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Fall 2022 Promotional Video Now Live

Posted on August 8th, 2022 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to release our Fall 2022 Lineup video, introducing our upcoming books in the words of their creators!

Picture books Bear Has a BellyLet’s Add Up! and Dinos Driving will have little ones learning and laughing through every page. Cocoa Magic and While You Sleep transport readers to wonderful and cozy worlds. For middle-grade readers, Berani gets to the heart of the hard choices facing young environmentalists as the characters fight for orangutans in Indonesia, while The U-nique Lou Fox introduces an intrepid fifth-grade playwright who has dyslexia and ADHD. If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It: How 25 inspiring individuals found their dream jobs rounds out our Fall list with insightful and practical advice on finding the perfect career.

Thank you to our authors and illustrators for contributing to this video. Your passion for your craft is palpable, and we can’t wait to share these books with the world!

Summer Reads for Middle Grade

Posted on August 4th, 2022 by pajamapress

It’s already August, and that means it’s time to savour the last precious weeks of summer! What better way to relax and enjoy the sunshine than with a book—or four? These are our summer reading recommendations—from an action-packed climate-fiction trilogy, to a wistful coming-of-age novel set in a seaside town, there’s something here for every young reader to enjoy.

The Flooded Earth Trilogy by Mardi McConnochie

Cover: The Castle in the Sea Author: Mardi McConnochie Publisher: Pajama Press

Four children, one sailboat, and a technologically enhanced parrot. They couldn’t possibly be enough to take on a perilous ocean, gangs of pirates, and a corrupt government…but if twins Will and Annalie want to find their missing father, they’re just going to have to be.

Set in a not-so-distant future when the Earth has been devastated by a massive Flood, Mardi McConnochie’s seafaring saga is a nonstop action adventure.

Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green

Sent to an island town to stay with her estranged grandmother while her parents try to save their crumbling marriage, 11-year-old Bailey feels helpless and cast away. When a self-proclaimed prophet predicts “a stranger from the sea will change everything,” Bailey hopes this stranger can solve her problems – little suspecting her own ability to influence the world.

In this warm and wistful middle-grade novel, Bailey’s seaside summer is marked by powerful realizations about the strengths and weaknesses of all the people in her life…including herself.

Catch Pajama Press Illustrators Miki Sato and Maggie Zeng at SLJ Picture Book Palooza

Posted on June 24th, 2022 by pajamapress

Don’t miss Pajama Press illustrators Miki Sato and Maggie Zeng at School Library Journal’s Picture Book Palooza on July 14, 2022.


Miki Sato
Visualizing the Text panel
11:05 to 11:55 am ET
Miki’s stunning collage art uses paper, textiles, and embroidery to create a magical landscape as a child’s three stuffed bunnies prepare the natural world for a shiny, new day in While You Sleep.


Maggie Zeng
Natural Wonders panel
2:00 to 2:50 pm ET
Maggie’s talent for both character and landscape shines as she brings to life two wombats, two wallabies, a koala, and a tiger snake all squeezed together in one burrow to escape a bushfire in Room for More.

Harley the Hero wins the 2022 OLA Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award

Posted on June 1st, 2022 by pajamapress

Harley the Hero wins the 2022 OLA Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award!

Duchess of Cornwall reads The Library Bus at school literacy appearance in Ottawa

Posted on May 18th, 2022 by pajamapress

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is seated in an upholstered chair while reading the picture book The Library Bus, which shows a young Afghan girl and a bus on the front cover

Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, visited Assumption Elementary School in the Ottawa neighbourhood of Vanier today. Known for her championship of literacy, the Duchess marked the visit with a reading of The Library Bus, written by Bahram Rahman and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. This picture book celebrates women and girls finding innovative ways to spread education in Afghanistan, where the author was born. The book was a finalist for the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award and won the Middle East Book Award, among other honours.

The visit to Assumption Elementary School is part of a three-day Canadian tour being undertaken by Prince Charles and the Duchess to mark the Platinum Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th year on the throne.

Harvey Takes the Lead Reviews

Posted on March 31st, 2022 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“Harvey’s delightful antics wonderfully complement the good hearts of Maggie and Austin…This feel-good story told from multiple points of view, including Harvey’s, keeps readers engaged and interested…A wonderful addition to libraries where Harvey’s previous adventures, or dog stories in general, are popular.”

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“In the third series entry, Harvey, the West Highland white terrier; his young owner, Maggie; and her friend Austin confront drama and heartbreak.

