We are deeply saddened by the news of Wallace Edwards’ tragic passing. Wallace was a beloved children’s book illustrator who touched us all with his immense talent, vivid imagination, and warm heart. We were lucky enough to work with Wallace, publishing two of his beautiful books, Once Upon a Line and Woodrow at Sea. He also contributed a piece of original art to A World of Kindness, a title which reflects the man he was.
Wallace’s picture book, The Cat’s Pajamas published by Kids Can Press in 2010, was the inspiration behind our name, Pajama Press. He will be greatly missed, both as a talented illustrator and a wonderful friend. Our hearts go out to Wallace’s loving partner, Kate, and his family.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Reviews: ★ “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
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 Songand 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!*
Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during years of civil war and the restrictive Taliban regime. He wrote The Library Busto 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 Grimard, The Library Bus is a celebration of literacy, ingenuity, and the strength of women and girls demanding a future for themselves.
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.
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 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.
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 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.