May 2013 Newsletter

From the Editor / Mot de l’éditrice
President’s Report / Rapport de la présidente
Regional Report: East / Rapport régional de l’est du Canada
Regional Report: Quebec / Rapport régional du Québec
Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award / Prix Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver
The 2013 Frances E. Russell Grant Winner: Beverley Brenna /
Récipiendaire de la subvention Frances E. Russell 2013: Beverley Brenna
Three Canadian Books Selected for the 2013 Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities List /
Trois livres canadiens font partie de la sélection 2013 des livres remarquables pour les jeunes handicapées
Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator-in-Residence: Martha Newbigging
IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award Nomination: Children’s Book Bank /
Nomination pour le Prix de promotion de la lecture IBBY-Asahi : Children’s Book Bank
Silent Books Project: From the World to Lampedusa and Back /
Le projet Des livres sans parole: Du bout du monde jusqu’à Lampedusa
Communication-Jeunesse to Release 2012-2013 Honour List /
Palmarès Communication-Jeunesse des livres préférés des jeunes 2012­–2013
CODE Announces New Literary Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature
Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature Now Open for Submissions
IBBY Magic at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair March 25–28, 2013 /
La magie d’IBBY à la Foire du livre de jeunesse de Bologne 25–28 mars, 2013
CANSCAIP Spotlight: Helaine Becker
Newsletter Masthead

From the Editor

I was first introduced to IBBY Canada a few years ago while studying book publishing at Ryerson University. Back then, my understanding of the organization was very limited (I knew it had something to do with awards!). Since attending the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in early March, and then formally joining IBBY Canada as the newsletter editor, I’ve quickly learned so much more about the organization’s outstanding work—both in Canada and around the world. I’m not only excited to be more involved with this important organization, but proud to support IBBY’s work by becoming a member myself. After all, it’s the support of the membership that makes IBBY’s work possible.

This issue is packed with award announcements, news from the AGM and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the latest work that is being done at home and around the globe to share Canadian children’s literature with young readers. Whether you’re a new member as I am, or have been with the organization for some time, I hope that this issue inspires you to continue supporting IBBY’s important work for many years to come.

– Katie Scott, Newsletter Editor
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Mot de l’éditrice

J’ai pris connaissance de IBBY-Canada pendant mes études en édition à Ryerson University, il y a quelques années. À cette époque, ma compréhension de cet organisme était très limitée (sauf que cela avait affaire à des prix littéraires!) Depuis que j’ai assisté à l’assemblée générale annuelle (AGA) au début de mars, et puis que je me suis jointe à IBBY-Canada comme rédactrice en chef du bulletin, j’ai vite appris beaucoup plus sur l’œuvre exceptionnelle de cet organisme—au Canada et autour du monde entier. Je suis non seulement enthousiasmée à m’impliquer davantage dans cet organisme important, mais aussi je suis fière d’appuyer le travail d’IBBY en devenant membre moi-même.

Ce numéro est plein d’annonces de prix littéraires, de nouvelles de l’AGA et du Salon du livre jeunesse de Bologne (Italie) et du dernier travail qu’on fait autour du monde pour partager la littérature jeunesse canadienne avec de jeunes lecteurs et lectrices. Si vous êtes nouveau membre comme moi, ou si vous vous impliquez depuis longtemps, j’espère que ce numéro vous inspirera à continuer à appuyer la mission importante d’IBBY pendant les années à venir.

– Katie Scott, Éditrice de l’infolettre

Traduction : Todd Kyle
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President’s Report

Believe it or not, spring has arrived in all parts of Canada, and IBBY Canada has two new board members. We are welcoming Katie Scott as our newsletter editor and Shannon Babcock as our new councillor for Quebec. Thank you for the great work and the time that all our past board members have shared with us. It has been great to work with such dedicated and inspiring people. We are still looking for a membership secretary, a vice-president, and a councillor-west to join us on the board, so if you would like to apply for an executive seat, please email your CV and a cover letter indicating the position you are interested in to president@ibby-canada.org.

Lu’ma Native Housing Society, Vancouver

The Lu’ma Native Housing Society in Vancouver contacted us requesting support from IBBY Canada. They asked for a donation of books for their annual children’s Christmas party, which was taking place on December 13, 2012. We sent books that had been submitted to last year’s Cleaver Award. The Lu’ma Native Housing Society was very happy and thanks IBBY Canada for this donation.

Annual General Meeting

I was very nervous about chairing my first AGM, but all went well. At IBBY we are still excited by the activity surrounding this past AGM. Sharing all the accomplishments of last year, discussing ongoing projects, and seeing new people join as members are great ways to give us the energy to keep IBBY alive and going. We had the chance to have Ruth Brown with us who shared her experience at the last IBBY Congress in London, and some past presidents were also in attendance.

Of course one of our main objectives is to attract more people with great ideas on sharing and promoting children’s literature. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and hope to see you at our events over the coming year.

– Susane Duchesne, President
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Rapport de la présidente

Croyez-le ou non, le printemps arrive dans toutes les régions du Canada et l’exécutif d’IBBY est heureux d’accueillir Katie Scott notre éditrice pour le journal et Shannon Babcock, notre nouvelle représentante pour le Québec. Je tiens à remercier tous les membres de l’exécutif sortant pour l’excellent travail et le temps qu’ils ont partagé avec nous. Il a été fort agréable et enrichissant de travailler avec des gens si dévoués et inspirants.

Nous sommes toujours à la recherche d’un secrétaire d’adhésion, un vice-président et d’un représentant pour l’Ouest, si vous souhaitez postuler pour un siège de direction à l’exécutif, veuillez envoyer votre CV et une lettre de motivation indiquant le poste qui vous intéresse à president@ibby-canada.org.

Lu’ma Native Housing Society, Vancouver

Lu’ma Native Housing Society de Vancouver a contacté IBBY en décembre dernier, ils avaient un urgent besoin de livres pour les enfants à l’occasion de leur party de Noël du 13 décembre. Nous avons donc décidé de leur envoyer trois boîtes de livres qui avaient été soumis au prix Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver l’an dernier. Ils étaient enchantés de ce don et remercie cordialement IBBY.

Assemblée générale annuelle

J’étais très nerveuse à l’idée de présider ma première assemblée générale annuelle, heureusement tout s’est bien déroulé et chez IBBY, nous voguons encore sur l’enthousiasme créé par cette Assemblée Générale Annuelle de mars dernier, le partage de toutes les réalisations de l’année écoulée, les discussions sur les projets en cours, l’accueil de nouvelles personnes qui se joignent à l’association, sont un excellent moyen de nous donner l’énergie nécessaire pour continuer la mission d’IBBY. Nous avons eu le plaisir d’accueillir madame Ruth Brown qui a partagé avec nous son expérience lors du Congrès de IBBY international à Londres, de plus, quelques-unes des ex-présidentes étaient aussi des nôtres. Cet événement fut donc un succès pour IBBY.

