Posted on March 24th, 2017 by pajamapress
“…Less traumatic than the American Summer of My German Soldier, Uncertain Soldier tells the story of Erich Hofmeyer, a German prisoner of war held in Alberta in the winter of 1943-44….
Uncertain Soldier is a solid, intelligent interpretation of the politics of the time and the effect of opinion on morale. Through the richness of its characters, the novel gives voice to a gamut of attitudes, revealing the complexity of life during the 1940s far more thoroughly and effectively than what is taught in history classes. In contrast to the Canadian Sam’s violent insistence that ‘a few firing squads last war would’ve fixed it,’ Erich’s British grandfather astutely notes that ‘more mercy by the Great War’s victors might have prevented the fight that loomed’ (103). The parallel with history is made more powerful by its subtlety; most readers will not hear Sam’s vehemence as an echo of French military politician Ferdinand Foch, who noted at the time that the Treaty of Versailles was ‘not peace [but] an Armistice for twenty years,’ asking for harsher restrictions to be place on the defeated Germany. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Erich’s grandfather’s position is reminiscent of John Maynard Keynes’s insistence that the conditions were too harsh, that the Treaty was a ‘Carthaginian peace,’ a peace ensured by the complete annihilation of the vanquished, such as Rome’s conquering of Carthage. Historians still debate the political ‘what ifs’ of the first half of the twentieth century, and this uncertainty, manifested at all levels of society, is brilliantly woven into the fabric of Bass’s text.”
Click here to read the full review
Posted on March 18th, 2016 by pajamapress
Elephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity, written by Rob Laidlaw and Illustrated by Brian Deines, has been nominated for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award. Elephant Journey is an account of the road travelled by Toka, Thika, and Iringa, three African elephants, from the Toronto Zoo to the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in California.
The Hackmatack Award is Atlantic Canada’s reading program for students in grades four to six. Participants will read a shortlist of ten fiction books and ten non-fiction books in either English or French, then vote for their favourites. You learn more at the Hackmatack Award website.
In 2014, No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, also by Rob Laidlaw, won the Hackmatack Award in the English Non-Fiction category. Its sequel, Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends, was nominated the following year.
Posted on November 9th, 2015 by pajamapress
Pajama Press is pleased to announce that A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson is the winner of the 2015 Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award.
The results were announced on Saturday, November 7th at the Vancouver Roundtable’s Illustrator Breakfast. The award will be formally presented on January 27th, 2016.
Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale and published by Annick Press, was selected as the 2015 Information Honour Book.
A Brush Full of Colour is a picture book biography of Ted Harrison, Canada’s most iconic painter of the Yukon. In addition to the Information Book Award, it has been nominated for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award, and the Hackmatack Award.
Click here for more information about the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award.
Posted on June 29th, 2015 by pajamapress
This Canada Day, celebrate your patriotism the literary way.
CBC Books has rounded up 100 Young Adult Books That Make You Proud To Be Canadian. How many have you read? Take the quiz on the CBC Books website.
Among the chosen 100 are Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean and Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass. We are indeed proud to have these books recognized as the great Canadian treasures we believe them to be.
Will this list inspire you to read more Canada? Are there any standouts you feel are missing? Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #CBCbooks100.
Posted on February 12th, 2015 by pajamapress
“It is June 1913, when Ali breaks the news to his fiancée Zeynep that he will be leaving their Anatolian village to go to Canada. Once there, he hopes to finally be able to save enough money to pay for her passage, and to build a new life for them there. But the world is on the brink of war and everything soon changes. The two record the events that they both witness in journal entries to each other, even though they both fear that they will never see one another again.
Alternating between these two sets of journal entries, readers learn Zeynep’s story of going to live and work with Christian missionaries. As World War I looms, she witnesses first-hand the horrors of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Young Turks who now control the government. Conditions for her and the other Alevi Kurds are only marginally better, but that is small consolation as she watches Armenian men, women and children being cruelly treated and marched to their deaths. Meanwhile, in Canada, Ali and the other Alevi Kurds who had tried to settle in Brantford, Ontario, are falsely accused of a crime and sent to an internment camp in northern Ontario. As these two separate stories unfold, a vivid and devastating picture unfolds.
