Monday, May 26, 2008

It's a movie star! It's a rock star! No, it's an author!!

Just imagine 3500 kids cheering and clapping for their favorite star! No, it wasn't a rock concert, the Emmys or the Academy Awards. It was the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading awards ceremony at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre. The students from across the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) had read all the nominated books and voted for their favorite ones. Now it was time to root for the authors of their chosen titles.

Author David Jones takes the mic

The excitement reached fever pitch as each author was led onto the stage by a student holding high a sign with his or her name. To the sounds of deafening applause, the authors took their place on the stage. Following an introduction by a student, each author came up to the microphone to speak for a few minutes. Then the stage area fell silent as the envelope was opened, first to reveal the three finalists, then the winner. The surprise and delight on the winners' faces revealed how thrilled they were to have their book chosen. But at the end of the day, every author was a winner. Thousands of kids around Ontario had read their books, enjoyed them, and got super excited about reading. The long lines of kids waiting for autographs and the opportunity to meet their favorite authors at the end of the ceremony only proved that books still rule!

Author Charis Cotter, The Queen, signing autographs

Annick's nominated authors included:

David Jones, author of Baboon, Silver Birch Fiction

K.V. Johansen, author of Torrie and the Snake-Prince, Silver Birch Fiction

Charis Cotter, author of Kids Who Rule, Silver Birch non-fiction

Henry Aubin, author of Rise of the Golden Cobra, Red Maple

Hazel Hutchins, author of The List, Blue Spruce

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Forest of Reading: How to Raise a Reader

Education Reportor Kris Rushowy interviews Silver Birch nominees for The Star. Click the title below for the full article.


Authors honoured at the 15th annual Forest of Reading Festival of Trees offer these tips for fostering a love of reading in your kids. Hint? Read, read, read!

Author: Charis Cotter

Book: Kids Who Rule: The Remarkable Lives of Five Child Rulers Gr.3-6 (Silver Birch, non-fiction nomination)

Inspiration: “I wanted to be a writer because I love the world of books and I want to live in that world. Writing puts me there. Kids Who Rule and my latest book, Wonder Kids: The Remarkable Lives of Nine Child Prodigies, are both part of a series I'm writing about the childhoods of famous people. The books illustrate how unusual children handle the extraordinary circumstances of their lives. "Kids Who Rule came directly from my own fascination with royalty. When I was a child I had many fantasies about being a king or a queen. I think a lot of kids do. There is something very seductive about the idea of that kind of power. Kids imagine that a king or queen can do whatever they want to—eat what they like, boss grownups around and live in a castle—just like in a fairy tale. Of course the reality is very different. The child rulers in my book had very difficult lives and they had to struggle to live up to what was expected of them. They had much less control of their lives than the average modern child. Yet each story in the book has some element of the danger and wonder of a fairytale: a girl sleeps beside a box with her father's heart in it, a boy lives in a Forbidden City where time stands still, a girl is chased by a king who wants to kidnap her and a king is found through a series of strange omens.” Advice for raising a reader: “My only advice to parents who want to raise kids that love reading is to read to your child as much as you can and read books you both enjoy. Some of my best childhood memories are of my dad lying beside me reading the Narnia books, one chapter a night. And some of my best times with my own daughter were settling down in her bed with a stack of picture books and reading half a dozen at a time. Reading together is warm and cuddly and fun.”

Author: K.V. Johansen

Book: Torrie and the Snake-Prince Gr.3-6 (Silver Birch nomination)

Inspiration: “I've always enjoyed telling stories. For me, most story ideas arise out of a character. The Torrie books simply began with Torrie, telling stories of adventures he had with young humans long before. Because he is a character who is outside of humanity, he is able to be a wry, wise, and sympathetic observer to what's going on as the young heroes undertake their various quests, and bring some humour from this outsider's perspective. He gives me a great deal of freedom in telling the stories, because of the oral quality he brings to the narrative. He is telling the story, and so he is able to pause and explain the unfamiliar to his audience, set things in context. And he isn't limited to a narrow place and time in his world; he is immortal and a traveller, so his tales span centuries of his world's history.” Advice for raising a reader: "Read to your child every night. Don't dumb things down for them. Remember that you can and should read books to a child that they aren't yet able to read for themselves; that's how their minds, their imaginations, their understanding of the world, and their grasp of language all grow.”

Friday, May 16, 2008

The View from the Internet Marketing Manager's Office...

Happy Victoria Day weekend everyone!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Unique Collaboration

Each year Annick participates in the Bologna Book Fair. It was during one such fair in 2003 that we were approached by Erica Wagner, Publisher, Books for Children and Teenagers at Allen and Unwin in Australia. Erica told me about a German book entitled Mimus that she felt had great potential. Interestingly, the same book had been pitched to me, and I had the same response--it seemed exceptional. The problem was the book was very long, and since translators charge by the word, the cost of producing an English edition was prohibitive for Annick.

Erica proposed that we think about sharing the translation cost and dividing the English language territories where our respecitve companies were strongest. A & U would take Australia, New Zealand and the UK (where they had a distributor), while Annick would take North America. Thus began a unique collaboration in publishing outstanding books originally published in a foreign language. We each found German readers and asked them to produce assessments. We then shared our respective reports before deciding to make an offer to the publisher: two distinct territories, two separate rights contracts

In addition to being shortlisted for the prestigious Marsh award--a UK award that recgonizes stellar translations, Mimus went on to receive wide acclaim in review journals, including the following: Best Books of the Year, School Library Journal, YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, and the Book of the Year Award, ForeWord Magazine.
Since the publication of Mimus, A & U and Annick have collaborated on three other novels, and are currently exploring a fifth. Not only have we shared translation costs, but some of the editing costs, and in each case, have agreed on the cover treatment, thus splitting design and permission fees as well.

Together we are able to search for the best fiction in other languages, an experience that has been beneficial to our respective companies, to our position in the international market place, and to the idea that there are unique opportunities for publishers to work together in new and exciting ways.