Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘graffiti-knight’

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!

Graffiti Knight nominated for R. Ross Annett Award

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_MedPajama Press is proud to announce that Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass has been nominated for the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature.

Administered by the Writer’s Guild of Alberta, the R. Ross Annett Award was established in 1982 in honour of the author of the popular Babe & Joe series.

A historical novel about a young man struggling to find his voice in Soviet-occupied East Germany in the years after World War II, Graffiti Knight is the winner of the 2014 CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award. It was also chosen as a 2013 Ontario Library Association Best Bet and a 2013 Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection.

Three Pajama Press books shortlisted for CLA Awards

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to announce that three of our titles have been shortlisted for the 2014 Canadian Library Association Awards.

The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette, with illustrations by Dean Griffiths, has been shortlisted for the Book of the Year for Children Award. Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass and Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean have both been shortlisted for the Young Adult Book Award.

We congratulate our three nominated authors and look forward to hearing the award results the week of April 14th.

Graffiti Knight “a riveting page-turner”—Canadian Children’s Book News

Posted on February 20th, 2014 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_MedExcerpt from the article “Exploring History through Fiction” by Rachel Seigel, Canadian Children’s Book News Winter 2014

“History is the succession of events that shape our present and our future, and one of the best ways to engage children in learning history is through historical fiction. Good historical writing offers insights into people and events from the past, and helps children to understand how the world we live in has been shaped by those events…

The last book, Graffiti Knight by author Karen Bass, takes readers to Soviet-occupied Germany in 1947, and is a riveting page-turner that readers will find impossible to put down.

Sixteen-year-old Wilm and his family live in Leipzig, Germany, a town scarred heavily by WWII and now occupied by the Soviets who are brutal and oppressive. The war has also left its scars on his family, but Wilm is finding his voice, sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings. What he’s doing is dangerous but exciting, and Wilm feels justified considering how much his family has suffered. When one mission goes too far, Wilm finds he’s endangered the people he’s tried most to protect, and he’s forced to take drastic action to keep them safe.

The setting is detailed and richly drawn, and Bass successfully creates an atmosphere of tension and fear. Wilm’s family are no strangers to Soviet brutality, and after witnessing a group of soldiers terrorize his crippled father, he decides it’s time to act.

His minor acts of rebellion give him a sense of power and control that he lacks in his daily life. The more he succeeds in angering the police, the more his game escalates, until it culminates in one final act that puts him and his family in a life-or-death situation.

The spelling of ‘knight’ in the title is a clever play on words, as Wilm’s acts take place under the cover of night and, at the same time, implies heroism. Wilm is a complex and fascinating character and readers will be left to decide whether his actions are heroic or simply reckless.

A skilled storyteller can bring history to life, and while the four highlighted books span different countries, cities, and historical periods, all effectively present these events through the eyes of the children living in them, and more deeply connect readers to the past.”

The Year’s Best with Resource Links

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by pajamapress

Resource Links magazine published its list of “The Year’s Best” books  for 2013 this week. Five Pajama Press books made the list:

Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass

Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass

Nix_C_PRINT_Nov13.indd

Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean

The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette

The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette

Cat Champions by Rob Laidlaw

Cat Champions by Rob Laidlaw

Hoogie in the Middle by Stephanie McLellan and Dean Griffiths

Hoogie in the Middle by Stephanie McLellan and Dean Griffiths

Congratulations to our authors and illustrator whose books were recognized.

Check out the full list here.

OLA Best Bets committee recognizes three Pajama Press titles

Posted on January 31st, 2014 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is pleased to announce that Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean and Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass have both been selected for the Ontario Library Association Best Bets Young Adult Top Ten list. The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette, with illustrations by Dean Griffiths, is a Junior Fiction honourable mention.

We are extremely proud of all three of these titles. For more information, resources, and book trailers, please visit our Books page. Here’s a taste of what reviewers have been saying:

Nix_C_PRINT_Nov13.inddNix Minus One
“Well-crafted and intense, an engrossing family drama in which both young and old learn what it means to grow up.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Writing with careful, evocative language, MacLean explores love in myriad forms…”
—Publishers Weekly

“Readers used to a diet of cliché-ridden YA fiction will enjoy this refreshing take on the teenage plight…[T]he hard-won hopefulness of Nix’s growth will linger with them long after the poetry ends.”—School Library Journal

“The novel’s strength comes from the authenticity of Nix’s emotional evolution…This is an absorbing, emotionally resonant book.”—Quill & Quire

GraffitiKnight_MedGraffiti Knight
“[A] gripping page-turner…The authentic setting, compelling characters and taut, suspenseful plot claim attention throughout. Bass refuses to oversimplify human beings…A different kind of war story, highly recommended.”—Kirkus Reviews

“…it has more drama than the Hunger Games.”—Resource Links

“…incredibly gripping and informative. As young adult war-related historical fiction goes, this book is second to none…Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine
 
