Pajama Press

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Best Books for Kids & Teens featured nine Pajama Press books, including five Starred Selections, in the Spring 2017 issue

Posted on May 15th, 2017 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is very proud to announce that nine of our Spring 2017 books are featured in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids & Teens.

Adrift at Sea by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho and illustrated by Brian Deines is a Starred Selection


All the World a Poem by Gilles Tibo and illustrated by Manon Gauthier is a Starred Selection


Hat On, Hat Off by Theo Heras and illustrated by Renne Benoit is a selection


How Do You Feel? by Rebecca Bender is a selection


Rhino Rumpus by Victoria Allenby and illustrated by Tara Anderson is a Starred Selection


When the Rain Comes by Alma Fullerton and illustrated by Kim La Fave is a Starred Selection


Timo’s Party by Victoria Allenby and illustrated by Dean Griffiths is a selection


RootBeerCandyAndOtherMiracles_WebsiteRoot Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green is a Starred Selection


NextRound_WebsiteNext Round: A Young Athlete’s Journey to Gold by John Spray is a selection

Congratulations to all of our authors, and our sincerest thanks to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and Friesens for their continued dedication to promoting childhood literacy and quality children’s literature.


Three Pajama Press titles nominated for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards

Posted on September 8th, 2016 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is thrilled to announce that three of our titles have been nominated for the 2016 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards.

A Year of Borrowed Men, written by Michelle Barker and illustrated by Renné Benoit, has been nominated for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.

AYearOfBorrowedMen_WebsiteThe picture book, which is written from the WWII memories of Michelle’s mother Gerda, celebrates the ability for humanity to win out over hostility during a dark time in world history. Gerda’s father has been conscripted into the German army, and the “borrowed men” sent to work the family’s farm in his place are prisoners of war forced to labour in their enemy’s homeland. Still, the seven-year-old girl finds small ways to defy authority and build a forbidden friendship. This book has also been nominated for the 2017 Chocolate Lily Book Award.

In a Cloud of Dust, written by Alma Fullerton and illustrated by Brian Deines, has been nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award.

homecover-in-a-cloudIn this picture book set in Tanzania, a young girl named Anna is determined to get an education in spite of the long walk that leaves her no daylight in which to do homework at the end of the day. Working through the lunch hour instead, she misses a visit from the bicycle library. Luckily, her compassionate classmates find a solution that lets everyone get home faster than ever before. In a Cloud of Dust has previously won the Rainforest of Reading Award, been nominated for the Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award, and been a Foreword Reviews Best Children’s Books of Fall 2015 selection.


Uncertain Soldier by Karen Bass has been nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

UncertainSoldier_InternetUncertain Soldier is a suspenseful YA novel about a WWII prisoner of war struggling with conflicting loyalties. All his life Erich has learned that keeping his head down is the best way to avoid trouble. But when his silence could cost a friend dearly, it may be time to stand up at last. Uncertain Soldier has previously been nominated for the IODE Violet Downey Book Award and the Forest or Reading Red Maple Award. In 2014, author Karen Bass won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for her novel Graffiti Knight.

From the Canadian Children’s Book Centre press release:

“The nominated books exemplify some of the very best work by Canadian authors and illustrators across the country. The winners of the English-language awards will be announced at an invitation-only gala event at The Carlu in Toronto on November 17, 2016. The winners of the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse will be announced at an invitation-only gala at Le Winsor in Montreal on November 1, 2016. Overall, $135,000 in prize monies will be awarded.

This year, TD and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre are once again partnering with CBC/Radio-Canada to present the Fan Choice Award/Choix du public littérature jeunesse. Young readers are invited to choose their favourite book from the titles shortlsited for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse. The awards will be presented to the winning authors at the Toronto and Montreal galas.”

Click here to read the full press release and the lists of nominees.

For more information about these awards, please visit the Canadian Children’s Book Centre website.



