Duck Days Teaching Guides

Posted on January 20th, 2021 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Duck Days teaching guide.

Raven, Rabbit, Deer Teaching Guides

Posted on January 19th, 2021 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Raven, Rabbit, Deer teaching guide.

Raven, Rabbit, Deer Activities

Posted on January 19th, 2021 by pajamapress

Cover: Raven, Rabbit, Deer Author: Sue Farrell Holler Ilustrator: Jennifer Faria

 

A boy and his grandfather sit at a table in front of a window to enjoy some milk and cookies. The illustration is done in black-and-white digital line drawings.

Click here to download the Raven, Rabbit, Deer colouring page

Easter Morning, Easter Sun Reviews

Posted on January 13th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

“Anderson tucks careful, child-friendly details into the simple compositions, rendering flora and fauna with greater realism than the bipedal, clothed felines. The fact that one of the assumed parent cats is a black cat is a nice change from the usual stereotypes around black cats….This Easter story focuses on things like springtime renewal as opposed to delving into the religious background of the holiday. Instructions for preparing decorated eggs close the book.

A simple, secular Easter story best suited for younger readers.”

Click here to read the full review

Cuckoo's Flight Reviews

Posted on January 12th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

Title: Cuckoo's Flight Author: Wendy Orr Publisher: Pajama Press“Told mostly from Clio’s point of view, the novel slides effortlessly between prose and poetry. It may take readers a few pages to enter the unfamiliar world, but the engaging storyline and characters make it worth their while. Most impressive is Orr’s ability to translate a worldview vastly different from our own. Memorable.”

Click here to read the full review

The Egyptian Mirror Reviews

Posted on January 6th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

The Egyptian Mirror's book cover features a silhouette of a running person and dog through a misty and darkly wooded area. Written by Michael Bedard.“Bedard’s fourth stand-alone novel set in the town of Caledon again focuses on a good-versus-evil plot structured around supernatural events. The place and setting are strongly developed as each clue quietly builds to a suspenseful climax, and the slow pace contributes to an old-fashioned feel. The technology in Simon’s world points to a 1980s setting: Computers, ultrasounds, TVs, and landline phones exist but not the internet or cellphones….A quiet story for patient readers.”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal

“Bedard’s story is an intriguing premise that doesn’t quite hit its mark….What should be a dark, exciting mystery is overshadowed with a lackluster narrative, providing an adequate but humdrum tale.”
–Emily Walker, Lisle Lib. Dist., IL

Click here to read the full review

Winnipeg Free Press

“Do you enjoy stories with a hint of dark magic, spells that threaten to trap you into a world of ancient sorcery? Then The Egyptian Mirror by acclaimed Toronto author Michael Bedard is the book for you….Bedard builds a feeling of impending disaster that threatens Simon and his friend Abbey as they watch a strange woman and an unfriendly black dog move into the old man’s home.”

Click here to read the full review

When Elephants Listen with Their Feet: Discover Extraordinary Animal Senses Reviews

Posted on January 6th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

An African elephant, rendered as a digital illustration, and a girl with brown skin walk side-by-side along a grassy path. The title of the book is When Elephants Listen with Their Feet. Written by Emmannuelle Grumndmann, illustrated by Clemence Dupont. Translated from the French original by Erin Woods.“Grundmann and Dupont highlight the ways in which various nonhuman animals display extraordinary sensory capabilities that human bodies lack….Small lessons in the science behind senses are interspersed amid the many short paragraphs about animals all over the planet. The text is graceful and often humorous, with an extensive vocabulary and fairly complex sentence structure….Overall, the book thoughtfully and exuberantly excites wonder in its readers. Sensational sensory stories.”

Click here to read the full review

Raven, Rabbit, Deer Interviews

Posted on December 14th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: Raven, Rabbit, Deer Author: Sue Farrell Holler Ilustrator: Jennifer FariaCanLit for LittleCanadians interview with author Sue Farrell Holler and illustrator Jennifer Faria

The Library Bus Teaching Guides

Posted on November 17th, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the teaching guide for The Library Bus.

