The Theory of Hummingbirds Interviews

Posted on September 18th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: The Theory of Hummingbirds Author: Michelle Kadarusman Publisher: Pajama PressPublishers Weekly “News From the North: September 2017” interview with Michelle Kadarusman

Best Pirate Interviews

Posted on September 18th, 2018 by pajamapress

Read Marmalade interview with author Kari-Lynn WintersCover: Best Pirate Author: Kari-Lynn Winters Illustrator: Dean Griffiths Publisher: Pajama Press

Dragonfly Song Interviews

Posted on September 17th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Dragonfly Song Author: Wendy Orr Publisher: Pajama PressThe Edmonton Sun interview with Wendy Orr

Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family Reviews

Posted on September 17th, 2018 by pajamapress

Booklist

Cover: Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family Authors: Van Ho and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch Publisher: Pajama Press

“Skrypuch continues her collaboration with the Ho family in telling the stories of their escape from Vietnam after the war. Here the youngest daughter, Van Ho, pieces together memories of being the one who was left behind at the age of four….

As a work of fragmented and painful memories from the time Van was between the ages of four and eight, the narrative is impressively credible, capturing her feelings of confused abandonment, visceral descriptions of her life in Ho Chi Minh City, and gradual adjustment to being separated from her immediate family….”
—Amina Chaudhri

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“With simple but engaging language, Skrypuch recounts Van Ho’s true story of her lonely and hard life in Vietnam during the years she was separated from her family. Skrypuch offers readers myriad opportunities to identify with Van, who navigates school, friendship, bullying, and poverty, while also giving them insight into less-common American experiences such as political oppression and asylum. The story covers four years of Van’s life, including her reunion with parents and siblings in Canada and the immediate culture shock of arriving….This illuminating chapter book respects an often overlooked demographic, providing transitioning readers a truthful yet age-appropriate introduction to big issues that still affect people to this day.”

Click here to read the full review

Quill & Quire ★ Starred Review

“Skrypuch and the now-adult Van Ho collaborate on this account of Van’s life from the morning she woke to find her mother and siblings gone to when, four years later, she was reunited with her family in Toronto….

[T]hroughout the book, the authors eschew sentimentality and sensationalism, creating a straightforward autobiography that is truthful about resilience and the often unpredictable ways children act and react.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

Rating: 5…Van’s story is necessarily informed by Skrypuch’s research and imagination in addition to Van’s memories of her distant childhood as corroborated by other members of her family. The product, is an extremely engaging account of a childhood in challenging circumstances….

Van’s story is a page-turner. Children will relate to her sense of injustice….

Too Young to Escape is a welcome reminder of the post-Vietnam War refugee crisis that saw Canada, France, the United States and Australia welcome strangers in need. Readers will appreciate hearing this personal story from a child’s perspective. The book will include an eight page colour insert of photographs of Van and her family as children plus a recent photo of Vanessa (formerly Van) with her spouse and children and a final image of Vanessa and her beloved Bà Ngoąi taken in 1997. Skrypuch includes very brief interviews with Van’s parents, Nam Ho and Phuoc Ho, that help to explain the context of the time including the reasons for their difficult decisions.

Readers may have wondered why the telephone or e-mail was not used by Van’s parents. The paucity of telephones in Vietnam in the early 1980s and censorship of physical mail by government officials are two more challenges that Van’s parents note in their interviews. Modern technology may make it easier to communicate over long distances today, but civil wars, state-sanctioned or state-sponsored discrimination and persecution are enduring reasons for normal people to be transformed into refugees in the twenty-first century. Van’s story and those of her family members remain timeless as well as time-specific.

Highly Recommended
—Val Ken Lem is a librarian at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

Too Young to Escape is a compelling story about the aftermath of war for children….The fact that this book is memoir, not fiction, leaves tantalizing gaps in the story, only partly filled by interviews with Van Ho’s mother and father in the back matter. (The pictures of Van and her family will add immediacy to the reading experience.) Sensitive readers will be moved, and possibly shocked, by the challenges Van faces – but also reassured by her resilience and compassion.

