Pajama Press is proud to announce that two of our books have been selected by the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) for their 2020 Outstanding International Books List, including: Girl of the Southern Sea, written by Michelle Kadarusman, and The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women, written by Ailsa Ross and illustrated by Amy Blackwell.
Michelle Kadarusman was in
attendance at the 2020 presentation, held at the ALA Midwinter Conference in
Philadelphia. Committee member Amy McClure spoke about how the protagonist Nia
from Girl of the Southern Sea embodied resilience during challenging
The USBBY is “a nonprofit
organization devoted to building bridges of international understanding through
children’s and young adult books.” The Outstanding International Books List
began in 2006 and aims to honor international books that are published and
distributed in the United States and deemed the most outstanding of those published
during the calendar year. Learn more at www.usbby.org/outstanding-international-books-list.
Pajama Press extends our
congratulations to our talented creators. Our sincerest thanks go to the USBBY
for their support of international books through this incredible program for
Pajama Press is thrilled to announce that Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman is a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards in the category of Young People’s Literature – Text.
Michelle has been crafting her novels under the expertise of our cherished Senior Editor, Ann Featherstone, at Pajama Press since 2017. Michelle’s debut novel, The Theory ofHummingbirds, received high literary acclaim and was nominated for the 2019 Silver Birch Award, the 2019 MYRCA Sundogs Award, and the 2018 SYRCA Diamond Willow Award. Girl of the Southern Sea was published in May of this year and has received unanimously positive reviews from literary journals. The Booklist review cites, “In spare and elegant prose, Kadarusman weaves a quiet tale of survival, grit, and integrity.” Pajama Press is delighted to see Michelle’s writing earn such a high distinction with this new nomination for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award.
Michelle will be donating a portion of her royalties from Girl of the Southern Sea in support of Plan International Canada’s Because I Am A Girl campaign, and Pajama Press will match her donation. Learn more about Plan International Canada at: https://plancanada.ca
The Governor General’s Literary Awards are the oldest and most prestigious national literary awards in Canada. Founded in 1936, the awards span over seven categories in both English and French and acknowledge the best 70 books to be published in Canada in 2019. More information and the full list of finalists can be found here: https://canadacouncil.ca/press/2019/10/ggbooks-2019-finalists.
Pajama Press extends our heartfelt congratulations to Michelle Kadarusman, her fellow nominees, and their publishers. Our sincerest thanks go to the Canada Council for the Arts for their dedication to high-quality Canadian literature for people of all ages and for their continued support of Canadian authors and illustrators. We also acknowledge the support of the Canada Book Fund, the Ontario Arts Council, and Ontario Creates for our publishing program.
For further information, or to request an interview with Michelle Kadarusman, please contact:
Meet author Michelle Kadarusman at ALA Annual in Washington D.C.!
Limited quantities of her latest novel, Girl of the Southern Sea, will be autographed and given away at ALA Annual! Find Michelle at the following times in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center:
Saturday, June 22 at 2:00pm — Publisher’s Spotlight Booth #1256
Sunday, June 23 at 11:00am — Ingram Publisher Services Booth #2213
Some reviews for Girl of the Southern Sea:
“A gripping, emotional realistic novel describing the grim realities of growing up in Indonesian poverty….VERDICT A riveting read featuring a determined and talented teenager.”—School Library Journal
“In spare and elegant prose, Kadarusman weaves a quiet tale of survival, grit, and integrity….Peppered throughout are stories that Nia crafts, based on Indonesian legends about the princess of the Southern Sea. With nuanced characters, this is a lovely gem for fans of irrepressible girls and contemporary stories set outside of the U.S.”—Booklist
“Punctuating Nia’s thoughtful, present-tense narration with her stories about Dewi, Kadarusman effectively weaves a gentle tale of love and loss and illuminates the power of storytelling. A thought-provoking peek into a culture deserving of more attention in North America.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A stark setting combines with striking characters…The novel does not offer simple solutions but instead wraps up Nia’s story in a way that demonstrates her willingness and ability to stand up for herself. Girl of the Southern Sea is an uplifting novel about hope and the power of storytelling.”—Foreword Reviews
“Michelle Kadarusman uses her own personal experience to weave a beautiful story about change, friendship, acceptance, and finding your place in the world. The characters develop naturally throughout the story and the emotions are described in a way that helps the reader relate to the book and stay engaged and absorbed in the story. The Theory of Hummingbirds would be great for any student in upper elementary, middle school and high school. The book doesn’t contain any language or sensitive material, making it a great book for anyone young or old. The way that Alba deals with her differences and life struggles is inspiring and will change the life of anyone who reads her story.”
“In her first middle grade novel, author Michelle Kadarusman skilfully uses emotional honesty to capture the turmoil of not fitting in and the hard journey to acceptance in terms children can easily understand. Alba’s spirited nature keeps her afloat through the tough times having a clubfoot has caused, but she is not immune to wanting to be like her classmates, or dreaming of breaking free from her disability.
Alba and Levi’s friendship is a joy to read about. Able to ground each other when needed, they also support putting aside skepticism and doubt for the sake of the other….Drawing on a tale from Peru, Kadarusman ends The Theory of Hummingbirds with the constructive message that all we can do is what we can do. Even a hummingbird dropping beads of water on a raging fire makes a difference, and Alba’s endearing story is sure to change readers as well.” —Amy Mathers
“Why I like this book: Michelle Kadarusman has crafted a richly textured story about [Alba], who has a leg that is directionally challenged. It is a powerful and captivating story about differences and abilities and ‘learning to love who you are and what you can do.’ It is emotionally honest and filled with heart.
It is important for readers to see themselves in realistic characters like [Alba]….
The author’s use of hummingbirds as a poignant metaphor to help Alba embrace her life in a meaningful way and pursue her big dream. ‘Hummingbirds don’t sit around moaning about their tiny feet and that they can’t walk,’ she says. Like [Alba], the author was born with talipes equinovarus (CTEV), more commonly called club foot.
The plot is paced well with the perfect amount of tension to keep readers intrigued, engaged and guessing. This is an excellent book for any school library.”
“Rating: G…This is a great story about doing what one can and not always comparing oneself with others. I found this a satisfying read which could stimulate some interesting discussion about limitations and friendship. The love interest of Alba’s mother which is hinted at I found unnecessary, although it does add to the happy ending.
A glossary of hummingbird facts is included as an epilogue.”
“A beautiful lesson in Michelle Kadarusman’s The Theory of Hummingbirds…
Alba and Levi seem like great characters and true friends – brought together by their differences from their classmates, but friends because of their similarities including their love of all things hummingbirds, which we learn a lot about in this book.
I particularly love the lesson – and the way it’s told – about understanding your differences, embracing them and doing what you can to make life as you want it.”
“This was a good read, and I actually learned a lot about hummingbirds. The topic is not often covered in middle grade literature, and the author had surgery to repair a clubfoot in elementary school, so I appreciate the perspective she shares. The book is not long, so it’s appealing to a wide variety of readers.”
“In this book for a middle-grade audience (eight to 12 years), the reader readily identifies with Alba’s efforts. Kadarusman also provides plenty of information on hummingbirds, which have such small feet that they only perch, never walk.”