A World of Mindfulness Teaching Guides

Posted on November 17th, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the A World of Mindfulness teaching guide.

A World of Mindfulness Reviews

Posted on October 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

Booklist

Cover: A World of Mindfulness From the Editors & Illustrators of Pajama Press

“This calming picture book is a collaboration between a number of Pajama Press’ editors and illustrators. Their styles differ, but all are soothing and promote thinking in the moment about one’s environment and feelings….The gentle writing and age-appropriate examples make this a useful book for little ones.”
— Miriam Aronin

Read the full review in the December 1, 2020 issue of Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“From the team behind A World of Kindness comes this picture book, which does double duty as a mindfulness guide. Fourteen artists illustrate, with a table of contents helpfully identifying the respective page numbers….The children have differing skin tones and hair textures, highlighting the universality of this effectively grounding read.”

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“Numerous artists illustrate words meant to ground readers in the moment….Designed to bring readers’ attention to what is occurring within and around them, the text reads like a guided meditation, beginning and ending with ‘I am here.’ Each spread features art by a different illustrator, varying in style, with bright colored-pencil drawings, soft watercolor paintings, mixed-media collage, and striking scenes in textured clay. The scenes represent the moments and experiences described in the text, and they feature children of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. With its meditative words that encourage slow reading, this book can be used as a practical introduction to mindfulness meditation, as an example of the practice, and as a guide.”

Click here to read the full review

Postmedia

“Mindfulness practice, such as meditation and yoga, can be helpful to children making them feel calm, focused and more in control….This collaborative picture book is ‘dedicated to all children struggling to navigate our uncertain world.’”

Click here to read the full review

Winnipeg Free Press

“In a year when the pandemic has turned the whole world upside down, children may need familiar and comforting things to hold on to. Pajama Press has gathered 14 exceptional Canadian artists to project the calming feelings that can be invoked by our senses: smelling fresh grass, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing the sound of birds or experiencing the joy of creating things and more.”

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“A meditative text, accompanied by beautiful images demonstrates the importance for children on being quiet and reflective some times. It shows how listening to birds can help quiet the snow storm in your head and help you to let go of anger. This picture book can help to lead children to practice yoga, meditation and general peace of mind.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Our world needs more mindfulness. With all the strife and worries, we need to become aware of the present, appreciate the now and bring calm. A World of Mindfulness will help all of us, but especially children, find that.

Fourteen illustrators provide artwork to complement Pajama Press editor Erin Alladin’s words. The text is sparse but impactful…Whether trying to permeate the text with the calm resulting from mindfulness or the wish to find joy or the angst that compels a need for mindfulness, the illustrators complete the messages of enlightenment and support in their medium of choice. There are coloured-pencil drawings, cut-paper art, digital illustration and more. As diverse as the ways to attain mindfulness, the illustrators of A World of Mindfulness explore the concept with their own form of creativity.

When Pajama Press came out with its first collaboratively-created picture book, A World of Kindness, it impressed all with its poignant messages and stunning and varied artwork. It ushered readers through recognizing the need for kindness, especially when faced with unkindness, and how to be kind. A World of Mindfulness similarly takes the reader on a journey of discovery, of how to find the calm within, of focusing on moments and tasks and of immersing oneself in the experience that is. Whether for quality of life or therapy, mindfulness works and so does A World of Mindfulness.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“Particularly this year, with the lack of structure and routine, proliferation of screen time, and societal anxiety, this book can help children stop and find balance and calm in their lives.

The illustrations are beautiful and show the beauty of our world and the diversity of our peoples. Each picture has lots of things to look at and can provide an image to meditate on. They celebrate our self, our natural world, small joys of life, and the act of creation and reflection.

This is a beautiful book and an apt one for this difficult year.”

