Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Bite of the Mango European Tour!

Mariatu Kamara went on a three-week, five-country European tour in November to promote the launch of the British, Dutch, German, Italian, and Spanish editions of her memoir, The Bite of the Mango!

Co-author Susan McClelland joined her in London and Berlin while Mariatu's Auntie Kadi (whom you will know from the book) joined her in Amsterdam, Rome, and Barcelona and Madrid. It was a very successful tour all round, with Mariatu doing lots of print, TV, and radio interviews, in addition to school visits, bookstore signings, and more! Mariatu and her story are being embraced by people all over the world...

What's always interesting is to see the different covers that publishers produce for their editions. Here are a few samples:

UK Paperback cover (Bloomsbury, to be released June 2010)

Italian cover (Sperling & Kupfer, released November '09.)
Note title translates as Whose Hands Shall Wipe Away My Tears)

German cover (Pattloch/Droemer Knaur, released November '09)
Note, title translates as The Girl With No Hands

Dutch cover (De Kern/De Fontein, released November '09)
Note, title translates as The Taste of the Mango

French (North America) cover (La courte echelle, released November '09)
Note, title translates as The Blood of the Mango

Australian cover (Allen & Unwin, released May 2009)
Other foreign editions still to come include the Spanish, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), and Slovenian.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Olympic Torch Sighting!

Today was a very exciting day at Annick's Toronto office: the Olympic torch procession went by right outside! A few of us watched from the office, while others braved the cold and got a close-up look. (The Vancouver Annick office isn't missing out, of course, as the winter Olympics will be taking place right in their city next February!)

Here's one photo; you can check out the rest on our Flickr account.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Allan Stratton Blogs from Movie Set of CHANDA'S SECRETS

Allan Stratton, author of Chanda's Secrets and Chanda's Wars (among other books), has taken up blogging. He's fortunate to have some very exciting news to blog about, too: Chanda's Secrets is being turned into a film! And Allan has been on set in sub-Saharan Africa watching it all unfold.

I especially like the post in which he introduces us to some of the actors. He also explains why the director, Oliver Schmitz, and his crew had to switch from speaking German to English while on set. He's updating fairly regularly and includes lots of pictures (including pictures of his cats editors), so go to http://allanstratton.blogspot.com/ and check it out!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Claire Eamer Talks About Science Books for Kids

Claire Eamer stopped by for tea at Annick a few weeks ago, and now she's back to answer some questions about researching and writing science books for kids. Enjoy!

Claire: In November, I got the chance to visit Ontario schools during TD Canadian Children's Book Week. The picture above is a display of my books and a welcome sign in the library at the Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto Middle School. I also dropped by Annick Press's Toronto home and we got talking about writing non-fiction. So we decided to take a bit of the discussion to the blog. Here are a few questions -- from kids, teachers, and a blog reader -- and my answers.

From a kid: Which of your books is your favourite?

Claire: I guess I have a short attention span because my absolute favourite at the moment is the book I'm still working on. It's called Snakes in the Sky: Animals Where You Least Expect Them, and it is full of some of the weirdest and most surprising animals you can imagine. And I can imagine some pretty weird animals! Apart from it, I think my favourite is Super Crocs & Monster Wings, mainly because it was my first book for kids and everything about the process was new and exciting.

From a kid: What's your favourite animal in the books?

Claire: I think my favourite is the giant ground sloth, which I talked about in Super Crocs & Monster Wings. They were so amazingly BIG! And they lived in the Yukon, where I live. I've even seen a skeleton of a Jefferson's Ground Sloth. A close second is the giant sea scorpion from Spiked Scorpions & Walking Whales. They were huge and weird and left their footprints behind for us to see. There's something about footprints locked in stone that brings the creature to life for me.

From Mommy C: I am interested in the research that goes behind finding so many cool creatures. I can picture [Claire] travelling the globe like an Indiana Jones of prehistoric animals, searching through the catacombs of museum basements for rare giant beavers and enormous insects.

