Friday, December 21, 2012

Season's Greetings from Annick Press!

For information on the National Reading Campaign, visit
Are you giving someone a tablet or e-reader for Christmas? Or do you know a book addict who already has one that goes everywhere with them? If so, how about giving them an e-book or two for Christmas? (Bonus: you don't have to wrestle with crowds or stand in long lines. In fact, you don't even have to leave your house!)

Open Road's Gift of E website has a great selection of e-books, plus easy-to-follow instructions for how to gift an e-book to someone, no matter what device they're using. Check out their video:

Or click here for a text version.

For a list of Annick Press e-books with Open Road (including many classic Robert Munsch titles, and the entire Mole Sisters series), please click here. Happy browsing, and happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Exclusive Offer with Fresh City Farms

Attention Toronto residents: For a limited time, sign up with Fresh City Farms for organic food delivery and receive a free copy of Potatoes on Rooftops!

Fresh City Farms has been in business since 2010, delivering boxes of fresh, locally and organically grown produce to Toronto homes and offices. With their focus on locally grown produce, they were a natural fit for Potatoes on Rooftops, which teaches kids about urban farming around the world. They also provide tons of recipes, if you're not quite sure what to do with some of the veggies you receive. (Click here for a list, including Braised Belgian Endives and Roasted Beets and Sweet Potatoes with Feta!)
A sample of the fresh, local, organic produce that awaits you!
If you live in Toronto and would like to receive locally grown, organic produce at competitive prices, go to the Fresh City Farms website and use coupon code KIDSFARM. For complete details on this offer, click here..

Friday, December 7, 2012

Artwork Winner!

We're pleased to announce that our lucky winner for the Picture Book Month contest is Terry W.! Her favorite picture book is Robert Munsch's Love You Forever. She'll be receiving a signed original painting from Birthday Suit, written by Olive Senior and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes. In addition, runner-up Rachel B. has won a copy of the book.

Thank you to everyone who entered, to Eugenie for donating her art, and to all picture book lovers everywhere.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Beautiful Arctic Book Trailer

Illustrator Alice Priestley put together this gorgeous trailer in honor of Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay, which we recently reprinted.

Here's what Alice has to say about the process of both illustrating the book and creating the trailer:

One of the most amazing things about creating the illustrations for Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay is how colorful they turned out to be. The landscape is made up of ice and snow and two of the main characters are polar bears, so you’d expect to see a lot of white in the images, but the story takes place at the end of the day (“the sun was shining red on the snow...”) and all that white reflects the colors of the sunset.
The changing colors help to convey the moods of the story, too, I think. When the story begins and the mother bear is nursing her cub, the sky is all gold and pink and mauve, but as the suspense builds, the sky deepens to a glowing red, and then finally to cold blues and purples as father and daughter are left alone on the ice.
But despite the drama that unfolds, the story has a gentle tone (it’s a great story for reading aloud—it has the reassuring rhythms of a folk tale), so I wanted the illustrations to reflect that as well. Working in colored pencils with layered colors, I avoided outlines, concentrating on areas of light and shadow to convey the forms of the figures and landscapes in a softer way. And I added an Inuit art inspired frieze across the bottom of each page to give the book a timeless folk tale feel.
It was that frieze that became a jumping off point for creating the book trailer. Giving it movement so it scrolls across the page was an obvious first step, and then that suggested the gentle drift of other elements as well, and a series of “what if” ideas: what if some of the scrolling text goes behind the iceberg; what if the polar bears are actually running?
Music brings a whole other dimension to the trailer, and I chose it carefully. It couldn’t be too bright and sunny or too dark: like the art, it had to work with both the drama of the plot and the gentle tone of the narration. I actually chose the music before I began editing, so the timing of the edits could match the phrasing of the melodies. It was so interesting to see how adding music and movement to the artwork in the trailer helped to convey the atmosphere of the book.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012 Canadian Children's Literature Awards Gala!