Click here to read the full review

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“As the Pajama Press team led by Gail Winskill did in A World of Kindness, they again combine stunning artwork with sensitive text to help young children find ‘warmth, peace and hope’ in difficult times. As 2020 winds down with a fervent hope for a better new year, this is a book that will resonate with all families….

The artwork is created in a variety of media, and is beautifully rendered to bring a sense of calm and to empower readers to take note of the world that surrounds them every day. The well-chosen words offer a chance to think about self, nature, feelings, movement, and place in that world….

Read slowly. Look carefully. Feel the calm as the world moves from one year to the next, with hope for better and a plan to find joy in the small things.”

Click here to read the full review

A Family for Faru Extra Content

Posted on October 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: A Family for Faru Author: Anitha Rao-Robinson Illustrator: Karen Patkau Publisher: Pajama Press“A Family for Faru & A Different Drummer Books” virtual launch video with author Anitha Rao-Robinson from October 7, 2020

Teaching Mrs. Muddle Extra Content

Posted on October 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: Teaching Mrs. Muddle Author: Colleen Nelson Illustrator: Alice Carter Publisher: Pajama Press“Teaching Mrs. Muddle: Behind the Scenes” video with illustrator Alice Carter

Duck Days Reviews

Posted on October 14th, 2020 by pajamapress

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Cover: Duck Days Author: Sara Leach Illustrator: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press

What did you like about the book? There’s so much I love about this book! Lauren is a relatable third grader who has a best friend Irma….Lauren also has autism, and regularly describes her feelings and reactions for the reader….All readers will be able to relate to her experiences navigating friendships, child stresses at school, and big emotions, and readers without autism will find many role models in the story for ways to connect with and support friends and family with autism without harping on it. Diversity is celebrated in the book – with Lauren, her friend Irma who is learning English, and supportive classmates with different skin colors. Black and white illustrations on most pages show both the events of the story as well as additional clues about characters’ emotions. The messages and theme of the story come across strongly even for young readers, but they are woven throughout the fantastic story to create an overall enjoyable reading experience.

To whom would you recommend this book? This would be an ideal read aloud for a class (probably 1st or 2nd grade). It would be great for adults to read with children (both on the autism spectrum and not) to support social emotional skills. I would also give it to kids who have read any of the picture books A Friend for Henry (Bailey), My Brother Charlie (Peete), All My Stripes (Rudolph), or Since We’re Friends (Shally) and are looking for something a bit longer, but are not ready for longer chapter books like Rain Reign (Martin) or A Boy Called Bat (Arnold)….

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our ‘to read’ piles? Yes”
Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Click here to read the full review

Winnipeg Free Press

“From the author of the highly recommended Slug Days and Penguin Days, this early chapter book puts the reader squarely in the life of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder….Sara Leach is a teacher-librarian from Whistler, B.C., who has worked with students who share Lauren’s condition and has been able to help them cope. Rebecca Bender, who added the sensitive, homey black-and-white illustrations, lives in Burlington, Ont., and is best known for her award-winning Giraffe and Bird books.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Review of Materials

“This story hit close to home as I have two children very close to me with ASD. Duck Days is accurate when portraying the challenges for a child who has “dragonflies” in her tummy when faced with something new. Showing Lauren being hesitant to try new foods, activities and not being in charge will be relatable for the readers.

Although Duck Days might read as a Kindergarten-grade 4 level book, I think it could be used as a teaching tool for even higher grades to address differences and challenges for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is a lifelong disorder. You cannot change the fact that a person has ASD, but support can significantly improve the ability of that person to be successful in all areas of her/his life. This support is referred to as intervention (Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – Canada.ca)

Having books like Duck Days available as a starting point for discussion with children who can relate and see themselves in Lauren’s behavior and thought process can only serve as essential tools for parents and teachers alike.

Recommended.”
Shelly Quade, the Talent Lab Manager for the Whistler Film Festival, is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she helps train and promote Canadian storytellers from her remote office.