Bien sûr, l’un de nos objectif principal est d’attirer plus de gens avec de l’enthousiasme et des idées sur le partage et la promotion de la littérature jeunesse canadienne. Nous voulons profiter de cette occasion pour vous remercier de votre soutien continu et espérons vous voir lors de nos événements au cours de la prochaine année.

– Susane Duchesne, Présidente
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Regional Report: East

IBBY member Ron Lightburn and his wife and creative partner Sandra Lightburn were honoured in the Nova Scotia Legislature by the Minister of Education, Ramona Jennex. Ron and Sandra are the authors of a wonderful children’s picture book, Pumpkin People, that celebrates the annual fall pumpkin harvest and event in Kentville in the Annapolis Valley.

You may also remember Ron from a previous newsletter. Juba This, Juba That by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Ron Lightburn (Tundra Books) became the featured book for the StoryWalk® Project, which combines a children’s book with outdoor physical activity for families to enjoy together. It was, therefore, fitting that Ron and Sandra be honoured by the Minister for their contribution to children’s literature in the province.

This concluding quote from the Hansard document says it well:

“Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the contributions made by Ron and Sandra to their local community and to the imaginations of children, and children at heart, everywhere.”

After all, isn’t that what children’s literature is meant to do? Congratulations, Ron and Sandra! Nova Scotia is proud to call you our own.

– Jane Baskwill, Councillor-East
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Rapport régional de l’est du Canada

Ron Lightburn, un membre d’IBBY Canada, ainsi que son épouse et partenaire artistique Sandra Lightburn ont été honoré à l’Assemblée législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse par la ministre de l’Éducation, Madame Ramona Jennex. Ron et Sandra sont les auteurs du magnifique livre d’images Pumpkin People qui célèbre la récolte des citrouilles, un évènement important qui a lieu tous les automnes à Kentville dans la vallée d’Annapolis.

Lors d’un précédent bulletin d’information, nous avions mentionné le travail d’illustrateur de monsieur Ron Lightburn pour l’album Juba This, Juba That écrit par Helaine Becker (Tundra Books). Ce livre d’images a été choisi pour le programme StoryWalk® un projet mettant l’accent sur la marche en famille, dans des sentiers, tout en lisant un livre d’images sur de grands cartons laminés. Par conséquent il était tout à fait normal que Ron et Sandra soient honorés par la ministre pour leur contribution à la littérature pour la jeunesse en Nouvelle-Écosse.

Pour terminer, voici un extrait des débats de l’Assemblée nationale :

« Incontestablement, tous les membres de l’Assemblée législative reconnaissent l’apport important de Ron et Sandra dans leur communauté ainsi qu’à l’imaginaire des enfants et des jeunes de cœur partout au monde. »

Après tout n’est-ce pas là le but de la littérature jeunesse? Félicitations Ron et Sandra! Les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse sont fiers de vous compter parmi les leurs!

– Jane Baskwill, Conseillère-East

Traduction : Louise Tondreau-Levert
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Regional Report: Quebec

Activities in Quebec are getting rolling! We were pleased to host the award ceremony for the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award as part of the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival on April 24 in Montreal (read more here). The Cleaver Award, granted for illustration, was awarded to Quebec illustrator Isabelle Arsenault for her picture book Virginia Wolf (Kids Can Press, 2012). Interest at the event was good, and we look forward to further developing our relationship with Blue Metropolis.

In addition to a Quebec illustrator winning the Cleaver Award, there were many strong applicants from Quebec for both the Frances E. Russell Grant and the inaugural Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator-in-Residence Program.

On May 9, IBBY Canada had a presence at the 81st Quebec Library Association annual conference. One session in particular focused on developing a collection of French children’s literature, which made good progress.

As well, collaboration is underway for future projects with various local anglophone and francophone groups that have an interest in promoting children’s literature. The fall promises to hold more new developments.

– Shannon Babcock, Councillor-Quebec
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Rapport régional du Québec

Les activités au Québec se déroulent! Nous étions fières de donner le prix d’illustration Elizabeth Mrazik–Cleaver le 24 avril pendant le festival littéraire Metropolis Bleu à Montréal (voir l’article dans ce numéro). Le prix, pour l’illustration, était donné à l’illustratrice Québécoise Isabelle Arsenault pour son album Virginia Wolf (Kids Can Press, 2012). Il y avait beaucoup d’intérêt, et on souhait d’exploiter notre affiliation avec Metropolis Bleu dans le futur.

En plus, aussi qu’une gagnante Québécoise pour le prix Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver, il avait des candidats forts pour la subvention Frances E. Russell et aussi le programme Joanne Fitzgerald illustrateur en residence.

IBBY Canada avait une présence au 81e congrès de l’Association des bibliothécaires du Québec (ABQLA) à Montréal. Comme il y avait un atelier au sujet de développement de collection en littérature jeunesse francophone, les liens étaient soulignés.

La collaboration continue pour les projets avec diverses organisations francophones et anglophones qui s’intéressent à la littérature jeunesse. Ça a l’air que beaucoup de choses se développent pour l’automne!

– Shannon Babcock, Conseillère-Québec
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Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award Winner: Isabelle Arsenault for Virginia Wolf

Virginia Wolf

From Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Kids Can Press, 2012)

IBBY Canada is pleased to announce that illustrator Isabelle Arsenault is the winner of the 2012 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award for Virginia Wolf, written by Kyo Maclear (Kids Can Press). Virginia Wolf is loosely based on the writer Virginia Woolf (who suffered from depression) and her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell.

Isabelle Arsenault received the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2005 for her first illustrated children’s book, Le cœur de monsieur Gauguin (Les 400 coups). She has illustrated many children’s books since then, and received her second Governor General’s Literary Award in 2012 for Virginia Wolf. She lives and works in Montreal.

This year, Isabelle Arsenault stood out above the rest. The jury’s decision was as immediate as it was unanimous; Virginia Wolf captivated the hearts of each member of our committee with its magical palette (how can colour be subdued yet so brilliant?), Arsenault’s use of contrast, and the unsentimental yet heart-wrenching depiction of a journey from depression toward the light. Virginia Wolf is a picture book that can be appreciated on many levels, whether you are a parent, a child, or even a literary snob!

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 and Young Adults program; and Susane Duchesne, IBBY Canada president and Responsable du secteur jeunesse, Librairie Monet. The jury’s comments on Virginia Wolf stated:

An un-precious treatment of depression that never diminishes its poignancy. Isabelle Arsenault’s illustrations illuminate the story. She begins with a touch of red and blue here and there. Then the sadness, embodied in blacks and greys that encroach on the page in a messy cloud, surrounds and engulfs Virginia as she becomes a dark shadow of herself. When Virginia starts painting and as the spirit changes, more colours begin to subtly appear as the darkness recedes. Arsenault reminds Virginia and the readers that the world is full of beauty.

