An inspiring book by biologist and animal activist Rob Laidlaw, Cat Champions is the companion book to No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, which won the same award in 2013. Both titles explore the challenges facing animals around the world and the remarkable ways in which young “Cat Champions” and “Dog Champions” are helping them. Readers are encouraged and empowered to make a difference, too.
Since its publication in the fall of 2013 Cat Champions has also been nominated for the Red Cedar Book Award and the Hackmatack Award, and has been a Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection and a Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection.
The Forest of Reading, run by the Ontario Library Association, is the largest recreational reading program in Canada. Over the next several month, more than 250,000 participants will read a shortlist of books nominated for their age range and vote for their favourite. We are honoured to once again take part in this important initiative.
“…Zeynep, fierce and bold, and Ali, caring and principled, live in the same village in Anatolia and plan to marry. Unexpectedly, Ali is sent to Canada and Zeynep is left behind. Each writes in a journal for the other, but as war comes to both countries it is unlikely their words will ever be shared. Still, they keep on. Zeynep writes an eyewitness account of the genocide from the point of view of the Alevi Kurds, telling a little known side of this tragic story. Ali, in turn, gives an accounting of life in an internment camp in, surprisingly, Kapuskasing. For each, the journal entries are a coping mechanism, a way to bear witness to the atrocities of war and ultimately, to bring justice.
Skrypuch’s compelling characters give an authentic voice to this well researched story. It is definitely a book for adults as well as teens. And although it is a story of war it includes moments of great joy, making it much more than a tragedy…”—Penny Draper
“This companion to A Bear in War (2009) extends the story of a Canadian girl’s teddy bear, who rode out WWI in the uniform pocket of the girl’s father and was returned after the he died in battle. Now, during WWII, the little girl has grown into a nurse assigned to a train carrying “guest children” across Canada. These children have been sent by their British parents to escape Nazi bombings.
Nurse Aileen befriends a brother and sister who are being sent to a farm couple in Winnipeg and gives Teddy to the boy to comfort him. As before, Teddy narrates the story and also speaks directly to the boy and his sister. Deines’ watercolors impart a nostalgic feel to the story, which lasts until the end of the war, when the two children return home and Teddy returns to Aileen. Though lacking the photos that helped make the first book so fascinating, this is an appealing look into a little-known part of WWII.”
— Connie Fletcher
“This is the second picture book about a teddy bear’s adventure created by the team of Stephanie Innes, Harry Endrulat and Brian Deines. The first book, A Bear in War, follows the adventures of a teddy bear on the front lines during World War I. In this second book, Bear on the Homefront, the reader follows this same teddy bear’s adventures, except the story takes place on the homefront during World War II.
During the second World War, as a result of the heavy bombings, many English children were shipped to allied countries to keep them safe. In Bear on the Homefront, Grace and William Chambers are sent to Canada to live with a family on their farm in Winnipeg. In Halifax, they are met by a nurse named Aileen Rogers, who accompanies them on their journey. To help alleviate the fear and stress the children are feeling, Aileen gives them her beloved teddy bear to comfort them while they’re in Canada. The teddy bear recounts the events that happen during his time with the children until he is returned to Aileen once again.
The story is created using events from Aileen Rogers’ diary and making her real-life teddy bear the narrator. Giving the teddy bear a voice and telling the story from his perspective makes the book more appealing to young readers and enables parents and educators to introduce history in an interesting way. The book can also be used with older readers as a means of introducing some of the events that occurred in World War II and providing further opportunities for children to research the events and facts for the time period presented in the text.
The beautiful and calming illustrations by Brian Deines enhance the text and hold the reader’s attention. Bear on the Homefront is a wonderful way to introduce children to history. It can be used to generate discussions about feelings that accompany life changes and to encourage children to seek out further information about world history.”
—Delia Cipollone Antonacci is a Professor in the Library and Information Technician Program, Seneca College
Nix Minus One, a powerful novel by Jill MacLean about a teen boy in rural Newfoundland, has been selected for the 2014 “White Ravens” list by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. This important honour is given to books from around the globe “that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and/or their exceptional and innovative artistic and literary style and design” (www.childrenslibrary.org/servlet/WhiteRavens).
This international acknowledgment for Nix Minus One comes on the heels of wide critical acclaim in the United States and Canada, where it won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature earlier this year. Other accolades include:
CLA Young Adult Book Award finalist
OLA Forest of Reading White Pine Award nominee
SYRCA Snow Willow Award nominee
Bank Street Best Book
Publishers Weekly “Best New Books” selection
Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection
Ontario Library Association Best Bet
Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection
Pajama Press is honoured by this attention paid to such a worthy and significant novel. Click here for more information about Nix Minus One, and for teaching materials, reviews, book trailers, and interviews with author Jill MacLean..
“Ten years have passed since the Shah was overthrown in Iran, and Farrin, 15, struggles against the oppressive rule of politics, teachers, and her family’s anti-revolutionary secrets. But her budding clandestine romance with Sadira threatens her security most of all; homosexuality is punishable by death. This novel for teens at their formative age exposes the persecution gay lovers face worldwide today.”
“…Vancouver-based educator and science blogger Raymond Nakamura’s feisty Momoko is a truth-seeking explorer who doesn’t let gossip about overbearing size, sharp teeth, burning eyes, much less cannibalistic tendencies, deter her from having fabulous experiences. Artist Rebecca Bender celebrates Momoko’s girl power, and makes sure to imbue our intrepid hero with energetic charm and never-flagging spirit. Cleary, we should all be so tenaciously broad-minded as we face the ever-changing wide world. That said, global improvement also includes paying attention to what’s closer to home. Momoko might be a fearless explorer, but she also doesn’t forget her daughterly duties: she’s quick to acknowledge and appreciate her parents’ enabling support by planning on bringing the oldsters along her next time out. A family that seeks together … has a much better time all around!
Oh, such courage and devotion both! Momoko is surely a 21st-century original hero with epic potential. Move over Momotarō … Momoko is here to inspire a new generation of exuberant heroes indeed! Go, girl, go!”
“In this companion piece to Bear in War (2012), Teddy the stuffed bear provides comfort to two young children who have been evacuated from England to Canada during World War II. In the first book, Teddy is the real-life connection between Aileen Rogers and her father who was fighting on the front lines in World War I. When her father was killed, Teddy was returned to Aileen who kept it as a memento of her late father. Teddy turns up again in this story when Aileen is grown and working as a nurse with English evacuees in Canada. Sensing the uncertainty and loneliness in the two children she is escorting to their temporary home, Aileen gives Teddy to Grace and William for their time away from England. This story offers children a glimpse into what life had to have been like during that time period when youngsters were forced to leave their families so that they might survive the war. The host family has a working farm that the children help with over the five years of the war. When it is time to go back home, the children decide that Teddy needs to return to Aileen as well. The story is touching without any hint of sentimentality. The soft, warm palette of the art is beautifully rendered in oils and adds the perfect touch to this heartwarming story.”
—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA