Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘Juvenile’

Kirkus Reviews enjoys “gritty” and “entertaining” Revenge on the Fly

Posted on May 28th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeOnTheFly_C“A fly-catching contest comes to dominate the life of new Irish immigrant Will in 1912 Hamilton, Ontario. 

Life isn’t easy for the 12-year-old. His mother and young sister recently died, money is very tight, and rich boy Fred, a new classmate, is savoring every opportunity to humiliate him. Opportunity knocks when the local newspaper offers a $50 prize for killing the most flies as part of an effort to reduce disease. The competition is ruthless, with Fred and his minions collecting thousands of flies and Will trying lots of clever tricks to pull even. Another poor child, Ginny, is besotted with Fred but gradually comes to see the truth about the bully and switches her loyalty and friendship to Will. He struggles with the ethics of his tricks, reminded by the wealthy but even-minded Rebecca of a nobler mission. While the dead-fly count reaches an awesome, even unbelievable level, an author’s note states that the tale is accurately based on a real contest….McNicoll paints a believably gritty portrait of urban life a century ago. 

An entertaining visit to the past with a likable guide on a spirited—if icky—quest. (Historical fiction. 9-14)”

Quill & Quire reviews Sylvia McNicoll’s Revenge on the Fly

Posted on May 16th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.indd“In veteran children’s author Sylvia McNicoll’s new book, grief and anger are the overriding emotions 12-year-old Will Alton feels over the loss of his baby sister and mother to illness in the family’s native Ireland, even as he and his father embark on a fresh start in 1912 Hamilton, Ontario. When Dr. Roberts, Hamilton’s health officer, visits Will’s new school to speak about the role of flies in the transmission of disease, and to announce an essay and fly-killing contest (“You can be a hero to your city, vanquish disease, and win great prizes too”), Will is eager to win.

As determined as Will is to kill “the miserable creatures that had caused my family so much grief” and win $50 to help his father find them a new home (away from the rooming house of the vile Madame Depieu), hostile classmate Fred Leckie is just as relentless. Worse still, Fred has the advantage of being wealthy enough to bribe others to do the work for him, and a father with a factory of workers whom he compels to help his cause. Fortunately Will is tireless, clever, and goodhearted, attributes that are always valuable when facing challenges.

McNicoll never allows her characters or storyline to become predictable. Will, his father, and the rest of the cast possess individual voices that ring true and avoid cliché. And, while the ending is satisfying, it isn’t neatly tied up with a bow. Rather, McNicoll illustrates how difficult life was for poor immigrants in the early part of the last century by framing their struggles against a tragic, peculiar episode in Canadian history.”

—Helen Kubiw

One Step at a Time Wins Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award

Posted on May 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

OneStepAtATimePajama Press is proud to announce that One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way  by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has won the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Book Award™ at today’s Festival of Trees in Toronto. The longest-running award in the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading® program, the Silver Birch Award is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

One Step at a Time is the companion book to Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, which was an honour book for the Red Maple Non-Fiction Award™ last year. Last Airlift has also won the Red Cedar Information Book Award and been a Top-5 Finalist for the CYBILS Award, a Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice, and a Bank Street Best Book. One Step at a Time was also a finalist for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award, a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens starred selection, and a Bank Street Best Book.

This is the second year in a row that a Pajama Press book has won the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award™. Last year Rob Laidlaw’s No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs took home that honour. This year two other Pajama Press books were nominated for the Forest of Reading®: A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau for the Blue Spruce Award™, and Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean for the White Pine Fiction Award™.

The Forest of Reading® is a children’s choice reading program run by the Ontario Library Association. Each year, over 250,000 participants read a shortlist of books in their age category and vote for their favourites. Pajama Press is honoured to be a part of this important program, which brings excellent Canadian literature to more children than any other reading program in the country.

MarshaAwardCropped

Congratulations, Marsha!

Cat Champions Nominated for Red Cedar Book Award

Posted on May 12th, 2014 by pajamapress

CatChampions_CPajama Press extends its heartfelt congratulations to Rob Laidlaw, whose book Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends has been nominated for the 2014–2015 Red Cedar Book Award.

A young reader’s choice book program for the province of British Columbia, the Red Cedar Book Award encourages thousands of children between grades 4 and 7 to read a shortlist of fiction and non-fiction books, and to vote for their  favourites. The 2014–2015 list will be officially launched in November 2014, and the vote will take place in April, 2015.