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

Duck Days by Sara Leach is a novel for ages 7 – 11. Third grade student Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder and experiences some things a bit different from her friends….This book is part of a well written series for young kids on Autism and Asperger’s.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Author Sara Leach introduced young readers to Lauren, a young child living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in Slug Days (2017) and Penguin Days (2018) and, with each new story we get to celebrate Lauren’s successes in developing coping strategies that give her the comfort to endure typical childhood situations from school to spending time with relatives to making new friends and keeping them. Though it’s evident that Lauren becomes uncomfortable with anything that detracts from her routines primarily as a result of her ASD, Sara Leach helps young readers see that anyone can use a little help when having a hard time. Most children do better with routines and the predictable and have worries about friendships and looking foolish. So while Sara Leach helps them understand some of the challenges faced by children with ASD, she also encourages them to find coping strategies, including visualization and focusing on breathing, to help get through uncomfortable or irregular circumstances.

Accompanied by the charming pencil and digitally-rendered artwork of Rebecca Bender whose illustrations have graced her own picture books like Giraffe and Bird Together Again and How Do You Feel?Duck Days will captivate early readers with both the familiarity and distinction of Lauren’s circumstances and recognize that being brave is in everyone.”

Click here to read the full review

Getting Kids Reading

Duck Days is a heart-warming chapter book for early readers. It’s the third in a series; the main character is Lauren, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. All of the books are lovely reads about friendship, perseverance and the challenges life brings to us all. In Duck Days, Lauren uses the concepts of ‘go with the flow’ and ‘water off a duck’s back’ to help her deal with last-minute changes to her plans….

I’m going to add that even if your young reader doesn’t have the same mountains to climb as Lauren, Duck Days and the other books in the series, are a good choice.”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“Sara Leach kindly and matter of factly shares Lauren’s journey with readers. We learn the challenges that Lauren faces everyday at home and school. Readers will also recognize the same challenges that we all face during childhood: navigating friendships, persevering against bullies, being brave and trying new things. Everything Lauren does in Duck Days is very relatable to all children but this story also fosters empathy in those who do not have ASD….

Books like Duck Days and the companion stories Slug Days and Penguin Days are important for your readers to access. It is through learning stories about people who may be different from ourselves that we learn empathy, compassion and the richness of the human experience. I love the illustrations by Rebecca Bender….

I really hope to see this series continue. I want to read more about Lauren’s journey through life and how she and her friends will approach the challenges that come their way.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“Lauren learns about what it means to be brave, and how she can have more than one friend. I like to see how Lauren grows from book to book and becomes more confident in her abilities and tackles new challenges with the help of her family, friends, and teachers. As always with this series, the illustrations show both the events of the story as well as Lauren’s feelings. The facial expressions really work well to show how she feels in different situations here.”

Click here to read the full review

Jill’s Book Blog

“I loved the Autism representation in this story. Lauren had a lot of visual techniques to help figure out the world around her….Lauren helped Irma with her English, which showed some representation of the immigrant experience. Irma had to go to school and learn a language that she wasn’t familiar with, but she had the courage to do it every day. Lauren would correct Irma’s language, but at least Irma was trying to speak, even when she got it wrong. They were both brave little girls. This is a great children’s book!”

Click here to read the full review

Teaching Mrs. Muddle Reviews

Posted on October 14th, 2020 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

Cover: Teaching Mrs. Muddle Author: Colleen Nelson Illustrator: Alice Carter Publisher: Pajama Press“The first day of school can be scary and very, very confusing, and not just for the students….Nelson embraces the nervousness of walking into a school for the first time and blends those feelings with the antics of a hapless teacher who would get along just fine with Amelia Bedelia. Friendly and colorful illustrations depict a diverse group of students with a zany teacher at the helm…Children not yet old enough to read will be engrossed by the detailed images of all the places they may find in a school building. VERDICT This story is perfectly suited to settle some first day jitters, but will also be appreciated by teachers and parents who know what it takes to help children feel comfortable in new environments.”
—Erica Deb, Matawan Aberdeen P.L., NJ

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“It’s Kayla’s first day of kindergarten, and she’s riddled with anxiety about all the mistakes she’s sure she will make.

