|Fall 2015, Vol. 35, No. 3
Letter from the Editor
This fall has been a very exciting one for IBBY Canada, notably for the Silent Books Exhibit that has been touring across the country since August, from Edmonton to Vancouver to Toronto. This timely exhibit comes to us from Lampedusa, Italy, where a collection of silent, or wordless, picture books has become a meaningful way to connect with the many migrant children who pass through the island. The exhibit is a powerful reminder of the universal language of storytelling and of IBBY’s mission to bridge cultures through books. You can read more about the exhibit’s Canadian tour in this issue of the newsletter.
As well, we’ve got news from John Martz’s residency at Toronto Public Library, as part of the Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program; a research recap from Bonnie Tulloch, last year’s recipient of the Frances E. Russell Grant; and nominations for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, among other news. Dive in!
– Katie Scott, Newsletter Editor
Greetings, IBBY Canada Members!
It has been a busy season for IBBY in Canada and around the world. We’ve had successful local projects such as the third annual Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program, in collaboration with Toronto Public Library. This year, the launch of John Martz’s month-long residency was accompanied by a silent auction of works from previous and current residency illustrators John Martz, Patricia Storms and Martha Newbigging, as well as a piece by Joanne Fitzgerald. All proceeds from the auction went to the Joanne Fitzgerald Program and IBBY Canada.
A combined local and international collaboration, the Lampedusa Silent Books Exhibit has arrived in Canada! After stops in Edmonton and Vancouver, the exhibit has now made its way to Toronto. At the exhibit’s opening in Vancouver, we presented the 2014 Claude Aubry Award to Judith Saltman. Congratulations again to Judith!
Internationally, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominees have been announced. We have nominated our dear friends the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for this prestigious award, and you can read more about the nomination in the newsletter.
As the holiday season approaches, please consider making a donation to IBBY Canada as a holiday gift for your loved ones.
As always, thank you for your ongoing interest in and support of IBBY Canada.
– Shannon Babcock, President
Regional Report: East
This year’s The Word on the Street in Halifax was housed in a new venue — the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road. The IBBY Canada booth was located on the first floor, just inside the main entrance. We were in the company of several other non-profit organizations. There wasn’t as much traffic on site this year, but those who visited the booth were very interested. A brochure, highlighting the work of IBBY and the Children in Crisis Fund, was distributed to all who dropped by. Once again, it was a good opportunity to remind former members about renewing membership and to encourage others to consider joining. A highlight at the table was the book draw for a package of Cleaver Award–winning books. Once again, this was a wonderful opportunity to talk about IBBY and all things books!
– Jane Baskwill, Regional Councillor East
Regional Report: Quebec
On November 10, 2015, IBBY Canada President Shannon Babcock presented Jacques Payette with the 2014 Claude Aubry Award for his longstanding contribution to children’s literature in French. The award presentation took place at the Prix TD, an evening organized by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. Founder of Les Éditions héritage, Mr. Payette has published more than 2000 books that have been translated into many languages. In 1977, along with his daughter Dominique, he founded Dominique et compagnie. As Mr. Payette was unable to attend, Agnès Huguet, editorial director of Dominique et compagnie, accepted the award on his behalf. In a brief speech, she emphasized how very honoured Mr. Payette is at receiving this prize.
– Danièle Courchesne, Regional Councillor Quebec
Regional Report: Ontario
Word on the Street was located at a new venue this year, Harbourfront Centre, on Sunday, September 27. It was a beautiful early fall day, the sun was glistening over the lake, and the crowd was in excellent spirits. Many people stopped by the IBBY Canada booth to find out more about our national and international awards and programs and to enter the draw for a package of Cleaver Award–winning books, generously donated by Kids Can Press, Groundwood Books, and Tundra Books. Thanks to all the volunteers who staffed the booth: Helena Aalto, Grace Andrews, Frances Gao, Yvette Ghione, Theo Heras, and Leigh Turina.
