Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Cry of the Giraffe" Wins Prestigious Award

Cry of the Giraffe, the moving story of author Judie Oron's daughter, Wuditu, whom she rescued from slavery in Ethiopia, has garnered a number of prestigious awards. Fittingly, in the 20th anniversary year of Operation Solomon, the clandestine airlift of thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, Cry of the Giraffe was honored once again with the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award for Youth Literature. In her acceptance speech to a packed audience in the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library, Judie spoke of her difficult decision to tell Wuditu's story, but in the end, she is gratified to know that Cry of the Giraffe has brought to the public's attention the harrowing experiences of Ethiopian Jews whose dream to one day reach Yerusalem sustained them through famine, wars and persecution.

Other honorees at the star-studded event included Charles Foran for his acclaimed biography of Mordecai Richler, Mordecai: The Life and Times, Alison Pick for her novel Far to Go about a Czech family during the Holocaust, and
Tarek Fatah for his courageous essay about anti-Semitism in the world today, The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.

Congratulations to Judie and to all the winners of this coveted award!

Monday, May 30, 2011

BEA Wrap-Up

Last week, Colleen MacMillan and I had the great pleasure of showcasing Annick Press's new books at Book Expo America in New York. The show ran from May 24 to 26, and drew a crowd of over 20,000. Here's our lovely booth, complete with a voracious young reader:

Although we were there primarily to speak to booksellers, we had many app developers, aspiring writers and printers approach us with their projects or services. There’s no question we came away with even greater appreciation for how much the landscape of the book industry has changed and continues to change. We still managed to connect with booksellers, librarians, teacher librarians, and special interest organizations looking for suitable books for their readers. Our young adult titles that focus on characters and issues in Third World countries--such as The Bite of the Mango, Cry of the Giraffe, and Thunder over Kandahar--drew particular attention, but we were happy to see strong interest in the new Munsch board books as well (I Have to Go!, Mortimer, The Paper Bag Princess, and Thomas' Snowsuit).

Lon Levin, XanateMedia's creative director, came by to chat about some of our new books. Here's a video of me pitching Dogs Don't Eat Jam by Sarah Tsiang and Qin Leng.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth--see you next year!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Event Wrap-Up: Operation Solomon 20th Anniversary

On Tuesday, May 24th, author Judie Oron (Cry of the Giraffe) hosted an event at Kensington Place Retirement Residence to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the secret airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, known as Operation Solomon.

The event attracted a crowd of grandparents and their children and grandchildren; 120 celebrants shared food, a film of the Operation and a lively talk about some of the refugees who arrived on that airlift in May, 1991. “Being a part of the Operation was an experience I’ll never forget--it was history in the making,” Judie recalled. “But even in the midst of all that drama there was comedy--one of the problems I was asked to solve that day was to redirect a group of young Ethiopian kids who’d never seen an elevator before. They’d been gleefully riding up and down for hours and preventing everyone else from moving around the building. I had to bribe them with candy to get them to stop!”

Here's Judie reading at the event:

Photo credit: Krystyna Lagowski

Thanks to everyone who came out!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Come See Us at BEA Next Week!

Annick Press will be exhibiting at Book Expo America (BEA) at the Javits Center in New York next week, from May 24-26. Drop by Booth 2461 to take a look at our Spring and Fall titles and pick up posters, bookmarks, and candy. We look forward to meeting you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Twenty Year Anniversary of Operation Solomon

Twenty years ago, over the course of one weekend, a clandestine airlift took place. 14,323 Ethiopian Jews were plucked from Addis Ababa, a city in Ethiopia about to fall into rebel hands, and flown to Israel. Well, to be precise, two babies were born during the flights--so, in fact, 14,325 people were rescued over those two exhilarating days. The mission was named Operation Solomon, and Judie Oron, author of Cry of the Giraffe, recalls, "It was an unbelievable privilege to not only be a witness but to actually play a small part in those thrilling events." She continues, "I just couldn't let that day go by unnoticed. So, I'll be hosting an event in Toronto on May 24th at 6:30 p.m. Please join us there!"

For details and to reserve a place, call Lisa at 416-636-9555. Here's the event's poster (click on the image to enlarge it):

Friday, May 13, 2011

Forest of Reading Award Winners Announced

On May 11, a few of us from Annick headed down to picturesque Harbourfront to attend the Festival of Trees gala put on by the Ontario Library Association. We were very proud to have three books nominated: The Bite of the Mango and Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road for the Red Maple award (non-fiction), and Kaboom! for the Silver Birch award (non-fiction).

We're pleased to announce that Mariatu Kamara's powerful true story The Bite of the Mango, co-written with Susan McClelland, took home the Red Maple non-fiction prize. Here's Mariatu on stage:

The other winners were My Think-a-Ma-Jink by Dave Whamond (Blue Spruce), Not Suitable for Family Viewing by Vicki Grant (Red Maple: fiction), The Monkeyface Chronicles by Richard Scarsbrook (White Pine), How to Build Your Own Country by Valerie Wyatt (Silver Birch: non-fiction), Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders by Kevin Sylvester (Silver Birch: fiction), and Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires (Silver Birch Express). In the French category, La quête du dernier dodo: Les aventures de Cosmo le Dodo by Patrice Racine won Le Prix Tamarack and Les Dragouilles 2: Les Bleues de Montréal by Karine Gottot and Maxim Cyr won Le Prix Tamarack Express.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Watch Judie Oron on KioskToronto

Journalist and author Judie Oron recently appeared on KioskToronto, along with Muluken Muchie (@hawarya on Twitter), to talk about Muchie's new publication, The Multicultural Journal.

In the video below, Judie discusses her role as one of the writers on the new journal's editorial board, and also talks about her book, Cry of the Giraffe, which recently won the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award in the Youth Literature category. The awards ceremony will take place in Toronto on May 30th.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Royal Picture Book!

We have Google alerts set up for our book titles, authors, and illustrators, to keep an eye out for reviews and online mentions. Our most famous book, Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess, pops up at least a few times a week. But last week, I was amused to see a few mentions of The Paper Bag Princess turn up in connection with the royal wedding!

On the parenting blog Upbeats and Downbeat, Gail Underwood Parker writes about how The Paper Bag Princess teaches that "it is up to each of us to discover what OUR 'happily ever after' looks like." And on the Kabongo blog, Margaret gives the book a review "in honor of the new Princess Kate."

If you haven't checked out this classic strong-princess tale yet, you're in luck: you can choose from the original edition (paperback or hardcover), the 25th anniversary edition, the Annikin edition (for tiny hands), or the board book version!