Friday, August 27, 2010

Life, Above All at TIFF

Author Allan Stratton is having a very exciting (and busy!) year. The movie Life, Above All, which is based on his novel Chanda's Secrets, made its debut at the Cannes International Film Festival and has been receiving accolades ever since. The film also secured North American distribution with Sony Pictures Classics, and will be screened at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

In other news, the Toronto Public Library has announced that Allan will be their writer-in-residence this fall! If you're in Toronto, you can come and meet him at an event on October 2nd. Or read a short interview with him at TeenRC. (Here's a full chat transcript!) Young adult writers (both writers who are young adults, or who write about young adults) can also submit short excerpts of their work for a chance to meet with Allan for a manuscript evaluation and discussion. The deadline is October 16th: click here for full details.

And now for some Annick Press trivia: Chanda's Secrets is one of the first books we converted to ebook format. It's available from the Kobo and Chapters Indigo online bookstores, and will soon be available in more places... so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Children's Authors Win Big at Physics Conference

Last month, authors Cora Lee and Gillian O'Reilly traveled to Portland, Oregon, to accept an American Institute of Physics writing award for their book The Great Number Rumble. Congratulations, Cora and Gillian! Here's Cora's account of their trip:

Come join the circus... or maybe a physics conference?

The American Institute of Physics and the American Association of Physics Teachers does controlled chaos quite well, juggling hundreds of sessions, workshops, committee meetings and receptions as well as, literally, balls in the air (more on that below). How would two writers know? We were there--last month we traveled to Portland, Oregon to receive our AIP Science Writing Award for The Great Number Rumble, and to speak on a panel discussion on publishing science in popular forms. When we weren’t needed, we peeked into various conference venues.

Highlights? Getting the award, of course. But also: surviving the panel discussion without a microphone... watching unicycles and contortionists, jugglers and jokesters in their Physics of Vaudeville show... overhearing a request for The Great Number Rumble and The Great Motion Mission at Powell’s, Portland’s humongous bookstore!

 Left to right: Philip W. Hammer, PhD, Associate Vice President, Physics Resources Center, American Institute of Physics; Cora Lee, author; Gillian O'Reilly, author.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meet a Book Blogger: Stacey at Word of Mouse Book Reviews

Welcome to a new feature of Tea Time at Annick Press: Meet a Book Blogger! Our books are reviewed by many fine book bloggers, so I thought it was high time to profile some of them. Our very first interview subject is Stacey from Word of Mouse Book Reviews. Here she is, enjoying a summer read:

Luckily, I was able to get her away from her book long enough to answer a few questions for us!

1. When did you start book blogging and what was your motivation?
I started Word of Mouse Book Reviews in July of this year. I have always had a passion for children’s literature and really wanted to highlight Canadian children’s book authors and illustrators and local talent as I found there was a lot of it and not a lot of attention paid to many great books!

Plus, I was also returning to work after 14 months of maternity leave and KNEW I needed a project to help take my mind off missing my daughter. It’s certainly helped!

2. How often do you post?
Daily! Can you believe it? I decided to immerse myself so I review a book a day. Occasionally I also post interesting topics related to kids’ lit and my musings on my blog.

3. Which kinds of books do you like to review?
I review all kinds of books for children (picture books, board books, YA fiction, educational, etc.) from Canadian authors and illustrators and I try to exclusively focus on Canadian publishers as well.

4. Where do you get the books you review?
I wish I could say I own all the books I review but sadly my budget doesn’t allow for that! I often troll my local library (the Markham Public Library System rocks!) and local bookstores and see what strikes my fancy but I do also receive some Advance Readers’ Copies (ARCs) of books, some gifts and many suggestions.
Surprisingly, Twitter has been an invaluable resource in connecting me to some lesser known authors in my local area and book suggestions.

5. Where do you find out about new books?
Same as above plus I frequently visit publisher’s websites for new titles and their catalogues and I am a member of the Canadian Children Book Centre which offers some great suggestions too!

