Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Three Pajama Press books shortlisted for CLA Awards

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to announce that three of our titles have been shortlisted for the 2014 Canadian Library Association Awards.

The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette, with illustrations by Dean Griffiths, has been shortlisted for the Book of the Year for Children Award. Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass and Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean have both been shortlisted for the Young Adult Book Award.

We congratulate our three nominated authors and look forward to hearing the award results the week of April 14th.

Tweezle into Everything “has everything that makes a picture book right” —CanLit for LittleCanadians

Posted on August 13th, 2013 by pajamapress

“…The trick of putting a great picture book together is telling a story that has fluency with powerful but concise text and illustrations that complement the text. Tweezle into Everything has everything that makes a picture book right.  Stephanie McLellan has found the right words for the common dilemma of the youngest child in a family, surprising readers with an unexpected plot twist to Tweezle’s story, and Dean Griffiths has again brought the less-than-scary monsters to life.  If you’re reading this to your children, make sure to have them carefully note the details in the illustrations because Dean Griffiths does not fill space; every detail enhances the story and even hints at what Tweezle is up to.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be delighted by the turnabout in the story, and close the cover with a smile on your face, for Tweezle and others (I can’t give it away), and for Stephanie McLellan and Dean Griffiths who’ve proven that big stories can come in few pages.”

—Helen Kubiw

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Materials Highly Recommends A Good Trade

Posted on January 4th, 2013 by pajamapress

coverAs educators, we often tell our young students to look at the pictures when we read. The pictures reveal clues that will help us read the story and to better understand it. The images and text of A Good Trade complement one another to the point of poetic consistency. The text and the images are both complex and simple: concept easy, content load heavy. The prose is lyrical, playful and inviting to young listeners or readers with words such as “poppy” and “rut-filled hill”. Yet, there are potential story-stopping words too: “Jerry cans”, “borehole”, and “aid worker”. For every challenging word, however, there is a corresponding image, pictures simple enough to convey meaning and yet complex in colour and perspective. One image shows only the upper portion of Kato’s face as he peeks into the back of an aid worker’s truck to find many pairs of colourful shoes.

The message of A Good Trade is equally daring. Author and illustrator have created a marvelous balance of apathy and respect. When Kato presents a rare white poppy flower to the aid worker, she honours his present with her own: shoes for all his friends. One of his friends is missing a leg. An allusion to soldiers indicates that war and trouble are constants in Kato’s village in Uganda.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end. It will make an excellent discussion starter in social studies classes (as a supplement up to grade seven) and as a read-aloud  in K-2.

Highly Recommended.

A children’s author, David Ward is an assistant professor at Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR.

Click here to read the full review.

Sal’s Fiction Addiction reviews A Good Trade

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by pajamapress

The author uses clear prose and descriptive language to make the reader aware of the life that Kato lives. We hear the silence of the early morning, see the soldiers as they stand guard, feel the sloshing of the water on Kato’s bare, dusty toes, catch our breath with him as he hauls the water home and must stop to rest, and smile as he and the aid worker make their ‘good trade’.

Karen Patkau creates a setting that allows a glimpse at Kato’s life and his village, the bright and happy colors that the children wear (including their new shoes) and the muted landscape he travels over daily. Each page captures our attention and begs for discussion.

Click here to read the full review.

CanLit for LittleCanadians reviewsOne Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way

Posted on September 10th, 2012 by pajamapress

“Just as she so eloquently did in Last Airlift, Marsha Skrypuch gently takes the reader by the hand to observe the young girl’s new life from Tuyet’s viewpoint…  Not the princess dreams and perfect endings of fairy tales, Tuyet’s story is all the more satisfying when her anxieties and confusions are resolved fittingly, just as her shoes are, though not perfectly, and provide the hope necessary to help her take her next steps.  A wonderful tale of making things fit, whether they be people or shoes.”
- Helen Kubiw

Click here to read the full review.

Upcoming Book Launch for One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way

Posted on September 5th, 2012 by pajamapress

Download the Poster

A Good Trade creators “inspired”–CanLit for LittleCanadians

Posted on August 24th, 2012 by pajamapress

“…Kato’s story could be a sombre one, considering that for his whole life Uganda has been in the midst of a civil war in which children were abducted and terrorized to fight for the rebel forces. But, while not ignoring the presence of armed soldiers, A Good Trade accepts the unrest and horror as only one aspect of Uganda.  There are also the gardens, hills, trails, fields with cattle, and villages with neighbours and children.  And those who offer help.