Dance of the Banished Nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People

Posted on September 10th, 2015 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websitePajama Press is pleased to announce that Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has been shortlisted for the 2015 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

This Young Adult novel, set in Canada and Anatolia during World War I, uses a compelling love story to explore two difficult and significant historical events: the internment of so-called enemy aliens in Canada, and the Armenian Genocide. Skrypuch, the granddaughter of a World War I internee, conducted extensive research into history that had not been brought to light in 100 years.

Ali and Zeynep, the novel’s protagonists, are betrothed Anatolian teenagers caught by circumstances that threaten to separate them forever. While Ali has found passage to a better life in Canada, war breaks out in 1914; he is declared an enemy alien and sent to an internment camp. Meanwhile, left behind in a country plunged into war and revolution, Zeynep is determined to stay alive and—despite the impossible odds—cross a continent and an ocean to find Ali again. First, though, she must find a way to save her Christian Armenian neighbours from the horrors of the Armenian Genocide.

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the multi-award winning author of more than a dozen historical picture books, chapter books, and juvenile and young adult novels, including three other novels about the Armenian genocide: The Hunger, Nobody’s Child, and Daughter of War. Her first work of narrative non-fiction, Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, won the Red Cedar Information Book Award, was an OLA Red Maple Honour Book, and was nominated for the Hamilton Literary Award. It was followed in 2012 by One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way, winner of the 2014 OLA Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award. In 2008, in recognition of her outstanding achievement in the development of the culture of Ukraine, Marsha was awarded the Order of Princess Olha, which was bestowed upon her personally by the president of Ukraine. Marsha lives in Brantford, Ontario.

The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People is administered annually by the TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Established in memory of children’s author and historian Geoffrey Bilson, it awards $5,000.00 to the Canadian author of an outstanding work of historical fiction for children or young adults. The winner will be announced at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards Gala in Toronto on November 18th.

A Brush Full of Colour nominated for prestigious TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

Posted on September 10th, 2015 by pajamapress

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. A picture book biography by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine GibsonPajama Press is pleased to announce that A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson has been shortlisted for the 2015 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.

This beautiful picture book biography, which includes a forward by Harrison himself, is the only book for young readers written about Canada’s most famous artist of the Yukon. Since its publication in 2014 it has been nominated for a number of awards, including the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award, and the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award.

Ted Harrison, who passed away in early 2015, was one of Canada’s most celebrated artists; his distinctive and colourful paintings of the Arctic and the West Coast are recognized around the world. Ted’s many honours include the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour. Several generations of schoolchildren have grown up familiar with his work through picture books like A Northern Alphabet, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, and The Cremation of Sam McGee.

In A Brush Full of Colour, readers learn how Harrison’s passion for learning saved him from a life in England’s coal mines and set him on a road of worldwide travel that led him to the incredible Yukon he had read about as a child. The story is illustrated with Harrison’s own drawings and paintings, showing how the classically trained artist developed his unique and colourful style.

Margriet Ruurs is the award-winning author of more than two dozen books for children. When she isn’t giving workshops at international schools around the world, Margriet runs a booklover’s bed and breakfast on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Learn more at

Katherine Gibson is the best-selling author of four non-fiction books. Her work has been published internationally in several languages. Katherine’s extensive research for the illustrated biography Ted Harrison: Painting Paradise was instrumental in the writing A Brush Full of Colour. Katherine lives on Vancouver Island. Learn more at

The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, administered by the TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, is awarded to the most distinguished children’s book of each year. The winner will be announced at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards gala in Toronto on November 18th.

Four Pajama Press books selected in Best Books for Kids & Teens

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is pleased to congratulate the authors of four of our Spring 2014 titles on being selected for the Fall 2014 edition of Best Books for Kids & Teens.

