Spring 2012 Newsletter
From the Editor
Regional Report: East
Regional Report: Ontario
Regional Report: West
Annual General Meeting 2012
IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award to illustrator Cybèle Young
Le prix IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver est décerné à l’illustratice Cybèle Young
International Awards Announcements
Wanted: Hans Christian Andersen Award Co-Chair
CANSCAIP Spotlight: Ron Lightburn
IBBY Congress: London 2012 / Congrès IBBY: Londres 2012
Spring is here and so are the awards! In the national awards arena, the winner of the 2011 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award was announced at the IBBY Canada Annual General Meeting (AGM). The winners of the international awards were announced at the Bologna Book Fair in March. It seems like there is a constant stream of awards, what with all the calls for submission, winner announcements, and presentations of awards. I must admit it took me a long time to get them all straight, though I still get confused about what we’ve covered in the newsletter!
The AGM also saw the turnover of the Executive Committee. I look forward to working with all the new Executive Committee members, but it is with particular pleasure that I welcome our new Councillor-Ontario, Rebecca Gold. I first met Rebecca in a publishing course taught by Past President Hadley Dyer. In that class, I also met Past President Patricia Ocampo and outgoing Councillor-Ontario Kate Newman. I wonder whether Hadley knew what she was doing, recruiting all these new IBBY Canada members who would go on to serve on the Executive Committee! It just goes to show how passionate lovers of children’s books are, and how tirelessly they promote literacy and quality books. All we need to do is connect with each other through organizations such as IBBY Canada. Together we can do great things!
- Jessica Fung
My first year on the IBBY executive has been very formative and rewarding. What an educational experience to be working with such interesting people at promoting quality children’s books. I have attended the executive meetings with great interest. I have participated on the Honour List jury and on the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award jury.
While attending the «Lis avec moi» congress in Laval, Quebec and the Alberta Library Conference in Jasper, Alberta, and speaking to a McGill University Information Sciences class, I handed out IBBY marketing material and registration forms. I wrote an article on Librairie Monet’s blog to promote and invite people to join IBBY Canada. I have also been translating a few press releases.
For this year 2012, I think we should focus on increasing our memberships and continue promoting IBBY to as many people as possible in Canada so it becomes an organization that is recognized in all of the provinces. I welcome any suggestions and comments on the path we want IBBY to take in the next while.
- Susane Duchesne
IBBY Canada will again have a booth at Word on the Street in Halifax in the fall. If the Book Bag Treasure Hunt is on again, we hope to participate as it brought over 200 people to the booth to pick up their treasure. Naturally, before popping their IBBY Canada button or bookmark in the bag, they will hear all about the wonderful things IBBY Canada is up to, promoting children’s books all over the world. For those in the Atlantic Region who would like to help or even just talk about all things IBBY, please contact me by clicking the link below or emailing me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!
In addition, I have begun assembling material for an information campaign to try to help make the IBBY name more visible. More on that as it comes together. Also, plans for a student chapter are still in the works.
- Jane Baskwill
Hi, my name is Rebecca Gold and I am the new Councillor-Ontario. I have worked in the book industry since 1999 when I first started working for Indigo Books. I have worked on and off at Indigo since then and have worked there full-time since 2004. I have taken publishing courses at Ryerson where I learned that I have a love for children’s books and discovered IBBY Canada. I am excited about the opportunity to be more involved with IBBY Canada’s work!
- Rebecca Gold
This spring has been a busy one in Vancouver. Authorfest was celebrated on February 2 at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Canadian authors Linda Bailey, Robert Heidbreder, and Ellen Schwartz presented; other Canadian children’s book authors on hand included Tanya Kyi, Kathryn Shoemaker, and Julie Burtinshaw.
IBBY Canada had a table at the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable’s Serendipity 2012: The Year of the Dragon, on February 25. Featured speakers included Paul Yee, Allen Say, Lisa Yee, editors Marjorie Coughlan and Corinne Robson from Papertigers.org, and Tanya Kyi (winner of the 2012 Information Book Award). The day also included presentations from origami master Joseph Wu and the Shiamak Bollywood Dancers.
