Pajama Press

Archive for September, 2014

When Emily Carr Met Woo “will delight children and adults alike”—CM Magazine

Posted on September 19th, 2014 by pajamapress

WhenEmilyCarrMetWoo_RGB“…Dean Griffiths brings Woo and Emily to life with mixed-media paintings. Illustrating the story of another artist must surely be an intimidating task, but Griffiths captures Carr’s emotions clearly. Anyone who has visited Victoria will happily recognize some landmarks that Griffiths deftly includes.

When Emily Carr Met Woo will appeal to children who love animals, as well as art lovers. As an introduction to Emily Carr, who is often depicted as “a strange bird” or otherwise odd (even for an artist), the use of her mischievous monkey Woo will delight children and adults alike. When Emily Carr Met Woo is a definite addition to any home or classroom which values Canadian heritage. Highly Recommended.

Click here to read the full review.

Skydiver “An attractive, informative picture book.”—Booklist

Posted on September 17th, 2014 by pajamapress

SkydiverCover“This encouraging animal-rescue story features the world’s fastest animal: the peregrine falcon. Set in the era when scientists realized that DDT was thinning eggshells and endangering many bird species, the story is told in a simple, immediate manner, focusing mainly on the birds rather than on their rescuers. Two peregrines meet at their cliffside nesting site, where the male flies to a great height, plummets down, and then sweeps upward to join the female in an aerial courtship dance. Their first four eggs are taken by a woman lowered down the cliff by a rope. Of their next three eggs, two break during nesting, but they raise the remaining chick. Meanwhile, a rescue team hatches the first four eggs, nurtures the surviving three young birds, and releases them. An owl snatches one, but the others survive as city dwellers, living on a skyscraper ledge. Trained as a scientific illustrator as well as a biologist, Godkin uses soft, precise strokes of oil paint to create scenes of peregrines in captivity and in the wild. An attractive, informative picture book.”

Booklist praises the “lyrically written” Revenge on the Fly

Posted on September 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeOnTheFly“In 1912 Ireland, 12-year-old Will Alton has lost his mother and baby sister to disease. After immigrating to Canada, Will’s father gets a job in a stable, while Will goes to school. When a local newspaper claims that flies are the harbingers of disease and runs a contest with cash prizes for the most flies caught during a three-week period, Will sees an opportunity to avenge the deaths of his loved ones and also help his father make ends meet. Interspersed with Will’s clever and resourceful attempts to catch flies by the hundreds are his experiences at school, where he is known as the new kid, the poor kid, and the focus of the local bully. McNicoll has brought a little-known chapter of Canada’s history to life in this novel of a young boy learning what it means to grieve, to win, and to be a man. Reminiscent of the historical novels of Karen Hesse, this quiet story is lyrically written with a believable young protagonist and a thoughtful message of hope in the midst of trouble.”

Revenge on the Fly giveaway

Posted on September 12th, 2014 by pajamapress

How would YOU take revenge on the fly?

IRevengeFly_C_Dec5.inddn Sylvia McNicoll’s historical novel, the city of Hamilton joins other urban centres worldwide in fighting disease by staging a fly-catching contest. The city’s children vie for the top prize by smacking, stomping, swatting, and slapping as many of the “winged terrors” as they can.

If YOU would like to be the top fly catcher, head over to Twitter and tell us your best (and most original!) fly-catching technique. Include our handle, @PajamaPress1, and the hashtage #RevengeOnTheFly. We’ll be tweeting all the ways the inventive kids in the book catch and kill flies themselves.

Two winners, drawn from a pool of all the entries, will receive an autographed copy of Revenge on the Fly. This contest runs until Tuesday, September 16th and is open to entrants in Canada and the United States.

U.S. residents can also enter to win a signed copy through the Goodreads giveaway running until October 21st.

Don’t miss Sylvia McNicoll this Sunday at the Telling Tales Festival in Rockton, Ontario!


