Pajama Press

Archive for May, 2014

No Shelter Here Wins the Hackmatack Award

Posted on May 30th, 2014 by pajamapress

NoShelterHere_CPajama Press is proud to announce that No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs by Rob Laidlaw has won the 2013/2014 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award for English Non-Fiction.

No Shelter Here has proven to be a popular children’s choice  book; it has already won the 2013 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award and is nominated for the 2014/2015 Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award.

The Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award is a reading program that encourages a love of reading among children in grades 4–6 in Canada’s Atlantic provinces. Participating students choose their favourite books from among a list of 10 in each category: English Fiction, English Non-Fiction, French Fiction, and French Non-Fiction. You can read about this year’s other three winners here.

Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends is the companion book to No Shelter Here. It is already nominated for next year’s award program, and we look forward to sharing it with students in Atlantic Canada in the 2014–2015 school year.

Congratulations, Rob, and congratulations to all of the students who read and voted this year!

Kirkus Reviews enjoys “gritty” and “entertaining” Revenge on the Fly

Posted on May 28th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeOnTheFly_C“A fly-catching contest comes to dominate the life of new Irish immigrant Will in 1912 Hamilton, Ontario. 

Life isn’t easy for the 12-year-old. His mother and young sister recently died, money is very tight, and rich boy Fred, a new classmate, is savoring every opportunity to humiliate him. Opportunity knocks when the local newspaper offers a $50 prize for killing the most flies as part of an effort to reduce disease. The competition is ruthless, with Fred and his minions collecting thousands of flies and Will trying lots of clever tricks to pull even. Another poor child, Ginny, is besotted with Fred but gradually comes to see the truth about the bully and switches her loyalty and friendship to Will. He struggles with the ethics of his tricks, reminded by the wealthy but even-minded Rebecca of a nobler mission. While the dead-fly count reaches an awesome, even unbelievable level, an author’s note states that the tale is accurately based on a real contest….McNicoll paints a believably gritty portrait of urban life a century ago. 

An entertaining visit to the past with a likable guide on a spirited—if icky—quest. (Historical fiction. 9-14)”

The Calgary Herald reviews Peach Girl and When Emily Carr Met Woo

Posted on May 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

PeachGirl_C“A young girl springs forth from a giant peach declaring she is here to make the world a better place. Dressed in peach attire, she heads off with her three animal friends to confront the local ogre. Vivid pictures and fun characters remind the reader that looks can be deceiving. This quirky Japanese tale will appeal to ages five to eight.”
—Barbra Hesson

WhenEmilyCarrMetWoo_C“This true story follows the famous painter Emily Carr as she struggles to make a living from her art. In addition to her dogs, cats, a parrot, and rat, she gets a mischievous monkey and names [her] Woo. This touching story will appeal to adults who want to share art and Canadian history with young readers ages five and up.”
—Barbra Hesson

Click here to visit the Calgary Herald website.

The National Reading Campaign thinks Nakamura, Bender’s book is “Peachy”

Posted on May 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

PeachGirl_C“Nakamura has created an iconic figure in the dauntless Momoko. She is a force of nature who strides through the rural Japanese landscape with no hesitation, doubt or fear. Bender’s illustrations are bigger than life and saturated with exuberant colour. There is detail and depth in the pictures that will hold a child’s attention for a long time. In one spread Momoko’s beautiful, expressive face is so animated with inner light that one almost expects her to start moving and talking. In another, the ogre’s pagoda climbs majestically and mysteriously into the clouds. The simple text is vivid with drama as the ogre’s reputation grows ever more terrifying, relieved by a fine sense of comedy and repeated jokes.

As Momoko likes to say whenever she is pleased, this book is “Peachy!” in all its lush, juicy goodness.”
—Charis Cotter

Click here to read the full review.

Nix Minus One wins Ann Connor Brimer Award

Posted on May 22nd, 2014 by pajamapress

NixMinusOnePajama Press is proud to congratulate Jill MacLean, whose young adult novel Nix Minus One has won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature. The award was presented yesterday at the Atlantic Book Awards gala in Charlottetown, PEI, following a week-long festival with events across the Atlantic provinces.

A powerful story about a teenaged boy growing up in small-town Newfoundland, Nix Minus One has also been nominated for the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year, the White Pine Award, and the Snow Willow Award, among other honours.

A second Pajama Press title, The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette, was also shortlisted for this award. Both authors are residents of Nova Scotia.

The Ann Conner Brimer Award is given annually “to the author of a children’s book which has made an outstanding contribution to children’s

literature in Atlantic Canada” ( This is the third time a book by Jill MacLean has been selected.

Pajama Press is honoured to have Nix Minus One chosen for this prestigious award.

Authors Meghan Marentette, Janet Cameron, Jan Coates, and Jill MacLean at the gala

Authors Meghan Marentette, Janet Cameron, Jan Coates, and Jill MacLean at the gala

Namesake shortlisted for IODE Violet Downey Book Award

Posted on May 20th, 2014 by pajamapress

Namesake_CPajama Press is proud to announce that Namesake by Sue MacLeod has been shortlisted for the National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award.

Given each year to the best English-language book for children aged 13 and under that contains at least 500 words of text, the award will be celebrating its 30th anniversary on May 30th, 2014. That night, at IODE Canada’s National Annual Meeting, the winner of this year’s award will be announced from a shortlist of five titles.

IODE Canada is “a national women’s charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals through education support, community service and citizenship programs.” For more information, visit the organization’s website at

Pajama Press extends its heartfelt congratulations to Sue MacLeod.

Quill & Quire reviews Sylvia McNicoll’s Revenge on the Fly

Posted on May 16th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.indd“In veteran children’s author Sylvia McNicoll’s new book, grief and anger are the overriding emotions 12-year-old Will Alton feels over the loss of his baby sister and mother to illness in the family’s native Ireland, even as he and his father embark on a fresh start in 1912 Hamilton, Ontario. When Dr. Roberts, Hamilton’s health officer, visits Will’s new school to speak about the role of flies in the transmission of disease, and to announce an essay and fly-killing contest (“You can be a hero to your city, vanquish disease, and win great prizes too”), Will is eager to win.

As determined as Will is to kill “the miserable creatures that had caused my family so much grief” and win $50 to help his father find them a new home (away from the rooming house of the vile Madame Depieu), hostile classmate Fred Leckie is just as relentless. Worse still, Fred has the advantage of being wealthy enough to bribe others to do the work for him, and a father with a factory of workers whom he compels to help his cause. Fortunately Will is tireless, clever, and goodhearted, attributes that are always valuable when facing challenges.

McNicoll never allows her characters or storyline to become predictable. Will, his father, and the rest of the cast possess individual voices that ring true and avoid cliché. And, while the ending is satisfying, it isn’t neatly tied up with a bow. Rather, McNicoll illustrates how difficult life was for poor immigrants in the early part of the last century by framing their struggles against a tragic, peculiar episode in Canadian history.”

—Helen Kubiw

CM Magazine highly recommends Skydiver

Posted on May 16th, 2014 by pajamapress

Skydiver_CChoosing the peregrine falcon as the subject of her latest book is a wise, if not brilliant, choice. There is something about raptors that is particularly fascinating to the young. Perhaps it is their speed or their power or what appears to us as brutality that holds us in awe of these birds of prey.

Godkin’s writing is clear and concise and well-researched…..The author/illustrator’s dramatic full-colour paintings illuminate each page….Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World is well worth a place on the shelves of the wildlife section in an elementary school library. Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

One Step at a Time Wins Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award

Posted on May 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

OneStepAtATimePajama Press is proud to announce that One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way  by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has won the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Book Award™ at today’s Festival of Trees in Toronto. The longest-running award in the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading® program, the Silver Birch Award is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

One Step at a Time is the companion book to Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, which was an honour book for the Red Maple Non-Fiction Award™ last year. Last Airlift has also won the Red Cedar Information Book Award and been a Top-5 Finalist for the CYBILS Award, a Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice, and a Bank Street Best Book. One Step at a Time was also a finalist for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award, a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens starred selection, and a Bank Street Best Book.

This is the second year in a row that a Pajama Press book has won the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award™. Last year Rob Laidlaw’s No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs took home that honour. This year two other Pajama Press books were nominated for the Forest of Reading®: A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau for the Blue Spruce Award™, and Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean for the White Pine Fiction Award™.

The Forest of Reading® is a children’s choice reading program run by the Ontario Library Association. Each year, over 250,000 participants read a shortlist of books in their age category and vote for their favourites. Pajama Press is honoured to be a part of this important program, which brings excellent Canadian literature to more children than any other reading program in the country.


Congratulations, Marsha!

4 Pajama Press books selected in Best Books For Kids & Teens

Posted on May 12th, 2014 by pajamapress

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre‘s semi-annual publication Best Books for Kids & Teens has selected four Pajama Press books in its Spring 2014 edition:

NatTheCat_CNat the Cat Can Sleep Like That by Victoria Allenby with illustrations by Tara Anderson

Stowaways_CThe Stowaways by Meghan Marentette with illustrations by Dean GriffithsStarred Selection

GraffitiKnight_CGraffiti Knight by Karen BassStarred Selection

CatChampions_CCat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends by Rob LaidlawStarred Selection

Congratulations to our authors and illustrators whose work has been honoured!