The preliminary list of books nominated for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada’s 2012 Information Book Award has also been announced. These 34 titles will be winnowed down to a shortlist of five later this summer. The complete list of titles is available from the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable website.
Finally, on April 28 “Stranger in a Strange Land”: Exploring Texts and Media for Young People Across Cultures and Continents, a peer-reviewed graduate student conference on children’s literature and cultural texts, was held at UBC. The keynote speakers were Elizabeth Marshall and Sarah Park.
- Kay Weisman
On Saturday, March 3, 25 IBBY Canada members—new and old—gathered at the Runnymede Branch of the Toronto Public Library for our Annual General Meeting. We were pleased to welcome Executive Committee members from coast to coast: Ellen Wu and Kay Weisman from BC and Jane Baskwill from Nova Scotia. Fortunately, all three had flown in to Toronto in advance of the high winds that lashed the dormer windows of the historic library that morning. Inside, there was a warm buzz as people renewed their memberships, caught up with each other, and heard a very expectant* President Patricia Ocampo and the other Executive Committee members report on a busy and successful year.
The second year of the President’s term is always a full one, involving not only ongoing administration, but the coordination of awards both national and international. We honoured our Aubry and Cleaver Award winners at individual ceremonies in Edmonton, Montreal, and Vancouver in 2012. Our committees sent a stellar selection of Canadian titles for the international Honour List and prepared strong nomination packages for the Hans Christian Andersen and Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominees. Canadian content in IBBY’s latest
catalogue of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities is at an all-time high.
As she steps down as President, Patricia can be proud of the vibrant new look of IBBY Canada and, more significantly, of our organization’s improved communication and streamlined finances. Our redesigned website allows people to join and donate online. Our now quarterly newsletter and social media connections promote our many activities. These initiatives have
attracted new members and strengthened our ties with existing members. We enjoyed a strong presence at The Word on the Street across the country and have continued our partnering with CODE on projects in Africa: the Burt Award and Reading Liberia. Our members also continued to donate generously to IBBY’s international Children in Crisis Fund.
Award Chairs Lina Gordaneer and Deirdre Baker revealed the next recipients of the Cleaver Award and Russell Grant at the meeting. (Stay tuned for further developments and press releases.) Patricia extended a warm thank-you to outgoing Executive Committee members and Chairs for their many hours of work and commitment: Lina Gordaneer, Brenda Halliday, Merle Harris, Kate Newman, and Randi Robin. A unanimous vote confirmed the new slate of officers, including incoming Executive Committee members Mahak Jain, Kay Weisman, and Ellen Wu. Despite the many reports, acknowledgments and introductions, Patricia managed to wrap up the AGM in record time; so early, in fact, that the official meeting ended before lunch had arrived!
Because incoming President Susane Duchesne was unable to participate in the AGM weekend due to a death in her family, Patricia convened the first meeting of the 2012-2013 executive the following morning to get the new team off to a strong start. We look forward to welcoming Susane in person and to working with her as she takes on the leadership of IBBY Canada.
Hope to see you at next year’s AGM,
- Brenda Halliday
Past Past President
* Patricia’s daughter, Ruby, arrived on Easter Sunday, April 8. Newsletter Editor Jessica Fung is also a new mom to daughter Lillian.
IBBY Canada is pleased to announce that illustrator Cybèle Young is the winner of the 2011 IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award for A Few Blocks, published by Groundwood Books. The $1000 award will be presented to Cybèle Young at a date and location to be announced.
The jury’s comments on A Few Blocks:
“Whimsical. Simple. Enchanting. Through her use of colour and white space, Cybèle Young brilliantly taps into a child’s imagination. Paper cut-outs in the shapes of rockets, ships and castles contain cityscapes. The watercolours, though lightly applied, feel very bright against the white space. The crescendo of colours when the action of the story is very active and the decrescendo when the energy and the mood subsides is extremely effective; Young has a gift for expressing her character’s moods. A Few Blocks is sure to delight young readers as well as old.”
