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.
A lively series of spreads invites young readers to guess the fathers of various baby animals by choosing among several candidates. The fathers are revealed following each multiple-choice page. The final puzzle, involving a human boy, resolves in a humorous surprise.
Little fans of big trucks will bounce to the rollicking rhyme as they find triangles on dump trucks, squares on cranes, and semi-circles on excavators. Bright photographs, chant-along text, and a closing list of enrichment activities make this a shape book to remember.
For small children, snow is a wonder. Snow Days captures the magic of winter with nimble couplets that celebrate every kind of winter pleasure. Each illustration is a masterpiece made from paper, felt, and embroidery silk, inviting readers to look again and again.
Not every child greets the new day with enthusiasm. Those who don’t are called Grumples, and must be dealt with carefully. This unique celebration of morning captures the love between a parent and their child, even in the crankiest of moments.
It’s time for this little fellow to go outside, but it’s cold out—what will he wear to keep warm? So many hats to choose from! The simple, rhythmic text of Hat On, Hat Off reflects the everyday challenge of getting a toddler ready to go out.
The toad feels bumpy, like a gnarly tree. The snake feels smooth, like a stone polished by the sea. The hedgehog is discovering the textures of his animal friends, but how does the hedgehog feel himself? Lyrical text and endearing illustrations make this a perfect book for little ones, who may even be inspired to find new ways to express how they feel.
The Haircut captures the toddler experience of getting a haircut with simplicity and charm. In the Toddler-Tough format with padded cover and extra-heavy pages that are easy to turn and hard to tear, The Haircut is perfect for little ones who are just beginning to feel big.
A little boy spends the day with his grandfather, endearingly imagining himself to be the caregiver. On a walk through the forest, the grandfather teaches him to identify a number of animals and their tracks: raven, rabbit, deer, sparrow. Back at the house, their special time ends with milk, cookies, and story time that turns into a nap.
Kayla is worried about missing home or getting lost on the first day of kindergarten but is quickly distracted by the need to help her teacher get through the day. Humorously, the reader sees what Kayla does not: that Mrs. Muddle’s frequent mistakes as she shows them around the school and introduces routines are deliberate ploys to encourage her students’ leadership potential. With Kayla’s help, the class experiences the library, music room, office, gym, and playground as well as centers in the kindergarten classroom.
The Nutcracker ballet an New York City’s David H. Koch Theater come to life in this onomatopoeic representation of a little girl’s experience at the ballet. Beautiful illustration infuses each scene with warm holiday colours and a richness that will make young readers feel they are really there.
Pencil and his boy Jackson are a great pair, that is until Jackson meets Tablet. Now finding himself dumped in the junk drawer, Pencil must sketch up a plan to draw Jackson back into their friendship. Kid-friendly puns and an upbeat tone make this a wonderful celebration of friendship, collaboration, and unplugged fun.
A young blue-footed booby named Benjamin has a knack for finding “treasure” (human discards). When his discovery of a mirror causes him to become insecure about his body, Benjamin uses his collection to change his features. But his changes make it impossible to swim and fish and fly, and Benjamin realizes he’s exactly the way he’s meant to be.
Every day, the children in the village wait to watch the mysterious Mr. Rodriguez go by. His odd but charming ways are eventually revealed to be part of his preparation for the afterlife in this moving intergenerational tale.
Lucy is happy painting the colour of laughter in her garden, but loses her way when she follows feedback from a series of animal critics. With wise encouragement from her cat, Lucy finds her authentic self in her work again and painting is rewarding once more.
Giraffe and Bird spat, squabble, and get on each other’s nerves. There’s nothing the irrepressible Bird likes more than to have a laugh at the expense of his dignified friend, and one thirsty day at the water hole, he gets his chance. Giraffe’s awkward attempt to reach the water without getting his hooves wet raises a laugh from all his friends, even bird. With Giraffe’s feelings hurt, Bird learns a lesson about empathy and friendship.
Giraffe and Bird are not friends. After all, they fight all the time. But when they go their separate ways and a scary storm strikes, they both realize they might be better off together—even if they are still not friends.
Little Fox is lost in the snowy forest. When an old owl offers to help him find his way home, Little Fox remembers his mother’s rhyming warning to stay still if he is lost. Instead of following a stranger, Little Fox finds a better solution: He lets the other animals help him sing his mother’s rhyme until she follows their voices to him.
Busy observing the world, Queenie Quail is often admonished to keep up with her parents and nine siblings. When Queenie’s watchful eye spots a cat in the grass, she rescues her family from danger and teaches them the value of slowing down.
An informational book about bats’ biology, history, habitats, and the environmental challenges they face. “Bat Citizen” profiles highlight the work of young conservationists. Includes full-color photographs throughout, along with a table of contents, index, glossary, sidebars, and center gatefold bat painting.
