Pajama Press

Archive for April, 2014

The National Reading Campaign reviews Revenge on the Fly

Posted on April 29th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.indd“…In Revenge on the Fly, award-winning author Sylvia McNicoll breathes life into this little-known snippet of history. Through Will’s eyes we see, hear and smell his city; from its poor rooming houses to its grand mansions. Girls and boys, rich and poor, all enter the contest, pitting hardworking immigrants against the privileged few with all the prejudices, jealousies, and yearning attached to socio-economic disparity. Boys in particular will be fascinated by the uncountable ways one can swat, squish, pinch and vacuum up flies (not to mention some gruesome uses for manure).

It’s how you win, not what you win; who you are, not what you have. These are hard lessons to learn when revenge is on your mind. In a true test of successful historical fiction, we are completely immersed in Will’s world, and readers will await the outcome of the competition with bated breath.”

—Penny Draper

Click here to read the full review.

Sal’s Fiction Addiction learns much from Skydiver

Posted on April 28th, 2014 by pajamapress

Skydiver_C“…The fastest bird in the world? I had no idea. It upped the ante to find our more about them. Find out more I did…The informative text and detailed accompanying artwork show young readers the birds in their airy habitat, on the edge of a rock ledge. After hunting for needed food, the male is on his way back to the nest when he spots people nearby. One of those people climbs down to the nest, carefully removes the eggs and climbs back to the top of the cliff…The author assures that her readers understand  the danger that these beautiful birds have faced, and how their numbers are improving because of  the care and concern shown by leading scientists.

An author’s note encourages readers to find out more and includes this startling statistic: ‘Estimates vary, but one National Geographic team clocked a peregrine in a power dive at 242 miles(387 kilometers) an hour.”

Click here to read the full review.

“McNicoll…never submits to the predictable”—CanLit for LittleCanadians on Revenge on the Fly

Posted on April 25th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.indd“…Award-winning author Sylvia McNicoll who has penned numerous early chapter books, middle grade fiction and YA fiction, never submits to the predictable, in her storylines or characters. In Revenge on the Fly, Will, Fred, Ginny, Rebecca, Bea, Ian and Da have the true voices of individuals, never cardboard cut-outs. Even Finnigan has the yips and yaps of a true character, albeit a canine one. And while the ending is gratifying, it isn’t the all-tied-up-in-bows happy ending, because life isn’t like that and in 1912 it definitely wasn’t like that for poor Irish immigrants. Effortlessly Sylvia McNicoll finds the words to illustrate a tragic, but seemingly peculiar, episode in Canadian history and make it personal and unforgettable.”

Click here to read the full review.

CM Magazine calls Revenge on the Fly a “winner”

Posted on April 25th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.inddSylvia McNicoll, award-winning author of over thirty young people’s novels, has produced another winner…Revenge on the Fly will impress young readers with the importance of basic hygienic measures, like hand-washing, and could spark discussions about epidemics, the history of sanitation, and life in early 20th century Canada. McNicoll brings Will to life so thoroughly…Revenge on the Fly is a startling, thought-provoking work involving fully-rounded characters – and no one can accuse it of lacking realism! Highly recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

“Its importance is hard to deny.”—Smithsonian BookDragon on Moon at Nine

Posted on April 21st, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C“In her ending “Author’s Note,” mega award-winning Canadian author Deborah Ellis…who has built a renowned international reputation for giving voice to children in the most challenging circumstances around the world—explains how her latest novel is true…Adding a succinct historical overview of Iran’s history, Ellis is careful to balance details of Ayatollah Khomeini’s destructive regime with the rich diversity—especially artistically —of the country’s past. But neither does she shy away from the shocking numbers of tragic victims as they relate to this novel…As more and more states strike down anti-gay marriage laws, Moon at Nine is a chilling reminder of the suffering of too many others…its importance is hard to deny.”

Visit the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center BookDragon blog to read the full review.

Moon at Nine is “sensitive and passionate”—Quick Brown Fox

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C“…Multi award-winning author Deborah Ellis excels in creating stories of determination in the face of adversity and social injustice. Here, she presents us with a sensitive and passionate tale based on the true life experiences of a young woman in Iran, where execution is the accepted form of punishment for gays or lesbians.