My fourth year as Chair of the Cleaver Award has come and gone, and once again I had the privilege of perusing the outstanding, imaginative work of Canadian illustrators. This year, one name stood out above the rest: Cybèle Young. For the first time, the difficulty was in choosing between two superlative works from the same author: Ten Birds, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award, and our ultimate selection, A Few Blocks. In the end, A Few Blocks stood out as an example of how a picture book can be both innovative, unique and visually stunning while never compromising its appeal to young children. I found myself wishing I could shrink my kids back to toddlers, just so I could read them this book!
The Cleaver Award jury was made up of Lina Gordaneer, a Montreal librarian; Melanie Fishbane, Online Merchandiser and Editor for Kids and Teen books at Indigo Books and MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children’s and Young Adults program; and Susane Duschene, IBBY Canada President and Responsable du secteur jeunesse, Librairie Monet.
The IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, established in 1985, honours the name and talent of one of Canada’s pre-eminent book illustrators. Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver left funds in her will to annually recognize outstanding artistic talent in Canadian picture books; the recipient
- Lina Gordaneer
Outgoing Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award Chair
IBBY Canada (Conseil international sur les livres pour les jeunes) est heureux d’annoncer que Cybèle Young est le récipiendaire de l’édition 2011 du prix Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver pour le livre A Few Blocks, publié par Groundwood Books.
Cybèle Young est une illustratrice et artiste qui crée des oeuvres sculpturales de papier japonais et gravures en creux. Elle est née et a grandi à Toronto, où elle vit avec son mari et ses deux enfants.
Le jury du Prix Cleaver était composé de Lina Gordaneer, une bibliothécaire de Montréal, Mélanie Fishbane, marchandiseur et rédactrice en chef de littérature jeunesse chez Indigo Books et candidate MFA au programme de rédaction en littérature jeunesse du Vermont College of Fine Arts et Susane Duchesne, présidente de IBBY Canada, responsable du Secteur jeunesse de la Librairie Monet et candidate en maîtrise des Sciences de l’information de l’Université de Montréal.
Les commentaires du jury sur A Few Blocks:
“Étrange. Simple. Enchanteur. Grâce à son utilisation de la couleur et de l’espace blanc, Cybèle Young rejoint avec brio l’imagination d’un enfant. Papiers découpés dans les formes de fusées, navires et châteaux contiennent des paysages urbains. Les couleurs de l’eau, bien que légèrement appliquées, ressortent très lumineuses dans l’espace blanc Le crescendo de couleurs lorsque l’action de l’histoire est très active et le decrescendo quand l’énergie se calme est extrêmement efficace. Young a un don pour exprimer les humeurs de ses personnages. A Few Blocks ravira les lecteurs de tout âge.”
Le prix IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award, créé en 1985, vise à reconnaître le talent artistique exceptionnel d’un illustrateur canadien de livres pour enfants publié en anglais ou en français. Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver laisse dans son testament des fonds pour la remise annuelle d’un prix visant à reconnaître les qualités artistiques d’un ouvrage illustré pour la jeunesse au Canada; le destinataire reçoit 1000$.
IBBY (L’Union internationale pour les livres de jeunesse) créée en 1953, c’est un réseau international de plus de 70 sections nationales qui souhaite que les enfants aient accès aux livres. IBBY veut aussi rapprocher les cultures, favoriser la compréhension internationale et également promouvoir la paix. Fondé en 1980, IBBY Canada est une association à but non lucratif qui fait la promotion de la littérature canadienne en français et en anglais, sur le plan national et international.
Traduction: Susane Duchesne
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2012
The 2012 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner is Guus Kuijer of the Netherlands. For more information on Guus Kuijer and his win, please click here.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest children’s literature award with a prize of SEK 5 million. The annual award is presented to authors, illustrators, storytellers, and people who promote literacy. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature, and in children’s rights, globally. An expert jury selects the winners from candidates nominated by institutions and organizations worldwide. For more information on the ALMA, please click here.