Claire: I wish! Gotta get me an Indiana Jones hat! Actually, I do haunt museums whenever I get the chance. I love them, and I find loads of ideas in them, both for science books and history books. However, most of the research for the books involves reading -- books, magazine and newspaper stories, articles in academic journals, and websites. I also do a lot of emailing to experts all around the world. Experts are amazingly generous with their time when you explain that you're writing for kids.

From a teacher: What's the best part of writing?

Claire: The research. I love learning things. I think I became a writer for the sake of the research, not for the writing itself. Although I do enjoy turning what I've learned into a story for other people to enjoy. Writing non-fiction is telling a story, just as much writing fiction is. You just have to stick to the facts.

Speaking of research, I'd better get back to it. The next book beckons!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kristin Butcher and the Touring Mummy

Earlier this week, Claire Eamer regaled us with her Canadian Children's Book Week adventures. Today I received an email from Kristin Butcher, who reported that her 10-day tour took her "from as far west as you can go in Canada to as far east as you can go." Here's what she had to say about her experience talking to kids about her latest book, Pharaohs and Foot Soldiers: One Hundred Ancient Egyptian Jobs You Might Have Desired or Dreaded:

The kids were enthralled with Pharaoh Phil and loved the embalming presentation. Of course, it didn't hurt that I always let one of them pull the brain out through the nose. It totally grossed out the teachers, but the kids thought it was great.

We covered all the jobs in the Afterlife chapter, from Cutter to Mourners. When I told the kids that the mourners threw dirt on themselves, they wanted to know if they threw it at each other too. Only kids would think of that. Today's young people are pretty knowledgeable, and there was always someone in the group who knew about the brain being extracted through the nose, as well as other sundry bits of information. It helped to keep the presentation moving—though not always in the direction I had envisioned.
Kristin also sent along some pictures from one of her presentations. Here are some of the tools and props she uses in her embalming demonstration, in which the class gets to help mummify "Pharaoh Phil."

And here's Kristin and Pharaoh Phil, pre-embalming:

I'll leave you with this close-up of Pharaoh Phil, who looks rather nonchalant about his approaching mummification:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Claire Eamer Joins Us for Tea Time

Let us not forget that this blog is called Tea Time at Annick Press for a reason: the Annick staff enjoy taking a tea break together in the afternoon, and sometimes we're lucky enough to have one of our authors or illustrators join us.

Yesterday, Claire Eamer stopped by after spending the previous week touring 6 schools and 3 libraries across Ontario for Canadian Children's Book Week. The tour included her impressive collection of stuffed animals--a 3-toed sloth from the Vancouver Aquarium, a platypus, an armadillo, and a giant squid from the Newfoundland Museum--and Claire reported that her favorite part of touring was meeting so many kids that were excited about animals.

After having some tea and and sharing her Book Week adventures, Claire signed some of her books (Spiked Scorpions & Walking Whales, Super Crocs & Monster Wings, and Traitor's Gate).

Claire also volunteered to do a guest blog post for us, so we're taking topic requests. Interested in how she became an author? Wondering how she does her research? Looking for tips on writing science books for children, or using science books in the classroom? Post your questions in the comments section!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Canadian Children's Literature Awards

Last night, the Canadian Children's Book Centre hosted a gala in which the winners of the Canadian Children's Literature Awards were announced. Eight Annick authors and illustrators were finalists, and we were thrilled to see five of them win! (You can read the full CCBC press release here.)

Mattland, written by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert and illustrated by Dušan Petričić, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000). Here's Hazel giving her acceptance speech:

The Bite of the Mango, written by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland, won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction ($10,000). Mariatu is still on her European book tour, so Susan accepted the award. Here she is with Annick's Director, Rick Wilks:

The award winners were in good company: Shin-Chi's Canoe, written by Nicola I. Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave, won the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award ($25,000) and The Landing, by John Ibbitson, won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,ooo).