Seventh grade pals Maggie and Austin, who volunteer at the Brayside Retirement Villa, meet Ms. Appleby, the facility’s strict new assistant director. She imposes draconian rules governing, among other things, visits by dogs. Additionally, Maggie’s dismayed she was overlooked for the lead in the school’s production of Annie, the role she coveted; she’s become the understudy instead. Besides that, Austin’s unemployed mom can’t afford his upcoming school trip. Brayside resident Mr. Kowalski faces the toughest struggle: His seriously ill wife has been hospitalized. Over time, he achieves emotional catharsis by recounting to sympathetic Austin some of his and Mrs. Kowalski’s World War II experiences. Meanwhile, Maggie puts her role in the play into perspective and befriends and supports the talented lead. In brief chapters this warm novel delivers well-realized characters and underscores connections that bind: those between animals and humans and those that unite generations.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Austin is embarrassed by his family’s lack of funds to enable him to attend the school trip, but he continues to channel his energies in a positive direction, particularly through his volunteering at the retirement home. Mr. Kowalski is sad that his wife of sixty years is very ill in the hospital, but Austin helps him to remember the pleasant memories and music of their earlier years. And Harvey continues to do what he does best: comforting the retirement home residents and searching for the source of the scent that he knows means mice. For the most part, the story strands move on separate tracks (chapters are narrated by Maggie, Austin, and Harvey) until the end when they are woven together in a satisfying conclusion. A welcome treat for Harvey fans and dog lovers everywhere. Highly Recommended”

Click here to read the full review

CTV Your Morning

“Harvey Takes the Lead…is the third book in a contemporary series about two middle school students, a retirement community, and the dogs that bring them all together. Author Colleen Nelson weaves relatable issues like friendship drama and economic disparities with the historical stories of the residents at the retirement centre.”

Click here to read the full review

YA Books Central

“Kindness will be rewarded. The early parts of the book share a simple tale of two kids volunteering at a retirement village, but the plot slowly evolves into an emotional journey of hope, caring, and friendship. The story unites generations in a sensitive way, and I recommend you give it a shot.”

Click here to read the full review

Children’s Literature–CLCD

“Fans of the lovable and charming Harvey (a West Highland terrier) will be thrilled with his return. Maggie (Harvey’s owner) along Austin and the residents of Brayside Retirement Villa are back with new dilemmas. There’s a new assistant director at Brayside. She begins to enforce and dictate several rules; one regulation severely limits Harvey’s visits to everyone’s dismay. The Brayside residents along with the staff are extremely disappointed with the changes instigated by the assistant director in the guise of running a tight ship.”

Book Time

“The story is fast moving and the characters are strong. I am impressed by Maggie and Austin’s mature choices and I loved getting to learn about Mr. Kowalski’s life during the Secord World War. While you do not need to read Books 1 and 2 to understand what is going in Harvey Takes the Lead, I am going to suggest you may want to: the characters are great and I think the former books will provide more details about the crews’ backstories.”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“Colleen Nelson pours so much heart onto the pages of her Harvey stories and none more than in Harvey Takes the Lead. At a time when many seniors living facilities have been locked down and seniors have been allowed very few visitors, it’s a bright light to remind grandchildren about the importance of connections with grandparents and elders. There is tremendous love and respect not just for seniors but those who care for them as well and I love seeing how important the Brayside community is to Maggie and Austin.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Harvey Takes the Lead…is a good fit for readers in grades 3-6, but can certainly be enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s a heartwarming story about balancing school, family and friends, and giving second chances. The short chapters alternate between perspectives of Maggie, Austin, and Harvey, giving you a look at each of their unique  experiences. Every single character has a vibrant personality and backstory, including Harvey and Bertie, the beloved canines!

Out of 10, I would give Harvey Takes the Lead a 9.”

Click here to read the full review

Jill’s Book Blog

“The issues at the retirement home were an important part of this story. The new assistant director thought she was doing the right thing by restricting Harvey’s visits and banning activities for the residents. However, these were things that they looked forward to, so it actually hurt their quality of life. I saw first hand at my grandmother’s nursing home how music and dogs can brighten up the residents. There were even non-verbal residents who would speak when they saw dogs or heard certain songs. I’m glad this was part of a children’s book, so they can learn about life in a retirement home.

Harvey Takes the Lead is another wonderful Harvey story!”