Le prix de littérature à la mémoire d’Astrid Lindgren 2012
Le prix de littérature à la mémoire d’Astrid Lindgren (ALMA) 2012 est décerné à l’auteur Guus Kuijer des Pays-Bas. Pour plus amples renseignments sur Guus Kuijer, veuillez cliquer ici.
Le prix de littérature à la mémoire d’Astrid Lindgren est le prix littéraire le plus prestigieux du monde pour les livres d’enfants avec un prix de 5 millions SEK. Ce prix annuel est décerné à des auteurs, illustrateurs, conteurs, et aux individus qui font la promotion de la lecture. Le prix vise à promouvoir l’intérêt pour la littérature enfantine et jeune adulte, ainsi que les droits des enfants, au niveau mondial. Un jury d’experts sélectionne les lauréats parmi les candidats désignés par les institutions et organisations à travers le monde.
IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award 2012
The winners of the 2012 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award are Abuelas Cuentacuentos in Argentina and SIPAR in Cambodia. For more information about the winners and a list of past winners, please click here.
The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, sponsored by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper company, was established in 1986 during the IBBY Congress in Tokyo. The award is given biennially to two groups or institutions whose outstanding activities are judged to be making a lasting contribution to reading promotion programmes for children and young people.
The nominations are submitted by the National Sections of IBBY and may include projects from any part of the world. The jury consists of members of the IBBY Executive Committee. The prize of US$ 10,000 and a diploma is presented to the winners at the biennial IBBY Congress.
Le prix de promotion de la lecture IBBY-Asahi 2012
Le prix de promotion de la lecture IBBY-Asahi pour l’année 2012 est décerné à Abuelas Cuentacuentos de l’Argentine et à SIPAR de Cambodge. Pour plus d’informations des lauréats et une liste des lauréats des années passes, veuillez cliquer ici.
Le prix de promotion de la lecture IBBY-Asahi a été instauré en 1986 pendant le congrès d’IBBY à Tokyo. Il est sponsorisé par le groupe de presse Asahi Shimbun. Il est donné tous les deux ans à deux groupes ou institutions dont les activités sont jugées remarquables et apportent une contribution durable aux programmes de promotion de la lecture pour les enfants et les jeunes.
Les candidatures sont proposées par les sections nationales d’IBBY et peuvent concerner des projets émanant de n’importe quel pays. Le jury est constitué de membres du comité exécutif d’IBBY. Le montant du prix est de 10 000 $ et un diplôme est remis au gagnant pendant le congrès d’IBBY.
Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2012
The winner of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award for writing is María Teresa Andruetto of Argentina. The winner of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen award for illustration is Peter Sís of the Czech Republic. For a complete list of nominees and of past winners, please click here.
The Hans Christian Andersen Award is a biennial award presented to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. The nominations are made by the National Sections of IBBY and a distinguished international jury of children’s literature specialists selects the recipients.
Le prix Hans Christian Andersen 2012
Le prix Hans Christian Andersen est décerné à l’auteur María Teresa Andruetto de l’Argentine est l’illustrateur Peter Sís de la République tchèque. Pour une liste complète des nominés et des lauréats des années passes, veuillez cliquer ici.
Tous les deux ans, IBBY décerne le prix Hans Christian Andersen à un auteur et à un illustrateur vivants dont l’ensemble de l’œuvre a apporté une contribution durable à la littérature pour enfants. Les nominations sont faites par les sections nationales d’IBBY et les lauréats sont désignés par un jury international de spécialistes de littérature pour la jeunesse.
IBBY Honour List 2012
The IBBY Honour List is a biennial selection of outstanding, recently published books that are representative of the best in children’s literature. Each IBBY National Section selects the best books in particular categories (depending on how many official languages are recognized by that country). The Honour List provides insight into the diverse cultural, political, and social settings in which children live around the world and is used to develop educational and literacy
programmes to develop exemplary international collections.