Congratulations are also due to:

Click here for a list of all finalists, and check out more photos from the event on Annick's Flickr page.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Turning Authors into Movie Stars!

The office has been quiet these past few days, as many of the Annick staff are attending or volunteering at the National Reading Summit. So it was the perfect time to bring in the BookShorts film crew and chat with the authors and illustrators of some of our upcoming titles! The videos won't be ready for a little while, so here are some pictures to tide you over.

First up: author/illustrator Ruth Ohi talked about her third book in the Chicken, Pig, Cow picture book series: Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Purple Problem (Spring 2010). She even did some quick sketches for us.

Former CBC Radio sportscaster Kevin Sylvester took the stage next to talk about Game Day (Fall 2010), a book about the people who work in behind-the-scenes jobs related to sports.

Next, author/illustrator Andrea Wayne von Königslöw talked about her book How Do You Read to a Rabbit? (Spring 2010) in which a child attempts to read a bedtime story to various animals, with hilarious results. Here's Andrea reading to a rather patient bunny:

Finally, Sharon McKay gave us some background about her book Stones Over Kandahar (Fall 2010), which is set in Afghanistan and grew out of her experiences as a Canadian War Artist. After the interview, she browsed our books and couldn't resist picking up The Apprentice's Masterpiece (Melanie Little).

We're looking forward to sharing the finished videos with you, and giving you more details about these great new books. Until then, you can find more pictures from the video shoot on the Annick Flickr account. Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Bite of the Mango European Tour

Authors Mariatu Kamara and Susan McClelland are in London, England today to start a five-country European tour to promote the launch of the British, German, Dutch, Italian, and Spanish editions of The Bite of the Mango. Wow...!

Susan will return home after Germany and Mariatu's surrogate aunt in Toronto, Kadi, will join Mariatu for the remainder of the tour. In each of these countries, the publishers have arranged print, TV and radio interviews, school visits and public readings. It is really heart-warming to see how the world is embracing Mariatu and her remarkable story of overcoming the loss of her hands to rebel soldiers in her native Sierra Leone. The sad thing is, this is not just Mariatu's story, but the story of so many amputees in Sierra Leone who were the victims of unimaginable atrocities during the civil war in their country. We wish Mariatu, Susan, and Kadi a rewarding trip and look forward to hearing their stories and seeing their photo on their return at the end of this month.

Susan and Mariatu are grateful to have received a Travel Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to assist in this trip.

Stay tuned for images of the different covers from the foreign editions of The Bite of the Mango...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall Means Frankfurt!

Annick once again exhibited at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest international rights fair in the world. We meet with foreign publishers, agents, and scouts to introduce our fabulous list of upcoming spring '10 books and present new and recent releases. The aim is to sell rights so these books will be published in other countries and languages. Above is a photo of our very beautiful booth, featuring one of the highlights of the fair: a provocative new YA fiction series called Single Voice. Watch for this in stores in February '10!

We also hosted a lovely reception for the foreign publishers and agents of The Bite of the Mango, Mariatu Kamara's moving memoir about losing her hands in the civil war in Sierra Leone and her courageous accomplishments to date: UNICEF Special Representative, founder of The Mariatu Foundation, college student, and public speaker. Mariatu and co-author Susan McClelland embark on a five-country tour in Europe in November to launch some of these foreign editions. Stay tuned for more on that soon...!

Frankfurt is not only about trying to sell our books, however. We also attend the fair in the hopes of acquiring for publication in North America exceptional books from Australia, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and other places. There's so much to choose from.

The excitement of Frankfurt or any international rights fair is found in a synergy, a connection with someone from across the globe who shares the same literary sensibilities. Books really do bridge cultures!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Wrap-Up

As we head deeper into fall, things are definitely getting busy. The good news is there are lots of great events going on in the book world. Even if you can't attend in person, browsing through the programs might uncover some great new authors!