This is a story of love, courage, perseverance and ultimate betrayal by family, friends and country. Beautifully told, Ellis’s work represents the struggles and efforts of young people everywhere to gain acceptance in a world where inclusivity is not just a dream, but a reality.”

Click here to read the full review.

A Good Trade nominated for Kentucky Bluegrass Awards

Posted on April 17th, 2014 by pajamapress

AGoodTradePajama Press is proud to announce that A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau has been nominated for the 2015 Kentucky Bluegrass Awards.

A student  choice award program, the Kentucky Bluegrass Awards are open to all public and private schools as well as public libraries in the state of Kentucky. The program has been encouraging young people to read quality literature for 32 years. Learn more at

A Good Trade, which highlights a day in the life of a young boy in rural Uganda, is also nominated for the 2014 OLA Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award.

Congratulations to both Alma and Karen. We’re thrilled that so many students will be reading A Good Trade.



Graffiti Knight wins CLA YA Book of the Year

Posted on April 17th, 2014 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is thrilled to announce that Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass has won the 2014 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year Award.

Graffiti Knight is a historical novel set in Soviet-controlled East Germany two years after the end of World War II. Wilm, the 16-year-old protagonist, is struggling to find his voice in a time and place where keeping your head down and doing as you’re told seems to be the only way to survive.

In a press release today, the CLA said, GraffitiKnight_Med

Graffiti Knight will capture you from the opening line, taking you on a journey into the world of post-war trauma, seeing life through Wilm’s eyes…The story is based on the actual events, it provides moments of suspense, hope, and nerve wracking action for the reader. As the story unfolds, Wilm gains confidence, courage, determination and maturity, all characteristics that take him from one adventure/escape to another.

This fast paced novel is realistic and readers can easily relate to the protagonist despite the difference in time and place. Bass’ extensive research adds depth to the story, allowing the reader to feel as if they are back in East Germany watching the plot play out, instead of reading the words in a book. Graffiti Knight will attract both male and female young adults, and adults too. The end result of that reading will not disappoint.”

The Award will be presented on May 29th at the CLA 2014 National Conference and Trade Show in Victoria, British Columbia.

We offer our heartiest congratulations to Karen Bass for this prestigious accomplishment.

Booklist recommends The Stowaways to DiCamillo fans

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

Stowaways_HR“Rory Stowaway longs for adventure. The other mice in his rural community mistrust the Stowaways’ history of exploring the World Beyond, and his own father is determined to keep his family safe at home. Meanwhile, as Rory learns more about his missing grandfather, he becomes determined to find and rescue him, even if he doesn’t quite see how it can be done. In her first novel, Marentette shows promise as a storyteller, creating distinctive characters, building tension, and grounding the fantasy with realistic settings and details. Appearing at intervals throughout the book, Griffiths’ lively shaded-pencil drawings capture the personalities of the characters and enhance the charm of the story. Maps on the endpapers encourage readers to trace Rory’s steps both in town and close to home. With its colorful, dramatic cover illustration, this appealing book will quickly find its audience, fans of mouse adventure tales from George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square (1960) to Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971) to Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Desereaux (2003).”

Carolyn Phelan

Moon at Nine is “inarguably powerful”—Booklist

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C“Fifteen-year-old Farrin lives with secrets. It is 1988, and Farrin’s wealthy parents are conspiring to install the Shah’s son to the throne. That is their secret; hers is even more dangerous. She is in love with Sadira, the new girl in school, who returns her feelings even though homosexuality is regarded as a crime punishable by death in Iran. When the Revolutionary Guard discovers them together, the girls are taken to prison and threatened with execution. How can they possibly survive?…it is inarguably powerful, and readers will identify with the two star-crossed girls who are victims of what seems to be an inhumane government. In an appended author’s note, Ellis chillingly reports that more than 4,000 lesbian and gay Iranians have been executed since 1979. A book study guide is included and will help encourage much needed discussion.”