Pajama Press

Archive for March, 2014

Tweezle into Everything Book Trailer

Posted on March 28th, 2014 by pajamapress

Tweezle is the baby of his family, but he has some pretty big ideas. What is he up to? The monster family of Stephanie McLellan and Dean Griffith’s Hoogie in the Middle returns in Tweezle into Everything.

Having trouble with the video? Try watching the trailer on YouTube.

Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That Book Trailer

Posted on March 27th, 2014 by pajamapress


Nat the cat can sleep anywhere and any way—but can he sleep through the antics of a rambunctious kitten? Find out in Victoria Allenby and Tara Anderson’s award-winning book, perfect for bedtime and story time!


Moon at Nine Book Trailer

Posted on March 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

Based on extensive interviews with a young woman forced to flee Iran because of her sexual orientation, Moon at Nine enters an important conversation about social justice and human rights at a critical time. Internationally acclaimed author and humanitarian Deborah Ellis (The Breadwinner) brings her usual grace and sensitivity to a challenging issue, telling a haunting true story that will leave no reader unmoved.

Pajama Press Nominated for Small Press Publisher of the Year

Posted on March 26th, 2014 by pajamapress

LibrisAwardsLogoThe Retail Council of Canada has announced its longlists for the 2014 Libris Awards celebrating excellence in the Canadian book industry. We are honoured that our country’s bookselling community has nominated Pajama Press in the category of Small Press Publisher of the Year.

The Libris Awards honour outstanding contributions in a range of categories. The shortlists in each category will be decided in April, with the final winners announced at the Libris Awards Gala on June 2nd.

We are so proud to see our company name alongside so many outstanding presses, authors, booksellers, sales representatives, and our own distributor, University of Toronto Press.

Click here to view the longlists in each category.

Starred Review for Moon at Nine from Ken Setterington for Quill & Quire

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by pajamapress


“With her multiple award-winning works of fiction and non-fiction, Deborah Ellis has introduced readers to the harsh realities of life for youth around the world. Her latest novel, based on a true story, is another powerful, realistic tale that will capture the attention of teen readers.

In Moon at Nine, Ellis expertly weaves the politics, religion, and culture of 1988 Iran into the story of Farrin, a 15-year-old girl who obediently tries not to draw attention to herself. Her family’s wealth and support for the Shah put her at odds with the other girls at her Tehran school. When a new girl named Sadira arrives at the school, Farrin finds it impossible to maintain her low profile.

Sadira is irreverent, studious, and challenging. Most of her family was killed in a bombing and she now lives with her father in a small apartment. This austere existence contrasts with the lavish lifestyle maintained by Farrin’s family. Still, the girls become fast friends, and find their feelings developing slowly and realistically into love.

Homosexuality is illegal in Iran, and Ellis carefully handles the cultural taboos and legal restrictions of lesbian relationships. When the nature of Farrin and Sadira’s involvement comes into question, the girls’ lives change drastically. Farrin’s grandmother suggests a hasty engagement and marriage. Classmates are charged with policing the girls’ conduct, and when a secret kiss is observed at school, all contact between them is prohibited. The title comes from a pact made by the girls before they are separated—and eventually imprisoned—to look at the moon every night at nine o’clock, knowing the other is doing the same.

Moon at Nine is a riveting tale of young girls being true to themselves and their love, set against a political and cultural backdrop few readers will have first-hand knowledge of. Ellis once again proves she is a master storyteller. Readers will remember Farrin and Sadira long after the final page has been read.”

—Ken Setterington, author of Stonewall Honor Book Branded by the Pink Triangle

Cat Champions nominated for Hackmatack Award

Posted on March 21st, 2014 by pajamapress

CatChampionsPajama press is proud to announce that Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends   by Rob Laidlaw has been nominated for the 2014/2015 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award.

This award is an annual reading program that encourages literacy and the love of reading among children in grades 4, 5, and 6 in Atlantic Canada. The companion book to Cat Champions, No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, is nominated for the 2013/2014 award; those results will be announced later this spring. Learn more at

Congratulations to Rob and to all of the nominated authors!


“…the kids’ actions should inspire readers to get involved with rescue efforts in their own communities. This title would be useful for its information on young people and their determination to protect cats everywhere.”—School Library Journal

“The straightforward message, good examples and plentiful resources may well combine to inspire new advocates.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Written in a clear unpreachy style and brimming with lovely full-colour photos, this is an ideal volume for any young cat lover…”—Quill & Quire

“…the book’s centerpiece is the “cat champions,” or young people (some eight or nine years old) who have gone above and beyond to make life better for felines.…The list of organizations where kids can learn about ways they can help is extensive and useful.”—Booklist

“[A] book that will empower youth to help homeless cats… Attractive sidebars contain tidbits of information that will be of interest to cat lovers…Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine ****/4

“The information is easily accessible and the stories are engaging and heart-warming… This is a wonderful book for any animal lover.”—Resource Links

Three Pajama Press books shortlisted for CLA Awards

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to announce that three of our titles have been shortlisted for the 2014 Canadian Library Association Awards.

The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette, with illustrations by Dean Griffiths, has been shortlisted for the Book of the Year for Children Award. Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass and Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean have both been shortlisted for the Young Adult Book Award.

We congratulate our three nominated authors and look forward to hearing the award results the week of April 14th.