This latest work is an outstanding testament to Skrypuch’s mastery as a writer of historical fiction for young readers. She has created forthright and dramatic accounts of two little-known events from that time period, inviting readers of all ages to try to understand the depth of suffering that these groups have experienced. She has put a profoundly human face on the horrors of war while also creating an insightful portrait of the Alevi Kurds. Zeynep and Ali are both forced to mature very quickly, and their development is convincing. Skrypuch skillfully captures their voices, their longing, their heartbreak and their courage.”
Posted on January 12th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Canadian author Skrypuch, who has written several other well-received historical novels about World War I and the Armenian Genocide, has created an absorbing glimpse into a dark period in world history and the human consequences of war. Most of the novel is told through letters that Zeynep writes (but does not send) to Ali; as she becomes involved in protecting the Armenian people, these letters become an eye-witness account to the atrocities being committed against them. Ali, picked up as a Turk enemy alien (he and Zeynep are actually Alevi Kurds) and sent to the Kapuskasing prison internment camp, tells less of the story, including a subplot about his involvement with a young Cree woman who wants to become a nurse.
…The history comes alive, particularly in Zeynep’s chapters, and fans of historical or war novels, who may not know much about the Canadian internment camps or the Armenian Genocide, will surely be engaged enough to do further research (this reviewer did).”
Posted on January 10th, 2015 by pajamapress
“World War I separates a betrothed Anatolian couple—leaving one to witness the Armenian genocide and sending the other to a prison camp…in Canada. Cast as letters and journal entries, the double narrative records the experiences of Zeynep, a villager transplanted to the “mighty city of Harput,” and Ali, who is swept up with other supposed enemy aliens and shipped to a remote camp in central Ontario before he can send for Zeynep. Neither is of Turkish descent: They are Kurds practicing the ancient, indigenous Alevi faith. These distinctions make no difference to Canadian authorities in Ali’s case, but they do give Zeynep some protection as she records a rising tide of atrocities committed against her Armenian (Christian) friends and neighbors…An eye-opening exposé of historical outrages committed in two countries, with intriguing glimpses of a minority group that is not well-known in the Americas”
Posted on January 6th, 2015 by pajamapress
“With well-paced storytelling and soft, nostalgic watercolor illustrations, this follow-up to the World War I picture book “A Bear in War” tells another true story of the stuffed bear Teddy, this one set during World War II. Teddy’s owner, Aileen, who as a child had sent Teddy to her father while he was in Europe fighting the Great War, is now a nurse assigned to accompany British children sent to Canada during the bombing of London as they travel by train to their host families.
A brother and sister named William and Grace seem especially sad, and she lets them take Teddy, who narrates the tale, offering his own separation from Aileen as a comforting parallel to the children’s predicament…”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on December 10th, 2014 by pajamapress
“… Abundantly illustrated, the generally lively text is accessible and well-paced, and (thankfully) the didactic asides and discussion prompts are relegated to the paintings’ captions. Backmatter includes a helpful index and related books, websites and films. A child-friendly introduction to an iconic, wonderfully accessible and quintessentially Canadian artist. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on October 24th, 2014 by pajamapress
“This outstanding biography does more than just inform the reader of Ted Harrison’s life in a well organized way. A Brush Full of Colour is indicative of the spirit and passion of its subject and richly illuminates a national treasure! It does justice to Harrison’s artwork by including many reproductions from his early efforts to more recent drawings that are named, dated and commented upon as to the content of the drawing and its meaning. Many include a question posed to the reader. One of the highlights of this lovely book is a preface by Harrison where he refers to his art as ‘my simplistic artistic style’. He also includes a lovely tribute to meeting, over the years, students and lovers of art that have influenced him. Harrison urges readers to ‘keep on reading, writing and painting’.
An index and bibliographical references are included.
Click here to read the full review.