A family discovers a trunk of old paintings by Uncle George, each drawn from a single line using an enchanted pen. Wallace Edwards explores storytelling through a single line that grows into a new image and story on each page, inspiring readers to finish the simple stories or come up with their own. An absorbing book rich in detail and color.
The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women is a rousing collection of biographies focused on women and girls who have written, explored, or otherwise plunged headfirst into the pages of history. Undaunted by expectations, they made their mark by persevering in pursuit of their passions. The tales come from a huge variety of times and places, from a Canadian astronaut to an Indian secret agent and to a Balkan pirate queen who stood up to Ancient Rome.
In a wordless graphic picture book, a young boy’s struggle with anxiety is represented by swarms of tiny creatures that follow and gnaw away at him. As his schoolwork and social interactions suffer, he feels more alone and out of control. The boy’s isolation is ultimately overcome when he opens up to his sister and learns that he is not the only one beset with worries.
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.
Pajama Press is proud to announce that Lili Macaroni (978-1-77278-093-2) by author Nicole Testa and illustrator Annie Boulanger is the winner of the 2020 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award in the Children’s Picture Book category.
Lili Macaroni was translated into English from the French original Lili Macaroni: je suis comme je suis!, published by Dominique et compagnie, which was nominated for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award. The English edition has also been selected as a 2019 Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, and for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids & Teens.
The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz
Children’s Book Award program aims to recognize “artistic excellence in
Canadian children’s literature” and presents two awards annually, one for
picture books and the other for middle-grade and young adult books. Other Pajama Press titles that have been
nominated for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award in previous
years include Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis, My Beautiful Birds by
Suzanne Del Rizzo, and A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison by
Katherine Gibson and Margriet Ruurs. Learn more about the Ruth and Sylvia
Schwartz Children’s Book Awards here: https://www.ontarioartsfoundation.on.ca/pages/ruth-sylvia-schwartz-awards
Pajama Press extends our
congratulations to Nicole Testa and Annie Boulanger. Our sincerest thanks go to
the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ruth Schwartz
Foundation for their support of Canadian children’s authors, illustrators, and
Pajama Press is proud to announce that two of our books have been selected by the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) for their 2020 Outstanding International Books List, including: Girl of the Southern Sea, written by Michelle Kadarusman, and The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women, written by Ailsa Ross and illustrated by Amy Blackwell.
Michelle Kadarusman was in
attendance at the 2020 presentation, held at the ALA Midwinter Conference in
Philadelphia. Committee member Amy McClure spoke about how the protagonist Nia
from Girl of the Southern Sea embodied resilience during challenging
The USBBY is “a nonprofit
organization devoted to building bridges of international understanding through
children’s and young adult books.” The Outstanding International Books List
began in 2006 and aims to honor international books that are published and
distributed in the United States and deemed the most outstanding of those published
during the calendar year. Learn more at www.usbby.org/outstanding-international-books-list.
Pajama Press extends our
congratulations to our talented creators. Our sincerest thanks go to the USBBY
for their support of international books through this incredible program for
“At the end of a long day when I was nine months pregnant, my 4-year-old, Winter, asked, ‘Is Daddy going to die?’…
Death is one of the
most difficult subjects to talk about with a child. It’s so vast, so many
things to so many people that, like wandering Macy’s the week before Christmas,
it’s hard to know where to start and you’re tempted to avoid it altogether.
There is the obvious fear of traumatizing your child, giving her too long a
look into the abyss. There is also the self-conscious suspicion that whatever
you end up saying will ultimately reveal more about who you are than it will
about the subject itself. Thankfully, a host of new picture books tackle ‘taking
the ferry,’ staring down that overtly thwarting subject, and making it
personal, peaceful and approachable.
In Christiane Duchesne
and Francois Thisdale’s bewitching Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez, set in a small seaside town, a group
of kids watch the mysterious comings and goings of a man who wears a bright red
scarf and looks as if he has ‘clouds under his coat.’ His solitary meanderings
through the cobblestone streets and his eccentric love of animals — he attaches
wings to a cat’s back, strolls with a goldfish bowl on his head — go unnoticed
by the adults. But to the children he is a fascination and delight.
When he abruptly disappears…his absence prompts a strong sense of community as [the children] band together to say their goodbyes…Thisdale’s realistic yet dreamlike illustrations, windswept with mist and surreal painted skies, add to the sense of wonder….
As these four books illustrate and I have come to realize, the conversation about death is alive, shifting and fading, bobbing to the surface and just as swiftly sinking below. It is not one thing for us or for children. When I asked Winter again what she thought about death, there was no memory of my parental wipeout. She simply announced with great confidence: ‘You don’t need a phone.’ She had worked it out just fine.” —Marisha Pessl