Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Hug for the Holidays

This afternoon, the Annick office will close for the winter holidays, re-opening on January 3rd. I hope you'll take some time over the holidays to curl up with a good book. (Check out the Advent Book Blog for lots of great book recommendations.)

Our author Lesley Simpson has been busy making some videos to show off the latest edition of her book The Hug: it's now available in board book edition, with new art by Yayo. Here's a video Lesley made about the story behind The Hug, which was originally released as an Annikin in 1985:

And here's a touching trailer for the new board book edition:

Happy hugs for the holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Guest Post from Author Judie Oron

Today, we have a great guest post by author Judie Oron:

In 2007, I interviewed Free the Children co-founder Craig Kielburger for a magazine article, and I’ve got to admit that I’ve been a total fan of the organization ever since. At the time, he told me that he’d been inspired by a newspaper story about the death of a former child slave in Pakistan. And there I was, talking to him about my own experience in freeing Wuditu--the real-life protagonist of Cry of the Giraffe--from slavery in Ethiopia.

Back then, I was just starting to write the book and struggling to do justice to Wuditu’s painful story. This October, things came full circle for me. At the Toronto Jewish Book Fair, Wuditu was standing beside me and I was listening with pride as she described the work she now does with people who’ve been traumatized in their own right.

Several weeks later, on December 9th, I was privileged to speak at a Free the Children ‘Lunch and Learn.’ I outlined the way in which Wuditu had fallen into slavery. It was a classic method--pretend that you’re hiring a servant; then, when the child is waiting to be paid their wages, explain that, rather than being owed money, they’ve fallen into debt and must work to pay it off.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking about the other children out there in Wuditu’s former circumstances. I’m often asked, "What can we do?" I think that if we keep reading, keep caring and staying informed--not to mention informing others--we’ll have come a long way toward bringing this issue out of the dark and into the public forum.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Meet a Book Blogger: The Book Muncher

I feel like I start off every Meet a Book Blogger post by exclaiming that yet another month has passed. What can I say; time flies! It's December now, and Toronto has had its first major snowfall (though other areas have had it much worse). For this month's edition of Meet a Book Blogger, I interviewed The Book Muncher (who remains anonymous).

1. When did you start book blogging, and what was your motivation?
I started my book reviewing blog in December 2007. I had always been an avid reader and had become very active on a book discussion forum called BookDivas. It was there that I stumbled upon my first book blog, The Page Flipper. I took a look at her blog and realized that it was something that I could do. So I did!

2. How often do you post?
I schedule my posts in advance, so I usually have something go up every other day or so. I like to have new content up frequently, but not so frequently that it becomes overwhelming.

3. Which kinds of books do you like to review?
I prefer reading and reviewing young adult books, but occasionally, I stray into middle grade or adult fiction.

4. Where do you get the books you review?
I get a little bit from practically everywhere! When I started out reviewing, most of the books I reviewed came from my personal collection, the library, or my friends. Then I started getting books from authors, publicists, and agents. In addition to that, I also get books from reviewing programs such as Amazon Vine.

5. Where do you find out about new books?
Sadly, I’m never as up to date about new books as I’d like to be. If I’m lucky, I’ll get an ARC of an upcoming title that I haven’t heard of yet. Oftentimes, though, it’s a combination of skimming other book blogs, chatting with other book reviewers, and browsing the new release sections in bookstores.

6. Do you read other book blogs? If so, which are your favorites?
Once in a while, I’ll have the time to skim other book blogs, and when I do, I make sure to visit The Compulsive Reader, The Page Flipper, The Story Siren, and La Femme Readers. Unfortunately, I’m generally too busy to closely follow other blogs, and generally visit only if something particularly catches my eye in Google Reader.

7. What’s one of your favorite books? How about the best book you’ve read in the past six months?
Ooh, that’s a tough question, and one that I always try to avoid answering! I never like naming my favorite book because I feel like I don’t have just one or even just a few. My favorites list is always growing and includes everything by Siobhan Vivian, Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girl series, Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien, and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, among over a hundred others. As for the best book I’ve read in the past six months, there’s a tie between Nightshade by Andrea Cremer and Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

8. What’s the most enjoyable part of book blogging? What’s the worst part?
My favorite part of being a book blogger is being able to interact with other book people, whether they’re authors, other book reviewers, or just another teen bibliophile like me. The worst part would be the general maintenance of the blog, because it can become tedious to update my review archives every time a new review gets posted.

9. Do you have an eReader? If so, do you like it? If not, do you want one someday?
I don’t own an eReader, like a Kindle or a Nook, but I do have several ereader apps on my iPod Touch. I have the Kindle app, but I don’t use it very much because I don’t usually buy ebooks. However, I am in love with the Bluefire Reader app. You can transfer practically any ebook file to this app, and it makes reading on the go so much easier, because I already carry my iPod everywhere!

10. What do you do when you’re not reading?
I’d say I’m pretty obsessed with books, and reading and reviewing take up a large part of my life, as do other book related things. For example, I frequent book signings and hope to work in the book publishing industry. So understandably, books take up a lot of my time. In my (rare) spare time not spent on school, you can find me chatting with friends about everything and nothing, from fashion to movies.

Thanks for stopping by, Book Muncher, and have a wonderful holiday season!