Here are IBBY Canada’s selections:
The selection jury consisted of Lisa Doucet (co-manager, Woozles Children’s Bookstore), Ann Foster (librarian, Saskatoon Public Library), Vikki VanSickle (children’s book author), Susane Duchesne (bookseller, Librairie Monet), Alice Lienard (assistant editor, La courte échelle), Olivia Marleau (youth section librarian, Ville de Montreal), Patty Lawlor (First Nations Consultant, Southern Ontario Library Service), and Sheila Staats (Native Information Specialist,
Winners will be presented with their certificates at the 33rd IBBY Congress in London, England in August. Please click here for the complete 2012 Honour List.
Stay tuned for the next newsletter in which Lisa Doucet, chair of the IBBY Canada Honour List selection committee, gives us a “behind the scenes” look at the selection process!
La Liste d’Honneur d’IBBY 2012
La Liste d’Honneur d’IBBY est une sélection bisannuelle de livres remarquables, récemment publiés, qui représentent le chef de file en littérature jeunesse. Chaque section nationale IBBY choisit les meilleurs livres dans un certain nombre de catégories (selon le nombre de langues officielles reconnues par le pays). La Liste d’Honneur fournit donc un aperçu des divers
environnements culturels, politiques, et sociaux dans lesquels vivent les enfants à travers le monde, et se sert à développer des programmes d’éducation et d’alphabétisation et des collections modèles internationales.
Voici les sélections d’IBBY Canada:
Basil Johnston (Kegedonce Press)
Dominique Demers, illustrations de Gabrielle Grimard et traduction de Sheila Fischman (Orca
Andrew Larsen (Kids Can Press)
Le jury de sélection se composait de Lisa Doucet (co-directrice, librairie pour enfants Woozles), Ann Foster (bibliothécaire, bibliothèque municipal de Saskatoon), Vikki VanSickle (auteure pour enfants), Susane Duchesne (libraire, Librairie Monet), Alice Lienard (éditrice-ajointe, La courte échelle), Olivia Marleau (bibliothècaire section jeunesse, Ville de Montreal), Patty Lawlor
(consultante en Prémières Nations, Service de bibliothèques de l’Ontario-Sud), et Sheila Staats (spécialiste d’information autochtone, Goodminds.com).
Les certificats seront décernés au 33me Congrès IBBY à Londres en Angleterre au mois d’août. Veuillez cliquer ici pour accéder à la Liste d’Honneur 2012 au complet.
Veuillez ainsi lire le prochain bulletin, dans lequel Lisa Doucet, la president du comité de sélection de la Liste d’Honneur IBBY Canada, présentera un aperçu «dans les coulisses» du processus de sélection.
Traduction: Todd Kyle
Would you like to help promote Canadian children’s authors and illustrators abroad and nominate them for the Hans Christian Andersen Award? The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, awarded biennially, are internationally recognized as the highest honour for children’s authors and illustrators. IBBY Canada is the only Canadian nominating body for these prestigious awards.
We need a committee co-chair for the IBBY Canada Andersen Award committee. You will be co-chairing with Josiane Polidori, IBBY Canada Past President and Head of Children’s Literature at Library and Archives Canada. You will help organize all the necessary nominating materials and keep the committee on track and on time to make sure our nomination package is complete and submitted on time. You will have excellent project management skills and strong editorial skills. Time commitment is approximately 200 hours per awards cycle. We would like someone who would be able to commit to co-chairing for at least two awards cycles. If you are interested, please send your resume and cover letter to Mahak Jain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of a Kind
Welcome to Ron Lightburn, who is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning children’s book illustrator. His awards include the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration. He is both a long-standing member of CANSCAIP and IBBY Canada and great promoter of children’s literacy.
In 2011, Ron Lightburn celebrated his thirtieth year as a professional illustrator with picture books published in seven countries and six languages. Several have become international best sellers and one has received unprecedented recognition. Every year an entire town celebrates his picture book Pumpkin People with book signings and harvest festival celebrations. Where else in Canada does the Mayor read from the same children’s book each autumn and the town give each Grade 3 student a free copy of the picture book to promote literacy?
D.S. Can you elaborate on this phenomenon? How does the community react and participate in the festivities celebrating and promoting literacy in Kentville, Nova Scotia?