Last night, the Canadian Children's Book Centre and TD Bank Group put on a dazzling gala at the Ritz-Carlton hotel to celebrate Canadian children's literature. Before the awards presentation, authors, illustrators, publishing and media professionals, and avid readers of all stripes mingled over a delicious buffet and signature martinis. Here are some Annick authors and illustrators enjoying the night:

Author Kate Cayley, right, with her friend Simone
Authors Kathy Stinson (L) and Andrea Wayne von Königslöw ham it up for the camera
Annick was fortunate to have a number of authors nominated: Edeet Ravel for Held (John Spray Mystery Award), Kate Cayley for The Hangman in the Mirror (Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People), and Rafal Gerszak and Dawn Hunter for Beyond Bullets (Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction).

The awards ceremony was a lively affair, skillfully hosted by CBC's Garvia Bailey (Big City, Small World). It was wonderful to hear the awards presenters re-affirm the importance of literacy and children's books, and to see the authors and illustrators recognized for their contributions to Canadian children's literature.

We are very proud to announce that Kate Cayley won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction. The jury described her winning book, The Hangman in the Mirror, as follows:
“A truly captivating piece of historical fiction that brings to life the gritty realities of life in 18th century New France... Cayley’s skills as a playwright are evident in the way the novel reads... The setting is so vivid and Cayley masterfully depicts the extreme disparity between the lives of the rich and the poor... Françoise is a delightfully multi-dimensional and very realistic character and Cayley does a fabulous job of capturing the essence of life at that time... A thoroughly engaging story that keeps readers riveted.”

Kate Cayley accepts her award for The Hangman in the Mirror
The other winners were:
  • TD Canadian Children's Literature Award: Trilby Kent, Stones for My Father (Tundra)
  • Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award: Genevieve Cote, Without You (Kids Can)
  • Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction: Susan Vande Griek (ill. Karen Reczuch), Loon (Groundwood)
  • John Spray Mystery Award: Rob Mills, Charlie's Key (Orca)
  • Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy: P.J. Sarah Collins, What Happened to Serenity? (Red Deer Press)
You can read more about all the nominees and winners on the CCBC website. Be forewarned: your to-be-read pile is about to grow by leaps and bounds!

A big thank-you to the jury members, who had some very tough decisions to make, and another round of congratulations to all of the nominated authors and illustrators, and the teams that worked on their books!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NCTE in Vegas!

Last week, our production manager Heather was manning the Annick booth at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual convention in sunny Las Vegas. It was her first time in Vegas, and while she didn't have any luck at the slots, she said that the city lived up to its reputation of being larger than life.
Heather also reported that the attendees were enthusiastic about Annick and its titles, and were especially interested in People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression. Teachers praised it for its international focus, as well as its curriculum relevance. If you'd like to review a copy, you can click here to find it on NetGalley.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Activities for Picture Book Month

In honor of Picture Book Month, we're having a contest to win a piece of signed, original artwork from one of our talented illustrators (details here). And while you're waiting for the results to be announced, why not try out some picture book-inspired activities with your little ones?

We found a great activity plan for The Stone Hatchlings on The Castle Library blog. It's got activities for both older and younger readers, discussion questions, and a video on making your own pet rock. (Trust me, that last bit is relevant to the story!) Click here to see the full post, and enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Contest for Picture Book Month!

November is Picture Book Month (you can read all about it here)! And what better way to celebrate than by having a contest? 

This month, we're offering the chance to win a piece of original art from the picture book Birthday Suit! Written by Olive Senior and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, this is the charming tale of a little boy who doesn't see what's so great about having to wear clothes.

Original artwork, shown next to the book for scale
Splashing in the ocean! (Note: colors are brighter in real life.)

The art is roughly 16x20 inches, painted canvas on a wood frame, and signed by the artist on the reverse. This painting will brighten up any room, or make a wonderful present for the holidays.

To enter*, please email the following to annickpress ~at~ annickpress ~dot~ com:
  • Your name and mailing address (U.S./Canadian addresses only, please)
  • Your favorite picture book (no, it does not have to be one of ours!)
The contest will be open from November 9-29. A winner will be randomly chosen on November 30. Good luck!