Friday, October 16, 2009

International Festival of Authors: Oct. 21-31, 2009

(Image courtesy Authors at Harbourfront Centre from their Flickr stream)

Next week kicks off the 30th Anniversary of the International Festival of Authors. The festival runs from October 21 to 31 at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre, and this year's theme is "Writing Scotland." Famous Scottish poet Robert Burns was born in 1759, so 2009 marks the 250th anniversary of his birth. Click here for a list of Scotland-related readings and events!

Here are some highlights for kidlit fans:

Saturday, October 24

Tuesday, October 27

Thursday, October 29

Friday, October 30

You can see a PDF of the complete schedule here and purchase tickets here. If you're on Twitter, you can follow @IFOA for extra news, updates, and more.

Monday, October 5, 2009

TD National Reading Summit: Nov. 12 & 13, 2009

We're pretty excited about the upcoming TD National Reading Summit: Reading and Democracy (Nov. 12-13, 2009). The summit aims to develop a blueprint for a Canadian national reading strategy, and will bring together writers, educators, publishers, librarians, academics, researchers, business leaders, public officials, and youth.

Annick's director, Rick Wilks, has this to say about the importance of the summit:

Many of us read for information and to accumulate knowledge - more and more this describes reading habits in our culture. But I'm concerned that we're collectively losing track of a profoundly significant benefit: the pathways that reading opens to help us make sense of our lives within the world around us. Simply put, reading better equips us to navigate personal, political and societal challenges. Reading directly connects with our ability to develop the deep wisdom necessary to make appropriate choices and to more successfully decode the array of possibilities we have to sort through. So beyond the pure pleasures to be derived from a book, learning to think more clearly and critically enhances the quality of our lives and relationships. Ultimately we are a more engaged citizenry, coming to realize that reading in its most encompassing sense is of the essence in our civil society.
A number of great speakers from around the world will be presenting, including Ana Maria Machado (Brazil), Ingrid Bon (Netherlands), Tom King (Canada), Charles Pascal (Canada), Cory Doctorow (Canada/UK) and Elisa Bonilla (Mexico). For a full list of speakers, program information, and registration details, visit www.nationalreadingsummit.ca.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cybils Awards Nominations Are Open

Do you have a favorite kid's book that you just have to tell the world about? Do you lurk in your local bookstore, waiting for an unsuspecting parent to muse, for example, "I wonder what would be good for an eight-year-old who likes dragons..." just so you can jump out and place the perfect book in their hands? If so, why not nominate your cherished book for a Cybils award?

The nomination form is here, and nominations close on October 15. Any book you nominate must have been published between last year's contest and this year's: i.e., between Oct. 16 2008 and Oct. 15 2009. For more information on the judging process, check out the Cybils website!

Here are the categories:

  • Easy Readers and Short Chapter Books
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction (middle/elementary)
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction (teen)
  • Fiction Picture Books
  • Graphic Novels (middle/elementary)
  • Graphic Novels (teen)
  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • Non-Fiction Picture Books
  • Non-Fiction (middle/teen)
  • Poetry
  • Young Adult Fiction
I'm looking forward to seeing which books for kids and young adults emerge as the "must-reads!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Word on the Street Wrap-up

Although a few dark clouds lingered over downtown Toronto on Sunday morning, the sun soon fought them off and provided a beautiful day worthy of the annual Word on the Street festival. (I even had to break out the sunscreen! Not that I'm complaining.)

Queen's Park was buzzing with people of all ages checking out the various booths, events, and food. From author readings (including one by Margaret Atwood) to live music to games, crafts, and cooking demos, there was something for everyone. I also loved seeing the whole spectrum of people involved in the book business: from authors and illustrators to writers' groups, magazines, publishers, wholesalers, booksellers, and, of course, readers!

The Annick booth was a busy place to be: we enjoyed both introducing our books to new readers and hearing from people who were already familiar with our titles (for example, our Robert Munsch display elicited many happy cries of, "Oh, I remember reading that as a kid!"). It was especially touching to see parents introducing the books they'd loved as kids to their own children.

