Posted on October 20th, 2014 by pajamapress
“…Wilm himself is a teen with a profound sense of responsibility. So many things that occur during the story aren’t really his fault, but he is his harshest critic and holds himself accountable even when he doesn’t need to. He also has a well-developed reflective nature which leads to powerful insights into his true nature and the situation of his friends and family. As a result, he’s an excellent choice for a narrator.
There’s a lot to love here and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what I could have written. But when it comes to the story of Wilm what I loved the most was how Bass was able to make each character complicated, hard to completely admire or condemn. They all seem to have complex motivations for their actions which made for an intense and thought-provoking read.
Both an eye-opening piece of historical fiction and a page-turning, suspense-filled story, Graffiti Knight is an enlightening read that’s hard to put down.”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on October 3rd, 2014 by pajamapress
Nix Minus One, a powerful novel by Jill MacLean about a teen boy in rural Newfoundland, has been selected for the 2014 “White Ravens” list by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. This important honour is given to books from around the globe “that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and/or their exceptional and innovative artistic and literary style and design” (www.childrenslibrary.org/servlet/WhiteRavens).
This international acknowledgment for Nix Minus One comes on the heels of wide critical acclaim in the United States and Canada, where it won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature earlier this year. Other accolades include:
- CLA Young Adult Book Award finalist
- OLA Forest of Reading White Pine Award nominee
- SYRCA Snow Willow Award nominee
- Bank Street Best Book
- Publishers Weekly “Best New Books” selection
- Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection
- Ontario Library Association Best Bet
- Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection
Pajama Press is honoured by this attention paid to such a worthy and significant novel. Click here for more information about Nix Minus One, and for teaching materials, reviews, book trailers, and interviews with author Jill MacLean..
Posted on September 12th, 2014 by pajamapress
How would YOU take revenge on the fly?
In Sylvia McNicoll’s historical novel, the city of Hamilton joins other urban centres worldwide in fighting disease by staging a fly-catching contest. The city’s children vie for the top prize by smacking, stomping, swatting, and slapping as many of the “winged terrors” as they can.
If YOU would like to be the top fly catcher, head over to Twitter and tell us your best (and most original!) fly-catching technique. Include our handle, @PajamaPress1, and the hashtage #RevengeOnTheFly. We’ll be tweeting all the ways the inventive kids in the book catch and kill flies themselves.
Two winners, drawn from a pool of all the entries, will receive an autographed copy of Revenge on the Fly. This contest runs until Tuesday, September 16th and is open to entrants in Canada and the United States.
U.S. residents can also enter to win a signed copy through the Goodreads giveaway running until October 21st.
Don’t miss Sylvia McNicoll this Sunday at the Telling Tales Festival in Rockton, Ontario!
Posted on September 10th, 2014 by pajamapress
“Although a deftly crafted work of fiction, “Moon At Nine” is based upon true events in Islamic countries where homosexuality is punishable by death. An extraordinary and original novel, “Moon At Nine” is recommended for young readers ages 13 and up and is appropriate for highschool and community library collections.”
Click here to read the full issue.
Posted on September 3rd, 2014 by pajamapress
“…Meticulously researched and sensitively written…In her nineteenth book, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch again gives a revealing and compassionate voice to an under-represented group of people, and shines a light on little-known events in history. Writing about historical injustices for young adults requires a solid grip of the events, sensitivity, and the ability to juggle multiple perspectives in order to create a compelling story that not only keeps us turning the pages, but also brings forward truths that may have been forgotten or buried. Dance of the Banished enlightens us about the plight of the Alevi Kurds during World War 1, saddens us as we find out about the massacre of the Armenians, and maybe even embarrasses us as we discover how “foreigners” were treated in Ontario. Her characters are human, and multifaceted, and make us think about how we would react in times of great stress if our homeland, families, or loved ones were in danger. The answers are never easy, and Marsha does not shy away from difficult and heart-wrenching choices.”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on August 25th, 2014 by pajamapress
On Friday, August 22nd at 11 am, one hundred plaques were unveiled across Canada. They commemorated Canada’s enemy alien internment operations in the First World War, a little-known part of our history that saw Canadian citizens imprisoned in camps across the country because they had immigrated here from nations with which the British Empire was now at war.
The vast majority of internees were Ukrainian, targeted because their passports read “Austrian.” Canadian immigration officials did not make a distinction between ethnic Austrians and others who then belonged to—and were even persecuted by—the Austrian empire. Similarly, all immigrants from the Ottoman Empire were labelled “Turks.”
