Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘Jan L. Coates’

Sky Pig has been nominated for a 2017 Atlantic Book Award

Posted on April 12th, 2017 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is excited to announce that one of our titles and illustrators have been nominated for a 2017 Atlantic Book Award.

Sky Pig by Jan L. Coates and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo is nominated for the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration

SkyPig_WebsiteIn Sky PigJan Coates weaves a story of sweetness and whimsy, ingenuity and empathy. Plasticine artist Suzanne Del Rizzo brings dimension and energy to the tale of a pig who wants—against all popular truisms—to fly. He may never reach the sky on homemade clockwork wings, but Ollie still dreams as hard as ever a pig can dream. And Jack, a true friend, realizes that just because a pig can’t fly in the ways they have tried doesn’t mean he can never soar. An uplifting picture book for anyone who has tried and tried again.

From the Atlantic Book Awards website:

“The Atlantic Book Awards Society (ABAS) is a registered non-profit organization with the mandate ‘to promote and acknowledge excellence in Atlantic Canadian writing and book publishing through an annual awards ceremony and related events.’

Currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the board of the Atlantic Book Awards Society is committed to being a truly regional organization with representation from all four Atlantic provinces.”

More information about the Atlantic Book Awards can be found on their website

See the full 2017 Atlantic Book Awards shortlist here

Three Pajama Press titles are finalists for the 2017 Willow Awards

Posted on April 5th, 2017 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is thrilled to announce that three of our titles have been nominated for the 2017 Willow Awards.

French Toastwritten by Kari-Lynn Winters and illustrated by François Thisdale, is a finalist for the Shining Willow Award.

FrenchToast_WebsiteIn this picture book, Phoebe, the daughter of a white French-Canadian mother and a Jamaican English-speaking father, dislikes her school nickname of “French Toast.” Gently prompted by her blind grandmother, she uses descriptions of familiar foods from both cultures to explain the family’s varied skin colors—and realizes she can take ownership of the nickname proudly. Quill & Quire says it is “simply told and cleverly imagined” in their starred review.


Sky Pig, written by Jan L. Coates and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo, is also a finalist for the Shining Willow Award.

SkyPig_WebsiteIn Sky Pig, Jan L. Coates weaves a story of sweetness and whimsy, ingenuity and empathy. Plasticine artist Suzanne Del Rizzo brings dimension and energy to the tale of a pig who wants—against all popular truisms—to fly. He may never reach the sky on homemade clockwork wings, but Ollie still dreams as hard as ever a pig can dream. And Jack, a true friend, realizes that just because a pig can’t fly in the ways they have tried doesn’t mean he can never soar. An uplifting picture book for anyone who has tried and tried again. Sky Pig is also a 2016 Best Books for Kids and Teens selection. 


The Hill by Karen Bass is a finalist for the Snow Willow Award.


Jared’s plane has crashed in the Alberta wilderness, and Kyle is first on the scene. After a night spent on the hilltop the teens discover something odd: the plane has disappeared. And worst of all, something is hunting them. Karen Bass, the multi-award-winning author of Graffiti Knight and Uncertain Soldier, brings her signature action packed style to a chilling new subject: the Cree Wîhtiko legend. Inspired by the real story of a remote plane crash and by the legends of her Cree friends and neighbours, Karen brings eerie life—or perhaps something other than life—to the northern Alberta landscape. The Hill was also a White Ravens 2016 selection, and a 2016 Best Books for Kids and Teens selection.

From the Willow Awards website:

“The mission of The Willow Awards is to promote reading by granting a “Willow Award” to the Canadian and/or Saskatchewan book(s) voted by Saskatchewan students to be the best of those nominated in designated categories for a specific year.”

For more information about these awards, please visit the Willow Awards website.

See the full list of 2017 Willow Awards finalists here.

Sky Pig “is a great story of never giving up and one of friendship” says Youth Services Book Review

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress

SkyPig_Website“This is a story of a pig and his friend, Jack. Jack helps Ollie as much as he can, but when he realizes that pigs just can’t fly, he comes up with an idea that makes everyone cheer. The illustrations are made from plasticine, polymer clay…They’re creative and fun and children will be able to recognize milkweed fluff and watch gears in the pictures. This is a great story of never giving up and one of friendship.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  I liked everything about this book.

To Whom Would You Recommend this book? This is recommended for ages 3-6. The pictures are large and the text is simple, so it would make a great read-aloud for a young audience at a story time….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes”
Sandra Pacheco, ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.

Click here to read the full review

“[P]arental read-aloud assistance will lend to this fun saga” Midwest Book Review says of Sky Pig

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress

SkyPig_Website“Suzanne Del Rizzo’s plasticine art brings a different visual perspective to this children’s picture book of a pig who wants to fly….Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will lend to this fun saga of a determined pig and his supportive friend.”

Click here to read the full review

Four Pajama Press titles featured in Best Books for Kids & Teens 2016 Fall Edition

Posted on January 20th, 2017 by pajamapress

Elliot_WebsiteElliot by Julie Pearson, illustrated by Manon Gauthier

“Elliot’s parents love him, but they don’t know how to take care of him. When a social worker name Thomas comes, Elliot’s world turns upside down….”