North York Public Library is the final destination for the travelling Silent Books Exhibit, an international exhibit of wordless picture books for use by migrant and local children on the Italian island of Lampedusa (see Mariella Bertelli’s report on the opening evening here). Drop by the library to see this exhibition, which is on until December 11, 2015. Also on display is Sydney Smith’s original art from the wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, written by JonArno Lawson (Groundwood Books, 2015), which recently won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature: Illustrated Book, as well as being honoured as a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2015.
– Lesley Clement, Regional Councillor Ontario
Regional Report: Alberta
We were thrilled and so grateful when Mariella Bertelli let us know that the Italian Cultural Institute in Toronto would make it possible for the Silent Books Exhibit to come to Edmonton.
Elaine Jones, Manager, Youth Services at Edmonton Public Library (EPL), and I met in late May to discuss logistics. EPL would do the programming and media, and IBBY Canada would be responsible for getting the word out to people who weren’t regular library patrons, as well as immigration and refugee organizations, and for approaching Audreys Books on Jasper Avenue to do a window display advertising the exhibit.
When the exhibit launched on August 28, 2015, speakers included Elaine Jones and Laura Georges from EPL and myself. We also had a shadow puppet play from library staff. We were thrilled with the numbers present at the launch, including a representative for the Italian Consulate in Vancouver. Pilar Martinez, the CEO of Edmonton Public Library, and I cut the ribbon and removed the banner to the delight of those present — and the books were there in all their glory.
Then came the blur of media interviews with the Edmonton Journal, Global TV, and CBC’s Radio Active. The Friday before the exhibit ended, Shaw Cable came to do an interview.
Shaw TV’s Jen Mcdonald visits the Silent Books Exhibit at Edmonton Public Library, where she interviewed Merle Harris, Regional Councillor Alberta. Credit: Shaw TV Edmonton.
Because of a late start to the school year, it was not possible to book many school programs. On September 28, a combined group of Grade 7 to 9 refugee students from Saint Alphonsus School visited the library. That same afternoon, Grade 6 students from Westglen School came to visit. They are taking Lampedusa on as a yearlong fundraising commitment. The students enjoyed reading the books, learning more about the exhibit, drawing postcards, and making small booklets. They also took postcards back to school, where they visited each class to explain the project and left postcards for each student to complete. During the year they will think of other ways of connecting with Lampedusa.
Pilar Martinez said, “It was a real draw, and every time I was on the main floor I witnessed adults and kids alike perusing the display.” Elaine and her team did a wonderful job and were delighted with the response.
All in all, it was an amazing experience. The Italian Cultural Institute made it possible for the exhibit to come to Edmonton, and it gave us an opportunity to provide information about IBBY Canada. We hoped that the display would encourage people to donate to make it possible for the library in Lampedusa to be open daily.
– Merle Harris, Regional Councillor Alberta
Regional Report: West
Out west, we’ve seen a lot more activity these past few months than usual. The Lampedusa Silent Book Exhibit was in Vancouver from October 1 to 23 at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and from October 8 to 18 at the Central Branch of Vancouver Public Library (VPL). The exhibition was also displayed at the Italian Cultural Centre from October 10 to 22. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the receptions that were held at UBC and VPL.
The reception at UBC, which was prepared by Kathie Shoemaker and Mariella Bertelli, was attended by about 50 people. At the reception, I had the great fortune to present Professor Judith Saltman with the 2014 Claude Aubry Award for her contribution to Canadian children’s literature in English. At the reception at Vancouver Public Library, the attendees were fortunate to hear Mariella speak about her experience in Lampedusa and the motivation behind the exhibit. The exhibit is a wonderful reflection of how diversity in our world can be celebrated despite language and cultural barriers.
– Nafiza Azad, Regional Councillor West
IBBY Silent Books Exhibit Arrives in Toronto
On November 2, 2015, the Silent Books Exhibit opened in Toronto, at North York Central Library, to a diverse group of about 100 people, with publishers, writers, illustrators, librarians, storytellers and interested library patrons. The exhibit was sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute of Toronto, and the director, Alessandro Ruggera, was present to welcome everyone. Also in attendance were Deborah Soria, Project Director, IBBY Italia Silent Books, and Liz Page, IBBY Executive Director.