*Note: contest is only open to Canadian and U.S. residents. Thank you for understanding.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In the Studio with Loris Lesynski

On Monday, author/poet/illustrator Loris Lesynski paid a visit to Orange Lounge to record five of her children's books: one picture book (Boy Soup) and four books of verse (Crazy About Soccer, Dirty Dog Boogie, Nothing Beats a Pizza, and Zigzag). Although she prefers reading her work aloud to children--especially when they read along with her--she enjoyed the chance to practice old favorites and try out the as-of-yet unperformed poems in Crazy About Soccer. (She also made friends with the charming office dog, Jack, who convinced her to throw his ball a few times.)

Here are a few snapshots of the day:
Loris, ready to record!
Spencer, our sound engineer, hard at work
Loris's signature joins Katy Perry's, Bryan Cranston's... the list goes on!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sneak Peeks at New Art from Gosia Mosz

Today's post comes from illustrator Gosia Mosz. She reveals the story behind the characters Cat and Dog, who will appear in an upcoming pair of board books written by Hazel Hutchins. Gosia shares:
When I started my sketches for the book Cat Comes Too, my neighbour's cat could smell a great opportunity. He came to see me and posed for the first sketches! :) Of course, not for free, but for a bowl of sweet cream or other tidbit. Does someone know a disinterested cat? (Send me pictures please!)

The dog character wasn't so easy. There were those who did hang around like extras at a film casting--some very big, some small and shaggy, but none were right for Dog Comes Too. I had to excite my imagination--a little coffee with milk and chocolate cookies helped and here we have our happy puppy bravely running through meadows!

I am convinced that our little heroes Cat and Dog will make kids laugh.
Gosia also sent us some photos of her workspace and sketches from the books. Consider this an early sneak peek! You can click on any of the photos above to go to the photo set on Flickr. This one is my personal favorite... is Cat about to steal a cookie?

For more about Gosia and her work, please visit her website:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Five Scary Reads for Halloween

OK, so none of these books actually have anything to do with Halloween. However, they are all definitely spooky, creepy, or scary in their own right. And the first four are available as e-books, too!

What if instead of playing a game, the game plays you? In this thrilling page-turner, an addictive computer game has a sinister agenda... and is using teenagers to act out its evil goals in the real world.

While on a high school vacation in Greece, Chloe is kidnapped and held for ransom. Will she ever be reunited with her family? And is she really falling for her kidnapper, or is she suffering from Stockholm syndrome?

The Night Wanderer
Sixteen-year-old Tiffany is bored living on the Otter Lake reservation. Until one day, her dad rents out her room to a boarder who seems a little... odd. By the time Tiffany discovers he's a vampire, will it already be too late?

Leslie's Journal
Leslie is thrilled to be Jason's girlfriend: he's cute, he's popular, what's not to like? But appearances can be deceiving. Jason's abusive, controlling behavior starts slowly, but then before she knows it, Leslie finds herself in grave danger.

The Pact of the Wolves
A boarding school built on the site of a medieval convent with a violent past. A secret society. A mysterious death... or was it murder? New student Bianca must solve the mystery, but she can trust no one...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Forest of Reading Nominations!

The Ontario Library Association has announced its nominations for its Forest of Reading awards, and we're pleased to see so many Annick authors recognized for their great books. The winners will be announced next May, so stay tuned!

A full list of the nominees can be found on the Quill and Quire blog. It's definitely worth reading--especially if you're eager to get a jump start on your holiday shopping...

And the nominees from Annick are... (drumroll, please)

Silver Birch Non-fiction (Grades 3–6)
Red Maple Non-fiction (Grades 7–8)
Golden Oak (Adult)
Congratulations to all of the nominated authors and illustrators!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Word on the Street in Alberta!