Too Young to Escape offers a piercing firsthand account of the conflict in Vietnam, which continues to resonate in popular culture decades later. The book’s plucky young protagonist adds a diverse voice to a literature that continues…to be necessary for today’s readers.”
—Leslie Vermeer

Read the full review on page 23 of the December 2018 issue of Resource Links

Youth Services Book Review

“Rating: … 5

The first-person narrative should hold readers riveted….The importance of family shines through this compelling memoir, and a series of color photographs adds to the emotional impact.

….Readers who enjoy this book might also enjoy Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. In addition, they will want to seek out Adrift at Sea, a picture book by co-author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch which tells the story of Van’s older brother, Tuan.”

Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Read the full review here

Libris Notes

Too Young To Escape is based on the true story of a Vietnamese family who came to Canada during the 1980’s. This children’s novel grew out of an earlier book authored by Skrypuch, Adrift At Sea which told about Van’s brother Tuan and his escape from Vietnam. As Skrypuch mentions in her Author’s Note at the back, she would often get questions at school presentation of Adrift At Sea about what happened to Van. Did she ever make it to Canada? So Skrypuch approached Van Ho and asked her to consider telling her story. Together they worked on telling Van’s story, as she attempted to recall as much as possible of this period of her life….

Readers will be impressed by Van Ho’s respectful kindness towards her Ba Ngoai and her obedience to her aunt and uncle who, at great risk, have taken in many family members. Van’s fortitude in dealing with being left behind, and making the best of her situation are evident in her story. But the authors also show that it was difficult for Van to come to terms with being left behind. This was especially evident when photographs began arrived from Canada of her family, happy and well settled….

Too Young To Escape is another excellent, well-written book by Canadian Ukrainian author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch that brings to light recent history in a meaningful way for young Canadians. Readers will enjoy the short interviews with Van’s mother and father and the colour family photo album at the back. A must-have book for schools, homeschoolers and anyone interested in portraying Canadian history in an engaging personal manner.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“When Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch co-wrote Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival with Tuan Ho, she began a family’s story of escape from Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and taking of power by the communists. In that picture book, illustrated by Brian Deines, a mother and her two daughters, Loan and Lan, and six-year-old son Tuan escape Vietnam by boat, hopeful of joining father and the eldest daughter Linh in Canada. But there was another story. Because four-year-old Van is left behind. Too Young to Escape is her story….

Van Ho, who lived this story, tells it through Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s pen of extraordinary writing which reflects both Van’s youthful point of view and her trauma. Her story is disquieting but it’s also uplifting, focusing on Van’s resilience. Told from her perspective, from Van explaining away her family’s absence before she learns the reason to her obligation to completing chores many of our culture might deem inappropriate for one so young to finding a friend in a girl less fortunate than herself, Van’s story of being left behind is heartbreaking.

Enhancing Van Ho’s story with photographs and interviews with her father, Nam Ho, and mother, Phuoc Ho, Too Young to Escape gives a snapshot of a different time and place, one of upheaval and loss, perseverance and endurance, that ends with a reunion and a good life in Canada. It is a story of survival, even if Van Ho was Too Young to Escape.”

Click here to read the full review

A Year of Books

“This was a terrific story, written with a middle-grade reader in mind. It is a story of bravery as a family escapes Vietnam for a better life, ending up in Canada. This families’ plight should be taught in school and enable those born in Canada to understand the life and death choices that families have made to get to freedom….

I loved meeting this amazing family who were all reunited after many years apart and appreciate living in Canada…As in all her books, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has done a fantastic job capturing the raw feelings of hope and resilience. She helps students consider the plight of others, living through war and devastation. I look forward to her next book and am thankful that the Branford Public Library held an event to launch this terrific book!”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This story brings to life the situations and circumstances that the Vietnam refugees fled, and creates some understanding for young readers of the difficulties faced by them.

The day to day reality of life in Vietnam for Van and her grandmother are shown in detail, and the photos included here allow the reader to connect with the young girl.

I remember welcoming Vietnamese refugees in my community years before this time, and still have a small gift that one young girl gave to me as I helped her adjust to her new life, so this story really hit home for me.”

