Pajama Press

Archive for February, 2015

Bear on the Homefront Launch at the Canadian War Museum

Posted on February 17th, 2015 by pajamapress

Bear on the Homefront by Stephanie Innes and Harry Endrulat, illustrated by Brian DeinesThis winter, Teddy, the famous stuffed bear who travelled to the front lines of World War I and back again, received a new home in the Canadian War Museum’s newly renovated “Homefront” exhibit. Teddy’s World War I exploits are recorded in the picture book A Bear in War.

On Sunday, March 15th, a new book about Teddy’s World War II experience, Bear on the Homefront, will be launched at the Canadian War Museum. Children and their families can join co-author Stephanie Innes and illustrator Brian Deines for a book reading, art display, craft activity, and book signing. The event gets underway at 10:00 a.m.

In Bear on the Homefront, Teddy helps English guest children travel to host families on the Canadian home front during the Second World War. When two homesick children need a friend, Teddy bravely leaves his beloved Aileen to comfort them. But the war seems endless. Will Teddy and the children ever return to their homes again?

You can find more information about the Bear on the Homefront launch on the Canadian War Museum website.


Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis an Amelia Bloomer Project selection

Posted on February 17th, 2015 by pajamapress

Moon At Nine by Deborah Ellis - the true story of two girls who fell in love in post-revolution Iran Pajama Press is proud to announce that Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis has been selected as one of the titles to be honoured on the Amelia Bloomer Young Adult Fiction list in 2015.

Part of the American Library Association Social Responsibilities Round Table’s Feminist Task Force, the Amelia Bloomer Project recommends a list of the best feminist books for young readers each year. You can view the full 2015 list here.

Moon at Nine is the powerful story of two young teenaged girls in 1980s Iran whose friendship deepens into romance. In post-revolutionary Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death—but Farrin and Sadira refuse to deny their love. Author Deborah Ellis says, “Farin and Sadira’s story, based on true events, shows the power of love, of hope, and of the determination of women around the world to make things better.”

Moon at Nine has also been honoured recently as a Quill & Quire Book of the Year and an Ontario Library Association Best Bet. School Library Journal says, “Sparse and eloquently-written, this short historical novel is both beautiful and heartbreaking.” Publishers Weekly adds, “A firm grounding in Iranian history, along with the insight and empathy Ellis brings to the pain of those whose love is decreed to be immoral and unnatural, make this a smart, heartbreaking [novel.]”

Follow the links to access full reviews, a book trailer, interviews with Deborah Ellis, and a free downloadable classroom teaching guide.

“This rollicking story will charm pirate fans young and old”—Quill & Quire

Posted on February 12th, 2015 by pajamapress

BadPirate_Internet“Captain Barnacle is a good pirate: he’s saucy, bold, and selfish. So is his scurvy-ridden crew. His daughter, Augusta, however, is good natured and helpful, and thus a terrible pirate. When she offers to fix a rip in their ship’s sail, she is chastised for being too nice. Her father roars, “If I find a kindhearted matey on board, yez be the one feedin’ the fishes!” In an effort to please her father and show she can be bad, Augusta throws fellow pirate Scully’s peg leg overboard, though she feels sick with guilt afterward.

When a storm threatens the ship, Augusta defies orders and scurries up the rigging to repair the sail, averting disaster and proving she can be saucy and bold without being selfish. Her altruistic actions cause her father to revise his rules and opinion of what makes a good pirate.

This is a delightful book with a take-charge female protagonist who rejects her father’s expectations of stereotypical behavior and remains true to her own values. Kari-Lynn Winters’ text is as spirited as Augusta herself, sprinkled liberally with pirate slang and nautical terms (all helpfully explained on the endpapers). Veteran artist Dean Griffiths’ clever illustrations are filled with movement, drama, and visual jokes, often depicting the action from different perspectives (atop the main mast, water level outside the ship). The characters are dogs of different breeds dressed as pirates—a visual pun on the term “sea dogs”—and have wonderfully expressive, human-like faces. Captain Garrick wears a hook in place of one paw—a sly reference to the infamous Captain Hook…[T]his rollicking story will charm pirate fans young and old.

—Joanne Findon, a writer in Peterborough, Ontario.

CanLit for LittleCanadians reviews In a Cloud of Dust

Posted on February 12th, 2015 by pajamapress

homecover-in-a-cloud“…In a Cloud of Dust provides a glimpse into the lives of children who must travel long distances for the chance to attend school. Alma Fullerton’s text is modest in its quantity but weighty in its simple message of compassion and support, similar to her A Good Trade (Pajama Press, 2012) and Community Soup (Pajama Press, 2013) picture books…Brian Deines’ illustrations are incomparable, effectively portraying the dusty and lengthy distances over Anna must travel to school. Because of his reliance on oils, Brian Deines’ illustrations are highly evocative of the landscape and mood of the remote areas of Anna’s Tanzanian home, providing less detail and more ambiance than other media might provide, particularly in the brush of the illustrator of Bear on the Homefront (Innes and Endrulat, Pajama Press, 2014).

In the hands of Alma Fullerton and Brian Deines, the story of Anna and her travels to and from school are never lost In a Cloud of Dust.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

Click here to read the full review.

Dance of the Banished “an outstanding testament to Skrypuch’s mastery”—Canadian Children’s Book News

Posted on February 12th, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“It is June 1913, when Ali breaks the news to his fiancée Zeynep that he will be leaving their Anatolian village to go to Canada. Once there, he hopes to finally be able to save enough money to pay for her passage, and to build a new life for them there. But the world is on the brink of war and everything soon changes. The two record the events that they both witness in journal entries to each other, even though they both fear that they will never see one another again.

