Friday, August 2, 2013

The Annick Blog Has Moved!

Tea Time at Annick Press is now hosted on the Annick website: please come say hi at!

Friday, July 26, 2013

SLJ SummerTeen Virtual Conference Wrap-Up

On Wednesday, the Annick offices--both in Toronto and Vancouver--were busy participating in our first virtual conference: School Library Journal's SummerTeen event. For regular conferences like BEA and ALA, one or two Annick staff members board a plane with our trusty red suitcase, set up our booth, spend a few days telling conference-goers about our great books (new and old), and then return to Annick to tell the rest of the team how it went. But for SummerTeen, no one needed their passport--and everyone at Annick was able to join in and watch the conference unfold.

Here's how it looked to enter the virtual conference (click to enlarge):

And here's the Annick booth!

Visitors to the Annick booth could watch a few short videos (one about our list, one in which Daniel Lafrance and Sharon McKay discuss collaborating on the graphic novel edition of War Brothers); download sample chapters, catalogs, bookmarks, and lesson plans; find e-galleys of our books on NetGalley; and enter our giveaway. We also had two scheduled author chats in our booth: Shari Graydon (Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know) and Chloe Shantz-Hilkes (Hooked: When Addiction Hits Home).

Back in the main auditorium, we had two authors participating in lively panels on diversity and multiculturalism (Karen Arthurton, It's Not All Black and White) and historical fiction (Elizabeth Stewart, The Lynching of Louie Sam).

There's no substitute for getting excited about books in person, but this conference was the next best thing. We hope the participants enjoyed the show as much as we enjoyed exhibiting--there may not have been tote bags (and how I do love a good tote bag), but on the other hand, there were no heavy materials to haul home!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Robert Munsch Discovery Portal Launches at Guelph Public Library

On Tuesday, July 16, the Guelph Public Library launched its new Robert Munsch Discovery Portal on its website. There's something there for everyone: games, activities, and videos for children; curriculum materials, lesson plans, and activity ideas for teachers, librarians, homeschoolers, and daycare centers; and videos and interviews for Munsch fans of all ages. You can even contact a "Munschologist" at the library to ask questions about Robert Munsch and his works!

The portal will also run various Munsch-related contests--the current contest asks entrants to create a 30-60 second video about why they love their favorite Munsch story. You have until Sept. 1, 2013, to enter: click here for full details.

In other Munsch-related news, a new organization called StoryMobs will be hosting a Paper Bag Princess story mob in Toronto on August 17! Want to know what a story mob is and how to get involved?* Visit the StoryMobs website.

*Hint: think "flash mob meets storytime," with lots of fun costumes thrown in.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fall 2013 Titles on NetGalley!

It's the middle of summer, so it seems a little early to think about fall just yet... but we've got a bumper crop of new books that will be available soon! Here are a couple sneak peeks of our upcoming picture books:

One title that is destined to become a bestselling, award-winning classic is The Man with the Violin, by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dušan Petričić. Based on a real event—the experiment by virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell to play in the Washington, D.C. subway station—this picture book tells the story of Dylan, a young boy who wants to stop and listen to the beautiful music. It will also be available as an e-book with read-aloud and animation (on supported devices) this fall.

Another picture book, this one by well-loved author and illustrator Ruth Ohi, is Kenta and the Big Wave. Inspired by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, it is the story of young Kenta and his family, who are evacuated to higher ground as the water rushes in. During their escape, Kenta’s prized soccer ball is swept up by the waves and carried off across the ocean. Will he ever see it again?

If you create a free NetGalley account, you can request e-galleys of these titles, along with the rest of our Fall 2013 books. Click here for a full list of titles on our NetGalley page!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Third-Place Finish for Team Canada at Kids' Lit Quiz Finals!

Team Canada--made up of four 12- and 13-year-old students from University of Toronto Schools--put in a solid performance at yesterday's Kids' Lit Quiz World Finals in Durban, South Africa. They even held the lead by the halfway point, but in the end it was the South African team, from Roedan School, that took home first prize. New Zealand came in second and Canada placed third. The teams were certainly well-matched: there were only two points separating the top three winners. "The Canadian team did an outstanding job!" said Nancy Davidson, National Co-ordinator of Kids' Lit Quiz Canada. "It was a nail-biter of an afternoon; we are so proud of this achievement!"

Kids' Lit Quiz, known as the "Sport of Reading," originated in New Zealand and is now in its 22nd year. Quiz questions can be based on any children’s book published in English, and topics range from authors to poetry to mythology and graphic novels. This is only the third year that Canada has fielded a team, so Team Canada's third-place finish at the World Finals is an impressive accomplishment.

Find out more (and try some sample quizzes) on the Kids' Lit Quiz website.

Chicago, Chicago, That Wonderful Town!

Everyone loves Chicago, which is only one reason why the ALA Annual Conference held there last week was so well attended. The appearance of such noted authors as Khaled Hosseini and Ann Patchett  may also have had something to do with it.

Annick Press could be found near the front of the busy hall where we met and greeted dozens of librarians. Many stopped by the booth just to say hello and to tell us how much they were looking forward to seeing our Fall 2013 books.

The star of the booth was undoubtedly the new picture book by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dusan Petricic, The Man with the Violin. Many people remembered the event on which the the story is based--the experiment conducted by the Washington Post that had the world-famous violinist, Joshua Bell, play his priceless Stradivarius in a Washington, D.C., subway station.

Other Annick titles that drew a lot of attention were War Brothers: The Graphic Novel, which was selected as a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. It's a Feudal, Feudal World: A Different Medieval History also drew positive comments for its unique infographic approach to world history. And many people were drawn to When I Was Eight, a picture book version of the best-selling memoir, Fatty Legs.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Given the great response to our list, Fall 2013 promises to be a banner season.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Battle of the Books: Kids' Lit Quiz Champs Compete in World Finals

Next week, a team of four 12- and 13-year-old students from University of Toronto Schools will be representing Canada at the Kids' Lit Quiz World Finals in Durban, South Africa. Team Canada will be staying in South Africa for one activity-packed week, which will include a book exchange, meeting other teams and local authors, participating in storytelling workshops... and, of course, sightseeing!

The World Finals quiz will take place on Wednesday, July 3. All contestants will be between the ages of 10 and 13, and they may be quizzed on any children's book published in English. Past categories have included authors, poetry, titles, settings, characters, nursery rhymes, and graphic novels. You can try your hand at some past quizzes on the Kids' Lit Quiz website.

To get a picture of the excitement produced by these literary competitions, watch this video of Canadian teams competing in the national finals earlier this year:

Kids' Lit Quiz Canada's National Coordinator, Nancy Davidson, will be traveling with the team and distributing free books (she passed along an alarming statistic to me: only 8% of school in South Africa have libraries). Annick Press donated copies of Africans Thought of It, Animals That Changed the World, Fatty Legs, Kids Who Rule, People Who Said No, and Red is Best... we know they'll all find good homes.

Good luck, Team Canada!

A little about Kids' Lit Quiz
Kids' Lit Quiz started in New Zealand over 20 years ago, as a way to consolidate students' reading skills before they enter high school. Schools compete on local, regional, and national levels. The national winners then go on to compete in the annual world finals, which participating countries take turns hosting. For more information, visit the Kids' Lit Quiz website. You can also check out the Kids' Lit Quiz Canada website, or follow them on Twitter: @kidslitquiz_ca.