for you all from

Daddy

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.

Marsha Skrypuch at Blessed Kateri School

Posted on November 5th, 2012 by pajamapress

On October 29, 2012, Marsha Skrypuch and Tuyet Yurczyszyn (Nee Son Thi Anh Tuyet) visited Blessed Kateri School to talk about Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War and One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way, two non-fiction books that Marsha wrote about Tuyet’s dramatic childhood. The event was such a success that it was featured in the London District Catholic School Board’s Spotlight newsletter for November, 2012.

Click here and scroll down to the middle of the newsletter to read the story and see some great pictures.

 

We Had a Party!

Posted on November 2nd, 2012 by pajamapress

Nearly 200 guests turned out for the second annual Pajama Press book launch, art show and sale. We had some good conversation, great food, and nine talented Pajama Press authors and illustrators in attendance. Thank you to everyone who came out—we hope to see you again next year!

Click on a thumbnail to see the full picture.

Letters from WWI: The Teddy Bear

Posted on November 2nd, 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.

Aileen's teddy, sent to Lawrence at the front

Aileen’s teddy, sent to Lawrence at the front

Sept. 25, 1916

Dear May

I am awfully glad you decided to go to town for the winter and feel sure you will not regret it. First, there will not be so much to worry about, only the cooking for yourselves. Second you will be nearer to family should anything go wrong.  Thirdly you will be much nearer to your friends and will not get out of touch with civilization and last but not least, the kiddies will have a chance to go to school…

The weather here is very nice but for a while it was terrible, cold and wet and lots of mud. For two days we had to sleep out in the rain and mud and the consequence of that is most of us have colds and are full of rheumatism.

Tell Aileen I still have the Teddy Bear and will try to hang on to it for her. It is dirty and his hind legs are kind of loose but he is still with me.

Good night dear. Love to all. Hope you are all well.

Yours lovingly,

Laurie

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: Not a Picnic

Posted on November 2nd, 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.

Aileen feeding the chickens

Aileen feeding the chickens

Somewhere in France

Aug. 13, 1916

Dear May

I received a letter from you dated July 25. You are not the only one who is having a hot time for it is very hot over here but the nights are cold in fact it is necessary to have a blanket to sleep under.

Why does not Clinton try to get into the Canadian Army Medical Corps. I think it would be just the job for him and in my opinion is the best work in the whole army.

I had a nice letter from Harry Jackson the other day. He would like to come over but cannot, you know their little one has been in a plaster cast for a long time and he said that he could not come…the kiddie had to come first and I guess he is right.

How were you so lucky, or should I say successful, with the sweet peas this year. I never could make a success of them, perhaps Jan got them in earlier than I did and took more care of them. If you get anything like a decent offer for the hens let them go. It will be so much less work for you to do.

How did those apple trees come on, that I planted and was so proud of. They ought to have been in pretty good shape this year.

I can sleep on the floor or anywhere else for that matter now but would like to see a good, clean bed again for a while.

I have been put in charge of the dressing station for this trip and do not have to go into the frontline, which is something but don’t think it is all a picnic here for it certainly is not.

However, it is safer than the line. So we should be thankful for even that.

We had one busy day and then things seem to have quieted down, but one can never tell just how soon things will happen over here.

Tell Howard to write me a letter even if he does not like to write the practice will do him good and the letter will do me good. Also tell Aileen I am anxiously looking for another letter from her and some more cookies. The last were fine.

Well there is nothing much to write about, and as there are a few shells going overhead which makes me jumpy, will close. Love to all and hope you all sleep well.

Laurie

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.