Pajama Press

Archive for September, 2015

“Loads of drama” in Bad Pirate, says Booklist

Posted on September 30th, 2015 by pajamapress

Bad Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters and Dean Griffiths“Whether or not a band of pirates is a bunch of salty dogs (and in this case they literally are), one thing is for sure: pirates are selfish! Augusta Garrick is a good-natured, helpful spaniel pup and the daughter of a bad-natured, horrible pirate captain. As he endlessly reminds her (while she does things like rescue small dogs who have walked off the plank), she must be saucy, bold, and selfish if she wants to be a “good” pirate. But when a storm hits and the sails are torn, it may be better if everyone aboard is selfless instead. Winters spreads loads of drama and humor throughout, and Griffith’s expert illustrations are vibrantly colored and posed. Each breed of dog, fairly realistically drawn, is delightfully depicted in pirate garb with expressions that heighten the tension when the seas get rough. Landlubbers will discover fun details upon multiple readings, which will be welcome as this charming moral turnaround tale is accomplished without a sugar coating. These are despicable sea dogs after all!”

— April Mazza

Talk Like A Pirate Day Photo Gallery

Posted on September 21st, 2015 by pajamapress

A vast  crew of pirates descended on Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day with Kari-Lynn Winters, author of Bad Pirate. Special thanks to our mateys at Ella Minnow and at The Beaches Bake Shop and Café, who donated some tasty provisions for the day.

Captain Barnacle sizes up Captain Kari-Lynn   Arrr, he be takin' a captive!    Mateys Getting ready fer a pirate speech sound-off    Arrr, they be the terrors of the sea and no mistake    Preparin' fer the pirate parade   Special thanks to The Beaches Bake Shop & Café for donating some tasty provisions!    The Ella Minnow crew (Rose, Heather, and Yvette) with Kari-Lynn


Mind how ye go, Dean Griffiths—this artistic sea pup may just commandeer yer illustration gig! Fer some pirates, the pen be mightier than the sword. What be this sea pup up to? Puttin' the "Jolly" in "Jolly Roger" A young scab an' his sword Piracy be great fun fer the whole family! Like Captain Barnacle Garrick, this father be mighty proud of his pirate child. Best keep a weather eye out fer this fierce buccaneer! This young pirate charmed the hearts of even the saltiest of sea dogs Walk the plank! Kari-Lynn Winters signs copies of Bad Pirate Families face off in translating some tricky piratical language Bookstore dog Finn mans the front door

Quill & Quire praises Timo’s Garden

Posted on September 17th, 2015 by pajamapress

Timo's Garden | Victoria Allenby & Dean Griffiths | Pajama Press“Encouraged to sign up for Toadstool Corners’ Great, Green Garden Tour, rabbit Timo begins feverishly planning and improving his garden. With rhythmic pairings of activity (“He trimmed and he tidied. He hurried and he scurried. Her raked and he staked. He worked and he worried”), Timo toils with boundless determination and relentless perfectionism, leaving little time to spend with his friends. Though tempted by Hedgewick’s spinach cakes, a visit to the lake, and tennis with Suki, it is only when a rainy day interrupts his efforts that Timo realizes he should have been tending to his friendships instead of his plants.

With deft pen and colour, respectively, author Victoria Allenby and illustrator Dean Griffiths pay homage to the characters (rabbit, hedgehog, mouse, frog, and badger) and gardens in the stories of Beatrix Potter while providing a light, cautionary tale about finding balance. Unlike Allenby’s fun 2013 picture book, Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That (Pajama Press), which focused on true feline behaviour, Timo’s Garden takes an anthropomorphized approach and will speak to any reader who might get too wrapped up in seemingly important endeavors.

The images by Griffiths, whose artwork has graced more than 25 children’s books, complement the message. His endearing creatures, vibrant flowers, and brilliant garden designs will transport readers to a storybook world in which friends are riches not to be overlooked.”
—Helen Kubiw

A version of this review appears on Helen’s blog, CanLit for LittleCanadians

Dance of the Banished Nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People

Posted on September 10th, 2015 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websitePajama Press is pleased to announce that Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has been shortlisted for the 2015 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

This Young Adult novel, set in Canada and Anatolia during World War I, uses a compelling love story to explore two difficult and significant historical events: the internment of so-called enemy aliens in Canada, and the Armenian Genocide. Skrypuch, the granddaughter of a World War I internee, conducted extensive research into history that had not been brought to light in 100 years.

Ali and Zeynep, the novel’s protagonists, are betrothed Anatolian teenagers caught by circumstances that threaten to separate them forever. While Ali has found passage to a better life in Canada, war breaks out in 1914; he is declared an enemy alien and sent to an internment camp. Meanwhile, left behind in a country plunged into war and revolution, Zeynep is determined to stay alive and—despite the impossible odds—cross a continent and an ocean to find Ali again. First, though, she must find a way to save her Christian Armenian neighbours from the horrors of the Armenian Genocide.