6. Do you read other book blogs? If so, which are your favorites?
I wish I had more time to read other people’s blogs as there is some great original content out there but it’s tough especially as I have to fit in my own blogging time. Here are some of the blogs I frequent: A fellow book-a-day reviewer who reads the most obscure books! Really fascinating, his wife put him up to the task as he waits for his work visa. I think he’s on his 50th post and is currently completing a children’s literature week! I love Thao’s aesthetic for finding great looking picture books. She is an illustrator and often posts about great looking picture books. I haven’t seen anything for August so I hope she’s just taking a break and not giving it up! Donna’s musings on picture books are both hilarious and insightful. She’s an illustrator and writer and always has a fresh take on things. She also loves a lot of books I do!

7. What’s one of your favorite books? How about the best book you’ve read in the past six months?
One of my favorite children’s books of all time is Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery! My dad read the entire series to me and my sister and the stories have stayed with me since. I’ve read almost everything she’s written; another favorite is The Blue Castle, a great tale for young women even today!

It’s extremely difficult to pick a new favorite as I love so many of the books I have reviewed but for different reasons. A few of the top ones: ME HUNGRY! by Jeremy Tankard, Baboon by David Jones, and anything by Ruth Ohi makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

8. What’s the most enjoyable part of book blogging? What’s the worst part?
I love reading all these children’s books! It’s so amazing to be immersed in this world of kids lit! I love writing and sharing ideas and starting a discussion

I really appreciate all the comments I get and the small but loyal following I have already gained in such a short time. It’s been a great distraction for me and I love forcing myself to write daily especially on a topic I feel so passionate about.

It’s harder than I thought to craft a post every single day, especially when life happens! Sometimes I have writer’s block and there are times when I feel panicked when I don’t know what I will write about but it always seems to work out in the end. I think the worst part is thinking about a BETTER review I could’ve done three days later! In the end you just have to “ship” it and hope for the best. Your readers let you know what works and what doesn’t

Oh, and I miss the time to read adult novels. I still get the occasional one in but it’s a challenge!

9. Do you have an ereader? If so, do you like it? If not, do you want one someday?
I’m not opposed to them but I just don’t think they are for me. One of my greatest joys is feeling a book in my hand, touching it, physically turning pages. I love the smell of them (even the sour-smelling library books) and I just don’t think I could stare at a screen for that long.

On the other hand, the idea of being able to take a bunch of books in one small gadget is appealing. (Ask anyone who has helped me move in the last few years, books can be heavy and I like having as many as I can around me at all times!)

I think an ereader would be ideal for going on vacation so I’ll probably end up getting one just for that reason!

10. What do you do when you’re not reading?
Aside from reading and blogging, I do have a “real” job in the communications/PR field and love spending time with my beautiful daughter Emmerson, my sweet husband Neil and our two hounds, Harry and Lady (or as I more likely to call them lately, Larry and Hady) and our Siamese fighting fish Spike (although he’s not really great with conversation). I also love writing my own children’s stories and short stories and whenever I can, I love painting. Somewhere in between all of this I also do laundry, cook meals, scrub bathrooms and repeatedly clean up toys from the floor. Oh, and I tweet!

Thanks, Stacey! All the best with your blog and thanks for your dedication to Canadian books!

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Trailer for A Flock of Shoes!

It's time to introduce you to another of our new Fall titles: the delightful A Flock of Shoes, in which Abby's beloved sandals fly south for the winter. However, they haven't forgotten her--all through the winter, Abby receives postcards from her vacationing sandals. Will they be back in time for spring... and will they still fit? Stacey at Word of Mouse Book Reviews declares that this cute picture book is "as thrilling as shoe shopping!"

And there's another great story behind the story. Author Sarah Tsiang came up with the idea of making a trailer for the book, and asked illustrator Qin Leng if she'd like to be involved. Things developed quickly after that: Sarah explains that "the fantastic Qin just ran with it and created something waaaaay beyond my skill level!" Qin says that she agreed to try making the trailer as a test, and then, "soon enough, I got carried away with the images, text, and music. It was most definitely an extremely exciting experience!"

In just three short weeks, Qin and Sarah put together a wonderful trailer, and now it's ready to make its debut. Enjoy!