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.
In 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.
In 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.
Posted on February 17th, 2017 by pajamapress
“In My Beautiful Birds, author-illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo offers a poignant story of a Syrian child refugee traumatized by leaving his cherished pigeons behind. It is a tale of sorrow and suffering and promise, and beautifully rendered in Suzanne Del Rizzo’s distinctive art….
The sadness and trauma in this little boy’s life is so palpable, from the family’s departure to their adjustment to the refugee camp and to the despondency that permeates Sami’s new life. Through use of colour and the texture of her art–here polymer clay with acrylics–Suzanne Del Rizzo balances the shadows of war and trauma with the bright colours of youthful exuberance and pastels of hope for a future. There’s the tumultuous skies and the ordinary days, and the anger of loss with the chirpiness of birds and children at play. I know the excellence of her art, complex in the depth of detail and its ability to evoke emotions. But Suzanne Del Rizzo has demonstrated a new depth to her writing. Perhaps it’s the tragic circumstances of the story but Suzanne Del Rizzo has put heart and hope into her words, giving breath to a staggering situation, suffusing it with some degree of optimism where there is so little. My Beautiful Birds provides a promise that all the darkness from that Syrian skyline of smoke is behind Sami and remains open to a bright sky of birds and lightness, the landscape of his future.”
Click here to read the full review
Posted on February 13th, 2017 by pajamapress
“I have always enjoyed reading rhyming text out loud to groups of unsuspecting story time children as the atmosphere of the story unfolds in a rhythmic manner and comes alive when I do. The pace and anticipation of the story is set through the author’s clever ability to create the mood with simple words. The dark mood of the man in the story is felt by the quick and short sentences within the rhyming text, and it seems to become more urgent with every step that he takes through the stormy streets of Paris. When the worst of all things happens and his umbrella is blown from his hands, the man encounters a young boy who transports him to a better place, a place that is bright and warm where the rhythm of the rhymes has changed the atmosphere to illustrate a luxurious longing for the treats in the shop window….
The writing and illustrations in this book complement each other well and work together to highlight the special moment that the two characters share. One could say that they are in the calm of the storm before heading back out to continue their day. This story can be read with a group or shared with one child quite successfully….
Posted on February 13th, 2017 by pajamapress
“Looking to get in the mood for Valentine’s Day? Kiss, Kiss is the perfect pick for this time of year—or any time at all. The simple prose will make you feel the magic…The vibrant cover art and delightful pictures will invite you into this lovely story. Warning: you may feel inspired to pull you little one in for a smooch.”
Read the full review on page 28 of the February 2017 issue of Village Living Magazine
Posted on February 18th, 2014 by pajamapress
“…The girls become romantically involved, a crime punishable by death. Inspired by the life of an Iranian woman Ellis met (“This story is essentially hers,” she notes), the novel powerfully depicts lives pulled apart by outside forces and the warmth of falling in love. A firm grounding in Iranian history, along with the insight and empathy Ellis brings to the pain of those whose love is decreed to be immoral and unnatural, make this a smart, heartbreaking pairing with Sara Farizan’s recent If You Could Be Mine.”—Publishers Weekly
Click here to read the full review.