Thursday, April 25, 2013

Awards Announcements & Author Blog Spotlight

 It's shaping up to be a great spring for Annick books, as award nominations pour in:

Congratulations to our authors, illustrators, and everyone who worked on these great titles!

And to continue with our spring theme, have you checked out author Hazel Hutchins's new blog feature, Story Seeds? Each post features the "seed" from which one of her stories unfolded, plus a writing tip.
Her most recent post is about how she found a solution to writing about a cat on his ninth life without having to have the cat die at the end of the book. She pairs that story with some tips for authors who have a hard time coming up with a satisfying ending for their book. Her other posts offer advice for rewriting, looking at ordinary objects in a new way, getting your words flowing by making lists, and more. Go take a look!
Hazel Hutchins (photo credit: Gaston Maqueda)

Friday, April 19, 2013

April is National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month, so what better time to highlight some of our excellent children's poems? Long-time Annick author, illustrator, and poet Loris Lesynski creates books filled with hilarious rhymes that roll off the tongue. She's also a great performer, and hearing her read her work aloud makes kids (and some adults!) want to bop along to the beat, and perhaps come up with a few poems themselves. Loris's website is filled with poetry resources for teachers, like this guide to writing in rhyme.

Last fall, Annick published a book of soccer poems by Loris, Crazy About Soccer!, and this fall, Crazy About Basketball! will hit the shelves. You can also get Crazy About Soccer! and four of Loris's other popular titles in e-book format with Open Road Integrated Media.

In honor of National Poetry Month, here's one of my favorite poems from Crazy About Soccer!, "KangaKicks."

at all
at all
can learn to kick
a ball
a ball.
A kangaroo
could do it,
a bigger kick
than me or you,
but never put one
in a game
’cuz they can kick—

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bologna Honors

Last month, two of our staff were showing off Annick's titles (and perusing other children's publishers' lists) at the annual Bologna Book Fair. Associate Publisher Colleen MacMillan fills us in on some of the great honors Annick received at the fair.

Apart from the excitement of making the shortlist of five companies for Best Children's Publisher of 2013 for North America at the recent Bologna Book Fair, the Annick team was also thrilled to see Elizabeth Stewart's novel, The Lynching of Louie Sam, included in the White Ravens catalogue. The catalogue contains a selection of 250 “notable and remarkable“ children’s and youth books from around the world, as selected by the International Youth Library in Munich. It is often used by public and school libraries as a basis for making purchasing decisions.

The entry for Louie Sam describes it as a “compelling teenage novel...,” and also includes two of the catalogue's special symbols, used to denote additional qualities of select titles. There are a total of three special symbols:
  • The first symbol acknowledges a book to which they wish to draw particular attention
  • The second indicates content which contributes to an international understanding among cultures and people
  • The third indicates topics of interest to older and foreign-language readers
Many entries carry no symbols. Only one book in the selection received all three symbols, and a mere five titles received two symbols, including The Lynching of Louie Sam (which received the first two listed above).

Congratulations to author Elizabeth Stewart, who created such an important and engaging story in her novelization of the tragic, true story of Louie Sam, a member of the Stó:lō tribe who was lynched by a mob when he was only 14 years old.

The Lynching of Louie Sam is available wherever books and e-books are sold.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

This Fall, Boy Soup is on the Menu for Grade One Students!

Yesterday, the Canadian Children's Book Centre announced that Boy Soup, by Loris Lesynski and Michael Martchenko, will be this year's TD Grade One Book. This means that over 500,000 Canadian grade one students will be receiving their very own copy of the book. Loris and Michael will also be visiting schools and libraries to treat children to a live reading of the book.

Boy Soup is the hilarious tale of a giant who wakes up with a bad cold and decides that the only remedy is a nice big bowl of boy soup. He captures a handful of boys, along with a single girl, Kate. To save her friends from becoming the giant's meal, Kate hatches a brilliant idea: wreck the giant's cookbook and convince him that boy soup is soup made by boys, not soup made from boys. Kids will delight in the disgusting ingredients that make their way into the boys' soup (a handful of fleas, a dollop of dandruff shampoo, sour green pickles...). Warning: do not try this recipe at home!

Boy Soup is also available as an e-book, with a read-aloud track by Loris Lesynski. For more information on the e-book, visit Open Road Integrated Media.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Searching for the Right Illustrator

Have you ever wondered how a publisher finds the right illustrator for a book? Does it matter if the illustrator lives in the same cityor even the same countryas the publisher? Today, Annick's creative director Sheryl Shapiro tells the story of how she decided which illustrator would be right for an upcoming book.

Choosing an illustrator for a book is like casting for a movie. You feel more confident if you’ve seen something they’ve acted in before. You often prefer to use a comedy actor for a comedy and a dramatic actor for a drama. You also want that person to bring his or her own personality to the role, to provide something fresh and insightful.
But sometimes you do something to surprise and challenge your audience. Annick Press has just sent a book on medieval history to press and we chose a humorous cartoonist, Ross Kinnaird, for a history book. The book is called It’s a Feudal, Feudal World: A Different Medieval History (available this fall!). It’s full of snippets of neat infographic information about the Middle Ages and Ross’s entertaining art.
One of Kinnaird's illustrations for It's a Feudal, Feudal World
Using the Internet, it’s really almost as easy to work with an illustrator on the other side of the world as it is to work with one in the same city, except if you need to spread out sheets of paper on a boardroom table. I’ve worked with illustrators all over the world and never get to meet them in person.

When we chose Ross to illustrate the book, I had no idea where he lived. I was amazed at the coincidence when I discovered that he lives in Auckland, New Zealand, one of my stops on a trip to New Zealand last year. It was so neat to sit down at an outdoor café with him in person.
Sheryl and Ross in New Zealand
Ross turned out to be a serious, thoughtful guy as well as someone with a great sense of humor who sees the funny side of everything. Now I’m thinking about all those other illustrators I’ve worked with who live in interesting countries and wouldn't it be great to meet them in person too!      —Sheryl Shapiro