Alternating between these two sets of journal entries, readers learn Zeynep’s story of going to live and work with Christian missionaries. As World War I looms, she witnesses first-hand the horrors of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Young Turks who now control the government. Conditions for her and the other Alevi Kurds are only marginally better, but that is small consolation as she watches Armenian men, women and children being cruelly treated and marched to their deaths. Meanwhile, in Canada, Ali and the other Alevi Kurds who had tried to settle in Brantford, Ontario, are falsely accused of a crime and sent to an internment camp in northern Ontario. As these two separate stories unfold, a vivid and devastating picture unfolds.

This latest work is an outstanding testament to Skrypuch’s mastery as a writer of historical fiction for young readers. She has created forthright and dramatic accounts of two little-known events from that time period, inviting readers of all ages to try to understand the depth of suffering that these groups have experienced. She has put a profoundly human face on the horrors of war while also creating an insightful portrait of the Alevi Kurds. Zeynep and Ali are both forced to mature very quickly, and their development is convincing. Skrypuch skillfully captures their voices, their longing, their heartbreak and their courage.”

—Lisa Doucet

Graffiti Knight receives USBBY “Outstanding International Book” honour

Posted on February 2nd, 2015 by pajamapress

Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass has been honoured by the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) as one of six Outstanding International Books for grades 9–12 in 2015.

Chosen from among all books published outside of the United States but first distributed within that country in a given  year, the Outstanding International Books list is chosen based on the following criteria (taken from the USBBY website):

  • Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass, winner of the Geoffrey Bilson Award and the CLA Young Adult Book AwardBooks that represent the best of children´s literature from other countries
  • Books that introduce American readers to outstanding authors and illustrators from other countries
  • Books that help American children see the world from other points of view
  • Books that provide a perspective or address a topic otherwise missing from children´s literature in the U.S.
  • Books that exhibit a distinct cultural flavor
  • Books that are accessible to American readers.

Graffiti Knight has already received a number of significant awards, including the CLA Book of the Year Award, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature, and the CAA Exporting Alberta Award. Pajama Press congratulates author Karen Bass on yet another well-earned accolade.

Click here to view the full list of 2015 selections.

School Library Journal reviews Dance of the Banished

Posted on February 1st, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch“Gr 8 Up–Skrypuch continues to tell the stories of young refugees—as in The Hunger (2002), Nobody’s Child (2003, both Dundrun), and Daughter of War (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2008)—in her latest historical novel. Set between 1913 and 1917, it features two Alevi Kurd teenagers in Anatolia as World War I breaks out and Turkey begins the Armenian Genocide. Ali emigrates before the war begins and gives his girlfriend, Zeynep, a journal to write in for when they meet again. While in Canada, he is locked up in an internment camp because of his nationality, though he does not identify as Turkish. Meanwhile, Zeynep is witness to the genocide of her neighbors and is called to help. The author sheds light on an often overlooked piece of history….[T]he setting is fascinating, the research is thorough, and the story is made all the more interesting due to current events in the region. The author’s note is full of source notes and historical details…In a world that continues to be violent, readers may find solace in the novel’s joyful ending. VERDICT Dance of the Banished is absolutely school assignment worthy, and a good book for teens who enjoy historical fiction.”

—Lisa Nowlain, Darien Library, CT

A Brush Full of Colour a “wonderfully visual celebration”—Booklist

Posted on February 1st, 2015 by pajamapress

ABrushFullOfColour“Best known for his colorful paintings of the Yukon, Ted Harrison grew up in England’s drab, gray coal country. His military duties during World War II took him to India, Egypt, and Kenya. After the war, he taught art in Malaysia and New Zealand before he and his wife moved to Canada, where they fell in love with the Yukon. Inspired by the landscape, he moved away from his traditional, formal art training and developed his own distinctive style, notable for its simplified forms, unusual colors, and underlying sense of joy. Harrison has illustrated several books, including O Canada (1993) and Robert Service’s The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1988). Ruurs and Gibson’s beautifully designed volume combines a clearly written account of Harrison’s life and work with photos of his early years and, later, many of his paintings. Seldom does an artist’s biography for children offer so many beautiful reproductions of the subject’s work. Pair this inviting book with Ashley Bryan:Words to My Life’s Song (2009), another wonderfully visual celebration of an artist following his own path.”

—Carolyn Phelan

“An outstanding…biography about the life of Ted Harrison”—School Library Journal

Posted on February 1st, 2015 by pajamapress

ABrushFullOfColour“Gr 3-6–An outstanding, well-organized biography about the life of Ted Harrison, one of Canada’s most recognized and popular painters. The book chronicles the man’s life, from his birth in the coal mining town of Wingate, County Durham, England, where his father gave him pencil and paper and told him to draw; to art school and military service post–World War II, which gave him the opportunity to see the world; to teaching art in Malaysia; and finally immigrating to Canada and combining all the designs and techniques he had seen around the world and finding his own style. Harrison vowed that his paintings would only depict positive images. He developed a colorful, vibrant technique that reflected the joys of life. While many love his work, others are more critical. However, Harrison remains upbeat: “‘We must be who we are in everything we do, no matter what others say.’” This book is filled with quotes from Harrison and examples of his work, all demonstrating his love for vivid colors and flowing lines. VERDICT A joy to look at and an inspiration to read.”
—Paula Huddy, The Blake School-Highcroft Campus, Wayzata, MN