Click here to read the full review

Our New Kittens Reviews

Posted on August 14th, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

Cover: Our New Kittens Author: Theo Heras Illustrator: Alice Carter Publisher: Pajama Press“Illustrations in colored pencil, watercolor, and digital media feature soft lines and colors and emphasize the relationships between the boys and their pets…Endpapers list in crayon-styled hand printing things to have before bringing a kitten home and what to give your kitten each day….[will] stoke a child’s excitement about the idea of getting a pet and useful for facilitating a conversation about “pet care. (Picture book. 3-6)”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal

“This is a spare story about two brothers and their first experience owning kittens….The colored pencil, watercolor, and digital art has a cartoony feel to it, and the brown-skinned boys, with their oversize round heads and curly hair are appealing. The art is visually interesting, with a nice mix of points of view, as well as full pages, spreads, and spot art to add movement and encourage page turns….VERDICT Vets might find this title to be a useful tool for parents looking to add kittens to their home…”
–Amy Lilien-Harper, Greenwich Library, CT

Read the full review in the December 2018 issue of School Library Journal

Foreword Reviews

“Through this lovely introduction to pet care and responsibility—whether families are adopting an animal for the first time or reinforcing good practices—children will learn how to safely care for new furry friends: providing fresh water and food, a clean litter box, brushing, play time, gentle care, and, of course, lots of love.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Alice Carter’s illustrations are warmly created with colored pencil and watercolours as well as digital art. The characters and the setting are realistically represented with a slight cartoonish flair. Overall, the pictures allow the readers to infer more details in addition to the text, thereby extending the storytelling of how the relationship between the brothers and their new pet kittens develops.

Reading Our New Kittens would be a good way to inform young children of the emotional and behavioural aspects, plus accountability, of what pet ownership entails.

Highly Recommended
—Sheryl Lee

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 5

What did you like about the book? Simple text and vivid illustrations introduce young children to bringing home a new pet. The endpages are wonderful with a checklist and tips for caring for new kittens. Highly recommended for anyone considering adopting from an animal shelter.”
Julie Durmis, JC Solmonese Elementary School, Norton, MA

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

Our New Kittens is a book that kids will enjoy if they are preparing for a new kitten themselves. They may even find some helpful advice, like how to behave around a new kitten and what supplies they will need….[A] great discussion starter for families who are bringing home a kitten of their own.”
—Alice Albarda

Read the full review on page 6 of the December 2018 issue of Resource Links

Canadian Bookworm

“This was an apt choice as we adopted two cats yesterday, although not kittens….This is a fun read for kids interested in getting a pet, preparing them for the joy and responsibility of having an animal in the home. The drawings are lovely, I loved the flyaway curls of the younger brother, and his mismatched socks.”

Click here to read the full review

Giraffe and Bird Together Again Reviews

Posted on August 14th, 2018 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“A strength of this title is the action verbs and rich vocabulary that is introduced….The text and illustrations also work well together….This title lends itself to discussion about friendship and being open to try new things. VERDICT A strong choice for a preschool storytime or a one-on-one sharing.”
–Robin Sofge, Prince William Public Library System, VA

Click here to read the full review

Booklist

“Bender’s language is lively and poetic: Giraffe gazes and grazes, Bird swoops and soars and explores. Her illustrations focus on Giraffe’s very expressive face, which often dominates his orange-and-brown-colored pages, while Bird, when not displayed in full glory on his blue-tinged ones, is just a feather or two, leading Giraffe on his quest. More than one rescue is needed here, which adds to the tale’s tension. Savor for the warmth of the illustrations, the fun, and the read-aloud possibilities.”
— Edie Ching

Click here for the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“The zany odd couple is back again in an exciting new adventure….Bender’s sharp wit, onomatopoeic language, and cartoon-style illustrations capture Giraffe’s exasperation, determination, and terror and, above all, the joy of his reunion with his best friend—right before they get themselves into more trouble! Bender includes a map of the locations Giraffe visits in his odyssey; inset pictures of the new animals in this book, a bush baby and an ibex, along with their Latin, scientific names offer bonus STEM material.

