Monday, February 22, 2010

Sample Chapter of i.d.

Just a quick post to urge you to go check out illustrator Peter Mitchell's blog: he's just posted a sample chapter from his new book with Kate Scowen, i.d., and it looks great!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Andrea Wayne von Königslöw: Interview and Contest!

Author/illustrator Andrea Wayne von Königslöw talks about her latest picture book, How Do You Read to a Rabbit?

We're also running a contest for kids: send in your suggestion of an animal that you'd like to read to (and why it might be difficult), and Andrea will give the winner an original sketch of their entry! Visit our website for full details and an online entry form.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Seeking Teens to be Interviewed for Kate Scowen's New Book

Kate Scowen, author of i.d., My Kind of Sad, and My Crazy Life, is working on a new book for and about teenagers, and she's looking for your real stories. See below for Kate's call for teen interview subjects.

Hi – I am working on a new book for teenagers and I need your help...

You might remember that I was working on a book not so long ago, about identity. Well, it’s done and coming out at the end of this month! I’m not usually one to self-promote but I really LOVE this book. It’s called i.d.: Stuff That Happens to Define Us. The book was a wonderful collaboration between myself and Peter Mitchell, a super-talented illustrator. So wonderful, in fact, we are now working together on another book for Annick. This is why I am writing (aside from the blatant self-promotion, of course).

I am looking for teenagers (ages 13+) to interview about their experiences with friends who have been involved in destructive and/or dangerous behaviour. This could mean a friend who has gotten into heavy drugs or drinking, been involved in violence, assault or crime, perpetrated bullying, racism, homophobia, has started lying, cheating, stealing or other similarly difficult situations. The idea behind the book is to help kids navigate tough situations in friendships by reading about how others have dealt with them. The format will be the same as i.d., with illustrated stories and reflections from the storyteller. Here are some of the questions I might ask in the interview:

We’re here to talk about a scenario in which you dealt with a friend who was making unhealthy and/or dangerous choices. 
1.    How close were you to this friend? Give the back story on your friendship (how you met, became friends, etc).
2.    What kind of person is your friend? Describe them (outgoing, risk-taker, shy, good student, athlete)?
3.    What were they doing that you felt was not okay?
4.    Why do you think they were doing it?
5.    How did they get involved in this behaviour?
6.    How did their behaviour make you feel – about them, you and your friendship?
7.    How did you deal with this?
8.    What happened? What did you do?
9.    If you could do it again, what would you have done differently?
10.    What did you learn from this experience?
11.    Do you wish you had some help in dealing with this? If so, what kinds of help would have been useful?
If you think you know of a teenager who might be interested in talking with me, I would love to hear from them! If they are under 18, I will need a parent/guardian to sign a consent form for the interview. If you know someone who has a story they would like to share but does not want to be interviewed, they could also submit to me via email: krs [at] sympatico [dot] ca. All stories will remain anonymous and confidential.

Thanks for your help.
krs [at] sympatico [dot] ca

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Five Valentine Ideas for Book-Lovers

Valentine's Day is this weekend, but why limit the love to people? I challenge book-lovers everywhere to take some time to celebrate their love affair with the written word! So without further ado, I present:

5 Valentine Ideas for Book-Lovers

1. Throw a book-themed party. Choose a book and ask your guests to bring something related to it (or dress like one of the characters!). If not everyone has read it, you might need to prepare a short cheat-sheet for them. (For example: The English Patient: during WWII, a nurse attends to a badly burned, mysterious pilot in an Italian monastery.) Serve a simple menu based on the book's themes or time period and start the party by declaring why you love the book. Invite others to share their opinions (if they've read it) or recommend their own favorite reads.

2. Host a love-story swap. Turn your living room into a Valentine's shrine with roses, red and pink hearts, chocolates, red wine or champagne, strawberries, and anything else that symbolizes love. Ask your guests to bring a copy of their favorite love story (fiction, non-fiction, romance, science fiction: anything goes!). Guests can take turns describing why their love story is the most romantic, and at the end, everyone votes. (Be sure to have a Valentine's-themed prize for the winner!) You can also encourage guests to trade books so that everyone goes home with a new romantic read.

3. Write a love letter to literature. Write a love letter to your favorite book (or character), or to reading itself! You can keep it to yourself, share it with loved ones, or post it on your blog and challenge your readers to write their own. (Mine would begin, "Dear Grapes of Wrath, I am so happy I wasn't required to read you in high school and instead discovered you all on my own. Thank you for drawing me into your world and introducing me to characters that came to feel like old friends.")

4. Design a literary Valentine. Make your own Valentine card based on the cover of your favorite book. (This can be especially fun for children's books.) You can use Photoshop or another image-editing program, or go low-tech and pull out the construction paper and markers.

5. Make your Valentine the star of their own book. There are several ways you can go about making a book starring your loved one(s). You can use software to organize your digital photos into a scrapbook, which you can then get printed. You could also buy a blank book or just staple together paper (or perhaps get a print/copy shop to do the binding for you). For a shortcut, you can also re-purpose a picture book by replacing the text where necessary and pasting in photos of you and your loved one. Depending on your craft expertise, your final product may look slick or endearingly home-made... but whatever the result, it will be a one-of-a-kind gift!

    Have I inspired you to include some book-love in your Valentine's weekend? Or do you have a better idea?

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Black History Month: The Bite of the Mango and Chanda's Secrets

    February is Black History Month in Canada and the U.S. (in the U.K., it's in October), so today's blog post features two of our most popular books with African content.

    Mariatu Kamara's powerful memoir The Bite of the Mango won the respected Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction last year, and continues to receive awards nominations and praise. So far, the foreign rights have been sold for Australia/New Zealand (Allen & Unwin), the UK (Bloomsbury), Germany (Droemer Knaur), Holland (De Fontein), Italy (Sperling & Kupfer), Spain (Intermon Oxfam), French North America (La courte échelle), Portuguese Brazil (Editora Planeta), Slovenia (Zaloba Alica), and Korea (BookInMyLife). We're thrilled to see Mariatu's story travel around the world in so many different languages.

    Here's Mariatu on a trip home to Sierra Leone:

    From previous blog posts, you'll remember that author Allan Stratton has been on-site in sub-Saharan Africa to watch as his novel, Chanda's Secrets, is transformed into a movie. He's recently updated his blog with the story of how his book got turned into a movie, more pictures of the actors on set, and a funny story about movie extras.

    We'll leave you with this book trailer:

    For Black History events, check a local newspaper or search online. (NOW Magazine has a good list of events in Toronto.)