After careless teasing makes Lili wish to be someone else, she symbolically places her hurt feelings on the wings of a paper butterfly. When she wears the butterfly to school, it begins a powerful conversation about the hurt feelings everybody carries.
“Phoebe and her grandmother, Nan-ma, are out for a walk when Phoebe is teased by two kids about the color of her skin. They call her ‘French toast’…Phoebe likens their skin tones to “warm banana bread” and “maple syrup poured over French toast,” invoking comfort and good feelings as she thinks about her family, allowing her to embrace the beauty in diversity and self-acceptance. With Thisdale’s beautifully decadent and dream-like illustrations of the food described, this may be a story best read before snack time.” —Joi Mahand
The Forest of Reading® is an initiative of the Ontario Library Association (OLA) that helps celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors and illustrators. Every year, over 250,000 participants read a shortlist of books in their age category and vote for their favourites.
Pajama Press extends our congratulations to Kari-Lynn Winters, François Thisdale, Shari Green, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Tuan Ho, and Brian Deines. Our sincerest thanks go to the Ontario Library Association for promoting reading and Canadian books through this outstanding program.
“Phoebe’s grandmother, Nan-Ma, helps her talk out why the kids call her ‘French Toast’ then helps Phoebe celebrate her own skin tone as well as the variety of skin tones in her Jamaican, French-Canadian family using with beautiful food metaphors. Use this book to talk about differences, similarities, and kindness.”
Click here to read the full list “New Stories for the Readers on Your Lap”
“Phoebe, who is half Jamaican and half French-Canadian, hates when her classmates call her ‘French Toast.’…The imaginative artwork blends traditional drawing and painting with digital imagery using collage, acrylic, watercolor, and computer manipulation.”
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.
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.
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.”
“Rating: (1-5, 5 is an excellent or starred review) 4…
What did you like about the book? This is a beautiful book about a little girl who is half Jamaican and half French Canadian….The illustrations are wonderful and the descriptions of the food are perfect.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.
To Whom Would You Recommend this book? This is recommended for children ages 4-7. It would be a good addition to a multi-cultural library. Kindergarten children will also enjoy the story read aloud to them. It will stimulate discussion on race.
Who should buy this book? This would be good for elementary school libraries and public libraries that have a children’s section….
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes” —Sandra Pacheco ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.
“…A gentle loving explanation of how everyone has different skin tones expressed in warm delicious ways. Bullying is part of the story but Phoebe’s approach of not letting her bullies know that their nickname bothers her helps to defuse any power they have over her.
The illustrations are beautiful and the illustrator does beautiful portraits of his characters using digital media and acrylic….The author explains the concept of diversity in a positive life affirming way that children and adults will appreciate.”
“When you are blind, you don’t see skin color and you truly know that everyone is the same. Phoebe doesn’t like it when kids from school call ‘Hey, French Toast!’ or tease her for her accent. Her Nan-ma is blind and asks Phoebe to describe the colors of family and friends. Their talk helps Phoebe to look at things in a different light. …Phoebe discovers that Nan-ma doesn’t even know her own skin color until she tells her it is like maple syrup. Suddenly being called French Toast isn’t so bad anymore…”
“When you are blind, you don’t see skin color and you truly know that everyone is the same. Phoebe doesn’t like it when kids from school call ‘Hey, French Toast!’ or tease her for her accent. Her Nan-ma is blind and asks Phoebe to describe the colors of family and friends. Their talk helps Phoebe to look at things in a different light.…Phoebe discovers that Nan-ma doesn’t even know her own skin color until she tells her it is like maple syrup. Suddenly being called French Toast isn’t so bad anymore…”
Read the full review on page 40 of the February 2017 issue of The International Educator