Word on the Street takes place in select cities across Canada--and our authors Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton (Fatty Legs, A Stranger at Home) were at the festival in Lethbridge, Alberta. While there, they ran into yet another Annick author! Here's Christy's report:

You would think after having a few books published I’d be less of an obsessive book-geek-fan... but nope. I’m just as fascinated with books and the people who write them as ever. So, imagine how excited I was to find out my favourite Annick Press author was going to be at Word on the Street in Lethbridge with us! Not only did I get my copy of The Night Wanderer signed, but I found out that Drew Hayden Taylor is more than just a Canadian literary treasure; he’s also one of Canada’s coolest authors. My sides still hurt from laughing so hard.
--Christy Jordan-Fenton
Left to right: Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, Drew Hayden Taylor, Christy Jordan-Fenton

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More Munsch E-books from Open Road!

This week, we’re pleased to announce that we have seven more Munsch e-books available from Open Road!

These Apple editions of Mortimer, Mud Puddle, Angela's Airplane, Thomas' Snowsuit, Stephanie's Ponytail, The Fire Station, and Wait and See, all feature audio read by Robert Munsch, with lively soundtracks by Andrew Craig Productions. These are perfect books to curl up with for story time on a chilly fall day. And check out this video of Munsch himself chatting about writing for kids, and e-books:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Annick Press Goes to Word on the Street

Not even the sudden downpour and brisk wind could dampen the spirits of the crowd at Sunday's Word on the Street. Luckily, there were enough sunny periods when people could browse at leisure among the many booths filled with the latest books. The Annick booth was a popular stop as children spotted their favorite titles by Robert Munsch, including the newest board books based on his stories. Also in demand were books by Sarah Tsiang who read two of her titles, The Stone Hatchlings and a Flock of Shoes to a rapt audience in the Children's Reading Tent. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Come to Word on the Street this Sunday!

It's Word on the Street time again! This Sunday, September 23, from 11 am to 6 pm, come check out all the books and authors in Queen's Park. The Annick booth is KS28, so drop on by--we'll have shiny new books and old favorites waiting for you.

You won't want to miss the great children's authors in the Children's Reading Tent, either! Our own Sarah Tsiang will be there from 12:10 pm to 12:30, reading from her latest picture book, The Stone Hatchlings. Check out this great interview with Sarah at The 49th Shelf, where she discusses inspiration for the story, why she finds it easier to read her picture books to children than her poetry to adults, and her take on the magic of childhood.

We hope to see you there! If you're not in Toronto, don't despair: perhaps another Word on the Street festival is closer to you?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Interview with Illustrator Gerry Rasmussen

You probably know illustrator Gerry Rasmussen's work from his comic strip, Betty. But did you also know that he's illustrated a book of soccer poems for us? Crazy About Soccer! came out this fall, and is bound to delight young soccer fans. I asked Gerry a few questions about his career as an illustrator--read on to find out the difference between comic illustration and picture book illustration, which sports Gerry enjoys, and his tips for young artists!

1. How is illustrating a children’s book different from illustrating comic strips?
Gerry: The two activities have very different purposes. In comic strips the goal is to simplify things so that the drawing can help get the ideas across in a brief, focused fashion. When it's done right this approach helps guide the reader's eye and lets the ideas come across without any visual obstacles. Comic strips are printed in different sizes, coloured or in black and white, so the writing and drawing have to be minimal to grab readers' attention.
     But picture book illustration has a different goal. You have to entice the reader's imagination into wanting to jump into the pool and go for a swim. Kids (young, old and ancient) will be poring over every inch of the pages for years, so the illustrations must have a timeless quality to be successful. I've heard that someone once did a survey and found that the average reader spends 2.5 seconds on a comic strip or panel. If it demands more time than that they move on. I don't know if that's correct but it does shed a bit of light on the difference between the two mediums.

2. Which poem was your favorite to illustrate, and why?
Gerry: Gee, that's a tough one. I had so much fun drawing each page in this book. For pure humour (I laughed the whole time I was drawing this one) I'd have to say page 44, with the pandas playing soccer in a checkered room. And any of the pages with dogs or the cat "Soccy" were so much fun. Since Loris's writing is so rich, visual and funny it called for so many different approaches. One of my favourites is the Moon Ball page because it ended up evoking so many great childhood feelings. Oh, wait, I'd have to say my favourite was drawing Humpty Dumpty getting a red card. Yes, Humpty Dumpty!