Along with offering a 20% discount on our books, we also ran our popular String Pull game (photo below), in which kids pull one end of a string and then win books based on the color of the token on the other end. It costs just $1 to play and all proceeds go to this year's Reading Summit (Nov. 11-13).

Ruth Ohi (pictured below) dropped by in the afternoon to sign her books and chat with fans; she especially enjoyed signing her books with cartoon sketches of the child who the book was for!

I've uploaded our photos to our Flickr account, and you can also find more wrap-ups of Word on the Street in Toronto on the following blogs: BlogTO; Another Day, Another Thought... or Two; Talking with Tundra, and Debbie's Blatherings. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Word on the Street Update

Just a reminder that Annick will be at booth Book KS 15 (on Wellesley Street) at the Word on the Street festival in Toronto this Sunday, Sept. 27! Drop by and say hi... and if you mention our blog, we'll give you a free hardcover book, while supplies last! (Which book? It's a surprise!)

Also, author/illustrator Ruth Ohi will be at the Children's Reading Tent from 1-1:30 pm, and then she'll be at the Annick booth to sign books from 1:30-2:30! Come meet Chicken, Pig, and Cow!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Telling Tales Festival and Word on the Street

Last weekend was the Telling Tales festival in Rockton (just north of Hamilton, Ontario), and Annick set up a colourful booth to join in the fun!

There were 32 children's authors, illustrators, and performers attending, including our very own Loris Lesynski (Dirty Dog Boogie; I Did It Because...) and Ruth Ohi (Chicken, Pig, Cow; Chicken, Pig, Cow on the Move). Great weather, wonderful books: what a perfect family outing! For a great blog post (with pictures of Ruth doing her drawing demonstration!), check out the Papertrails Family Blog.

Loris Lesynski with her books:

If you missed Telling Tales this year, don't despair: you're not too late for The Word on the Street festival on Sunday, September 27! There are four venues: Vancouver, Kitchener, Toronto, and Halifax.

Join us at the Toronto location (Queen's Park) as we celebrate reading and literacy. There are tons of activities for adults and children, including performances, readings, signings, crafts, and more. There's a lot going on, but don't worry: the editors at Chirp, chickaDEE, and OWL have put together a great Kidstreet Activity Guide so you can plan your day. You can also follow the Toronto Word on the Street Twitter account for updates, contests, trivia, and photos.

Ruth Ohi will be at the Children's Reading Tent from 1-1:30 pm, and then she'll be signing books at the Annick booth, so come on by! Also, if you visit the Annick booth and mention that you've read our blog, we'll give you a FREE hardcover book while supplies last. (Which title? It's a surprise!) Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Toilet Tales: Perfect Bathroom Reading!

Our marketing manager Brigitte passed along this story and I just had to share!

The G. Willikers Toy Store in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, thought up a novel way to decorate their in-store washroom: they took apart a copy of the classic picture book Toilet Tales and used the pages as posters! Apparently their customers love the new look, and demand for the book has increased, too! Check out the pictures below:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Book of Life Podcast About The Apprentice's Masterpiece

We're pleased to announce that Melanie Little's award-winning verse novel The Apprentice's Masterpiece is now available in paperback!

At Book Expo America in 2008, Heidi Estrin of The Book of Life podcast interviewed our associate publisher, Colleen MacMillan, about the book, which had just been released in hardcover. Click below to hear more about what it was like to develop a book for young adults set during the Spanish Inquisition! (This clip is part of a longer podcast of interviews about Jewish books for kids and teens; click here for the original podcast in its entirety.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Charis Cotter on CBC

Charis Cotter (author of Born to Write, Kids Who Rule, and Wonder Kids) gave a great interview on CBC about how she's promoting her new book A World Full of Ghosts. She explains how she gathered ghost stories from around the world for her book, and reveals that one of the ghost stories comes from the cemetery she grew up next to! You can also find out how Charis gets kids' attention during classroom visits, and how you can book her for your class.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Stop One on Sally Rippin's Blog Tour!