May this series continue with more humorous adventures that teach, ever so gently, that best friends have to let each other roam—because the reunion is that much sweeter. A sequel that delivers; may Bird soon have his own starring role in an upcoming story.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Bender’s acrylic and coloured pencil artwork is an essential part of the book’s success, and, as in the previous Giraffe and Bird books, the illustrations’ contents not only reflect the characters’ emotions but add to the book’s written text….

Bender provides foreshadowing to the contents of Giraffe and Bird Together Again via a map that occupies part of the copyright page and its facing page. There, young readers can see the route that Giraffe will follow in his quest to find Bird as well as learn the names of the two other African animals that will make cameo experiences in Bender’s illustrations.

Like the earlier two books in the series, Giraffe and Bird Together Again offers subtle lessons in the dimensions of friendship.

Grade One children all across Canada will encounter these two animal friends this autumn as Giraffe and Bird has been chosen as the 2018 TD Grade One Book Giveaway selection.

Highly Recommended.”
—Dave Jenkinson

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review5

What did you like about the book? Beautiful illustrations with acrylic and colored pencil. A fun lively sequel to Giraffe and Bird. A story of friendship and trying new things. An unlikely pairing- Giraffe likes routine and Bird likes adventure….A wonderful map at the beginning of the book depicts the route Giraffe takes to find Bird and the animals he encounters along the way….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes”
Julie Durmis, JC Solmonese Elementary School, Norton, MA

Click here to read the full review

Midwest Book Review

“A delightfully entertaining story from first page to last, Giraffe and Bird Together Again is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.”

Click here to read the full review

Winnipeg Free Press

“Young readers will cheer on Giraffe as he conquers clinging vines, rocky slopes and even deadly quicksand to rescue Bird. A lesson in friendship and bravery, Bender’s evocative illustrations give a feeling of endless yellow plains and hot red days. For early book-lovers.”
—Helen Norrie

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“One of the best elements of Giraffe and Bird Together Again is the artwork. Rebecca Bender’s use of colour to place the reader in the forest, on the mountain and looking out over the plain is extraordinary. It’s warm and rich in tone and evocative of a setting many of us in Canada will never experience. But, of course, it’s her characters that draw the reader back every time. Generally using only body language and eyes, Rebecca Bender lets the reader see what Giraffe and Bird are thinking and feeling. Frustration, joy, distress and relief are all there in those few elements. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Giraffe and Bird. Moreover with details like Bird hiding under a traditional Canadian work sock or Giraffe in knee pads and helmet or the weird assortment of detritus lodged in the quicksand, kids will seek and find and laugh.

Rebecca Bender’s Giraffe and Bird was recently honoured as the selection for the 2018 TD Grade 1 Book Giveaway. That means every child in Grade 1 in Canada should have received their own copy of that special first book (unless their school board sadly opted out of the program). The enduring affection between these two unlikely friends continues to endear them to young children, perhaps seeing something of themselves in Giraffe or Bird. Whether sensitive to teasing, or homebody or adventurer, there is something of everyone in these two characters, and we’re so glad that Giraffe and Bird are together again.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This delightful picture book is part of a series featuring Giraffe and Bird as companions in various escapades and situations….Each new place pictures an animal from that environment interacting with Giraffe in some way, giving ideas for discussion when reading. The map at the front of the book names these animals for the reader, and shows the distance that Giraffe had to follow to find Bird.

The illustrations are great, and I loved how Giraffe and Bird supported each other.”

Click here to read the full review

A Good Trade Teaching Guide

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the A Good Trade reading guide

When Emily Carr Met Woo Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the When Emily Carr Met Woo teaching guide

Two Times a Traitor Teaching Guide

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Two Times a Traitor reading guide

The Theory of Hummingbirds Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Theory of Hummingbirds reading guide

Slug Days Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Slug Days Author: Sara LEach Illustrator: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press

Click here to download the Slug Days reading guide

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World reading guide

Once Upon a Line Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Once Upon a Line reading guide

Next Round: A Young Athlete’s Journey to Gold Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Next Round reading guide

Dragonfly Song Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Dragonfly Song reading guide