“At the end of a long day when I was nine months pregnant, my 4-year-old, Winter, asked, ‘Is Daddy going to die?’…
Death is one of the
most difficult subjects to talk about with a child. It’s so vast, so many
things to so many people that, like wandering Macy’s the week before Christmas,
it’s hard to know where to start and you’re tempted to avoid it altogether.
There is the obvious fear of traumatizing your child, giving her too long a
look into the abyss. There is also the self-conscious suspicion that whatever
you end up saying will ultimately reveal more about who you are than it will
about the subject itself. Thankfully, a host of new picture books tackle ‘taking
the ferry,’ staring down that overtly thwarting subject, and making it
personal, peaceful and approachable.
In Christiane Duchesne
and Francois Thisdale’s bewitching Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez, set in a small seaside town, a group
of kids watch the mysterious comings and goings of a man who wears a bright red
scarf and looks as if he has ‘clouds under his coat.’ His solitary meanderings
through the cobblestone streets and his eccentric love of animals — he attaches
wings to a cat’s back, strolls with a goldfish bowl on his head — go unnoticed
by the adults. But to the children he is a fascination and delight.
When he abruptly disappears…his absence prompts a strong sense of community as [the children] band together to say their goodbyes…Thisdale’s realistic yet dreamlike illustrations, windswept with mist and surreal painted skies, add to the sense of wonder….
As these four books illustrate and I have come to realize, the conversation about death is alive, shifting and fading, bobbing to the surface and just as swiftly sinking below. It is not one thing for us or for children. When I asked Winter again what she thought about death, there was no memory of my parental wipeout. She simply announced with great confidence: ‘You don’t need a phone.’ She had worked it out just fine.” —Marisha Pessl
The first review is in for Lili Macaroni, and we are very delighted to receive a ★ Starred Review ★ from Kirkus Reviews to start things off.
“Self-confidence is hard to come by when classmates make fun of the things that make Lili Macaroni herself….Boulanger’s changing perspectives and use of shadows to stand in for other kids’ teasing set the mood, Lili’s exuberant brightness changing to more somber tones with her sadness. Lili and her family are white; there is one black classmate. From Québec, a wonderfully empowering message to be yourself, with a strategy to ease heartache added for good measure.”
Pajama Press is thrilled to announce that we have two winning books on the 15th Annual 2019 Green Earth Book Awards list.
The Flooded Earth by Mardi McConnochie is the winner of the award in the Children’s Fiction category.
And Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw is the Honor Book for the Children’s Nonfiction category.
The Green Earth Book Award was founded in 2005 by the environmental non-profit group The Nature Generation. The mission of the award is “to draw attention to the authors and illustrators whose books best inspire youth to grow a deeper appreciation, respect, and responsibility for their natural environment.” Learn more at www.natgen.org/green-earth-book-awards/.
Pajama Press extends our congratulations to Mardi McConnochie and Rob Laidlaw. Our sincerest thanks go to The Nature Generation for their dedication to inspiring environmental stewardship in young people and for their support of the authors and illustrators who strive to do the same.
Before You Were Born will be hitting shelves in a few short weeks—just in time for Mother’s Day—and to celebrate, author Deborah Kerbel and illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo have created some sweet swag and limited edition art prints to give away to you, they’re first readers, as a way of saying “thank you” for your early support.
PRE-ORDER a copy of Before You Were Born from your book retailer of choice—online or bricks and mortar—before May 3rd, 2019
Email us at email@example.com with a photo or scan of your proof of purchase along with your mailing address under the subject line: Before You Were Born Pre Order Giveaway
The Top 24 Swag Pack entries will be randomly selected from the submitted receipts on May 3, 2019. We will announce the names of the Top 24 Swag Pack entries on May 8th and all the gifts will be mailed out by the end of May
*And if you enjoy Before You Were Born please leave a review on your bookseller’s website or Goodreads
PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US only as Before You Were Born is currently only available in North America. Shipping and Handling of prizes is free to Canadian and US residents. One Swag Pack gift per pre-order.
Everyone who pre-orders a copy of Before You Were Born by May 3, 2019 will receive:
a themed bookplate autographed by the author and illustrator
two colouring pages based on art from the book
a limited edition Before You Were Born ‘whales’ magnet (with envelope)
20 randomly selected entries will receive:
everything listed above PLUS
a Before You Were Born greeting card (one of five designs suitable for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or New Baby)
3 randomly selected entries will receive:
everything listed above PLUS
a limited edition signed print, 8.5 x 11 inches and suitable for framing for a bedroom or nursery
1 randomly selected GRAND SWAG PACK entry will receive:
everything listed above PLUS
a one-of-a-kind Before You Were Born ‘Sun/Moon’ nightlight for your child’s bedroom or nursery
a one-of-a-kind Before You Were Born notebook
a hand-written, personalized letter from Deborah Kerbel and Suzanne Del Rizzo
“When a young girl’s father is too sad to get out of bed, she paints him a picture and the two go on an imaginary adventure together….Author/illustrator Dufft’s watercolor illustrations skillfully combine an assured, realistic watercolor style to portray Paula and her father, with a rudimentary childlike stroke to visually highlight the imaginative adventure. Light and shadow are used to great effect to convey mood…A gentle, touching story of loss and resilience and of the beneficial role imagination plays, with visually intelligent and well-executed illustrations.”
Nine children’s authors and illustrators have come together to answer the question, “Are you kind?” Their illustrations show children and animals answering that question through their actions….
Every page of this book has a unique style of artwork. Realistic, cartoon, mixed media, plasticine, and pen and ink. The settings and children featured in each scene reflect a diversity of cultures….Every child (and parent) could benefit from this book.“
“I think we can all use inspiration for kindness every day in every way. So, the people at Pajama Press have created this book to inspire kindness when talking with children….
The questions are asked of young readers, and the illustrations inspire quiet conversation about the many ways we can show kindness to others. Nine artists are included, in artwork already published or pieces specifically created for this book. They show young readers some of the many ways they can be kind and helpful.”
“A strength of this title is the action verbs and rich vocabulary that is introduced….The text and illustrations also work well together….This title lends itself to discussion about friendship and being open to try new things. VERDICT A strong choice for a preschool storytime or a one-on-one sharing.”
–Robin Sofge, Prince William Public Library System, VA
“This charming story captures the joy of a rainy day….. The tale will resonate with many small children. The ink and watercolor artwork adds to the lighthearted mood….VERDICT A comforting and appealing choice for story-times and one-on-one sharing.”