Councillor-Quebec Shannon Babcock (left) and recipient Isabelle Arsenault (right) at the Cleaver Award ceremony (Photo credit: Michel Boisseau)

My fifth and last 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. When I first began my stint as chair, I was head of the children’s section in a public library. This meant that not only did I have easy access to many picture books, but I was also using them in my collection and seeing how they were received by the children. But then I moved to a private girls’ high school, and the opportunity to browse the year’s new crop of titles were few and far between. I was so grateful when, every fall, about a hundred fabulous new picture books would arrive on my doorstep! Although I won’t miss having to pick a final winner, I will miss loitering over the gorgeous, innovative illustrations.

I have been very lucky to work with extremely dedicated professionals from all over the country: Pascale Grenier and Susane Duchesne in Montreal, Melanie Fishbane in Toronto, and Brianne Grant in Vancouver, thank you for your patience, passion, and willingness to put up with large and unwieldy Google docs. And I am certain that Skype has never been so well used as in our final selection meetings!

– Lina Gordaneer, Cleaver Award chair and Montreal librarian
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The 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 receives $1,000.

Prix Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver est décerné à Isabelle Arsenault pour Virginia Wolf

Virginia Wolf

Virginia Wolf par Kyo Maclear et Isabelle Arsenault (illus.) (Kids Can Press, 2012)

IBBY Canada est heureuse d’annoncer que l’illustratrice Isabelle Arsenault est la récipiendaire du prix Elizabeth Cleaver-Mrazik pour le livre Virginia Wolf écrit par Kyo Maclear et publié par Kids Can Press. Virginia Wolf est une libre adaptation de la vie de l’écrivaine Virginia Woolf (qui a souffert de dépression) et de sa sœur, la peintre Vanessa Bell.

Isabelle Arsenault a reçu le Prix du Gouverneur général en 2005 pour Le cœur de monsieur Gauguin, son premier livre illustré pour enfants. Elle a illustré de nombreux livres pour enfants, depuis lors, et a reçu son deuxième Prix du Gouverneur général en 2012 pour Virginia Wolf. Isabelle vit et travaille à Montréal.

Cette année, Isabelle Arsenault s’est détachée au-dessus du peloton. La décision du jury a été immédiate autant qu’unanime ; Virginia Wolf a conquis les cœurs de chaque membre du comité avec sa palette magique ; comment une couleur peut-elle être sobre et si brillante à la fois? Isabelle Arsenault a utilisé des contrastes et a créé une représentation complètement émouvante mais sans sentimentalisme du cheminement de la dépression vers la lumière.

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 en Sciences de l’information de l’Université de Montréal. Voici les commentaires du jury sur Virginia Wolf :

Un traitement sans prétention de la dépression qui ne diminue en rien son caractère poignant. Les illustrations d’Isabelle Arsenault apportent un éclairage à l’histoire. Commençant par une touche de rouge et de bleu ici et là, la tristesse, incarnée par les noirs et les gris qui empiètent sur la page dans un nuage de désordre qui entoure et envahit Virginie. Celle-ci devient l’ombre d’elle-même. Quand Virginie commence à peindre et que l’atmosphère devient moins lourde, plus de couleurs apparaissent subtilement alors que l’obscurité s’estompe. Isabelle Arsenault rappelle à Virginie et aux lecteurs que le monde est rempli de beauté.

Conseillère-Québec Shannon Babcock (gauche) et Isabelle Arsenault (droite) à la remise du prix IBBY Canada (Crédit Photo : Michel Boisseau)

Ma cinquième et dernière année à titre de présidente du jury du prix Elizabeth Cleaver-Mrazik ont passé tellement vite, j’ai eu le privilège de feuilleter de remarquables livres faits par des illustrateurs canadiens. Lorsque j’ai commencé mon tour comme présidente, j’étais responsable du secteur enfants dans une bibliothèque publique. Cela signifiait que j’avais un accès facile à beaucoup d’albums illustrés, je les utilisais aussi dans ma collection et je pouvais vérifier les réactions des enfants. Puis, je suis partie travailler dans une école secondaire pour jeunes filles et la possibilité de feuilleter les nouveautés était plus rare. J’étais tellement reconnaissante lorsque, chaque automne, environ une centaine de magnifiques albums illustrés arrivaient jusque chez moi. Quoique je ne vais pas regretter prendre la décision finale pour un lauréat, flâner en regardant de superbes illustrations pleines d’imagination va me manquer.

J’ai eu beaucoup de chance de travailler avec des professionnels extrêmement dévoués qui proviennent de partout au pays : Pascale Grenier et Susane Duchesne de Montréal, Melanie Fishbane de Toronto et Brianne Grant de Vancouver. Je vous remercie pour votre patience, votre passion et votre souplesse pour gérer ces énormes documents Google. Je suis certaine que l’utilisation de Skype n’a jamais été aussi bien fonctionnelle que pendant nos dernières réunions de sélection!

– Lina Gordaneer, présidente du jury du Prix Cleaver et bibliothécaire de Montréal

Traduction : Josiane Polidori

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Le prix Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver, 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 a laissé 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 récipiendaire reçoit 1000 $.
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The 2013 Frances E. Russell Grant Winner: Beverley Brenna

The 2013 Frances E. Russell Grant has been awarded to Dr. Beverley Brenna of the University of Saskatchewan. The $1,000 grant furthers IBBY Canada’s mission “to initiate and encourage research in young people’s literature in all its forms” and is given to support research for a publishable work (book or paper) on Canadian children’s literature.

Dr. Brenna’s research will take a close look at Canadian graphic novels, a genre still in development and relatively unexplored in an academic context. She hopes to identify traits and commonalities across the genre.

In addition to instructing at the University of Saskatchewan in the Faculty of Education, Dr. Brenna is also the author of many award-winning books for young people, including Waiting for No One (Red Deer Press, 2010) and Wild Orchid (Red Deer Press, 2005).

The jury for the Frances E. Russell Grant consists of representatives from IBBY Canada and Canadian universities. This year there were many worthy applicants, and choosing a winner was difficult. Many congratulations to Dr. Brenna—we look forward to reading the outcome!

– Shannon Babcock, Councillor-Quebec
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Récipiendaire de la subvention Frances E. Russell 2013: Beverley Brenna

La subvention Frances E. Russell est donnée cette année à Beverley Brenna. La subvention de 1000 $ est destinée à susciter et encourager la recherche en littérature jeunesse sous toutes ses formes. Elle est attribuée afin d’appuyer la recherche pour un travail publiable, livre ou article, sur la littérature canadienne pour enfants. Cette subvention appuie des travaux de recherche seulement.

Le projet de recherche de Beverley s’occupe des “romans graphiques” (bandes dessinées) canadiens. Ce genre est encore jeune, surtout au Canada, et pas encore très exploré aux contextes académiques. Beverley déterminera les traits communs de ce groupe de textes peu connu encore.

