Pajama Press

Archive for March, 2015

“The joy…leaps off the pages” in Deines’ and Fullerton’s In a Cloud of DustCM Magazine

Posted on March 27th, 2015 by pajamapress

homecover-in-a-cloud“…Brian Deines has often used his illustrative talents to depict stories of North American First Nations life, but here his rich oil paintings, with their solid figures and warm palette, are very much up to the task of giving readers the sense of life in Africa. The joy of the children who have received a life-changing gift leaps off the pages. Ontarian Alma Fullerton, who is the author of a number of works including picture books and young adult novels, has provided a spare text that touches neatly on all the key points of the story.


Although not designed only as a teaching tool, In a Cloud of Dust would be useful in a classroom discussion of how children live in surroundings not familiar to Canadian children. There is an end note about bicycle libraries, which really are functioning in various places in the world, and some of the organizations which make them happen.”

Highly Recommended.

Click here to read the full review.

Five Pajama Press titles are Bank Street Best Books

Posted on March 27th, 2015 by pajamapress

Five Pajama Press titles have been selected for the Bank Street College of Education’s The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2015 Edition:

Nat The Cat Can Sleep Like That - a not-quite-ready-for-bedtime story by Victoria Allenby, illustrated by Tara AndersonNat the Cat Can Sleep Like That
Written by Victoria Allenby, illustrated by Tara Anderson
Under Five, Animals (Fiction)

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinSkydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World
Written and illustrated by Celia Godkin
Ages 9–12, Ecology

Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends by Rob LaidlawCat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends
Written by Rob Laidlaw
Ages 9–12, Science

Moon At Nine by Deborah Ellis - the true story of two girls who fell in love in post-revolution Iran Moon at Nine
Written by Deborah Ellis
Ages 12–14, Today

Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass, winner of the Geoffrey Bilson Award and the CLA Young Adult Book AwardGraffiti Knight
Written by Karen Bass
Ages 14+, Historical Fiction

Click here to view the full lists.

Skydiver nominated for the Green Earth Book Award

Posted on March 27th, 2015 by pajamapress

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin has been nominated for the Green Earth Book Award.

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinSkydiver is a non-fiction picture book that chronicles the successful efforts of scientists to reintroduce peregrine falcons to their former territories in North America after the population was depleted by the effects of DDT. The book has also been nominated for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award.

The Green Earth Book Award, administered by The Nature Generation program, is the United States’ first book award for environmental stewardship for children and young adults. Winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, and formally presented at the Read Green Book Festival in Washington, D.C., on October 1.

Visit The Nature Generation website to learn more.

Skydiver and A Brush Full of Colour nominated for the Hackmatack Award

Posted on March 27th, 2015 by pajamapress

Two Pajama Press books have been nominated for the 205–16 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award.

Skydiver_C_Dec5.inddSkydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World, a picture book illustratedby Celia Godkin, chronicles the successful efforts of scientists to reintroduce peregrine falcons to their former territories in North America after the population was depleted by the effects of DDT.

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison, a picture book biography written by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson, recounts the life of Canada’s iconic artist of the Yukon. Filled with full-colour examples of Ted Harrison’s art from throughout his career, the book also features an introduction written by the artist himself.

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. A picture book biography by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine GibsonThe Hackmatack Award is Atlantic Canada’s reading program for students in grades four to six. Participants will read a shortlist of ten fiction books and ten non-fiction books in either English or French, then vote for their favourites. You can view the full list at the Hackmatack Award website.

Marie-Louise Gay’s readers will be “enthralled” by Pistachio’s “big personality and imagination”—School Library Journal

Posted on March 24th, 2015 by pajamapress

PrincessPistachio_InternetOn her birthday, Pistachio Shoelace gets an unsigned card that says “Happy birthday, my little princess” and a golden crown. She has suspected her whole life that she is actually a princess, so she weaves a tale that she believes is the story of her royal heritage. At dinner, donning her princess dress and crown, she informs her family that “From this day forth, you shall call me Princess Pistachio.” Unfortunately, her annoying little sister Penny wants to follow in her footsteps and decides she will be a princess, too. In this easy chapter book comprised of five short chapters, Pistachio realizes that her own family, friends, and teacher, and even the neighborhood boys don’t really acknowledge her new status and some make fun of her. Readers will be empathetic to her struggles, especially when she wishes her sister away, and then has to find her. Young readers transitioning to chapter books will be enthralled by Pistachio and her big personality and imagination. The pen-and-ink illustrations are tinted with bright water colors and will help readers visualize the girl’s antics. VERDICT A wonderful new offering from Gay to take her picture book readers to the next stage.