Moon at Nine “an extraordinary and original novel”—Small Press Bookwatch

Posted on September 10th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine“Although a deftly crafted work of fiction, “Moon At Nine” is based upon true events in Islamic countries where homosexuality is punishable by death. An extraordinary and original novel, “Moon At Nine” is recommended for young readers ages 13 and up and is appropriate for highschool and community library collections.”

Click here to read the full issue.

The Stowaways and Graffiti Knight shortlisted for Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards

Posted on September 4th, 2014 by pajamapress

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre announced the finalists for its 2014 children’s literature awards in a press release last night. Pajama Press congratulates Karen Bass, author of Graffiti Knight, and Meghan Marentette, author of The Stowaways, for their nominations to these auspicious awards.

GraffitiKnight_MedGraffiti Knight is a finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. The jury said, “The clash between the Soviet victors and the German people after World War II is masterfully captured in this exciting story of a teen in Berlin [sic] who deals with uncertainty at home and school by challenging his city’s new social order… Bass has created a character that engages readers with his anger, compassion and remorse… A well written and intriguing book possessing strong plot, characters and themes within a historical context.”


TheStowaways_C_July14.inddThe Stowaways is a finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy. The jury said, “Meghan Marentette has written a book ripe for reading aloud and sharing with the family… The Stowaways most importantly reminds us of the thrill and joy — and even the necessity — of adventure… Endearing characters, themes of innovation, adventure and courage, and a beautiful package combine to destine this charming animal fantasy to become a Canadian classic.”

The winners will be announced at the awards given at the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards gala in Toronto on November 6.

Dance of the Banished “meticulously researched and sensitively written”—Urve Tamberg

Posted on September 3rd, 2014 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_HR_RGB“…Meticulously researched and sensitively written…In her nineteenth book, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch again gives a revealing and compassionate voice to an under-represented group of people, and shines a light on little-known events in history. Writing about historical injustices for young adults requires a solid grip of the events, sensitivity, and the ability to juggle multiple perspectives in order to create a compelling story that not only keeps us turning the pages, but also brings forward truths that may have been forgotten or buried. Dance of the Banished enlightens us about the plight of the Alevi Kurds during World War 1, saddens us as we find out about the massacre of the Armenians, and maybe even embarrasses us as we discover how “foreigners” were treated in Ontario. Her characters are human, and multifaceted, and make us think about how we would react in times of great stress if our homeland, families, or loved ones were in danger. The answers are never easy, and Marsha does not shy away from difficult and heart-wrenching choices.”

Click here to read the full review.

School Library Journal reviews Revenge on the Fly

Posted on September 2nd, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeOnTheFly“If readers can stomach the grisly notion of flies being annihilated by the thousands, and several more raised for slaughter, then McNicoll’s novel offers a unique and unconventional view of the fight against disease plaguing the world at the beginning of the 20th century. It is the summer of 1912, and 12-year-old immigrant Will Alton has moved to Hamilton, Ontario with his father, where the local school sponsors a fly-catching contest to help rid the city of the ominous disease that is taking the lives of millions, young and old. Will yearns to avenge the lives of his mother and baby sister, prompting him to attempt to catch and kill more flies than all of the other participants. He must also grapple with an equally powerful urge to beat a rival competitor from school who cheats to win. Those who relish the notion of smashing, squashing, and swatting bugs should appreciate this novel in the same outrageous way as Thomas Rockwell’s How to Eat Fried Worms (Random, 1973). McNicoll, however, fuels the gross factor even more with graphic descriptions of the fly’s attraction to excrement and defecation on the same food eaten by people. This adds some scientific basis to the story, coupled with the fact that there really was a Fly-Swatting Contest in Canada. Ultimately, Will is portrayed as more than just a top-notch bug catcher; he comes to recognize that there is far more to bettering society and saving lives than winning contests. Pair this novel with Makiia Lucier’s A Death-Struck Year (Houghton Harcourt, 2014) for more in-depth knowledge about the fight against rampant disease.”