Aussi que chargé de cours en éducation à l’université de Saskatchewan, Beverley est écrivaine des livres jeunesse.

Le juré de la subvention Frances E. Russell comprend des représentatives de IBBY Canada et des universités canadiennes. Cette année, les candidates étaient d’une qualité excellente et la décision était difficile à prendre. Nos félicitations à Beverley Brenna!

– Shannon Babcock, Conseillère-Québec
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Three Canadian Books Selected for the 2013 Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities List

IBBY Canada is proud to announce that three Canadian titles have been selected by the IBBY Documentation Centre of Books for Disabled Young People for inclusion in the 2013 Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities List. The biennial list includes books not only produced specifically for young people with special needs, but also picture books from regular children’s book production that are selected according to special guidelines, as well as books that portray characters with special needs. The list aims “to give young people with disabilities, like other children, the opportunity to enjoy books and also open the way for their inclusion in society.”

More than 140 books were nominated, of which 60 titles were selected for the 2013 list. The three Canadian titles selected for inclusion are:

  • Le chant de mon arbre by Angèle Delaunois and Pierre Houde (illus.) (Les éditions de l’Isatis)
  • Au carnival des animaux by Marianne Dubuc (Les éditions de la courte échelle)
  • Water Tactile Book by Jacquie Jeanes (Royal Ontario Museum)

The 60 selected titles were on display at the IBBY booth at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which ran from March 25–28, 2013. There will also be a travelling exhibition that is available upon request from the IBBY Secretariat, as well as a fully annotated catalogue featuring the selections.

Up until now, the 4000-book collection, which was established by IBBY in 1985, has been housed in Norway, first at the Norwegian Institute for Special Education at the University of Oslo and then at the Haug Municipal Resource Centre for Young People with Disabilities. In 2013 the IBBY Documentation Centre of Books for Disabled Young People will be moving to its new home in the Children’s Department at Toronto Public Library’s North York Central Library.

IBBY Canada would like to congratulate the creators and publishers of these wonderful books.

– Meghan Howe, Liaison CCBC
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Trois livres canadiens font partie de la sélection 2013 des livres remarquables pour les jeunes handicapées

IBBY Canada est fier d’annoncer que trois livres canadiens ont été sélectionnés par le Centre de Documentation de IBBY pour les enfants handicapées. La liste bisannuelle inclut non seulement des livres pour les jeunes ayant des besoins particuliers, mais aussi des livres d’images venant de la production courante. Ces derniers sont choisis selon des critères spécifiques ainsi que pour leurs personnages ayant des besoins spéciaux.

Le but de cette liste est de donner tant aux enfants normaux qu’aux enfants handicapés le goût de la lecture et aussi de faciliter leur intégration dans la société.

Parmi les cent quarante livres en nomination, soixante titres ont été sélectionnés pour faire partie de la liste de 2013. Les trois livres retenus sont :

  • Le chant de mon arbre d’Angèle Delaunois et Pierre Houde (illus.) (Les éditions de l’Isatis)
  • Au carnaval des animaux de Marianne Dubuc (Les éditions de la courte échelle)
  • Water Tactile Book de Jacquie Jeanes (Royal Ontario Museum)

Les soixante titres de la sélection ont été exposés à la foire du livre de Bologne au stand d’IBBY du 25 au 28 mars 2013. Il est possible de faire une demande au secrétariat de IBBY pour faire venir cette exposition ainsi que son catalogue annoté.

Depuis, 1985 les 4000 titres de la collection du Centre de documentation IBBY étaient hébergés en Norvège. D’abord, à l’institut norvégien pour l’éducation spéciale de l’Université d’Oslo puis, au Centre de ressources municipales Haug pour les jeunes handicapés.

En 2013, le Centre de documentation IBBY pour jeunes handicapés déménagera au département pour enfants de la bibliothèque publique Centrale North York de Toronto.

IBBY Canada tient à féliciter les créateurs et les éditeurs de ces livres exceptionnels!

– Meghan Howe, Liaison CCBC

Traduction : Louise Tondreau-Levert
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Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator-in-Residence: Martha Newbigging

This year IBBY Canada launched an exciting new program that supports the creative minds who bring us our beloved picture books. The inaugural Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator-in-Residence Program provides up-and-coming published illustrators the opportunity to participate in a unique residency hosted by a public library, administered by IBBY Canada, and funded by Joanne Fitzgerald’s family and Groundwood Books.

The program honours Joanne Fitzgerald (1956–2011), who illustrated many influential Canadian children’s books, including Plain Noodles, Emily’s House, The Blue Hippopotamus, and Governor General’s Award–winner Doctor Kiss Says Yes. In memory of Joanne Fitzgerald’s commitment to children’s books and illustration, her family collaborated with IBBY Canada to establish the residency.

Launching in Fall 2013, the one-month program will bring the illustrator into the community through workshops, public readings and presentations, evaluation of submitted portfolios, one-on-one and/or group meetings with artists, presentations to art students, participation in online forums, and connections with the general public, children, parents, and teachers. In addition, the illustrator will have an opportunity to work on his or her own projects. In this way, the residency provides a holistic opportunity for both community building and creative output.

The Toronto Public Library in Ontario will host the inaugural Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator-in-Residence Program. In subsequent years, in partnership with the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC), IBBY Canada will work with libraries in other provinces to host a residency. We are delighted to announce that the 2013 Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator-in-Residence will be Martha Newbigging.

We look forward to providing you further information about the residency as it develops, and we hope that you join us for the many community events that we will host through the program.

– Mahak Jain, Vice-President
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IBBY–Asahi Reading Promotion Award Nomination: Children’s Book Bank

Happy patrons at the Children’s Book Bank (Photo courtesy the Children’s Book Bank)

IBBY Canada is very proud to nominate the Children’s Book Bank for the 2014 IBBY–Asahi Reading Promotion Award. The Children’s Book Bank opened Canada’s first storefront children’s book bank in the Regent Park area of Toronto in May 2008, where there are 102 nationalities within a two-kilometre radius!

The Children’s Book Bank operates much like a bookstore except that the books are free, one per visit, to children who would otherwise not be able to own their own books. It is staffed by retired and active teachers and librarians, and others with expertise in children’s literature or childhood literacy provide the children and their families with advice on literacy and book selection. The Children’s Book Bank also offers a destination for free field trips for local schools, daycares, and other agencies working with children. During the field trips, students enjoy an entertaining story time and a chance to “book shop” for a book to take home with them.

The Children’s Book Bank offers a number of literacy support programs, including a program to teach parents how to read to babies (Books for Babies), a dictionary giveaway program (Words for Wee Ones), and an after school book buddies program (Stories for Students).

For more information on this organization, please visit www.childrensbookbank.com.