Sally Rippin is on tour! A blog tour, that is. Today we're kicking things off with a Q&A about her book Chenxi and the Foreigner, and tomorrow watch for her on The Book Muncher! (Click here for the full blog tour schedule.) Enjoy!

You lived in Shanghai from 1989 to 1992, during a time of political upheaval (for example, the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing). How did it affect your experience of China and your writing of Chenxi and the Foreigner? How was your experience different from Anna’s?

I arrived in Shanghai in the September of 1989, a couple of months after the government crackdown in Tiananmen Square. I won’t go into too much detail about those events here, but for readers unfamiliar with this date in history, it was in June that year that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of students were killed by the Chinese army for protesting in Tiananmen Square. The true number of how many students were killed on June 4th, and then in the weeks afterwards, will never be known as this has become a highly taboo topic in China and all forms of media have been banned from investigating or reporting on it.

Needless to say, when I arrived in Shanghai only a few months after this date, Chinese students were still in a state of heightened anxiety. There were rumours that people involved in the protests were still being hunted down and spies and informers were rampant. Many of the students at the Art College where I studied had been involved in protests in Shanghai; boys in my class had carried a papier-mache Statue of Liberty down Shanghai’s streets. Even my closest friends were wary of talking to me about politics in case it got them into trouble and they often felt uncomfortable bringing me back to their homes for fear of being seen with a foreigner.

However, it is only in retrospect as an adult, that I can fully appreciate the significance of that period in Chinese history. I arrived in China as a very naïve nineteen-year-old girl. While I was aware that my years in China were fascinating and challenging for me, I really didn’t have any understanding of the impact that political period was having on my fellow students. So, I guess I could say I was definitely naïve as Anna!

In the afterword to this new edition, you explain that while writing the original manuscript, you had been worried about the reactions of gatekeepers such as parents, teachers, and librarians and had “cut out swear words, sex scenes, and unfamiliar Chinese politics.” How did Anna evolve as a character once you returned sex, swearing, and politics to the mix?
Anna is still essentially the same character, but I hope that the new version of the book is deeper and more honest. I was still young when I first starting writing the novel and, as it was my first Young Adult novel, I was unaware of how much sex and swearing I could include without upsetting too many people, which is kind of ironic as I don’t know a single teenager who doesn’t swear or think of sex daily! The politics I left out purely because I wasn’t informed enough to feel comfortable to write about them and as it was also still fairly close to the event, I didn’t want to cause any problems for myself or any of my fellow students.

The new version was rewritten almost ten years later. Obviously, I have matured and, thirty books later, I feel more confident as a writer. But I also more confident trusting that my readers, teenagers or adults, would rather I write honestly and openly than censor myself for fear of upsetting people with a few swear words. And, frankly, I hope that after reading my novel people are more upset by the fact that there a millions of people in the world, still today, that live without even one of the most basic freedoms: freedom of speech.

You’re both a writer and an illustrator: is your creative process similar for both writing and illustrating, or different? Is it more difficult to illustrate books you’ve written or books someone else has written?
Writing and illustrating are such extremely different creative processes for me but seem to balance each other perfectly. When I write, my mind is full, crowded with words and ideas, jostling to be heard. When I illustrate, I fall into a state almost like meditation. My mind goes very quiet and hours can pass without me knowing.
I started out illustrating my own books but now I mainly illustrate for other people, which I have begun to prefer. I love receiving a manuscript full of someone else’s ideas and those ideas trigger a whole new dimension of ideas in my mind creating something very different to anything I could have come up with on my own.