MoonAtNine_C_Oct5.inddStarred Selection: Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis

RevengeFly_C_Dec5.inddStarred Selection: Revenge on the Fly by Sylvia McNicoll

WhenEmilyCarrMetWoo_RGB_72dpiWhen Emily Carr Met Woowritten by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Skydiver_C_Dec5.inddSkydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World written and illustrated by Celia Godkin


Best Books for Kids & Teens  is a publication of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Click here to learn more.

Canadian Children’s Book News Recommends Bear on the Homefront

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by pajamapress

BearOnHomefront_cover_rgb_hi-res“This is the second picture book about a teddy bear’s adventure created by the team of Stephanie Innes, Harry Endrulat and Brian Deines. The first book, A Bear in War, follows the adventures of a teddy bear on the front lines during World War I. In this second book, Bear on the Homefront, the reader follows this same teddy bear’s adventures, except the story takes place on the homefront during World War II.

During the second World War, as a result of the heavy bombings, many English children were shipped to allied countries to keep them safe. In Bear on the Homefront, Grace and William Chambers are sent to Canada to live with a family on their farm in Winnipeg. In Halifax, they are met by a nurse named Aileen Rogers, who accompanies them on their journey. To help alleviate the fear and stress the children are feeling, Aileen gives them her beloved teddy bear to comfort them while they’re in Canada. The teddy bear recounts the events that happen during his time with the children until he is returned to Aileen once again.

The story is created using events from Aileen Rogers’ diary and making her real-life teddy bear the narrator. Giving the teddy bear a voice and telling the story from his perspective makes the book more appealing to young readers and enables parents and educators to introduce history in an interesting way. The book can also be used with older readers as a means of introducing some of the events that occurred in World War II and providing further opportunities for children to research the events and facts for the time period presented in the text.

The beautiful and calming illustrations by Brian Deines enhance the text and hold the reader’s attention. Bear on the Homefront is a wonderful way to introduce children to history. It can be used to generate discussions about feelings that accompany life changes and to encourage children to seek out further information about world history.”
—Delia Cipollone Antonacci is a Professor in the Library and Information Technician Program, Seneca College

The Stowaways and Graffiti Knight shortlisted for Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards

Posted on September 4th, 2014 by pajamapress

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre announced the finalists for its 2014 children’s literature awards in a press release last night. Pajama Press congratulates Karen Bass, author of Graffiti Knight, and Meghan Marentette, author of The Stowaways, for their nominations to these auspicious awards.

GraffitiKnight_MedGraffiti Knight is a finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. The jury said, “The clash between the Soviet victors and the German people after World War II is masterfully captured in this exciting story of a teen in Berlin [sic] who deals with uncertainty at home and school by challenging his city’s new social order… Bass has created a character that engages readers with his anger, compassion and remorse… A well written and intriguing book possessing strong plot, characters and themes within a historical context.”


TheStowaways_C_July14.inddThe Stowaways is a finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy. The jury said, “Meghan Marentette has written a book ripe for reading aloud and sharing with the family… The Stowaways most importantly reminds us of the thrill and joy — and even the necessity — of adventure… Endearing characters, themes of innovation, adventure and courage, and a beautiful package combine to destine this charming animal fantasy to become a Canadian classic.”

The winners will be announced at the awards given at the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards gala in Toronto on November 6.

4 Pajama Press books selected in Best Books For Kids & Teens

Posted on May 12th, 2014 by pajamapress

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre‘s semi-annual publication Best Books for Kids & Teens has selected four Pajama Press books in its Spring 2014 edition:

NatTheCat_CNat the Cat Can Sleep Like That by Victoria Allenby with illustrations by Tara Anderson

Stowaways_CThe Stowaways by Meghan Marentette with illustrations by Dean GriffithsStarred Selection

GraffitiKnight_CGraffiti Knight by Karen BassStarred Selection

CatChampions_CCat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends by Rob LaidlawStarred Selection

Congratulations to our authors and illustrators whose work has been honoured!