– Merle Harris, Alberta Chair
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Nomination pour le Prix de promotion de la lecture IBBY-Asahi : Children’s Book Bank

Des utilisateurs heureux au Children’s Book Bank (photo courtoisie de Children’s Book Bank)

IBBY-Canada a la fierté d’annoncer la nomination de Children’s Book Bank pour le Prix de promotion de la lecture IBBY-Asahi 2014. Le Children’s Book Bank a ouvert la première banque littéraire pour enfants au Canada dans le quartier Regent Park de Toronto en mai 2008, où on retrouve près de 102 ethnies sur moins de deux kilomètres carrés!

Le Children’s Book Bank est dirigé comme une librairie, sauf que les livres sont gratuits. On offre un livre par visite aux enfants qui d’ailleurs n’auraient pas accès à des livres pour eux-mêmes. Le personnel est composé d’enseignants et de bibliothécaires actifs ou à la retraite. D’autres experts en littérature jeunesse ou en alphabétisation en enfance fournissent aux enfants et à leurs parents des conseils en alphabétisation et sur le choix de livres. Le Children’s Book Bank offre également un local pour des sorties éducatives d’écoles, de garderies ou avec d’autres agences qui travaillent avec des enfants. Pendant ces sorties, les élèves assistent à une heure du conte divertissante et ont la chance de magasiner pour choisir un livre à apporter chez eux.

Le Children’s Book Bank offre aussi quelques programmes d’appui à l’alphabétisation, y compris un programme qui apprend aux parents comment lire aux bébés (Books for Babies), un programme de distribution de dictionnaires gratuits (Words for Wee Ones), et un programme après-école «amis de lecture» (Stories for Students).

Pour de plus amples renseignements sur cet organisme, veuillez visiter www.childrensbookbank.com.

– Merle Harris, Alberta Chair

Traduction : Todd Kyle
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Silent Books Project: From the World to Lampedusa and Back

IBBY Italia sent out a call for “silent (or wordless) books” to collect and donate to the First Aid and Welcome Centre on the island of Lampedusa, which is a main access point in Europe for people migrating from Africa and the Middle East. The project will result in a permanent collection at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and an international travelling exhibition.

The following Canadian titles have been included in the Silent Books Project collection:

  • Hocus Pocus by Sylvie Desrosiers and Rémy Simard (illus.) (Kids Can Press)
  • Ben’s Big Dig by Daniel Wakeman and Dirk van Stralen (illus.) (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Ben’s Bunny Trouble by Daniel Wakeman and Dirk van Stralen (illus.) (Orca Book Publishers)

The complete list of titles will be published online, along with an honour list selected by an international jury. The collection will be inaugurated in May at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome.

– Merle Harris, Alberta Chair
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Le projet Des livres sans parole: Du bout du monde jusqu’à Lampedusa

IBBY Italie a fait un appel de candidatures pour recueillir des livres sans parole pour le Centre d’accueil et de Premiers soins de l’île de Lampedusa qui est le premier point d’accès en Europe pour les personnes migrantes venant d’Afrique et du Moyen-Orient. Le projet va culminer avec une exposition permanente au Palazzo delle Esposizioni à Rome et avec une exposition en tournée internationale.

Les livres canadiens suivants font partie de la collection du projet Des livres sans parole (Silent Books Project).

  • Sylvie Desrosiers et Rémy Simard, Hocus Pocus (Kids Can Press, 2011)
  • Daniel Wakeman et Dirk van Stralen, Ben’s Big Dig (Orca Book Publishers, 2005)
  • Daniel Wakeman et Dirk van Stralen, Ben’s Bunny Trouble (Orca Book Publishers, 2007)

La liste complète des livres inclus dans la collection des livres sans parole (Silent Books Project) sera publiée électroniquement, ainsi qu’une sélection d’une liste d’honneur choisie par un jury international. L’exposition sera inaugurée au mois de mai au Palazzo delle Esposizioni à Rome.

– Merle Harris, Alberta Chair

Traduction : Josiane Polidori
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Communication-Jeunesse to Release 2012–2013 Honour List

On Friday, June 7, 2013, Communication-Jeunesse will unveil their renowned honour list, the Palmarès Communication-Jeunesse des livres préférés des jeunes 2012–2013, at the Montreal Archives Centre. Through a large national poll conducted in the Book Clubs and the Réseau CJ, young readers have chosen their favourite books of the year from Communication-Jeunesse’s Selection of Books for Young People 2012–2013. Divided into three age groups (ages 5–8, 9–11, and 12–17), these books will surely be excellent summer reading! The event’s main sponsor, Marquis Book Printing, will award a $1,000 grant for each book in first place in its age group.

Communication-Jeunesse encourages and supports the creation of cultural products, including Quebec and French-Canadian children’s literature, to youth and makes them accessible to young Canadians. They have members throughout Quebec and the Canadian Francophonie. In schools, libraries, and cultural centers, thousands of young readers take part in their 300 Reading Clubs to share with others their love of reading. To help turn these young people into eternal readers, Communication–Jeunesse also creates reference materials for those who promote the joys of reading to young people.

For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Fortin at am.fortin@communication-jeunesse.qc.ca.

– Communication-Jeunesse
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Palmarès Communication-Jeunesse des livres préférés des jeunes 2012­–2013

Le vendredi 7 juin 2013 aura lieu le très attendu dévoilement du Palmarès Communication-Jeunesse des livres préférés des jeunes 2012–2013 au Centre d’archives de Montréal!

Renommé dans le milieu littéraire, ce Palmarès offre aux jeunes la chance d’exprimer leurs préférences littéraires. Grâce à un grand scrutin pancanadien organisé au sein des Clubs de lecture et du Réseau CJ, les jeunes ont choisi leurs livres favoris de l’année, parmi la Sélection des livres d’ici pour les jeunes 2012–2013 établie par Communication-Jeunesse. Répartis en trois catégories d’âge (5–8 ans, 9–11 ans, 12–17 ans) ces titres représentent d’excellentes suggestions de lectures pour prolonger le plaisir de lire tout au long de la saison estivale.

Pour chacune des œuvres en première position dans sa tranche d’âge, une bourse de 1000$ sera offerte par Marquis Imprimeur, commanditaire principal de l’événement.

Pour plus d’information, veuillez contacter Anne-Marie Fortin au am.fortin@communication-jeunesse.qc.ca.

– Communication–Jeunesse
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CODE Announces New Literary Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature

Canadian author Ted Staunton gives an editing workshop for aspiring writers as part of the Burt Award for African Literature – Ethiopia in August 2012 (Photo credit: CODE)

Thanks in part to the ongoing support of IBBY Canada and its members, CODE’s Burt Literary Awards, a unique initiative in YA literature, is going global.

In the fall of 2012, CODE—a Canadian NGO that supports literacy and learning—launched the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. For this new Canadian initiative, CODE will build on the experience it has gained with the Burt Award for African Literature, an annual literary prize established in 2008 that recognizes excellence in English-language YA fiction in Africa.