Then Kayla meets her teacher, Mrs. Muddle, and realizes that she might not be the only one learning the ropes….By the time the day is over, Kayla is confident in her ability to navigate her new school. Nelson’s narratorial voice is clear and charming, and the choice to illustrate Kayla as a dark-skinned girl of color is pleasing.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Children’s Book News

Teaching Mrs. Muddle by award-winning author Colleen Nelson and illustrated by Alice Carter, is a fun-loving, thoughtful picture book about first-day-of-school jitters, empowerment and personal growth, all housed within 32 colourful pages….

A former kindergarten teacher turned junior high school teacher, Nelson has astutely captured both the curiosity and nervousness that often accompanies kids when beginning something new. And Carter’s bright, delightfully whimsical illustrations bring Kayla and her new school world brilliantly to life. The choice to illustrate Kayla (and many of her classmates) as a dark-skinned person of colour is both refreshing and important. At the same time, Carter’s ability to expertly characterize the expressions, actions and emotions of Kayla, Mrs. Muddle and those around them adds to the giggle level of this charming read.

A practical resource for librarians, teachers and families, this timely book makes the grade as ideal reading for bringing the focus back to a love of learning, friendship and fun, perfect for engaging and encouraging children during these uncertain, challenging times.”
—Jennifer D. Foster

Read the full review in the Winter 2020 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Without making Kayla precocious or Mrs. Muddle outrageous, Colleen Nelson creates a very relatable school situation that is both engaging and charming. It’s giving Kayla and every child the opportunity to see that they embody far greater capabilities than they imagine they possess. Though this is Colleen Nelson’s first picture book, her impressive repertoire of both middle grade novels such as Harvey Comes Home and YA novels like The FallFinding Hope and Sadia have always cheered young people for their ability to face challenges, find solutions and make better lives for themselves than their circumstances might dictate. Even in a light but big-hearted story about finding your own way by helping others, Colleen Nelson drives home the conviction that young people can do so much.

That brightness of Colleen Nelson’s story and message about children’s potential to lead is emphatically portrayed in Alice Carter’s illustrations. Rich in the primary colours which will appeal to young children, Alice Carter makes what could have been a gloomy story about making mistakes or an incompetent teacher into an energized lesson in helping with heart and being confident.

Teaching Mrs. Muddle should become a must-read for parents sending little ones off to kindergarten but it will be also become a favourite for young children who will laugh at the muddled Mrs. Muddle and applaud Kayla for her cleverness and subtlety, recalling their own first times in new situations and satisfaction at handling them as well.”

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

What did you like about the book? Kayla is nervous about her first day of kindergarten, but has so much fun at school she forgets about her worries. Mrs. Muddle, her teacher, makes mistake after mistake all day long, and Kayla and her new classmates must help her out. Kids will love laughing at the mistakes she makes, including giving out the wrong name tags, holding a book upside down during a read aloud, and taking the class all around the school and into many wrong rooms while looking for the gym and the bathrooms. Whether or not the reader knows that Mrs. Muddle’s ‘mistakes’ were on purpose, they will enjoy following her and the class all around the school. I appreciated the variety of skin colors in the characters, and the inclusion of a few male teachers. The illustrations add to the humor and really give the feel of a tour around an elementary school….

To whom would you recommend this book? This would be a perfect read aloud for a first day of kindergarten (or preschool, or first grade). I would also recommend it to adults to read with children who are nervous about starting school for the first time, or for young readers who like funny school stories.”
Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“The illustrations were the best part of this book. They absolutely made the story come to life….From problems matching nametags to kids at the beginning of the day, to going to different rooms in the school as the day progressed, to using snacks as art supplies, the kids learn to work together to get things done and keep Mrs. Muddle organized….The endpapers are filled with more illustrations, alphabet pictures of letters and animals whose names start with the letters (or for Xx end with them).”

Click here to read the full review