You just started up a blog; what do you plan to blog about? Are there any blogs you read regularly? What kinds of topics would you like to discover blogs about?
I think blogging is amazing but I have to admit, way too time-consuming for me! I know I could easily get lost in blog world and not come out again for days, meanwhile my deadlines have passed and my children haven’t been fed! As I spend so much time in front of the computer already, I don’t need another excuse to linger longer, in fact I am really trying to work on spending less time on the computer, not more – have to get out into that sunshine somehow! So, I will be using my blog just to update any news I have on my books: launches, reviews, blog tours etc, and in the other five free minutes I have each day I will be working on getting some Vitamin D into me!

If you won a week-long, all-expenses-paid trip to any country in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
The US and Canada to do a live book tour! Blogging is great but there’s nothing like meeting people in the flesh. :)

Thanks, Sally! It's been great to have you on the Annick blog and I look forward to watching your blog tour unfold this week!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sally Rippin: Coming to a Blog Near You!

Children’s and young adult author Sally Rippin is heading off on a blog tour to promote her book Chenxi and the Foreigner. She’ll be appearing in the following blogs over the week of Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, so follow along for fun interviews, reviews, giveaways, book chats, and more! Also, be sure to check out Sally Rippin’s blog throughout the tour, as she’ll be posting updates and sharing pictures from her time in China (1989–1992) that inspired Chenxi and the Foreigner!

Monday, August 31: Tea Time at Annick Press (Right here!)

Tuesday, September 1: The Book Muncher

Wednesday, September 2: Cindy’s Love Of Books

Thursday, September 3: Green Bean Teen Queen

Friday, September 4: Hey! Teenager of the Year

Saturday, September 5: Into the Wardrobe

See you on tour!

Note: the tour dates are based on North American time zones; if you’re following along from Australia (like Sally!), you can either stay up really late or just wait until the next morning!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wrapping Up Word of the Week Wednesday!

Last week brought the end of our five-week Word of the Week Wednesday feature on Twitter (#wowwed). In case you missed it, here are the five word origins we tweeted, all courtesy of Mark Abley, author of Camp Fossil Eyes: Digging for the Origins of Words:

Parasite: In Ancient Greece, it was fun to be a parasite (literally, "beside food"). Parasites would eat dinner at rich people's homes, where they flattered the host.

Manure: A poet once wrote: "Manure your heart." Why? He meant "improve it." The word is from a Latin phrase meaning "work with the hands."

Gossip: Gossips were originally "God relatives" or godparents. Later they were women who were present at a child's birth--and who talked.

Salary: Centuries ago, people could preserve food only by covering it in salt. A salary was the money that Roman soldiers bought salt with.

Sockeye: Forget feet and faces! This word comes from B.C., where the Salish Indians called a red fish "su-key".

We've also drawn the winners for our favorite-word contest: first place has won a copy of Camp Fossil Eyes and a travel Scrabble set, and the two runners-up have each won a copy of the book! As soon as we've notified the winners, we'll post the origins of their favorite words (courtesy of Mark Abley, of course!). Stay tuned!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Canadian Children's Book Centre Finalists

Everyone here at Annick is very proud to have five books (that's eight authors and illustrators!) on the list of finalists for the prestigious Canadian Children's Book Centre awards!

Allow me to introduce our finalists:

The winners will be announced in three months (November 19, 2009) at a gala event at The Carlu in Toronto. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sneak Peek of Spring 2010 Title, i.d.!

It may be summer 2009, but we're busy working away at the spring 2010 books! Let me introduce you to one of our works-in-progress...

Author Kate Scowen and illustrator Peter Mitchell are collaborating on a book about identity (working title: i.d.). It's a collection of 12 first-person accounts of life's pivotal moments from childhood and adolescence, told in a graphic narrative format. First love, first major fight with a family member, first loss: these experiences are honest and authentic; deeply personal and yet universally familiar.