Click here to read the full review

MaryLou Driedger

“Although there are many things I like about middle grade author Colleen Nelson’s series of Harvey books I particularly enjoy their references to historical events. Harvey is a West Highland Terrier and he and the young people in his life Maggie and Austin are regular visitors at a retirement home where the residents’ stories bring the past alive…There are many interesting plot lines in Colleen Nelson’s Harvey Takes the Lead and readers will enjoy following them all…”

Click here to read the full review

Dr. Larry Recommends

“Harvey, the loveable West Highland Terrier returns in the third book…by award-winning author, Colleen Nelson…Harvey Takes The Lead is an engaging story with adventure, warmth and personal connections.”

Click here to read the full review

OLA Virtual Super Conference

Posted on February 1st, 2022 by pajamapress

Welcome to the Pajama Press OLA Super Conference Virtual Booth Web Page



Snowflakes on My Nose Activity Book

Illustrator Miki Sato of the Weather Days series (Snow Days, Sunny Days, Windy Days and soon Rainy Days), shows us step-by-step how she created the beautiful paper-collage snowflakes featured in this activity book!

Enter our OLA Super Conference Super Swag Giveaway for a chance to win one of 25 FREE copies of our Snowflakes On My Nose Activity Book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Featured Books

Room for More by Michelle Kadarusman, illus. Maggie Zeng

Author Michele Kadarusman has given us a behind-the-scenes look at this highly-anticipated Spring 2022 title! Check out her video below.


Harvey Takes the Lead by Colleen Nelson, illus. Tara Anderson

Governor General’s Award Finalist author Colleen Nelson tells us a little bit about the latest installation to the Harvey Stories series.

Harley the Hero by Peggy Collins

Author Peggy Collins reads her OLA Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award Nominated book, Harley the Hero, with the help of Sherri and Stanley, the teacher and service dog that inspired this amazing story.

A Sky-Blue Bench by Bahram Rahman, illus. Peggy Collins

A Sky-Blue Bench has been named an ALA Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book! Read the press release here!


Introducing our 2022 OLA Forest of Reading Nominees!


No More Plastic by Alma Fullerton, Blue Spruce Award Nominee

The Library Bus by Bahram Rahman, illus. Gabrielle Grimard, Blue Spruce Award Nominee

Harley the Hero by Peggy Collins, Blue Spruce Award Nominee

Harvey Holds His Own by Colleen Nelson, illus. Tara Anderson, Silver Birch Fiction Award Nominee

Duck Days by Sara Leach, illus. Rebecca Bender, Silver Birch Express Award Nominee



A Sky-Blue Bench Wins ALA Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book

Posted on January 24th, 2022 by pajamapress

It was announced this morning that A Sky-Blue Bench by author Bahram Rahman and illustrator Peggy Collins has been named an honor winner for the 2022 ALA Schneider Family Book Awards!

Click here for the official press release!

★ “A timely, eye-opening portrait of resilience, community, and hope.”—Kirkus Reviews ★ Starred Review

★ “This is a touching and timely book that portrays the hardships many children in Afghanistan and other war-torn countries face. The author illustrates this beautifully and adds an informative and heartfelt “Author’s Note” that’ll leave a notable impression on young readers.”—Seattle Book Review ★ Starred Review

“Together with her mother and brother, Aria decides to build a bench herself, painting it skyblue: the color of “courage, peace and wisdom.”—Foreword Reviews

“[A] heartwarming story about a resilient young girl who faces a barrier to her education.”—Quill & Quire

“Illustrator Peggy Collins imbues Aria with an infectious spunkiness and grit that make her relatable even to readers with a very different school experience. An author’s note gently introduces an age-appropriate discussion of landmines and their impact on the lives of children in many nations, especially Afghanistan…”—CBC Books

“[A] poignant story recognizing the resilience and determination of young children, particularly girls, living in war-torn countries…. Aria’s courage, in the face of adversity, will resonate with children, no matter what their background, as will the significance of the colour blue, a symbol of hope.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“How beautiful and heart-breaking to read this lovely picture book about a young girl…who finds a way to be comfortable at school by building her own bench. The ingenuity and determination of Afghani women and girls is explored…”—Youth Services Book Review

“A Sky-Blue Bench shares a valuable lesson of resilience and that children, specifically girls, can do anything that they put their minds to.”—Metroland Toronto

Cuckoo's Flight Virtual Launch with author Wendy Orr

Posted on March 25th, 2021 by pajamapress

On the evening of Wednesday, April 7, Pajama Press will moderate a Virtual Zoom Launch with author Wendy Orr for her latest Bronze Age novel, Cuckoo’s Flight.