By bringing the award to Canada, CODE hopes to help address the shortage of reading materials that are grounded in Aboriginal culture and heritage by celebrating the literary achievements of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit authors and improving young readers’ access to books that are engaging and meaningful to them.

The award is the result of an ongoing close collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the National Association of Friendship Centres, the Association of Canadian Publishers, and the Canada Council for the Arts. With a total of $25,000 in prizes, the Burt Award will be given annually to three English-language literary works for young adults by First Nations, Métis, or Inuit authors. In addition, publishers of the winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase minimum of 2,500 copies per title, which will ensure that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth across Canada will have access to the books through their community’s schools, libraries, or Friendship and Community Centres.

In addition to Canada, this spring CODE announced a call for manuscripts for the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, in partnership with the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago.

The expansion that the Burt Literary Awards program is now undergoing could not have happened without the support and involvement of IBBY Canada members in the Burt Award for African Literature, which is currently running in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania.

In 2009, CODE formed an important partnership with IBBY Canada as a way to benefit from the professional expertise of the top writers, editors, designers, and publishers in the Canadian publishing industry, while providing them with professional development opportunities. Since then, many Canadian writers for young people—several of whom were recruited through IBBY Canada—have shared their expertise with CODE and its African partners by acting as jurors for the award, running editing and writing workshops, and providing writers with feedback on their manuscripts, all with the aim of helping other authors develop their skills in writing engaging books for youth.

Without this support, the Burt Award would not have had the great success that it has had so far. Since its inception, over 150,000 copies of 24 titles for young readers have been published in Africa alone, providing well over a million youth with access to exceptional quality books in which they can see themselves.

CODE is looking forward to further collaborating with IBBY Canada members so that the Burt Literary Awards can continue to support writers and the production of high-quality books. Together, we can instill in youth from Africa, the Caribbean, and Canada a love of reading that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

– Dominique Naud, CODE
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Inaugural Burt Award for Caribbean Literature Now Open for Submissions

CODE is now accepting submissions for the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. Established by CODE with the generous support of William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation, and in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest, the annual award will be given to three English-language literary works for young adults (ages 12 to 18) written by Caribbean authors. A first prize of $10,000 CAD, a second prize of $7,000 CAD, and a third prize of $5,000 CAD will be awarded to the winning authors. Publishers of winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 3,000 copies.

Launched on April 27, 2013, at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the award aims to celebrate the literary achievements of Caribbean authors while improving young readers’ access to books that are engaging and meaningful to them.

Books published between August 1, 2011, and August 22, 2013, and eligible manuscripts must be received by the judging panel from publishers by August 23, 2013. Winners will be announced at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in April 2014.

To learn more about the award and submissions guidelines, please visit the CODE website.

– Catherine Belshaw, CODE
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IBBY Magic at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, March 25–28, 2013

Toronto children’s librarian Mariella Bertelli on the Canada stand (Photo credit: Bologna 2013 © Catherine Mitchell)

There were magical moments even before leaving for this year’s 50th edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. At Pearson Airport, I realized IBBY Canada past president Hadley Dyer was on my flight, off to her first fair. As she recounted her time preparing and the excitement of attending, it was wonderful to recall that feeling from my first fair, taking new books and those in the making to a much wider audience for reaction, a humbling yet rejuvenating experience.

Then, at the fair there was a warm greeting on the Canada stand from Toronto children’s librarian Mariella Bertelli, back in her native Italy for a time and at her first Bologna. Her enthusiasm was infectious, like a kid in a candy shop—all those books, all those wondrous books! She giggled with delight at her luck.

The first afternoon of the fair always has an IBBY press conference with a variety of key announcements. This time it was the Hans Christian Andersen jury selection. As ten names were read, most jurors were present to stand and accept the applause, often to shrieks of joy. After that it was Heidi Boiesen speaking of the pending move of the Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities collection to Toronto and a tip of the hat to IBBY Canada. I often marvel at IBBY’s ability to bring together people from so many parts of the world united in cause.

That feeling was heightened when Linda Pavonetti, USBBY’s vice-president, presented their poster for International Children’s Day on April 2. She shared how brilliantly it was adopted and repurposed by IBBY Iran. They used the image for a triptych bookmark/calendar/illustration with text as a gift for their members. Given the often political sparring of these two important countries, here seemed proof that children’s books indeed bridge cultures, and with such creativity.

The wonderfully informal reception on the IBBY stand follows this gathering, just a few aisles over from the stands where most of the English- and French-language publishers are found. There are old friends to greet, new ones to meet, and a sharing of events from the last IBBY Congress or fair. The spill over into the aisles and the International Youth Library stand only add to the sense of family for which IBBY is known.

While warm Italian sunshine was missing, I enjoyed my first gelato indoors, reflecting on IBBY’s impact, how much is achieved by so many volunteers, how interesting IBBY people are, and how fabulous it is to have friends and acquaintances in so many countries.

The magic continued in Hall 30 where most European publishers have stands. Isol of Venezuela was named this year’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner, making her Canadian publisher, Groundwood Books, happy. The magic culminated in a very warm greeting from Swedish children’s librarian and International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) committee member Ingrid Kallström, last seen on the China post-Congress tour. She sends greetings to all and hopes to see many from Canada at the 2014 IBBY Congress in Mexico City. I concur, and urge you all to consider attending. For that magical “IBBY effect,” there’s no place like it, except perhaps if one is lucky enough to be in Bologna.

– Catherine Mitchell, Past President of IBBY Canada
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La magie d’IBBY à la Foire du livre de jeunesse de Bologne, 25–28 mars, 2013

Mariella Bertelli, bibliothécaire jeunesse de Toronto (Photo: Bologna 2013 © Catherine Mitchell)

Déjà avant le départ pour la 50e édition de la Foire du livre de Bologne, il y avait des moments magiques. À l’aéroport Pearson, j’ai réalisé qu’une ancienne présidente d’IBBY Canada, Hadley Dyer, était sur mon vol, en route pour sa première foire. Elle m’a fait part de son enthousiasme à la préparation et de sa fébrilité à assister à un tel événement, c’était merveilleux de se rappeler l’émotion de ma première foire, apportant des livres, nouveaux ou à l’état de projet, à présenter à un public beaucoup plus vaste afin de susciter des réactions, une expérience humble mais combien vivifiante.

Puis, à la foire il y avait un accueil chaleureux au stand du Canada de la part de Mariella Bertelli, bibliothécaire jeunesse de Toronto, de retour dans son Italie natale pour un séjour et participant à sa première Foire de Bologne. Son enthousiasme était contagieux, comme un gamin dans un magasin de bonbons—tous ces livres—tous ces livres merveilleux! Elle en gloussait de joie.