In 1914, one hundred of these “Turks”—really Alevi Kurds—were rounded up in Brantford, Ontario, on the charge of having plotted to destroy the post office. Although the charge was proven to be false, they were sent to the wilderness of Kapuskasing to build and then occupy a prison camp there.
At Friday’s ceremony, hosted by the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. John, Ukrainians came together with Armenians, Kurds, dignitaries, and supporters of Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, who put together many pieces of this history while researching her newest novel, Dance of the Banished. This young adult historical novel tells the stories of two Alevi teenagers in the First World War: Ali, who comes to Brantford to work and is interned in Kapuskasing, and his fiancée Zeynep, who is left behind in their homeland of Anatolia where she helps other Alevi Kurds rescue 40,000 of their Armenian neighbours from the Armenian Genocide.
A launch was held for Dance of the Banished following the plaque unveiling. Below, reviewer Helen Kubiw of CanLit for LittleCanadians (left) poses with the author and a signed copy of the book.
For more information about Dance of the Banished, visit the following links.
For more information about the recognition of Canada’s internment operations, visit the links below.
Posted on August 21st, 2014 by pajamapress
“Just as multicultural literature for children and young adults allows readers to understand and appreciate the world around them, international and global books can help them understand the history, languages, and culture of nations around the world…For this week’s book reviews, members of the International Reading Association’s Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) examine some recent international and global favorites that caught their attention.”
Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass
“…The book makes it clear how war and its aftermath touch everyone, even [the protagonist’s] sister. Incidents such as the Soviets’ allowing much-needed butter to spoil in the sun due to incompetence or a lack of concern help readers understand Wilm’s anger. The book offers a fresh perspective on life for the Germans after WWII.”
—Barbara A. Ward, Washington State University Pullman
Click here to read the full review and see this week’s full list of multicultural books from the International Reading Association website, Reading Today Online.
Posted on July 23rd, 2014 by pajamapress
“The world of 1912 may seem completely different but is equally captivating in Sylvia McNicoll’s Revenge on the Fly. It is late spring when young Will Alton and his father arrive in Hamilton. Poor immigrants, Will and his father have journeyed from Ireland where mother and baby sister were taken by disease. Will is heartsick and struggles against the discrimination he and his father face as poor Irish newcomers. Not long after his arrival, his school is visited by Dr. Roberts, Hamilton’s public health officer. The lowly fly, he tells his students, is responsible for spreading germs that cause disease and so much death. The local paper is sponsoring a fly-catching contest with a top prize of $50. Kill flies and stop the spread of disease, he exhorts Will’s class. It is a message that Will latches onto with deadly seriousness, and he is galvanized into action. Perhaps it was the dreaded fly that was responsible for the deaths of his mother and sister. He is determined to win the competition to avenge them and so he can give the money to his father to better their situation.
The contest pits Will against Fred Leckie, a particularly nasty and privileged classmate. Fred will do anything to win, including paying off peers with orange segments (a juicy detail) to bring him their flies. Will struggles to beat Fred on his own, but it is when two unlikely girls befriend him that Will actually starts to have a fighting chance. Wealthy and kind Rebecca has no time for the likes of Fred Leckie and believes in Will, seeing beyond their socio-economic differences. She forces Will to question his motives for entering the contest and gently pushed him to consider some of his actions. Ginny is poor and belligerent, a prickly friend who decides to help Will win the contest. Ignoring her rough exterior, Will likes her spunk and devotion to her younger siblings. “And Ginny…seemed as tough as a horseshoe, her loyalty made her gentle and kind, just in a different way than Rebecca.” The friendship of both girls helps Will to understand that winning is not everything, and that true friends are far better than friends bought and paid for.
Vividly narrating the story in Will’s voice, McNicoll brings this intriguing bit of Canadian history to life, deftly weaving rich historical detail into the tale, immersing young readers in the sights, sounds and smells of early 20th century Hamilton. Will’s struggles with friendship and against bullies is timeless, and young readers will be cheering for him all the way.”
– Tracey Schindler
Learn more about Canadian Children’s Book News here.
Posted on June 7th, 2014 by pajamapress
Pajama Press is proud to once again congratulate Karen Bass for her award-winning novel Graffiti Knight. On June 6th the historical YA novel was awarded the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature at the Alberta Book Awards Gala in Calgary. Administered by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, the award recognizes an Alberta author each year for excellence in writing for young audiences.
Graffiti Knight has already won the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award and the CAA Exporting Alberta Award. It has also been an Ontario Library Association Best Bet, a Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection, and a Resources Links “The Year’s Best” selection.
We are humbled by the reception this novel has received and honoured to work with Karen Bass.