Pajama Press

Archive for January, 2016

Kirkus Reviews praises “heartfelt picture book” A Year of Borrowed Men

Posted on January 22nd, 2016 by pajamapress

A Year of Borrowed Men | Michelle Barker & Renné Benoit | Pajama Press“A tender memoir of human decency during wartime as seen through the eyes of the author’s then-8-year-old mother. The setting for Barker’s story is rural Germany toward the end of World War II. Her mother’s family has been sent three French prisoners of war to help at the farm, as German menfolk were in short supply. These are the borrowed men. “When the war was over, we would have to give them back.” This sentence, early on, conveys the youthful sense of fairness that permeates the book: the Frenchmen should be treated with respect, fed well, allowed to celebrate holidays. Barker’s grandmother did just so and quickly learned she would be imprisoned if she continued….Readers will learn some French and German, get a look at life on a farm during wartime, and get the slightest bitter taste of how war changes people: the village policeman used to be kind, ‘but since the war began, he had changed, and we knew enough to be afraid of him.’ An author’s note reveals that Barker’s grandfather would not return from war, nor would her uncle, who is an important character of the story. The addition of old family photos from that time is poignant. This heartfelt picture book helps readers appreciate wartime’s toll.”

Elliot “A simple yet powerful tale of hope, love, and belonging”—CM Magazine

Posted on January 19th, 2016 by pajamapress

“…The illustrations in Elliot are beautifully designed using a simple collage format and soft neutral tones. Gauthier’s pencil lines and detailed sketching are clearly visible throughout, adding a delightfully innocent and child-like feel to the book. The text flows effortlessly from beginning to end and offers repetitive passages which young children will unquestionably enjoy reciting aloud…

Elliot_WebsiteSince relatively few picture books currently exist that offer an intimate glimpse into the foster child system, Elliot is a much welcomed and necessary literary contribution. Children who have undergone experiences similar to those of Elliot will undoubtedly enjoy having a story and character that they can easily identify with. This book would be a valuable contribution to any primary classroom, particularly those including students who reside in foster homes. A simple yet powerful tale of hope, love, and belonging, Elliot tugs on the heartstrings and leaves readers with a heightened appreciation of the courage and resiliency of foster children and their families.

Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

Three Pajama Press Books Nominated for the Rainforest of Reading

Posted on January 13th, 2016 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is pleased to announce that three of our picture books have been nominated for the 2016 Rainforest of Reading Award: Bad Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters and Dean Griffiths, In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton and Brian Deines, and Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin.

Bad Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters and Dean Griffiths homecover-in-a-cloud Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia Godkin

Inspired by the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading program, the Rainforest of Reading is a book festival that brings award-winning children’s literature from Canada to primary schools in Saint Lucia, Grenada, Montserrat, and Nevis. For three weeks in March 2016, 8,500 students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will read and engage with the twelve nominated books. At the end of the three weeks, students will vote for their favourite book and many will attend a day-long celebration with the authors and illustrators themselves.

We are thrilled that our books will be a part of this important literacy initiative. Congratulations to our participating authors and illustrators!


The Rainforest of Reading will announce full festival information on their new website, to be unveiled on February 5, 2016

Dance of the Banished a USBBY Outstanding International Book

Posted on January 9th, 2016 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websiteDance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has been selected as an Outstanding International Book by the United States Board on Books for Young People for 2016. This is a high honour given to a shortlist of books first published outside of the United States that are “deemed most outstanding of those published during the calendar year.” (USBBY website). These books:

  • Represent the best of children´s literature from other countries
  • Introduce American readers to outstanding authors and illustrators from other countries
  • Help American children see the world from other points of view
  • Provide a perspective or address a topic otherwise missing from children´s literature in the U.S.
  • Exhibit a distinct cultural flavor
  • Are accessible to American readers.

Dance of the Banished is also the winner of the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, a White Ravens Selection, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Best Books for Kids & Teens selection.