Le premier après-midi de la foire, IBBY tient toujours une conférence de presse lors de laquelle une série d’annonces importantes est communiquée. À cette occasion, ce fut la sélection du jury Andersen. En tout, dix noms ont été annoncé, la plupart des jurés étaient présents dans la salle se levant et acceptant les applaudissements, souvent en poussant des cris de joie. Après cela, Heidi Boiesen nous a fait part du déménagement imminent du Centre de Documentation d’IBBY sur les Livres pour Enfants Handicapés à la Bibliothèque publique de Toronto et a donné un coup de chapeau à IBBY Canada pour cette initiative. J’ai souvent été émerveillée par la capacité d’IBBY à réunir des gens de tant de parties du monde pour la même cause.

Ce sentiment a été renforcé lorsque Linda Pavonetti, vice-présidente d’USBBY, a présenté l’affiche de la Journée Internationale des Enfants du 2 avril. Elle a partagé avec quel brio l’affiche a été adoptée et réutilisée par IBBY Iran. Ils ont utilisé l’illustration d’un signet triptyque / calendrier / illustration avec le texte comme cadeau pour leurs membres. Compte tenu de l’affrontement souvent politique de ces deux pays importants, cet événement semble prouver que les livres pour enfants sont un véritable pont entre les cultures, et ce, avec une grande créativité.

La réception merveilleusement informelle du kiosque IBBY suit cette rencontre, à quelques rangées des kiosques où la plupart des éditeurs de langue anglaise et française se trouvent. On y retrouve les vieux amis à saluer, les nouveaux à rencontrer, et un échange sur les événements du dernier congrès ou de la dernière foire. Les débordements de la foule dans les allées et la Bibliothèque Internationale de la Jeunesse ne font qu’ajouter au sentiment de famille pour lequel IBBY est connu.

Malgré l’absence du chaud soleil de l’Italie, j’ai apprécié mon gelato à l’intérieur, amorçant une réflexion sur l’impact d’IBBY, combien de projets sont réalisés par tant de bénévoles, comment les membres d’IBBY sont intéressants, et comment il est fabuleux d’avoir des amis et des connaissances dans de si nombreux pays.

La magie continue dans le Hall 30, où la plupart des éditeurs européens ont des kiosques. Isol du Venezuela a été nommé lauréate du prix ALMA cette année, faisant de Groundwood Books, son éditeur canadien, un éditeur bien heureux. La magie a atteint son maximum lors de l’accueil très chaleureux de la bibliothécaire jeunesse suédoise et membre du Comité de l’IFLA, Ingrid Kallström, rencontré la dernière fois durant une tournée post-congrès en Chine. Elle transmet ses salutations à tous et espère rencontrer une nombreuse délégation du Canada au Congrès de 2014 à Mexico. Comme elle, je vous invite tous à envisager d’y participer. C’est l’endroit rêvé pour cet «effet magique d’IBBY», on ne peut s’y tromper, sauf peut-être si on a la chance d’être à Bologne.

– Catherine Mitchell, Ex-présidente d’IBBY Canada

Traduction : Catherine Mitchell
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CANSCAIP Spotlight: Helaine Becker

Canadian children’s author Helaine Becker

Introduction

Helaine Becker was born in New York and resides in Toronto. She is a member of IBBY Canada, and her children’s books are published internationally. She is the award-winning author of more than 50 children’s and YA books, including the #1 National Bestseller, A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas (Scholastic Canada). She is also a three-time winner of the Silver Birch Award for Boredom Blasters (Maple Tree Press), Secret Agent Y.O.U. (Maple Tree Press), and What’s the Big Idea? (Maple Tree Press). The Insecto-Files (Maple Tree Press) won the Lane Anderson Award for science writing for children. She is a prolific writer of educational materials and feature articles published in Canadian Living, Chirp, and Today’s Parent.

From A Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Werner Zimmermann (Scholastic Canada, 2010)

Q: What are some of the causes that you have organized or been involved in by donating children’s books?

A: I went on an author tour to southern California a few years ago. Nice work if you can get it, eh? But at the schools in inner city Long Beach, I was shocked and disgusted to see that there were literally no books on the school library shelves. In a fit of pique, I organized an event called Air Lift to LA. I partnered with an American aid organization called Access Books to spearhead the project on the ground. We completely made over a school library in Compton, one of the toughest neighbourhoods in Los Angeles. More than 200 Canadian children’s book authors and publishers sent more than 1500 Canadian kids’ books to help outfit the library. Five of us went down to LA on the big day to physically do the work of sorting and cataloguing books, painting murals, and refitting shelving. It was pretty amazing.

We hoped that, through our actions, we would not only call attention to the problem in schools in the US, but to the looming problem in Canada—we’re not much better off than our American counterparts when it comes to school library decline. Trained teacher-librarians and adequate book collections are becoming a rarity across the country. It’s mystifying to me how administrators and pundits can yap about commitments to literacy in this country while at the same time disembowelling school libraries.

More recently, I’ve gotten involved with Librarians Without Borders to develop mobile library programs in rural Cambodia. My husband and I had visited Cambodia for our 25th anniversary—I’d always wanted to see Angkor Wat! While there, we met a wonderful man named Narong Chap who had been a refugee during Pol Pot’s regime and who had returned to Cambodia to help rebuild the nation. He builds wells in impoverished areas that don’t have access to clean water. We began supporting his well-building projects. A year or so later, I was attending a meeting of Librarians Without Borders and heard the speaker mention how well sites are the best places to establish new libraries . . .

I jumped all over it. Working with Narong, we put together a proposal for Librarians Without Borders for library students to assist in developing mobile libraries on tuk tuks (auto rickshaws) that can travel to various community wells and act as a lending library and information resource. We’re currently nailing down the budget details, and I hope that the first tuk tuk library will be operational sometime this year.

Q: How did you end up in Peru teaching writing workshops? Explain what you did and why? What other international workshops did you do?

A: This is a story of the virtue of a big mouth. I was promoting one of my first books at the OLA conference in Toronto. Whenever I met a school librarian, I would always tell them, “I love to do school visits!” and give them my card. One librarian replied, “My school’s in Peru!” I practically leapt over the table and hugged her. I told her I’d love to come to Peru if they bring in authors. That was that, until a year later I got an email. The teacher had kept my card and invited me to give a week of presentations to the students at the American School where she taught. It was great. They flew me down and put me up in the principal’s house, which was lovely.

I taught poetry writing, newspaper writing, and comedy to the children, but honestly, I learned way more than they did.

Q: What countries have your books been published in? When your books were translated in different languages what did you think of the changes in the book covers or titles?

A: Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Japan, and Korea. The Japanese edition of Secret Agent Y.O.U. is so different from the English version—all different format and artwork, so it was quite surprising. It’s also neat to see my name written in Japanese kanji on the cover.

Q: What did you write for television and what is it like writing for kids’ television?

