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...