Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘ya-fiction’

Canadian Children’s BookNews calls Road Signs That Say West “an engaging story”

Posted on October 18th, 2017 by pajamapress

roadsignsthatsaywest_website“…Sylvia Gunnery is able to show that the path through life has many bumps and turns along the way. She illustrates that, with good travel companions, the journey to healing and self-discovery can be very rewarding. Gunnery is sensitive, empathetic and insightful with these characters as they explore their paths.

Young teens will easily identify with the characters as they enjoy a youthful summer trip. They may also relate to the secrets the characters disclose, navigating who to trust, and the bonds of siblings and true friendship. It is an engaging story about what it means to let go of the past and align yourself with the path to your own journey in life.”
—Christie O’Sullivan

Read the full review on page 37 of the Fall 2017 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews

Resource Links calls Road Signs That Say West “an important journey of discovery”

Posted on June 13th, 2017 by pajamapress

roadsignsthatsaywest_website“What starts out as a daring cross-Canada romp evolves into an important journey of discovery, personal and philosophical, with important and realistic results….

Author Sylvia Gunnery has portrayed this trip as a portrait of Canada’s better self; the onethat sees youth as something to be treasured and travel as something with purpose rather than a simple means to a destination. The people the three sisters meet on their journey are believable and real and that added dimension gives the narrative much more depth than initially expected.”

Thematic Links: Travel; Canada; Sisterhood; Conduct of Life; Adolescence; Sexual Politics
Lesley Little

Read the full review on page 24 of the June 2017 issue of Resource Links

Road Signs That Say West “is funny and full of heart” says Atlantic Books Today

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 by pajamapress

roadsignsthatsaywest_website“Despite the weight of the themes Road Signs is funny and full of heart, with skillful depiction of the hooks and barbs of sibling rivalry.”

Read the full review on page 64 of the Spring 2017 issue of Atlantic Books Today

Library of Clean Reads says they were “pulled to the storyline about three sisters who take a road trip” in Road Signs That Say West

Posted on May 18th, 2017 by pajamapress

roadsignsthatsaywest_website“As soon as I read the book description, I was pulled to the storyline about three sisters who take a road trip. In my family we are three sisters and I like stories that center on sisterhood. I liked that the trip was across Canada from Nova Scotia to Vancouver, including a stopover in my city of Montreal….

The best part of the novel was how the sisters experienced life together and grew closer by the end of the trip, although it was in subtle ways.”

Click here to read the full review

Booktime blogger Lisa Day wonders is she could be “brave enough to simply get in the car and drive” like the sisters do in Road Signs That Say West

Posted on May 11th, 2017 by pajamapress

roadsignsthatsaywest_website“I often wonder if I was brave enough to simply get in the car and drive, if I would have had the adventures sisters Hanna, Claire and Megan had in Road Signs That Say West.

That is not to say their adventures were far-fetched or unlikely, because they certainly were not, I just feel as though I am bit more like Megan – practical and responsible (but less grouchy) or Claire, up for adventure, but who likely wouldn’t do it on her own, then say Hanna, who is spontaneous and free spirited.”

Click here to read the full review

Road Signs That Say West is “Highly Recommended” by CM Magazine

Posted on April 28th, 2017 by pajamapress

roadsignsthatsaywest_website“…In Sylvia Gunnery’s novel Road Signs That Say West, Hanna persuades her younger sisters, Megan and Claire, to join her on a parent-free road trip across Canada….With a cast of interesting yet believable characters, Road Signs That Say West gives a realistic look into the lives and relationships of three very different yet inextricably linked sisters.

Road Signs That Say West is a novel that will absolutely find its way to the shelves of the junior high library I run. In a YA world full of fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian fiction, I have a large number of readers looking for what we call people stories: complex stories about realistic characters and their lives. The sisters in this story are believable and familiar without the author’s resorting to clichés….

Road Signs That Say West reads quickly and cleanly, with simple yet engaging language. It’s broken up into sections; there are smaller passages within the chapters, and 6-8 chapters within each of the three parts. This structure makes the novel manageable for struggling readers without affecting the flow of the story or making it choppy….

On a personal note, there are few things I enjoy more than seeing my hometown mentioned in works of literature. Gunnery’s novel opens with a fitting quote from Islander Catherine McLellan’s song ‘Lines on the Road’. A few chapters in, there is a reference to the university in Charlottetown. A reader in Southern Manitoba will recognize the name Pinawa, and one in Saskatchewan might recognize Weyburn. Baddeck, Edmundston, Jasper, and Mount Robson are among the other places named as the girls travel west across Canada. The mentions of various cities and landmarks across the country is a perfect way to draw readers into the story.

Highly Recommended.
Allison Giggey

Click here to read the full review

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