GoingForASeaBath_WebsiteGoing for a Sea Bath by Andrée Poulin, illustrated by Anne-Claire Delisle

“When Leanne complains that bath time is boring, her father has some excellent, terrific and spectacular ideas…This title is also available in French as Un bain trop plein!

SkyPig_WebsiteSky Pig by Jan L. Coates, illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo

“Ollie the pig wants to fly. Jack would do anything to make Ollie happy.”

TheHill_WebsiteThe Hill by Karen Bass

“After a night on the hilltop, the teens find everything in the forest has subtly changed… and the plane has disappeared. Even worse, something is hunting them.”

Sky Pig makes Kids’ BookBuzz reviewer Jewel want to make her own Plasticine pictures

Posted on January 10th, 2017 by pajamapress

SkyPig_Website“…I really liked Sky Pig but I think the illustrations were my favorite part. They were made out of plasticine, paper, fuzz, and even watch gears. The illustrations were so detailed, I couldn’t stop looking at the pages. These illustrations make me want to make my own plasticine pictures. I really like looking for the mouse and chicken with her egg on every page. I like that even when Ollie failed over and over again, he kept getting up and trying new ideas to help him fly. His friend Jack was a very good friend who was always there to help Ollie follow his dreams.”
—Jewel, Age 8

Click here to read the full review

“[T]he illustrations…are particularly eye-catching” in Sky Pig says the International Literacy Association

Posted on September 12th, 2016 by pajamapress

SkyPig_WebsiteThis child-friendly story provides a message about persistence and friendship while the illustrations, created with plasticine, polymer clay, paper collage, and various found objects including milkweed fluff and watch gears, are particularly eye-catching.

Click here to read the full review


Publisher’s Weekly commends Sky Pig‘s art and “imaginitive energy”

Posted on August 10th, 2016 by pajamapress

SkyPig_Website“Pigs and flying are the stuff of idiomatic legend, but a porker named Ollie is determined to make it happen in this offbeat story from Coates (Rocket Man) and Del Rizzo (Gerbil, Uncurled). With help from a young human friend, Jack, Ollie tries several methods of getting airborne, such as strapping branches to his body like wings and creating a parachute/kite hybrid. Every attempt ends with an “oooooomph!” and a “plop!” Del Rizzo stages the action in three-dimensional mixed-media scenes made from plasticine, clay, and other materials, capturing the imaginative energy Jack and Ollie bring to the task (one impressive set of wings features steampunk-style gears and straps) and the stinging defeats Ollie suffers. By the fourth time readers see the pig banged up from a fall, though, they’ll probably be ready for the story to move on, which it does with the arrival of a hot-air balloon.”

Click here to read the entire review.


Two Pajama Press books featured on Elizabeth Bird’s “Best of 2016…”

Posted on August 5th, 2016 by pajamapress

Elizabeth Bird, a librarian at New York Public Library, writer for the School Library Journal and influential voice in children’s literature, posted her list of “Some of the Best Picture Books of 2016 Thus Far (Mid-Year Summary)” earlier this week. Of the 81 titles listed, we are thrilled to have two of our titles included.  Elliot by Julie Pearson, one of our Spring titles, and Sky Pig by Jan L. Coates both received nods.

Elliot_WebsiteOf Elliot, she writes, “used in the right context, this book does something that no other book does.” She also took the time to write a very thoughtful review of Elliot, which can be found here.

SkyPig_WebsiteElizabeth Bird also has some very nice praise for Suzanne Del Rizzo’s Plasticine and multimedia illustrations in Sky Pig by Jan L. Coates: “Crazycool art going on here.  I think it’s all clay, but it’s hard to tell.  Whatever the medium is, it fits the storyline perfectly.  I always have so much fun reading the book that I forget to look up how it’s made.”

Click here to see the rest of Elizabeth Bird’s wonderful picks.

LittleFoxLost_WebsiteSpeaking of lists, our forthcoming winter title, Little Fox, Lost, appeared in Travis Jonker‘s “2016 is Foxy” roundup, where we’re pleased to find it in good company.

All three of these books, and the rest of our titles, can be purchased or pre-ordered at an independent bookstore near you.


Sky Pig highly recommended by Resource Links

Posted on June 15th, 2016 by pajamapress

SkyPig_Website“A whimsical story about a pig named Ollie, who wants to fly, and his best friend, Jack, who wants to help him succeed. Of course, pigs can’t fly, but Ollie’s determination to try and try and try sends a clear message to the reading audience—never give up on your dream and keep on trying to achieve it. Jack’s determination to help Ollie in his quest speaks to the importance of the champion who provides the support the questor needs to keep going. At the end of the story, Ollie does get to fly in a hot air balloon and complete his quest the best way he can.

Sky Pig
is delightful, not only for the story and its life lesson, but also for the colourful, mixed media illustrations which help provide the depth and breadth of the book. There is nothing flat in the story or in its presentation. Pre-readers will be able to tell a story from the beauty and texture of the illustrations of the pig who tries to fly and his help who cheers him on. This picture book is highly recommended for whole class reading, individual reading, as well as for students learning about and experimenting with art forms and art media.”