R.L. When Sandra and I moved from the west coast to the east coast in 1997, we were charmed by the traditional folk art figures made from pumpkins and cornstalks that appear in Kentville, Nova Scotia during the October Harvest Festival. We imagined that these friendly (but kind of spooky) ambassadors for the town might have a secret life at night and so we began to develop a picture book about them. We met with the Mayor and town officials to ask for their blessing and received enthusiastic support. Upon the publication of Pumpkin People in 2008, the Mayor started the annual tradition of a Mayoral reading and book giveaway at the local elementary school. (Some students have told the Mayor that Pumpkin People is the first book they have ever owned.) Displays were set up throughout the town that recreated scenes from the book. In addition, the town had banners made with our “Pumpkin People” characters to decorate the main street and one of our characters was adopted as the official town mascot. A life size costume of “Spike” was made and this character appears at all town events throughout the year. Pumpkin People has become the top selling book at the local book store and many copies have been purchased by visitors from around the world. We met a group of people from the USA who made Kentville a holiday destination after discovering and purchasing our book online. How great is that?! Local residents are very supportive, sending copies as gifts to friends and relatives who have moved away. It is all very heartwarming for us to see a children’s book receive this ongoing attention and love.
D.S. Tell us about your collaboration with your partner Sandra Lightburn. What books did you create together and what was the process like?
R.L. Sandra and I met in high school in 1972 and discovered that we shared a passion for books and artwork. We both were collectors and especially fond of classic picture books. It became our dream to collaborate on a picture book someday. This dream became a reality in 1998 with the publication of Driftwood Cove, a story about city dwellers who encounter a family of squatters living on a west coast beach. We had read a newspaper article about real squatters and to research our story we went to visit them in their rustic home on the beach. Then Sandra wrote the text while I enlisted a number of our friends to pose as the characters in my illustrations. There was a lot of back and forth as we explored the balance between words and pictures. Our first collaboration was a great experience and Driftwood Cove became our farewell valentine to the west coast. After moving east we hoped to create a book set in Nova Scotia and Pumpkin People was the result.
D.S. Your artwork is included in several major collections and has been recognized and exhibited internationally. Tell us about that.
R.L. Last year I donated the complete sketches and original artwork for three of my picture books to the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books. This collection also contains several of my original drawings and many preliminary sketches from Waiting for the Whales. The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy, which is housed in the same building as the Osborne Collection, owns a number of my original book covers and sketches. I’m told that I am the only artist who is represented in both collections. Library and Archives Canada has a substantial collection of my picture book artwork including complete sketches and original artwork from several of my picture books. My artwork has been exhibited by the Society of Illustrators in New York and has been published in a number of their annuals.
D.S. You describe yourself as a chameleon, constantly adapting your art to the style of the writer and the theme of the picture book. You use the analogy of actors such as John Wayne and Daniel Day Lewis where the former was the good cowboy in most parts he played, but the latter is ever changing and always fresh and original in each movie. Please talk about how this actor analogy applies to you.
R.L. I have never believed in imposing one style on every project. I’m fortunate to have the facility to adapt my approach to the needs of the project, be it a picture book, book cover, magazine article, poster or advertisement. I’m no different from art directors who vary their choice of layouts and font styles for the books they design. I’m probably best known to the children’s literature community for the realistic style I have used in a number of my picture books such as Waiting for the Whales, How Smudge Came, Wild Girl and Gran and A Poppy Is to Remember. This style requires the use of models and extensive research, so it is refreshing to illustrate books that allow me to work more from my imagination such as I Can’t Sleep!, The Happily Ever Afternoon, Pumpkin People and Juba This, Juba That.
D.S. What medium or media do you work in and why?
R.L. Over the years I have worked with ink, pencil, coloured pencils, acrylic paint, watercolour, and oil paint. The needs of the project and the style I choose will dictate the tools I use. I like to experiment and will sometimes try out and discard a variety of approaches for my picture book illustrations before settling on the most appropriate one. My first concept for the Waiting for the Whales illustrations was very graphic, but not sensitive enough for the changing moods in the story.