—Nancy Jo Lambert, McSpedden Elementary Frisco, TX

Quill & Quire praises Fullerton and Deines’ picture book In a Cloud of Dust

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 by pajamapress

homecover-in-a-cloudIn a Cloud of Dust offers a glimpse into the daily struggle of a young Tanzanian girl. Anna has along trek to and from school. While her classmates relax on lunch break, she works on her assignments, knowing it will be too dark to study by the time she walks back home. When Anna misses the arrival of the travelling bicycle library and isn’t able to claim a bike for herself, she swallows her disappointment and eagerly helps her friends master their new two-wheelers. Her generosity of spirit is repaid by her friend Mohammad , who shares his bike. Barrelling down the well-trodden path home, Anna revels in her speedy flight, and “kicks up her own cloud of dust.”

Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award winner Alma Fullerton’s inviting text is spare and poetic. Lines appear staggered across the page in quick bursts that reflect the children’s excitement and energy: “Anna runs beside Farida. / She bumpety-bumps/ with Samwel. / She helps Leyla careen. / She twists and turns with Irene.”

Brian Deines’ radiant oil paintings glow with orange and yellow background washes. An aerial view of Anna standing by herself after all the bikes have been claimed highlights the girl’s initial isolation and disappointment. The warmly realistic images of Anna helping Leyla learn to balance, and Prisca laughing after taking a tumble, nicely capture the children’s indefatigable spirits.

Quill & Quire reviews Karen Bass’ Uncertain Soldier

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 by pajamapress

UncertainSoldierHow does it feel to be surrounded by people who see you as the enemy? How do you protect yourself when you aren’t sure whom to trust? The protagonists of Uncertain Soldier, Karen Bass’s wonderful new novel for young adults, are grappling with these questions.

Erich, a 17-year-old German sailor in Hitler’s navy, finds himself in Canada after his ship sinks and he is captured. Max is the 12-year-old son of German immigrants living in the fictional town of Horley, Alberta. Their stories converge in 1943, when Erich, now a prisoner of war, is working in a logging camp near Horley.

Both boys share a deep feeling of isolation. Erich does not share his fellow POWs’ Nazi beliefs, but is nonetheless hated by any Canadian with whom he comes into contact. Max was born in Canada but his stern father’s loyalty to Germany causes suspicion when war breaks out, and Max becomes a target for the townspeople.

Erich and max are well-developed characters, as is almost everyone surrounding them. Cora, a young Canadian girl whose relatives were killed in the Blitz, is torn between her hatred of the Germans and her attraction to Erich. The presence of Christmas, a young indigenous man, forces Erich and Max to realize that, despite their frustration with the blind prejudice of others, they harbor their own racial biases.

Bass does a fantastic job building and releasing tension throughout the novel. That war and violence were omnipresent in everyone’s lives during the period is made plain, despite the deceptively peaceful setting of a town far from the front lines. In the end, Erich and Max are pushed to their breaking points and have to decide how to respond. Will they refuse to engage or will they stand up and do what’s right, despite the risks? Their feelings of helplessness and struggles with conflicted loyalties should be easy for any young reader to identify with.


Moon at Nine Shortlisted for the CLA Young Adult Book Award

Posted on March 8th, 2015 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.inddPajama Press congratulates Deborah Ellis, whose 2014 novel Moon at Nine has been shortlisted for the 2015 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award.

Based closely on real events, Moon at Nine recounts the story of two teenaged girls who fell in love in 1980s Tehran. The moving novel has already been selected for the Amelia Bloomer Project List and as a Quill & Quire book of the year, an Ontario Library Association Best Bet, and a Best Books for Kids & Teens starred selection.

The CLA Young Adult Book Award is sponsored by TD Bank Group and Library Services Centre each year for a work of fiction that appeals to young adults between the ages of 13 and 18. The winner and honour books will be announced during the week of April 20th. The award will be presented during the CLA National Conference and Trade Show in Ottawa on June 4th.

Visit the Moon at Nine page to download a classroom discussion guide, find resources about Deborah Ellis, watch the official book trailer, or read full reviews.