CM Magazine highly recommends Moon at Nine

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.inddBasing her book on a true story, Ellis has written a heartbreaking tale of prejudice and injustice. Ellis contrasts the sanctioned horrible treatment of human beings with an illegal love story...The characters are complex and carefully drawn…

While we recognize some progress in our country in terms of gay and lesbian rights, Moon at Nine is a sobering reminder that being gay or lesbian is still a criminal offence in many countries in the world, and for many, the penalty is death. Ellis has given us this reminder with yet another beautifully written story, the love story of Farrin and Sadira.

Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

Booklist enjoys “Allenby’s well-rhymed debut”

Posted on March 6th, 2014 by pajamapress

NatTheCat_Med“A playful black-and-white kitten observes the ease with which Nat, a larger tiger-striped at, can sleep anywhere at any time of day in Allenby’s well-rhymed debut picture book. In rich hues and textures, Anderson’s multimedia illustrations depict a home full of sunlit rugs, bookshelves, pianos, toy-strewn floors, half-full chests, and chairs of all shapes and sizes—any of which Nat can turn into the perfect place for a nap. Nat sleeps sprawled on his back, curled in a ball, with paw-covered eyes, and in many other feline postures, while the kitten busily spends his daytime hours sliding down a banister, experimenting with a toy wand, and smiling admiringly at his sleepy companion. But when nighttime comes, Nat is finally ready to play, and the kitten has a rambunctious companion of his own at last…that is, until he gets worn out and falls asleep on top of Nat. Sweet without being saccharine, this is a good choice for group read-alouds.”
Francisca Goldsmith

Featured Artist – Rebecca Bender

Posted on March 1st, 2014 by pajamapress

Rebecca Bender grew up in small-town eastern Ontario where her artistic mother let her daughter draw and paint alongside her at an early age. Even as a young child Rebecca took her art seriously, looking up to illustrators like the expressive Robin James (the Serendipity Series, 1974–) and the humorous Dr. Seuss.

Rebecca maintained her interest in art as she grew up, eventually graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design where she received the 2003 OCAD Medal for Illustration. Since then she has worked with a range of talented designers and art directors in a variety of graphic design positions—all of which, she says, has helped to develop her illustration work. Her big break as an author/illustrator came in 2011 with the publication of the picture book Giraffe and Bird, which won the OLA Blue Spruce Award in 2012. The following year its sequel, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, was an honor book for the same award.

Today Rebecca illustrates, writes, and works as an art director and graphic designer in Burlington, Ontario. In her most recent book, Peach Girl by Raymond Nakamura (May 15, 2014), she brings to life a feisty young girl who sets off through the countryside of Old Japan to find an ogre along with three friends, the humorous and expressive Monkey, Dog, and Pheasant.

A Conversation with Rebecca Bender

When did you first know you wanted to write and illustrate picture books?

I suppose I made up my mind as a child; I drew non-stop and often made little storybooks out of my drawings and characters that I came up with. Then I grew up and started to realize how difficult it was to get there, but that made it

all the more rewarding.

Your first two books, Giraffe and Bird and Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, have both received a very positive reaction. What was your favourite part about your journey with those two books?

I would have to say that meeting all the children, teachers, parents and book sellers that have enjoyed my books and shared with me their stories and enthusiasm has been the most rewarding part. I didn’t intend for these books to teach lessons, but it’s nice to hear that they have helped in little ways. (One librarian asked me to sign a book for her granddaughter, who was very shy and really connected with Don’t Laugh at Giraffe; her inscription went, “Don’t be afraid to get your hooves wet”).


A spread from Peach Girl, in progress

With Peach Girl, you’re illustrating someone else’s story for the first time. How does that experience compare to being an author-illustrator?

It was a nice change to illustrate someone else’s story with Peach Girl because I was able to put all my attention on the art, not thinking about re-writes and corrections, etc. It’s also a refreshing exercise to bring characters to life that someone else has created in words first — it gives me the chance to try to see things through another author’s eyes, creating things from their imagination.

Were the Japanese landscapes and animals in Peach Girl new territory for you as an artist? How did you meet that challenge?

I haven’t done a lot of historically-based illustrations, so it was a fun challenge to research and find the visual reference I needed to bring authenticity to this story.

Which Peach Girl character was your favourite to paint? Why?

I would say the dog was the most fun for me to paint. We had a lot of dogs growing up and I love how expressive they can be with their postures and body language—they are so emotional too—you can always tell how a dog is feeling.

What is it like to balance illustration, your day job, and two very young children?

It is challenging to find a good balance, especially because my studio/office is at home. I’m lucky that my day job (graphic design) works well with illustration in that they are closely related; doing one strengthens my skills in the other.


Rebecca’s studio (though the cats think it’s theirs)

Can you share any advice for other aspiring illustrators?

For other aspiring picture book illustrators, I would say to get involved in the industry as much as possible, and continually push yourself by working on new portfolio and promotional pieces. Make sure they reflect the style and range of subjects you’d like to be asked to do for someone else. Don’t make the art director guess what you’re capable of—show him or her.

Picture Book for Children Ages 5–8PeachGirl_C
978-1-927485-58-3 (HC)
32 Pages
List Price: $19.95 (HC)
Trim Size: 22.86 x 27.3 cm / 9 x 10.75 inches
Publication Date: May 15, 2014
On Sale Date: May 1, 2014