For a sneak peek, check out Peter's blog, where he's posted some sample pages (click here for the first post about the book). Great stuff!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sharon McKay on CBC Radio

Our author Sharon McKay was interviewed on CBC Radio's Sunday Edition last weekend about her recent trip to Afghanistan with the Canadian War Artists Program. She was conducting research for her next children's book with Annick (working title: Stones Over Kandahar), which is based in Afghanistan. She went on foot patrols, visited classrooms, and reported that "Stories fall out of the sky over there!" Her website has a great slideshow of pictures from the trip. Here's a bonus one of Sharon in her protective gear:

You can download the interview by clicking here. (Go to the August 2 edition; Sharon's interview starts around the 01:30:00 mark.) Watch this space for more updates about the book!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Word Fun!

You might think that translating a book about English word etymology would be pretty tough… but Korean publisher Mirae N Culture of Seoul is up to the challenge! Next year, they will be publishing a Korean language edition of Mark Abley’s Camp Fossil Eyes, a story in which two teenagers spend their summer digging for the origins of everyday English words at a summer camp like no other! We’re looking forward to seeing their edition… even if none of us here at the Annick offices will be able to read it!

For a sneak peek at some of the words explored in Camp Fossil Eyes, check out our "Word of the Week Wednesday" feature on Twitter! Each Wednesday from July 22 to August 19, we'll be tweeting a super-short story of a different word's origin, written by author Mark Abley. (You can also search for the hashtag #wowwed.) The first two words were parasite and manure... what will the next one be?

We've received lots of entries for our Camp Fossil Eyes contest, but it's not too late to enter! Just send your name, address, and favorite word to annickpress(at)annickpress(dot)com to be entered for a chance to win a free copy of the book AND a travel Scrabble set! The lucky winner will be announced on August 19!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Word-Sleuthing at Its Best!

In his new book Camp Fossil Eyes, author Mark Abley explores the intriguing origins of many words we take for granted. For example, did you know that television comes from Greek? Or that we have the Dutch language to thank for cookie?

To celebrate the wonderful world of words, we're having a contest! It's easy to enter: just e-mail your name, address, and favorite word to annickpress(at)annickpress(dot)com. You'll be added to our catalog mailing list (of course, you can request to be removed at any time) and will have a chance to win a copy of the book and a travel version of Scrabble!

Also, watch for our new "Word of the Week Wednesday" feature on Twitter. Just follow Annick Press (or search for #wowwed) to learn the interesting origins of a new word each Wednesday for the next five weeks!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chicago, Chicago, That Wonderful Town!

What could be better than Chicago in the summertime? That’s what thousands of librarians and teachers must have asked themselves before setting out for the 2009 ALA Annual Conference. (Below: Katie sets up our booth.)

The Annick booth was a busy place as people stopped by to see what was new. It was great to hear so many say that they had a number of Annick books in their collections. We also heard many comment on how innovative our titles are, and how they look forward to getting our catalog. Our featured titles for the fall—Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road, The Kids @ the Crossroads series, and Camp Fossil Eyes—attracted a lot of attention. And the fortune cookies we gave away to promote The Chinese Thought of It were a big hit.

Backlist titles got a lot of attention, too—both the Little Black Book for Boys and the Little Black Book for Girlz drew enthusiastic responses and generated lots of discussion around the booth for their frank and honest approach to often controversial subject matter. But it wasn’t all work. We managed to take in an architectural tour of the fabulous Chicago skyline, explore the Magnificent Mile, and had some great meals. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again in Boston for the Midwinter Meeting.

For more photos, check out our ALA 2009 album on Flickr.

More Author Interviews!

Our authors have been busy! Allan Stratton, author of Chanda's Secrets, was interviewed by Open Book Toronto about his new book, Chanda's Wars. Click here to read about how he researched the book, his ideal writing environment, how he first got published, and his advice for writers! (You can also watch a trailer for Chanda's Secrets here!)

Sally Rippin, author of Chenxi and the Foreigner, was recently interviewed on the Tower of Books blog. Click here to read about her thoughts on Shanghai and her upcoming projects!

Sally Rippin will also be doing a blog tour this summer: if you have a blog and would like to interview her, there's still time to sign up -- just reply in the comments!

Stay tuned for a blog post on the American Library Association (ALA) conference in Chicago!