After the speeches, there was a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the exhibit in the children’s department. Many stayed on to look at the books, which are engaging, attractive, and sophisticated. The exhibit continues at North York Central Library until December 11, 2015.
To promote the exhibit, original art by Sydney Smith from the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning book Sidewalk Flowers, written by JonArno Lawson (Groundwood Books, 2015) is on display. As well, on November 9, 2015, Sydney Smith and JonArno Lawson spoke to four classes of students from the nearby schools about the making of their book. As coordinator of the exhibit to Canada, I also had a chance to speak to the children about the island of Lampedusa and the IBBY Italia library project. The children were eager listeners and they very much enjoyed the presentation with its focus on art and picture book making. Events in other libraries will continue throughout the month.
The exhibit has had a lot of success in Edmonton, Vancouver, and now Toronto, with children and adults alike, with families and university students, with preschool and school-age children and teens. Workshops and programs in all three cities have facilitated exploration of these wordless picture books also with accompanying art activities. At each event, every child is invited to fill a postcard with a drawing or a message to a child in Lampedusa. These silent books encourage us to find new words and ways of sharing a different reading experience.
Special thanks to Leigh Turina and Sharon Moynes of Toronto Public Library for their assistance and support in this project.
– Mariella Bertelli, IBBY Canada member and coordinator of the IBBY Silent Books Exhibit to Canada
REMINDER Call for Submissions: 2015 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award
We’d like to remind publishers that IBBY Canada is now accepting submissions for the 2015 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award. This award is given to a Canadian illustrator in recognition of outstanding artistic talent in a Canadian picture book in English or French, published in the 2015 calendar year.
Visit the IBBY Canada website for submission guidelines. The deadline for submissions is December 11, 2015.
Call for Proposals: 2015 Frances E. Russell Grant
IBBY Canada is now accepting proposals for the 2015 Frances E. Russell Grant. The $1,000 grant is intended to support IBBY Canada’s mission “to initiate and encourage research in young people’s literature in all its forms” and is given in support of research for a publishable work (a book or a paper) on Canadian children’s literature.
The deadline for proposals, which may be submitted in English or in French, is December 15, 2015.
The grant supports scholarly work only; works of fiction are not eligible. The types of works that are eligible for the grant include:
The following materials are required: a proposal, a curriculum vitae, a synopsis of methods and stages by which the applicant will pursue the research, and a summary of what the funds are to be used for. The competition is open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Please send proposals as email attachments to: Deirdre Baker, Frances E. Russell Grant Chair, at email@example.com.
Proposals can also be sent by mail to:
c/o The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
Suite 217, 40 Orchard View Blvd.
Toronto, ON M4R 1B9
Attention: Deirdre Baker, Frances E. Russell Grant Chair
A jury, appointed by IBBY Canada, will select the successful applicant by January 31, 2016.
About the Frances E. Russell Grant
The Frances E. Russell Grant was established by the late Marjorie Russell in memory of her sister, a longtime supporter of IBBY Canada. Past recipients include Erin Spring, Bonnie Tulloch, Beverley Brenna, Paulette Rothbauer, Vivian Howard, Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman, Michelle Mulder, André Gagnon, Ronald Jobe, Carole Carpenter, Linda Granfield, and Françoise Lepage. For more information about the Frances E. Russell Grant, please visit the IBBY Canada website or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadian Domestic Island Narratives: The Homebuilding Adventures of Female Protagonists
Thanks to the 2013 Frances E. Russell Grant from IBBY Canada, I was able to complete the research project “No Man Is an Island: Examining the Relationship Between Island Imagery and Female Identity in a Selection of Canadian Children’s and Young Adult Fiction.” The funds supplied by the grant were used toward the transportation and accommodation costs of performing personal interviews with several Canadian west coast authors of island fiction. My discussions with Kit Pearson, Deirdre Baker, and Polly Horvath examined the role of the island in their work, specifically, how it reflected the psychological journeys of their female protagonists. In the interviews, each author was asked to reflect on their literary influences and consider how their island novels compared to other island fiction, particularly island-adventure narratives.