“Orr mixes prose and poetry masterfully throughout the tale. The story is fast paced but has moments of contemplation, and Orr’s skill as a writer show, especially in her poetry….Fans of historical fiction, or even horse stories, will appreciate this fast-paced tale.”—School Library Journal

“[Cuckoo’s Flight] slides effortlessly between prose and poetry….Most impressive is Orr’s ability to translate a worldview vastly different from our own. Memorable.”—Kirkus Reviews

Cuckoo’s Flight is the third Bronze Age novel from Wendy Orr, following Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Dragonfly Song was a finalist for the prestigious TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and was nominated for several other North American awards including the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Sunburst Award, the Austin Waldorf School Children’s Choice Awards, and the Maine Student Book Award. Swallow’s Dance earned starred reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews, and was a School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of the Year.

The evening will start at 8:30 Eastern Time / 5:30 Pacific Time. These are North American times, but attendees are welcome to join from wherever they might be globally!

The evening will include a reading from the text from Wendy Orr; a question & answer period; and a giveaway for attendees!*

Zoom link:

*Please note: there is a limit of 100 people to this event. Attendees will be admitted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

We hope to see you there!

Books for Kids about Human Rights

Posted on December 10th, 2020 by pajamapress

The stories featured on this list deal with topics and themes related to human rights, and will engage young readers with their literary quality and gorgeous illustrations.

The Library Bus

by Bahram Rahman, illus. Gabrielle Grimard

Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during years of civil war and the restrictive Taliban regime. He wrote The Library Bus to tell new generations about the struggles of women who, like his own sister, were forbidden to learn. Brought to life by the pensive and captivating art of award-winning illustrator Gabrielle GrimardThe Library Bus is a celebration of literacy, ingenuity, and the strength of women and girls demanding a future for themselves.

My Beautiful Birds

by Suzanne Del Rizzo

A gentle yet moving story of refugees of the Syrian civil war, My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo illuminates the crisis as it affects its children. It shows the reality of the refugee camps, where people attempt to pick up their lives and carry on. And it reveals the hope of generations of people as they struggle to redefine home.

Girl of the Southern Sea

by Michelle Kadarusman

Nia would love nothing more than to continue her education and become a writer. But high school costs too much. Her father sells banana fritters at the train station, but too much of his earnings go toward his drinking habit. Too often Nia is left alone to take over the food cart as well as care for her brother and their home in the Jakarta slums. And her father has his mind set on wedding her to someone that she does not want to marry. If Nia is to write a new story for herself, she must overcome more obstacles than she could ever have conceived of, and summon courage she isn’t sure she has.

Water’s Children: Celebrating the Resource That Unites Us All

by Angèle Delaunois, illus. Gérard Frischeteau

Water’s Children is a celebration of our world’s most precious resource and will encourage thoughtful discussion among young readers and listeners. The narrators’ words, lyrically written by Angèle Delaunois, offer emotional and sensory details that bring their experiences to life and are accompanied by the glowing illustrations of Gérard Frischeteau.  On the final page, a guide identifies the languages in which the phrase “water is life” appears throughout the book, with thanks to the individuals who provided the translations, helping to craft this truly global story.

Moon at Nine

by Deborah Ellis

Fifteen-year-old Farrin has many secrets. Although she goes to a school for gifted girls in Tehran, as the daughter of an aristocratic mother and wealthy father, Farrin must keep a low profile. It is 1988; ever since the Shah was overthrown, the deeply conservative and religious government controls every facet of life in Iran. If the Revolutionary Guard finds out about her mother’s Bring Back the Shah activities or her own blossoming closeness with a female classmate, her family could be thrown in jail, or worse. Based on real-life events, Moon at Nine is a tense and riveting story about a world where homosexuality is considered so abhorrent that it is punishable by death.

In a Cloud of Dust

by Alma Fullerton, illus. Brian Deines

In a Tanzanian village school, Anna struggles to keep up. Her walk home takes so long that when she arrives, it is too dark to do her homework. Working through the lunch hour instead, she doesn’t see the truck from the bicycle library pull into the schoolyard. By the time she gets out there, the bikes are all gone. Anna hides her disappointment, happy to help her friends learn to balance and steer. She doesn’t know a compassionate friend will offer her a clever solution—and the chance to raise her own cloud of dust. Inspired by organizations like The Village Bicycle Project that have opened bicycle libraries all across Africa, In a Cloud of Dust is an uplifting example of how a simple opportunity can make a dramatic change in a child’s life.