Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘ya-fiction’

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.

TheHill_Website

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.

Uncertain Soldier “is a solid, intelligent interpretation of the politics of the [1940s]” says There Will Be Books

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by pajamapress

UncertainSoldier_Internet“…Less traumatic than the American Summer of My German SoldierUncertain Soldier tells the story of Erich Hofmeyer, a German prisoner of war held in Alberta in the winter of 1943-44….

Uncertain Soldier is a solid, intelligent interpretation of the politics of the time and the effect of opinion on morale. Through the richness of its characters, the novel gives voice to a gamut of attitudes, revealing the complexity of life during the 1940s far more thoroughly and effectively than what is taught in history classes. In contrast to the Canadian Sam’s violent insistence that ‘a few firing squads last war would’ve fixed it,’ Erich’s British grandfather astutely notes that ‘more mercy by the Great War’s victors might have prevented the fight that loomed’ (103). The parallel with history is made more powerful by its subtlety; most readers will not hear Sam’s vehemence as an echo of French military politician Ferdinand Foch, who noted at the time that the Treaty of Versailles was ‘not peace [but] an Armistice for twenty years,’ asking for harsher restrictions to be place on the defeated Germany. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Erich’s grandfather’s position is reminiscent of John Maynard Keynes’s insistence that the conditions were too harsh, that the Treaty was a ‘Carthaginian peace,’ a peace ensured by the complete annihilation of the vanquished, such as Rome’s conquering of Carthage. Historians still debate the political ‘what ifs’ of the first half of the twentieth century, and this uncertainty, manifested at all levels of society, is brilliantly woven into the fabric of Bass’s text.”

Click here to read the full review

Moon at Nine is rated as “excellent” by Youth Services Book Review

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress

Moon At Nine by Deborah Ellis - the true story of two girls who fell in love in post-revolution Iran Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? Farrin goes to a school for gifted girls, and when Sadira begins attending her school, the two fall in love. Amid all of the political upheaval in her country, Farrin is caught kissing Sadira and the two are punished. Farrin thinks she can’t survive without seeing Sadira, but can she survive if they stay together? Heart-stirring, believable, and ultimately heartbreaking, this is a must-read.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Middle and high school teens…

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes”
—Kasia Piasecka, Falmouth Public Library

Click here to read the full review

The Hill is “an engaging adventure story” says School Library Connection

Posted on January 10th, 2017 by pajamapress

TheHill_Website“…There are some horror story qualities to this novel. Some of the Cree culture is explained, especially in terms of their beliefs about the spirit world and legends. This is an engaging adventure story about two boys on the verge of manhood. Recommended.”
—Laura McConnell

Read the full review in the January/February 2017 issue of School Library Connection

Moon at Nine is a Reviewer’s Choice for Midwest Book Review

Posted on January 9th, 2017 by pajamapress

Moon At Nine by Deborah Ellis - the true story of two girls who fell in love in post-revolution Iran “Based on interviews with a young woman who had to flee Iran due to her sexual orientation, Moon at Nine is a unique story on many levels…Any reader who wants to understand Iranian history through the experiences of young people who themselves are changing will find Moon at Nine a riveting, different read that rests firmly on compelling characters facing an array of changes. Highly recommended for young adult readers in grade 9 and up.”

Click here to read the full review

The Hill gets a 5 Star review from Youth Services Book Review

Posted on January 9th, 2017 by pajamapress

TheHill_WebsiteRating: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? Rich, city kid Jared Frederickson’s private jet crashes in the marshes of Northern Alberta, Canada. He’s rescued by a young Cree, Kyle Badger. What could have been a run of the mill survival story is turned on its head when the two unknowingly enter another world inhabited by a Cree legend called a Wihtiko and it’s hunting them.

Kyle and Jared encounter the creature as well as a shapeshifter, and face some facts about themselves and each other along the way.

The excitement builds throughout the story and leaves the reader breathless.

The inclusion of Cree language and legends makes this story even more substantial and worth reading.

Mild language and bodily functions are mentioned.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? (Read-alikes if you can think of them) Fans of Hatchet, Spirit Bear and My Side of the Mountain will really like this story, as will readers of Native legends….”
Maria Touet

Click here to read the full review

“At once a gripping read and an ethnographic study, The Hill successfully transcends didacticism” says The White Ravens Catalogue of this 2016 selection

Posted on December 28th, 2016 by pajamapress

TheHill_WebsiteThere are many reasons why Jared and Kyle should never be friends: different backgrounds (affluent white urban single child vs Indigenous youngster living at a camp) and different values (fashion and coolness vs family bonding and respect for the elders). But since a plane crash left Jared stranded in the bush, he has to rely on Kyle’s survival skills. The worst part: Jared’s trusty mobile phone isn’t any help. So he ignores Kyle’s warnings and climbs a sacred hill to get reception. That infuriates Wîhtiko, a terrifying monster from Cree legend. It will take more than bush wisdom to survive. Mutual respect is the only power that can save the teenagers. Award-winning author Karen Bass skillfully combines survival drama, mystery, thriller, and Cree mythology to craft a fast-paced fantasy novel well anchored in the real world. At once a gripping read and an ethnographic study, The Hill successfully transcends didacticism. (Age: 12+)

Read the review on page 22 of the 2016 White Ravens Catalogue

Oak Bay News calls Graffiti Knight “a fast-paced story about a boy fighting for self-expression in an era of censorship and struggle.”

Posted on November 22nd, 2016 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_Website“Readers aged 13 and older will enjoy this story of 16-year-old Wilm, who’s finally tasting freedom after a childhood cut short by war and the harsh strictures of Nazi Germany. Despite the scars the Second World War left on his hometown and in spite of the oppressive new Soviet regime, Wilm is finding his own voice. It’s dangerous, of course, to be sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings, but it’s also exciting, and Wilm feels justified, considering his family’s suffering. One mission goes too far, however, and Wilm endangers the very people he most wants to protect. Award-winning author Karen Bass brings readers a fast-paced story about a boy fighting for self-expression in an era of censorship and struggle.”

Click here to read the full article “Page Turners: Children’s book titles explore the topic of war”

Ramblings of a Daydreamer gives The Hill FOUR STARS

Posted on October 25th, 2016 by pajamapress

TheHill_WebsiteThe Hill isn’t a typical story of survival in the wilderness. The boys do need to fend for themselves, but there’s something far more sinister than wild animals and the elements in the forest – Jared and Kyle are being pursued by a Wihtiko, a Cree legend come to terrifying life. The pair need to learn to work together and overcome their differences in order to survive. The dynamics between the two were really interesting – they’re complete opposites and have nothing in common, but in a very short time and under extreme circumstances, they forge a strong bond. Jared especially learns a lot about himself through Kyle, which was interesting to see.

The Hill was different from anything I’ve ever read. I loved that it was written by a Canadian author, set in Canada, and used a real Cree legend. I was also really happy to see a main character who was Native. This is so (unfortunately) rare that it actually made me ridiculously excited! The Hill is a creepy, paranormal twist on a survival story. It has great messages about privilege, stereotypes, and friendship. I’d particularly recommend it to fans of the TV show Supernatural – the Wihtiko is similar to the Wendigo, which Sam and Dean fought in season one.

Click here to read the full review