The insights provided by these interviews supplemented my study of several Canadian domestic island novels featuring female protagonists. My exploration of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (1908), Kit Pearson’s The Whole Truth (HarperCollins Canada, 2011) and her follow-up And Nothing but the Truth (HarperCollins Canada, 2012), Polly Horvath’s Everything on a Waffle (Groundwood Books, 2001), and Deirdre Baker’s Becca at Sea (Groundwood Books, 2007) compared the girls’ island story with the boys’ island-adventure story. My close reading of the primary texts involved a consideration of the different homebuilding adventures that characterize both kinds of narratives. Unlike the colonial adventure of boys’ island stories like Robinson Crusoe, I found that the Canadian domestic island novels featuring female protagonists contained adventures of decolonization that represented women’s journey to liberation. These findings were incorporated with excerpts from the interviews into a 30-page article, which has been submitted for review to the Canadian journal Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures.
This research project has also led to two conference presentations, the first being a plenary talk at the University of British Columbia’s iSchool’s Annual Research Day in March 2015, and the second being at the Biannual International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) Congress in Worcester, England, in August 2015. I am currently in the process of developing a panel on island literature with another IRSCL member for the 2017 congress at York University in Toronto, which will encompass a World Literature perspective. The digital and printed transcripts from the author interviews are stored in the University of British Columbia Archives, where they are available upon request.
My sincere thanks to IBBY Canada for making this research possible and helping me further our understanding of the role the island plays in Canadian children’s literature.
– Bonnie Tulloch, recipient of the 2013 Frances E. Russell Grant
John Martz’s Residency at Toronto Public Library
October 2015 was the third year of IBBY Canada’s Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program, which offers a published children’s book illustrator a month-long residency in a public library. Toronto Public Library (TPL) has hosted three years of residencies at their Northern District Branch at Yonge and Eglinton, a central area of the city with many schools. In 2016 the program will be going to a city outside of Ontario.
Martha Newbigging was the Illustrator in Residence for the program’s 2013 launch year, and in 2014 it was Patricia Storms. From the 2015 submissions, the jury chose John Martz, whose illustrated children’s books include A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories (Koyama Press, 2014; nominated for this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award) and Black and Bittern Was Night, written by Robert Heidbreder (Kids Can Press, 2013). John also illustrates comic books, web comics, iPad picture books, and he was the TD Summer Reading Club illustrator in 2014.
The 2015 program launch reception on October 1 included a silent auction fundraiser for IBBY Canada, with work by Martha Newbigging, Patricia Storms and John Martz, as well as a work by Joanne Fitzgerald donated by her family. Bidding was fun and fierce, the successful bidders were delighted, and more than $700 was raised.
Every artist brings their own perspectives and practices to the Illustrator in Residence Program. Although John Martz uses old-school sketchbooks to develop ideas, his finished work is primarily in digital media. High school and college art students were thoroughly absorbed by demos of how John works in Photoshop, selecting colour palettes, creating images in layers, and using edges that have a hand-drawn quality.
October was certainly a jam-packed month for John, with art activities for visiting school classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, appointments for individual portfolio reviews on Tuesdays (as many as seven appointments in one night), workshops for adults on Thursdays, plus off-site presentations at high schools and colleges. A total of 494 children, teens, and adults participated in the Illustrator in Residence activities and presentations.
Marketing of the program is now well-honed, and the turnout shows how effectively TPL gets the word out. All the key TPL communications vehicles promote the program: the What’s On publication, website, electronic billboard, flyers in the Northern District Branch and other branches, Twitter, and other social media. After three years of growing popularity in Toronto, next year when the program goes to another city it will be travelling with a proven marketing template.