“Bass has artfully recreated an historical time and place peopled by realistic, three-dimensional characters grappling with their own emotions and global forces they can only barely understand.”—John Wilson, Quill & Quire
 
TheStowaways_C_July14.inddThe Stowaways
“In the tradition of memorable mouse heroes, the Stowaways deliver page-turning, cliffhanging, heartwarming, first-rate adventure.”—Kirkus Reviews

“…charmingly illustrated by Dean Griffiths… exciting, interesting, and really good fun. I hesitate to compare it to The Wind in the Willows, but it is in the same league; so read and enjoy…Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

“Not since Stuart Little has the heart of a valiant mouse beat quite so fiercely as that of Rory Stowaway in Meghan Marentette’s first novel, The Stowaways. It meets and exceeds all the expectations of a good mouse story, with a well-constructed and self-sufficient mouse world, a teeny-tiny hero set against impossible odds, and an adventure brimming with mystery that scampers from chapter to chapter.”—National Reading Campaign

“Marentette has created a lovely world that combines animals and fantasy with humans and reality in an original and lively story. Her writing style is elegant yet conversational.”—Resource Links

Graffiti Knight is “an eye opener”—Ms. J’s Book Reviews 4 School Libraries

Posted on January 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_Med“I thoroughly enjoyed the pace and historical details in this novel.  Karen Bass—the author, gave me a sense of the difficulties of living in a communist, post war Germany in 1947.  I learned many details and now I have even more questions about life after World War 2.”

Click here to read the full review.

Graffiti Knight a “gripping page-turner…Highly recommended”—Kirkus Reviews

Posted on December 11th, 2013 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_MedThis gripping page-turner set in 1947 East Germany explores the aftereffects of war and occupation.

World War II is over and Germany partitioned among the victors. For most in the Soviet-occupied zone, life is grim and anything but peaceful. Hunger’s a constant companion, trust in short supply. Most despise their Russian masters and even more, the German police—Schupos—who do their bidding. With their elders embittered and broken, friendship sustains 16-year-old narrator Wilm and his friends, Karl and Georg. Pretending to spy on the Schupos blows off steam, but after the Schupos beat up Wilm’s amputee father and Wilm learns of the brutal sexual assault on his sister, Anneliese, the game turns real. Supported by Karl and Georg, Wilm starts by scrawling graffiti calling the Schupos “puppets” and vandalizing police vehicles. Risk-taking proves energizing and deeply satisfying—also addictive and eventually desensitizing. It’s at odds with his growing interest in building bridges. The engineer who mentors him lends him books and encourages his interest, but their connection weakens as Wilm’s acts of sabotage escalate. The authentic setting, compelling characters and taut, suspenseful plot claim attention throughout. Bass refuses to oversimplify human beings. When motivations are tangled and complex, actions, even the best-intended, have unforeseen consequences.

A different kind of war story, highly recommended.

Click Here to visit Kirkus Reviews

The 2013 Pajama Press Annual Book Launch and Art Show

Posted on November 25th, 2013 by pajamapress

On November 7th Pajama Press celebrated nine books published in 2013 at the Annual Pajama Press Book Launch and Art Show, an event Open Book Toronto called one of “the season’s hottest literary events.” The launch included great food, Ontario wine, excellent company, book signings, and walls filled with framed original picture book art.

Thank you to everyone who came out to make the evening wonderful, including authors and illustrators Jill MacLean (Nix Minus One), Sue MacLeod (Namesake), Alma Fullerton (Community Soup), Stephanie McLellan (Hoogie in the Middle, Tweezle into Everything), Karen Bass (Graffiti Knight), Tara Anderson (Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That), Meghan Marentette (The Stowaways), and Rob Laidlaw (Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends). Special thanks to the young Cat

Champions who also came out, to our photographers, and to Claude Viens, chef extraordinaire.

Alma Fullerton and her art. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Alma Fullerton and her art. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Alma Fullerton, Brian Deines and Rob Laidlaw. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Alma Fullerton, Brian Deines and Rob Laidlaw. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Alma Fullerton and Gillian O'Reilly. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Alma Fullerton and Gillian O’Reilly. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Alma Fullerton and Jill MacLean. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Alma Fullerton and Jill MacLean. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Brian Deines and Wallace Edwards. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Brian Deines and Wallace Edwards. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Camillia Kahrizi and Kate Edwards. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Camillia Kahrizi and Kate Edwards. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Charlotte Teeple, John Spray and Mary Macchiusi. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Charlotte Teeple, John Spray and Mary Macchiusi. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Christine Vyhnal, Erika Miklasevics, and Sam and Penny Klarreich.

Christina Vyhnal, Erika Miklasevics, and Sam and Penny Klarreich.