D.S. What reoccurring themes are in your picture books?
R.L. I was very fortunate to receive the Triple Crown of Canadian illustration awards (the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, and the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award) for my first picture book, Waiting for the Whales. The downside was that I was then pegged as an illustrator of books with sensitive subjects such as death and illness. Subsequently I was commissioned to illustrate several more picture books with these themes. Then one day a young boy in my neighbourhood asked me, “Do you ever do a book where somebody doesn’t die?” That was a bit of a wake-up call. Since then I have looked for stories to illustrate that aren’t quite so serious in tone in an effort to expand my range and showcase my abilities. My earliest artistic influences were adventure comic books and humorous comic strips that taught me how to tell a story with pictures. Graphic novels and comics can be found in school libraries now, but when I was in elementary school such things were considered trash and a waste of time and paper.
D.S. Didn’t you write and draw your own comic books when you were in school?
R.L. Yes, they were about superheroes, monsters and dinosaurs—the stuff of blockbuster movies these days. I would sell them to my classmates for a nickel—when they weren’t being confiscated by my teachers. I wish those same people were here today to understand that the “trash” I enjoyed reading back then was the inspiration for my illustration career. When I visit schools and show kids the comic books I was creating (and hiding) in elementary school, they go crazy and want to see more! What got me excited about drawing and painting at a young age was Rupert annuals, Marvel comics, Mad magazine, Warner Brothers cartoons, monster movies, and Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. In art college I discovered art history and learned about painting techniques from studying the work of Rembrandt, the Impressionists, and the Group of Seven. Abstract art was in vogue at the time so my instructors weren’t too impressed with my penchant for narrative art and picture books.
D.S. What countries have your books been published in?
R.L. Canada (French and English), USA, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Japan and South Korea. I understand there is currently some interest from a Chinese publisher in How Smudge Came.
D.S. Which award ceremony did you go to where you were treated like a star with a chauffeur and limousine and given the red carpet treatment? What was the experience like?
R.L. You are referring to the BC Book Prizes in 1999 when Sandra and I won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for Driftwood Cove. Our publisher arranged for a chauffeur to drive us in a limousine to bookstores throughout Vancouver for signings. No red carpet, but it was the kind of treatment that J.K. Rowling could be happy with!
D.S. What are you presently working on?
R.L. I recently completed the illustrations for my twelfth picture book. It is about Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour, titled Roll On. The inspirational story is written by Ainslie Manson and will be published in the fall of 2012 by Greystone Books/D&M Publishers. Creating the paintings involved a great deal of research about the many countries Rick visited. I was fortunate to have the help of local students who posed for some of the illustrations.
D.S. You have illustrated the covers of over fifty children’s books written by many of our best children’s authors. What are some of your favourite covers?
R.L. I think Rachel: A Mighty Big Imagining from the Our Canadian Girl series and Awake and Dreaming are two of my more successful efforts. Sometimes I will reproduce a scene from the story, such as the Rachel cover, and other times it is best to create a mood with a montage of story elements, as with Awake and Dreaming.
D.S. One of your picture books is being used to create a Storywalk. What is that?
R.L. StoryWalk is an exciting initiative that combines a children’s story with a popular walking route. Picture book pages are spread through an outdoor space to create an active, engaging read aloud experience for kids. Each spread of the book is enhanced on the bottom of the weather-proof signage with a physical activity that allows a reader to act out the story. A Storywalk version of my picture book Juba This, Juba That will be seen in both Bridgetown and Port Williams, Nova Scotia starting this summer. It will be a lot of fun! Traditional “juba” rhythms have a long history. They originated in Nigeria as hand-clapping games. People who were brought to the New World as slaves transformed “juba” rhythms into work songs that were passed down orally. Juba This, Juba That, written by Helaine Becker, is based on one of the most popular songs. The story told in the art is about a boy named Juba who follows a mysterious yellow cat on a magical, middle-of-the night adventure that leaves them both happy and ready for slumber.
D.S. What is one of your most memorable picture book experiences?