…I believe that the pairing of Alma Fullerton’s text with Karen Patkau’s art style in A Good Trade is inspired.  It’s almost as if Karen Patkau’s art was destined to evoke the landscape and story of Uganda.  Her sultry skies alone capably recreate the shimmering heat of an African day.

Whatever forces, human or supernatural, that brought together these two artists, one of words and the other of graphics, knew exactly what they were doing.  There’s gratitude all around here: from Kato, from picture book lovers, from compassionate readers.”
–HelenK

Click here to read the full review

The Chronicle Herald reviews Emily For Real

Posted on July 18th, 2012 by pajamapress

…Gunnery nicely captures the way families really are, the sweet, mundane and strained interactions of everyday life.

A longtime N.S. junior and senior high school teacher, Gunnery deftly handles the interactions among Emily, her schoolmates and teachers and her best friend Jenn, as well as giving credibility to Emily as the narrator.

Emily for Real is a satisfying read for teens who will root for Emily as she faces the challenges of friendship and families and growing up.

–Pam Sword, The Chronicle Herald

Click here to read the full review

Rebecca Bender captures the “paradox” of childhood friendship –Toronto Public Library

Posted on July 17th, 2012 by pajamapress

Giraffe and birdjpegHave you ever been totally puzzled by the peregrinations, bumps and grinds that children experience in their friendships? It was always endlessly fascinating for me to watch the way children bicker and argue with those children they declare to be their best friends. Both with my own children and those I taught, it was evident that there were constant readjustments being made in the relationships that children have with each other.

With that I would like to welcome a relatively new author who is DontLaughAtGiraffe_Cable to capture that paradox. Rebecca Bender has just two picture books in print, and is a relatively new voice in Canadian literature, but what a voice it is. She has captured this unusual nature of friendship between children in both of the picture books available.

…Giraffe and Bird…resonated so well with children that it won the 2012 Blue Spruce award voted on by thousands of children across Ontario.

This title has been followed up by a hilarious sequel, Don’t Laugh at GiraffeIn this book, Rebecca examines the delicate nature of embarrassment and friendship… How Bird handles this situation is a wonderful blueprint for friendship and problem solving.

Your children will go through many situations with their friends that they will have to grapple with and find solutions for. Having books on hand that show this as a normal process in friendships will support them in these journeys, and open the conversations with thinking about how to solve their own problems in a creative and positive way.
Peggy Thomas, Toronto Public Library

Click here to read the full post

A starred review for Don’t Laugh at Giraffe from Quill and Quire!

Posted on May 24th, 2012 by pajamapress

* Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

“The amusing duo that tickled funny bones and captured hearts in Rebecca Bender’s 2010 picture book debut, Giraffe and Bird, return in Don’t Laugh at Giraffe.

The book opens with a fun montage of all the ways Giraffe and Bird irritate each other. Giraffe barely tolerates Bird’s chirpy morning song. Likewise, Bird plugs his ears when Giraffe clears his extra-long throat. Nonetheless, they are friends, which makes Bird’s part in embarrassing Giraffe at the watering hole that much harder to bear. Afterward, Bird feels horrible, so he comes up with a clever way to win back his friend and show the power of a well-placed joke.

As with her first book, Bender excels at bringing to life the precious, amusing intricacies of friendships (particularly young friendships) in a captivating, likeable story. The annoyances the two pals visit upon each other are instantly relatable, and readers of all ages will recognize bits of themselves in stately Giraffe and silly Bird.

Bender’s visuals are equally charismatic. Rich, lush colours provide backdrops for wonderful close-ups of the characters’ faces as they express a range of emotions. The look on Bird’s face when he sees Giraffe sipping water from a mud puddle will melt the coldest of hearts. A stunning two-page spread (pictured above) of Giraffe’s head, with tiny Bird atop his nose, is especially impressive.

Don’t Laugh at Giraffe is a warm, gentle tale with a good message and plenty of funny moments, making it a great choice for sharing. After all, the story reminds us, it’s always better to laugh with a friend than at one.” – Sarah Sorensen, a writer in Toronto.