Claude Viens. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Claude Viens. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Dean Griffiths' art. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Dean Griffiths’ art. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Dean Griffiths's The Stowaways "Character Sketch". Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Dean Griffiths’s The Stowaways “Character Sketch”. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Dean Griffiths The Stowaways "Dedication Page". Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Dean Griffiths The Stowaways “Dedication Page”. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Cat Champions, Eddie Nikkifork and Jasmine Polsinelli. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Cat Champions, Eddie Nikkifork and Jasmine Polsinelli. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Emily and Brian Lindgreen. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Emily and Brian Lindgreen. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Former Fitzhenry & Whiteside crew, Max Arambo, Luana Lindorfer, Amy Hingston and Penny Taylor. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Former Fitzhenry & Whiteside crew, Max Arambo, Luana Lindorfer, Amy Hingston and Penny Taylor. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Gail Winskill and Claude Viens. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Gail Winskill and Claude Viens. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Gail Winskill giving her speech. Photo credit: Lisa Meyers.

Gail Winskill giving her speech. Photo credit: Lisa Meyers.

Harry Black and Mary Macchiusi. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Harry Black and Mary Macchiusi. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Jane Glassco and Mary Anne Cree. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Jane Glassco and Mary Anne Cree. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Karen Bass, Martin Gould, Gisela Sherman and Marsha Skrypuch. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Karen Bass, Martin Gould, Gisela Sherman and Marsha Skrypuch. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

The crowd listening to the speech. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

The crowd listening to the speech. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Luana Lindorfer, Amy Hingston and Max Arambo. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Luana Lindorfer, Amy Hingston and Max Arambo. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Meghan Marentette and Brian Lindgreen. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Meghan Marentette and Brian Lindgreen. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Meghan Marentette. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Meghan Marentette. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

"Or where sunbeams"  by Tara Anderson. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

“Or where sunbeams” by Tara Anderson. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Rachel Seigel, Susan Menchinton and Arthur Gale. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Rachel Seigel, Susan Menchinton and Arthur Gale. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Rebecca Bender. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Rebecca Bender. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Rebecca Bender, Eva and Greg Higgison. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Rebecca Bender, Eva and Greg Higgison. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Staff, authors, illustrators and cat champions. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Staff, authors, illustrators and cat champions. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Stephanie McLellan. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Stephanie McLellan. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Sue MacLeod, Jill MacLean and Alma Fullerton. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Sue MacLeod, Jill MacLean and Alma Fullerton. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Tristan, Erin, Sarah and Stephanie McLellan. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

Tristan, Erin, Sarah and Stephanie McLellan. Photo credit: Pat Thornton Jones.

"When Strange Shadows" by Tara Anderson. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

“When Strange Shadows” by Tara Anderson. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

"When the Lights" by Tara Anderson. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

“When the Lights” by Tara Anderson. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Aliya Stacey and Rebecca Bender. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Aliya Stacey and Rebecca Bender. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Brian Deines. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Brian Deines. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Erin Woods. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Erin Woods. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Gail Winskill, Terry Jones and Liz Sloan. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Gail Winskill, Terry Jones and Liz Sloan. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Karen Bass. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Karen Bass. Photo credit: Ellen Nodwell.

Kieran Zierer Clarke. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Kieran Zierer Clarke. Photo credit: Paul Wilson.

Graffiti Knight “has more drama than The Hunger Games” – Resource Links

Posted on November 5th, 2013 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_MedRated E: excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

“This notable fourth novel by Karen Bass should add an interesting dimension to the current fashion of [dystopian] novels. It is based on real evens from post-war Europe (1947 to be exact) in what is now East Germany. For my money, it has more drama than the Hunger Games.

The hero of the novel is a teenager in Leipzig, a broken city whose citizens live in fear of their new oppressors, with no hope of escape. Wilm is almost finished school and quite by accident finds himself waging a war of embarrassment against the German police he considers to be puppets of their Soviet masters. His campaign gains momentum and a shift in focus after he learns that his sister had been raped the year before by a group of Soviet soldiers when she had gone to the train station to meet her German soldier boyfriend. Wilm had idolized the boyfriend, who then joined the German police. Wilm sees the betrayal as doubly troubling.

In the midst of all this is the budding friendship between Wilm and a structural engineer who works for the Soviets, although not by choice. He mentors Wilm until Wilm strikes a compromising deal with the German police and the ex-boyfriend in an effort to save a close friend from imprisonment. Left to his own devices, Wilm commits one more account of defiance and lands all his friends and family in trouble. The only escape is complete escape – to the Americans on the other side of the border with Czechoslovakia.

Five of them set out on a life or death path to hoped-for freedom, aware that the price will be steep and the journey treacherous. They are pursued by the ex-boyfriend who uses his professional resources in what is now a personal vendetta.

Author Karen Bass and author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (Making Bombs for Hitler, The Hunger, Last Airlift) are cousins. Between them they have brought to life vital portraits of life before, during, and after war, regardless of locale or allegiance. By not resorting to fantasy to carry their work, they have done all of us a great service.

P.S. Graffiti Knight is a great title.

Thematic links: World War II; Adolescence; Communism; Post-war Germany; The Cold War; Rape; Civil Disobedience.”

Lesley Lute

Learn more about Resource Links.