R.L. When I was researching the illustrations for A Poppy Is to Remember I met with Mr. Samson, a local veteran of the Korean war, to ask if he could pose for a couple of illustrations with his grandchildren. One of the scenes was to depict him showing his grandchildren his war medals for the first time, so I asked him to talk about his medals as if his grandchildren knew nothing about them. As he started speaking it became apparent that he never had spoken about them before, so this very personal and touching scene was taking place before my eyes as I took my reference photos. Sadly Mr. Samson passed away a few months later, before the book was published, but his story will always be remembered by his grandchildren when they read the book. To capture a special moment like that in a picture book is quite remarkable.
D.S. How are your books universal? How do children in other countries relate to your illustrations?
R.L. I can only guess, but I hope that if I have communicated the emotions and mood of the story with my pictures then I have tapped into a universal language.
Ron Lightburn quoted, “Every picture book needs a good story, but you can make a good picture book without words. You can’t make a picture book without pictures.” He is a master illustrator of children’s picture books and book covers, a chameleon artiste, and a star in the children’s book world. Thank you for your words of wisdom and sharing your thoughts with us.
- Debbie Spring
Mark your calendars! The 33rd IBBY Congress will be held August 23-26, 2012 in London, UK. IBBY’s biennial congresses bring together IBBY members and like-minded people involved in children’s books and reading development from all over the world. There are panel discussions, seminars, and workshops on the congress theme, which is Crossing Boundaries: Translations and Migrations. The theme examines how books and stories for children can cross boundaries, countries, and cultures. The issues of globalization, dual-language texts, cultural exchange, and the art of translation will also be explored.
Major international exhibits and presentations will also be featured, including the announcement of the Hans Christian Andersen Awards, the IBBY Honour List, and the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award.
Please visit the IBBY 2012 Congress website for more information.
À vos calendriers! La 33e Congrès de IBBY aura lieu 23 au 26 août 2012 à Londres, Royaume-Uni. Le congrès biennal IBBY réunit les membres d’IBBY et toute autre personne dans le monde qui s’intéresse aux livres pour enfants et au développement de la lecture. Dans le cadre du congrès, vous pourrez assister à des tables rondes, des séminaires et des ateliers sur le thème du congrès, qui est Au-delà des frontières: Traductions et Migrations i>. Le thème examine la façon dont les livres et les histoires pour enfants peuvent traverser les frontières, les pays et les cultures. Les questions de mondialisation, les textes bilingues, les échanges culturels, et l’art de la traduction seront également explorés.
De grandes expositions internationales et des présentations seront également présentées, y compris l’annonce des Prix Hans Christian Andersen, la Liste d’honneur d’IBBY, et le IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award.
Visitez au site web a l’IBBY 2012 Congress pour plus d’informations.
Traduction: Susane Duchesne
IBBY Canada Executive
President, Susane Duchesne
Past President, Patricia Ocampo
Vice-President, Mahak Jain
Treasurer, Yvette Ghione
Membership Secretary, Ellen Wu
Recording Secretary, Vasso Tassiopoulos
Promotions Officer, Helena Aalto
Liaison CANSCAIP, Debbie Spring
Liaison CCBC, Meghan Howe
Liaison Communication-Jeunesse, Louise Tondreau-Levert
Councillor-West, Kay Weisman
Councillor-Ontario, Rebecca Gold
Councillor-East, Jane Baskwill
Alberta Chair, Merle Harris
Newsletter Editor, Jessica Fung
Website Chair, Jennifer Dibble
Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award Chair, Lina Gordaneer
Frances E. Russell Grant Chair, Deirdre Baker
Hans Christian Andersen Award Chair, Josiane Polidori
IBBY (International) Executive Committee
President, Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin (Malaysia)
Vice-President, Wally De Doncker (Belgium)
Vice-President, Linda M. Pavonetti (USA)
Executive Director, Liz Page (Switzerland)
Visit www.ibby.org for a full list of the executive
IBBY Canada Newsletter
French Translations by Susane Duchesne and Todd Kyle
Proofread (English text) by Meghan Howe