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the multi-award winning author of more than a dozen historical picture books, chapter books, and juvenile and young adult novels, including three other novels about the Armenian genocide: The Hunger, Nobody’s Child, and Daughter of War. Her first work of narrative non-fiction, Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, won the Red Cedar Information Book Award, was an OLA Red Maple Honour Book, and was nominated for the Hamilton Literary Award. It was followed in 2012 by One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way, winner of the 2014 OLA Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award. In 2008, in recognition of her outstanding achievement in the development of the culture of Ukraine, Marsha was awarded the Order of Princess Olha, which was bestowed upon her personally by the president of Ukraine. Marsha lives in Brantford, Ontario.

The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People is administered annually by the TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Established in memory of children’s author and historian Geoffrey Bilson, it awards $5,000.00 to the Canadian author of an outstanding work of historical fiction for children or young adults. The winner will be announced at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards Gala in Toronto on November 18th.

A Brush Full of Colour nominated for prestigious TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

Posted on September 10th, 2015 by pajamapress

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. A picture book biography by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine GibsonPajama Press is pleased to announce that A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson has been shortlisted for the 2015 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.

This beautiful picture book biography, which includes a forward by Harrison himself, is the only book for young readers written about Canada’s most famous artist of the Yukon. Since its publication in 2014 it has been nominated for a number of awards, including the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award, and the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award.

Ted Harrison, who passed away in early 2015, was one of Canada’s most celebrated artists; his distinctive and colourful paintings of the Arctic and the West Coast are recognized around the world. Ted’s many honours include the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour. Several generations of schoolchildren have grown up familiar with his work through picture books like A Northern Alphabet, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, and The Cremation of Sam McGee.

In A Brush Full of Colour, readers learn how Harrison’s passion for learning saved him from a life in England’s coal mines and set him on a road of worldwide travel that led him to the incredible Yukon he had read about as a child. The story is illustrated with Harrison’s own drawings and paintings, showing how the classically trained artist developed his unique and colourful style.

Margriet Ruurs is the award-winning author of more than two dozen books for children. When she isn’t giving workshops at international schools around the world, Margriet runs a booklover’s bed and breakfast on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Learn more at

Katherine Gibson is the best-selling author of four non-fiction books. Her work has been published internationally in several languages. Katherine’s extensive research for the illustrated biography Ted Harrison: Painting Paradise was instrumental in the writing A Brush Full of Colour. Katherine lives on Vancouver Island. Learn more at

The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, administered by the TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, is awarded to the most distinguished children’s book of each year. The winner will be announced at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards gala in Toronto on November 18th.

Once Upon a Line “is an educator’s delight,” says CM Magazine

Posted on September 8th, 2015 by pajamapress

OnceUponALine-COVER-FAKE-FOIL_RGB_500px“…Edwards’ work is an educator’s delight as it offers countless instructional opportunities in storytelling, creative writing, and visual arts. Children will unquestionably enjoy the interactive nature of the book and how it openly invites them to make the stories their own. Perhaps most importantly, Once Upon a Line allows children to recognize that even the grandest of ideas often begins from something rather small.

A wonderful addition to any classroom, school or home library, Once Upon a Line will most certainly appeal to a wide audience of readers for years to come.

 Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

“Readers will be clamoring for another Evie book,” says Publishers Weekly

Posted on September 8th, 2015 by pajamapress

MaroonedInManhattan_Website“Twelve-year-old Evie’s mother has died, giving custody of Evie to an uncle she barely knows in New York City. Evie is loathe to leave her home in Dublin, so she and Uncle Scott strike a bargain that Evie will spend the summer in New York and then decide if she wants to stay or return to Ireland to live with her godmother. This hook, along with a prologue that finds Evie stuck in a building’s trash chute after escaping a security guard, lend structure to an otherwise delightfully anecdotal plot that shifts between Evie’s adjustment to Manhattan (including her helping out at her uncle’s veterinary practice and her crush on an older boy) and flashbacks to her life in Ireland.

Newcomer Agnew gives Evie an engaging balance of sarcasm, vulnerability, and humour, and the story’s secondary characters are equally well-developed and entertaining….The cliffhanger ends the story on a gripping note, but readers would be clamoring for another Evie book even without one.”

Four Pajama Press Authors on the 2016 TD Book Week Tour

Posted on September 1st, 2015 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is excited to announce that four of our authors and author/illustrators will be touring as part of TD Canadian Children’s Book Week 2016.


Rebecca Bender, author and illustrator of the Giraffe and Bird books and illustrator of Peach Girl by Raymond Nakamura

Wallace Edwards, author and illustrator of the forthcoming Once Upon a Line

Sarah Ellis, author of A+ for Big Ben and Ben Says Goodbye


Margriet Ruurs, co-author of A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison

TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is an annual festival that celebrates Canadian children’s books and the importance of reading. This year 30 authors, illustrators, and storytellers will travel to events in every province and territory, presenting to over 28,000 participants.

Visit the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and the  TD Book Week website to learn more.