3. Do you play any sports, or follow any sports teams? Did you play sports as a kid?

Gerry: I've always loved sports. As a kid all of us used to play all the sports that were available (football, baseball, soccer...) but my favourite was football. I think it's because I was wasn't very good at soccer that I never played on a team but I have a lot of fond memories of playing soccer with a half deflated ball on packed down ice most of the winter. Good times. Now I follow pro sports when I can (football, soccer, hockey, basketball) but if I have a choice I prefer to just go for a run.

4. What was your first illustration job?

Gerry: In grade two I used to supplement my allowance by drawing pictures of Dennis the Menace and selling them to fellow students for 3 cents each. If any of those fellow students had kept their drawings they might even be worth more than that today.

5. What advice would you give to young artists?

Draw and paint as much as you can. Draw the people, animals, houses, trees, cars, toasters, shoes... anything around you, and do it for yourself. If you love drawing and painting you never know where it will take you.

Friday, September 7, 2012

CBC Podcast for It's Not All Black and White

On Wednesday morning, CBC Metro Morning's Matt Galloway interviewed Karen Arthurton and Lalo Lorza about their new book It's Not All Black and White: Multiracial Youth Speak Out. The book grew out of Karen's work with a group of mixed-race youth (including Lalo) at St. Stephen's Community House. Together, the group explored the experience of having more than one racial background, and then expressed themselves in artwork, poems, plays, essays, and interviews. Three of the contributors also starred in the CBC TV documentary Making Sense of One, produced by Mo-D Productions.

In the interview, Karen Arthurton sums up the importance of the book for youth:
As a teenager, I knew that I felt I didn't belong. ... When I was growing up, if I had had this book and was able to open it up and say, "Wow, there are other people who feel as I have felt," I think that it may have helped, that it may have made me feel like this isn't an individual experience and that other people are going through it.

Click here for a description of the podcast, and here to listen to the audio! You can also find reviews of the book here. And if you'd like to jump in and start reading, check out this preview of the first chapter. No matter what your background, we think you'll find something that speaks to you, or gives you a new perspective.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Lists for Kids

One of the great features of 49th Shelf is that users can create book lists for any topic imaginable. Click here for a selection of recommended lists, or just start browsing. It's easy to create your own lists, too!

Here are some book lists for kids and teens that caught my eye:

And for adults, there's:

When you do your back-to-school shopping, don't forget to pick up some books, too! (And not just for the kids...)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Trailer for People Who Said No

With the recent uprisings in Egypt and the current civil conflict in Syria, our new title, People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression, is especially relevant. It introduces young readers to seven people (or, in some cases, groups of people) who took a stand for what they believed in, no matter what the cost. Tragically, some of those profiled in the book lost their lives as they fought to change the world they lived in.

Watch People Who Said No come to life in our new book trailer:

And if you're interested in reviewing this title, please search for it on!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Send Your Kid to Book Camp This Friday!

(click to enlarge)
Author Judie Oron is heading to camp this coming Friday! But she won't be roasting marshmallows or sleeping under the stars... instead, she’ll be leading a free workshop for kids and teens at Investing in Children’s annual Book Camp in London, Ontario.

Judie’s workshop is about the story and the process behind her novel, Cry of the Giraffe. The workshop participants are young avid readers and aspiring writers. “Forty ten- to seventeen-year-olds who love to read and write, their parents, the general public and a book signing by a local, independent bookseller--you can’t ask for a better audience or set-up,” Judie says. “I can’t wait!”

This is a free drop-in event, so if you're in London, ON, please come by! (And if you don't live nearby, you can get her book from the comfort of your own home: it's available as an e-book from Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and many other retailers!)

Date & time: Friday, August 17, 2012 / 12:30-2:00 pm
Location: Wolf Performance Hall, Central Library, 251 Dundas St, London, ON