Author Rob Laidlaw is no stranger to children’s choice reading programs. Cat Champions has also been nominated for Atlantic Canada’s Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award and its companion book, No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, won the 2013 Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award. No Shelter Here is also nominated for the 2013-2014 Hackmatack Award and the 2014–2015 Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award.

Pajama Press is honoured to be a part of the Red Cedar program and many others. We salute all those involved in bringing kids together with excellent literature.

The National Reading Campaign reviews Revenge on the Fly

Posted on April 29th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.indd“…In Revenge on the Fly, award-winning author Sylvia McNicoll breathes life into this little-known snippet of history. Through Will’s eyes we see, hear and smell his city; from its poor rooming houses to its grand mansions. Girls and boys, rich and poor, all enter the contest, pitting hardworking immigrants against the privileged few with all the prejudices, jealousies, and yearning attached to socio-economic disparity. Boys in particular will be fascinated by the uncountable ways one can swat, squish, pinch and vacuum up flies (not to mention some gruesome uses for manure).

It’s how you win, not what you win; who you are, not what you have. These are hard lessons to learn when revenge is on your mind. In a true test of successful historical fiction, we are completely immersed in Will’s world, and readers will await the outcome of the competition with bated breath.”

—Penny Draper

Click here to read the full review.

“McNicoll…never submits to the predictable”—CanLit for LittleCanadians on Revenge on the Fly

Posted on April 25th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.indd“…Award-winning author Sylvia McNicoll who has penned numerous early chapter books, middle grade fiction and YA fiction, never submits to the predictable, in her storylines or characters. In Revenge on the Fly, Will, Fred, Ginny, Rebecca, Bea, Ian and Da have the true voices of individuals, never cardboard cut-outs. Even Finnigan has the yips and yaps of a true character, albeit a canine one. And while the ending is gratifying, it isn’t the all-tied-up-in-bows happy ending, because life isn’t like that and in 1912 it definitely wasn’t like that for poor Irish immigrants. Effortlessly Sylvia McNicoll finds the words to illustrate a tragic, but seemingly peculiar, episode in Canadian history and make it personal and unforgettable.”

Click here to read the full review.

CM Magazine calls Revenge on the Fly a “winner”

Posted on April 25th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.inddSylvia McNicoll, award-winning author of over thirty young people’s novels, has produced another winner…Revenge on the Fly will impress young readers with the importance of basic hygienic measures, like hand-washing, and could spark discussions about epidemics, the history of sanitation, and life in early 20th century Canada. McNicoll brings Will to life so thoroughly…Revenge on the Fly is a startling, thought-provoking work involving fully-rounded characters – and no one can accuse it of lacking realism! Highly recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

Everead shares why One Step at a Time was a CYBILS longlist favourite

Posted on April 14th, 2014 by pajamapress

“…In general, the book is great for showing us a new perspective: look through the eyes of someone who was adopted as an older child. Look through the eyes of someone with a physical handicap. Look through the eyes of someone who doesn’t speak English.

OneStepAtATimeI’ve told you now why the story is remarkable. Let me add the icing on the cake: the writing is so simple and clean it doesn’t distract from the story at all. Because of that, this book would make an excellent read-aloud. There is no extra material. In a story like this it would be easy for the author to make the book sappy, like “My new life is all so magical!” It doesn’t happen. It would be easy to smudge the story with dirt, “My life before was horrible and this is bad, too!” Skrypuch also avoids this. She writes in the perfect middle where matter-of-fact events meet with honest emotion. The writing style really gets out of the way of the story and hides so well that, unless you’re looking closely, you don’t even notice how well it is done…”

Click here to read the full post.

Three Pajama Press books featured on Bank Street Best Books list 2013

Posted on May 26th, 2013 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is pleased to announce that all three of the books we published in our first season have been selected for Bank Street College of Education’s “Best Children’s Books of the Year 2013″ list.

No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs by Rob Laidlaw and Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch appear in the Information Books section for ages nine to twelve, while True Blue by Deborah Ellis was selected for Fiction ages fourteen and up.

Congratulations to Rob, Marsha and Deborah.

Click here to view the full list.

 

Library Matters reviews Last Airlift

Posted on May 21st, 2013 by pajamapress

Last Airlift won the non-fiction Red Cedar Club Award this year. All the students at Dickens who have read it enjoyed it immensely. I even have a couple creating a book trailer for it.

Because I hadn’t yet got around to reading it, last weekend I took it home. It is indeed a great and emotional read. (Imagine me sitting on the ferry trying to surreptitiously wipe tears from my eyes.) It deals gently with a difficult topic.”

Click here to read the full review.