Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘true-blue’

Amy’s Marathon of Books reviews True Blue

Posted on July 22nd, 2014 by pajamapress

TrueBlue_Website“…what I liked about Ellis’ challenging character is that her actions made me think hard about how I would act in the same situation…I’d recommend True Blue for young to mid teen readers.”

Click here to read the full review.

Three Pajama Press books featured on Bank Street Best Books list 2013

Posted on May 26th, 2013 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is pleased to announce that all three of the books we published in our first season have been selected for Bank Street College of Education’s “Best Children’s Books of the Year 2013” list.

No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs by Rob Laidlaw and Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch appear in the Information Books section for ages nine to twelve, while True Blue by Deborah Ellis was selected for Fiction ages fourteen and up.

Congratulations to Rob, Marsha and Deborah.

Click here to view the full list.


Deborah Ellis wins with mystery novel at Hamilton Literary Awards

Posted on November 14th, 2012 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to announce that Deborah Ellis has won The Reliable Life Insurance Award for Children & Young Adult Book for her YA psychological thriller True Blue.

The award was presented on November 12, 2012, during the 18th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards at Theatre Aquarius’ Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario. Ron Ulrich, artistic director of the host theatre, announced the award and shared the compelling first chapter with the audience.

True Blue has met with critical acclaim in both Canada and the United States. School Library Journal said, “True Blue is about the courage to believe in oneself and fight for what’s right, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. A book worthy of any school curriculum.” Kirkus Reviews said protagonist Jess “grabs readers’ attention and never lets it go.”

True Blue has also been nominated for the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award and the John Spray Mystery Award.

LibraryPoint calls True Blue “riveting” psychological thriller

Posted on September 25th, 2012 by pajamapress

“You know how the female praying mantis bites the head off of the male? That was one of Casey’s favorite things. As a future entomologist, she adored insects. She even copied the head chomp with a little hand signal. The signal meant that someone was really getting on your nerves, and you’d really love to just stop them in their tracks. That was before the murder trial…

…Not many books for teens fall into the genre of psychological thriller, but True Blue definitely has the chops to be a riveting, disturbing page-turner.” -Craig Graziano

Click here to read the full review.

Casey’s True Blue Insect Guide

Posted on September 1st, 2012 by pajamapress

Casey, one of the central characters in Deborah Ellis‘ murder mystery True Blue, has always known she will be an entomologist. In fact, her classmates nickname her “Praying Mantis.” True Blue is full of insects and insect information, but did you ever wonder what all those creepy crawlies really look like? If so, then you need…

Casey’s True Blue 

Insect Guide


Praying Mantis

Photo by John

Photo by John


Photo by MONGO

Photo by MONGO

Anthomyiid Fly

Photo by Quark 67

Photo by Quark 67

Whirligig Beetle

Photo by Erin Hayes Pontius

Photo by Erin Hayes Pontius

Pond Skaters

Photo by Anne Burgess

Photo by Anne Burgess


Photo by Mike E. Talbot

Photo by Mike E. Talbot


Photo by R.S.

Photo by R.S.

Black Swallowtail

Photo  by Kretven

Photo by Kretven

Spring Field Cricket

Photo by Vespula Vulgaris

Photo by Vespula Vulgaris

Pavement Ants

Image Source: Encyclopedia Britannica 11th Ed.

Image Source: Encyclopedia Britannica 11th Ed.

True Blue Cockroach

Actually, this endangered insect is so rare that we were not able to locate an image of it.  If you have one, let us know!

American Cockroach

Photo by Eran Finkle

Photo by Eran Finkle

Canadian Children’s Booknews Summer 2012

Posted on August 14th, 2012 by pajamapress

The summer edition of Canadian Children’s Booknews is here, and two Pajama Press books have made exciting appearances inside.

First, this issue announces the finalists for the 2012 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards, and True Blue by Deborah Ellis is in the running for the John Spray Mystery Award. Here’s what the magazine says about the award:

“Established in 2011 to honour excellence in the mystery book genre and sponsored by John Spray, President of the Mantis Investigation Agency, this $5,000 prize is awarded annually to a Canadian author of an outstanding work of mystery writing for young people.”

Over the page is the regular “Bookmark” feature, which highlights books on a particular theme. This issue the theme is “The Worlds of War” and A Bear in War leads the listings for “Picture Books and Early Readers for Kindergarted to Grade 3”:

“The true story of how a tiny stuffed bear named Teddy became an enduring memento of a Canadian family’s love during World War I is being re-released in September 2012. Teddy now lives in a glass display case at the Canadian War Museum and is one of its most beloved exhibits.”