A: I write a segment on an environmental science show called Planet Echo that airs on APTN. My segment is called Dr. Greenie’s Mad Lab, and it features a mad scientist and his sidekick, a giant hot pink guinea pig. It’s silly science fun, and we’re hoping it will spin off into a standalone series. We’ve produced two appisodes—web-only episodes with games embedded in them—that are a lot of fun. How can you not like a show that features an evil, computer-dwelling blue-tongued skink?

Q: You have presented and performed in schools, libraries and festivals across the United States and Canada. What were some of the highlights or interesting experiences that you encountered?

A: Performing for kids is always interesting. You never know what will happen. I usually close my presentations with a rendition of The Ode to Underwear—a funny poem that will be published as a picture book by Scholastic this fall. Anyway, I often introduce the poem by suggesting that underwear is almost everyone’s favourite thing—it’s one item we tend not to leave home without. I turned to the teacher and said, “Right?” He blushed bright red—because he wasn’t wearing any underwear! It took a second for me to catch on, but when I did, and when the other teachers in the auditorium did, well, let’s just say hysteria ensued. Then the kids caught on . . . we had to take a break, everyone was laughing too hard. That poor teacher, I don’t think he ever lived it down. He was famous in that school district after that.

Q: How do you go about your research? What are some of the zaniest discoveries that you have written about?

A: I do a lot of web-surfing, of course, but I also like to get out there and explore the world, via science writers’ conferences or travel. Ideas and information can come from anywhere. I particularly like gross bug facts and marine invertebrates. My favourite experiment is one I wrote about in Science on the Loose (Maple Tree Press). It’s the “Who Farts More, Girls or Boys? Experiment.” My favourite insect is the bombardier beetle—it shoots burning hot acid out of its butt when mad or scared. You’ll find that fellow, and the cicada whose butt falls off when infected by a fungi, in The Insecto-Files. I’m pretty proud, too, of inventing a way to demonstrate how octopi and squid change their skin color—that demo is in The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea (Kids Can Press).

Q: What was it like having your poem set to music and played nationally on CBC Radio? How are you evolving as an actress reading your own story on CD?

A: It was weird. I think the band that performed The Ode to Underwear was hungover when they did it—it sounded like a dirge! I don’t think I’m evolving as an actress. I’m a terrible actress. Although I have been told I have a most excellent witch cackle. I got to put it to use when recording the audio version of The Haunted House that Jack Built (Scholastic Canada). I use it at home a lot, too, on my sons. Poor kids.

Q: You have published so many different projects. How do you juggle it all?

A: Being obsessive-compulsive helps. But really, I just like variety. I get bored easily and love to come up with new ideas—that’s the most fun part of this job. I don’t see it as juggling; I see it as normal.

Oh—and I don’t do housework. Ever.

Q: How have you helped or encouraged other writers in their careers?

A: So many of us children’s writers are natural teachers. We love sharing information with others and that’s why we gravitate to this field. So it feels perfectly normal for me to want to share what I know with younger people or people just coming up. I know how much I would have valued good advice when I was first starting! So I give it, loudly and often. In the past I’ve participated in online critique groups helping people hone their writing skills. (Of course this works both ways. I learned as much as I shared.) Right now I’m mentoring an 18-year-old “pre-published” writer. It’s fun! And I can’t wait until she gets her first book published and I get to vicariously enjoy the thrill of the first time again through her.

I particularly like to help other writers learn the business aspects of publishing. So many of us don’t come from a business background, and that is a real deficiency when trying to operate in a difficult business environment like book publishing. When you are a writer, you are actually a sole proprietor of a small business, selling your wares to big businesses. Not realizing this fact is the #1 mistake writers make.

Q: The Insecto-Files was awarded the first ever Lane Anderson Award for science writing for children, an award that included a $10,000 cash prize. How have your science books influenced children to learn more about science?

A: I can’t really say if they did, but I do hope so! By making science fun and funny, and by showing kids that science is not a fait accompli—it’s something they can do, finding out new, real, and important information, a process, not a fact set—well, if I get one kid to think, “Cool!” it’s a win.

Q: What was it like having your picture book Juba This, Juba That turned into a StoryWalk®? Explain what that was all about.

A: I only wish I had the chance to go check it out in person. The StoryWalk® takes pages from the book and presents them on a series of panels in a park. Kids walk along the path, read the story, and do activities tied to the book. So, for example, when following the walk for Juba This, Juba That, readers are encouraged to jump high and bend low the way the characters do in the book.

I’d love to see more story walks in children’s parks and other public places. It gets more people reading and interacting with the book, and at the same time takes advantage of nature and keeps kids moving and healthy.

Q: What are your latest projects?

A: I’m always working on a million things at once. So let’s see . . . a sequel to A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, a non-fiction book about robots that have been inspired by animals (Kids Can Press, September 2013), a funny middle-grade novel about spies, a YA horror novel, a chapter book series, a picture book called Don’t Kiss the Frog, a monster-related project, a shoe-related project, and a collection of poetry. No, I don’t work on each one every day. I move back and forth between them depending on the stage of the project, and my mood and energy level.

My goal is to always have new projects in the pipeline so I never run out of work. So I might be editing page proofs of a book due out the next season, polishing the first draft of a book scheduled for next year, and putting together a new pitch or proposal all at the same time.

Q: What haven’t you tried that you would like to try in your writing career?

A: I’d really really really love to write a comic movie, like Shrek or Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. That would be incredible.

Conclusion

It has been an honour interviewing the talented, versatile, and prolific children’s writer Helaine Becker who not only is the bestselling writer of children’s fiction, non-fiction, and verse, but is an avid promoter of children’s books. Her sense of humour and fascinating zany facts keep the reader interested and always wanting more.

– Debbie Spring, Liaison CANSCAIP

Debbie Spring is the author of eight children’s books. The latest books are Screwed (Solstice Publishing) and The Kayak (Thistledown Press).
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IBBY Canada Executive

President, Susane Duchesne
Past President, Brenda Halliday
Vice-President, Vacant
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, Vacant
Councillor-Quebec, Shannon Babcock
Councillor-Ontario, Rebecca Gold
Councillor-East, Jane Baskwill
Alberta Chair, Merle Harris
Newsletter Editor, Katie Scott
Website Chair, Camilia Kahrizi
Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award Chair, Theo Heras
Frances E. Russell Grant Chair, Deirdre Baker
Hans Christian Andersen Award Chair, Josiane Polidori, Theo Heras
Claude Aubry Award Chair, Brenda Halliday

IBBY (International) Executive Committee

President, Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin (Malaysia)
Vice-President, Hasmig Chahinian (France)
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 Susan Duchesne, Todd Kyle, Catherine Mitchell, Josiane Polidori, Louise Tondreau-Levert
Proofread (English text) by Meghan Howe and Magdalen Lau
Proofread (French text) by Josiane Polidori
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