Hoogie and Tweezle “explore the wonder of childhood”—Canadian Children’s Book News

Posted on February 20th, 2014 by pajamapress

HoogieInTheMiddle_LRAward-winning author Stephanie McLellan has drawn inspiration from her own three children and created Hoogie in the Middle, a sneak peek into the world surrounding Hoogie, the middle child. The author playfully uses rhythm, alliteration and similes to delineate Hoogie’s character and exhibit how the middle child feels: “Pumpkin is the big, big girl,” “Tweezle is the itty, bitty baby” and “[Hoogie] feels like the hole in the middle of a donut.”

Whatever Hoogie does is not right. When Tweezle squishes food, “Everyone laughs.” When Hoogie does it, she is told to “not be such a baby.” Similarly, she is “too small” to help dad. “Too big. Too small. No room for me at all,” sums up the pain she feels. In the end just like “the sun in the middle of the solar system,” Hoogie isn’t so invisible anymore. McLellan finishes her story with a deliciously sweet simile!

Continuing in this series, TweezleintoEverything_MedTweezle into Everything follows in the footsteps of the typical baby of the household where Tweezle is the “last yummy cookie.” Charming similes and playful dialogue express Tweezle’s adorable character, constantly trying to prove he is big: “I not baby…I big boy!” He believes he is all grown up he messes his father’s tool shed, or enhances his older sister’s paintings. However, Tweezle is made to feel like the “…mud on the bottom…” of his sister’s shoes. Yet he refuses to give up: “I not bottom.” The book has an unpredictable and heart-warming ending, showing that what Tweezle unexpectedly does is indeed a “big deal.”

This loveable family comes alive with Dean Griffiths cuddly personified monsters. Vibrating hues painted in pencil crayons and watercolours evoke an expressionistic style with realistic elements. The clever use of negative space adds dimension and energy to the characters as well. Consistent rendering makes switching from each book in the series a seamless transition. The difference is the focus on the title characters, e.g. Hoogie holding a donut over one eye exaggerating the fact that she feels “like the hole in the middle of the donut” or Tweezle holding a large beach ball reinforcing his babyish stature.

Hoogie in the Middle and Tweezle into Everything explore the wonder of childhood and the average day-to-day dilemmas and real-life emotions of children with siblings. Wonderful books to read aloud that provide an opportunity for discussion among parents and children.—Lara Chauvin

Snuggle Up and Read for Family Literacy Day

Posted on January 31st, 2014 by pajamapress

A small school in North Bay, Ontario hosted a remarkable event for Family Literacy Day this week.

Inspired by the Family Literacy Day booklist compiled by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, a teacher at J.W. Trusler Public School decided to organize a “Snuggle Up and Read” event, inviting parents to bring their pajama-clad children to school in the evening for cookies, milk, and story time. The evening’s feature family-themed book? Hoogie in the Middle.
Stephanie meeting her audience

Stephanie meeting her audience

Stephanie McLellan, author of Hoogie in the Middle, heard about the event. Undeterred by a long, snowy drive and the expectation of a small audience (J.W. Trusler only has about 150 students), she decided to attend herself. The school staff, eager to welcome an award-winning author, spread the word to families, baked cookies, and acquired enough milk and books for a crowd.

The next day The North Bay Nugget described the event, which ultimately included over thirty families—more than 100 people: “Children came in their pyjamas and brought pillows, blankets, and favourite books. Board superintendent Amanda Meighan also read the award-winning bedtime story, ‘Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That.'”
Debbie Woods introducing Stephanie

Debbie Woods introducing Stephanie

Debbie Woods, the teacher who organized the event, described families using blankets and pillows to create cozy campsites on the gym floor while they listened to the stories. Stephanie McLellan called it “a fantastic event” on social
media, adding that “Debbie had a goodie bag for every family which included a book…”

Pajama Press salutes Debbie, Stephanie, and the CCBC for doing so much to encourage literacy and a love of books among children and their families.