You can purchase copies of Canadian Children’s Booknews on select newsstands or at

7 Famous Authors who Wrote Outside the Box

Posted on July 2nd, 2012 by pajamapress

True Blue is a step outside the norm for Deborah Ellis, who is known for empowering stories about kids in developing nations, not psychological thrillers about two teenaged camp counsellors with a murdered charge. True Blue was such a success that it made us wonder—what other famous authors have produced works outside of their normal genres?

Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey, circa 1798-99

NorthangerPersuasionTitlePageMany passionate Austen fans are turned off by Northanger Abbey, which seems so incongruous with her other works. The incongruity makes sense, though—it’s actually a parody of gothic literature, unlike her other novels, which can be better classified as comedies of manners. 

Lewis Carroll

“The Principles of Parliamentary Representation,” circa 1870

Fans of Charles Dodgson, alias Lewis Carroll, will know that the famous nonsense writer was a mathematician by trade, and that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Jabberwocky share space in his bibliography with titles like An Elementary Treatise on Determinants, With Their Application to Simultaneous Linear Equations and Algebraic Equations. Still, it may surprise even those well-informed fans to learn that this busy writer also found time to pen a number of political pamphlets regarding fairness in political procedures—a particular concern of his.

Beatrix Potter

On the Germination of the Spores of the Agaricineae, 1897

Beatrix_Potter_wikiBeatrix Potter’s tales of rabbits, mice, hedgehogs and other animals of the British country garden began charming young readers in 1902 and are still beloved today. Less well-remembered is Potter’s passion for the natural sciences, especially mycology (the study of fungi). In 1897 she submitted a paper, On the Germination of the Spores of the Agaricineae, to the Linnean Society—although, as a woman, she was not allowed to attend the proceedings and had to present it by proxy.

J.R.R. Tolkein

Mr. Bliss, circa 1938

Tolkein’s name is irrevocably linked with Middle Earth and mythology. In the children’s book Mr. Bliss, however, he tells the story of a man’s hapless first ride in a new automobile—apparently inspired by Tolkien’s own experience.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

The First Four Years, circa 1940

Laura_Ingalls_WilderOf Laura Ingalls Wilder’s famous “Little House” books, The First Four Years is the only one that remained unpublished at her death, the only one not edited by her daughter Rose or by a professional editor, and the only one that seems to be directed at adults. The story of Laura’s trouble-fraught early years of marriage lacks the rosy glow of nostalgia that infuses the other books, where hardship is tempered with happiness and idealism overwhelms distress. The manuscript was found among Rose’s possessions at her death, and neither mother nor daughter seem to have pursued its publication.

J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye, 1951

Salinger’s most famous work is actually his greatest anomaly. The American writer began publishing short stories in the early 1940s and has several novellas and anthologized stories to his name; The Catcher in the Rye, however, is his only novel.

J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy, 2012

This still-to-come novel will be Rowling’s first adult book after her sensational Harry Potter series for children and teens—although, of course, a remarkable number of adults read those books as well.


Mrs. Ashby is Reading… True Blue!

Posted on June 12th, 2012 by pajamapress

This is an amazing book that pulls you slowly into Jess’s mind.  It wasn’t until fairly far into the book that I was struck by Jess’s character.  It’s difficult to describe without giving away too much because the joy for me was when I realized what the author was doing and began to squirm a bit in reading Jess’s words.  Read it!

Click here to read the full review

Ten Stories Up calls True Blue”gritty and bitter and sensitive and unflinching”

Posted on April 23rd, 2012 by pajamapress

This is a beautiful book.  I don’t mean the story, but the package.  Congrats to the design department at Pajama Press: I was so busy admiring the fonts and running my fingers over the jacket that I almost forgot to read the book.  But I’m glad I did.

True Blue is not beautiful.  It’s gritty and bitter and sensitive and unflinching – both ripped from the headlines and totally unique.  The mystery kept me guessing, and the characters kept me up late…

…Casey, full of faith and confidence.  Stephanie, who annoyed me so much I caught myself thinking that Casey would have been totally justified in killing her.  The teacher, Miss Burke, whose courage had me in tears.  Jess’s mother, paralyzed by her own helplessness.  And complex, conflicted Jess, who wants something she can’t even identify, and resents Casey almost as much as she loves her.  Jess isn’t admirable, but she’s totally compelling.  These people are worth your time.

Click here to read the full review

Booklist praises True Blue

Posted on April 19th, 2012 by pajamapress

This intelligent mystery is a complete 180 from the author’s leprosy-in-India tale, No Ordinary Day (2011), but is similar in how its impact sneaks up on you…The unreliability of Jess’ first-person account becomes increasingly obvious as we learn the depths of Jess’ jealousy and the dubiousness of her morals. The mystery here is not just a whodunit but how loyalty and betrayal can rest along such a razor’s edge. —Daniel Kraus