The program honours Joanne Fitzgerald (1956–2011), illustrator of Plain Noodles, written by Betty Waterton (Groundwood Books, 1989); Emily’s House, written by Niko Scharer (Groundwood Books, 1990); and Governor General’s Literary Award–winner Doctor Kiss Says Yes, written by Teddy Jam (Groundwood Books, 1991). Joanne’s family collaborated with IBBY Canada and TPL to establish the program, and their financial support covers payment for the illustrator, a freelance coordinator to manage the program, art materials, and IBBY administration.
In the second year, TPL offered to create a logo for the program that incorporated one of Joanne’s illustrations. A simple, single image with no background generally works best for a logo, and when we looked through Joanne’s books, most of her illustrations were detailed and had backgrounds. Then in Ten Small Tales (Groundwood Books, 1993) we found it: a spot illustration of a feather that we immediately knew was perfect. As well as working as a logo design, the feather doesn’t suggest any age or gender, it isn’t too cute or too slick, and its gentle softness is very typical of Joanne’s work. That little feather will help the Illustrator in Residence Program fly in another city next year!
– Helena Aalto, Promotions Officer
2016 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Nomination: Canadian Children’s Book Centre
“The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is a national, not‐for‐profit organization, founded in 1976, that is dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. It has regional collections in five cities across Canada, and provides programs, publications, and resources to help teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents select the very best for young readers. It administers seven annual awards for Canadian children’s literature.”
The 2016 laureate will be announced on April 5, 2016, in Sweden and broadcast live to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
About the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature and is worth SEK 5 million (approx. CAD $773,000). For the full list of nominees, and more information on the award, please visit the ALMA website.
– Merle Harris, Regional Councillor Alberta
2016 Asahi Award Nomination: Parent-Child Mother Goose Program
IBBY Canada has nominated the Vermont Square Parent-Child Mother Goose Program for the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award. The program was created by storytellers in 1986 at the request of a social worker at Children’s Aid Toronto who was in despair at his inability to intervene with families suffering generations of dysfunction. The rhyme, song, and story-based program succeeded because it showed mothers how to bond with their babies and it was highly enjoyable. At the same time, the program gave the babies’ brains the right kind of stimulation during the most critical development period of their entire lives.
The program works by bringing joy through oral language. The approach is backed by decades of research, yet is so simple and natural that parents effortlessly gain the skills and confidence that foster healthy relationships during their children’s crucial early years, while their children acquire a foundation for lifelong emotional, physical, and cognitive development.
Because of the very different needs and capabilities of infants and toddlers, two variants of the program have been developed:
There were 11 nominations for this award and two winners will be announced at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on April 4, 2016.
About the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award
The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award was established in 1986 during the IBBY Congress in Tokyo under the sponsorship of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper company. It is given biennially to two groups or institutions whose outstanding activities are judged to be making a lasting contribution to reading promotion programs for children and young people.
– Merle Harris, Regional Councillor Alberta
IBBY Canada Announces Canadian Titles for 2016 Honour List
IBBY Canada is proud to announce the three Canadian titles selected for the 2016 IBBY Honour List, a biennial selection of outstanding, recently published books, honouring writers, illustrators, and translators from IBBY member countries.
These highly regarded titles represent some of Canada’s best in children’s literature and have received numerous awards and recognition. The selections are:
I had the honour of chairing the 2016 selection committee, which was comprised of Shannon Babcock, educational consultant and IBBY Canada President; Danièle Courchesne, teacher and IBBY Canada Regional Councillor Quebec; Camilia Kahrizi, Marketing and Website Coordinator, Canadian Children’s Book Centre and IBBY Canada Website Editor, and Gillian O’Reilly, Editor, Canadian Children’s Book News.
IBBY Canada’s Honour List titles, along with the Honour List titles from other countries, will be presented at the 35th IBBY World Congress in Auckland, New Zealand, August 18-21, 2016. They will also be on exhibit at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2017.
On behalf of IBBY Canada, the selection committee and I would like to congratulate the creators and publishers of these wonderful books.
– Meghan Howe, Liaison CCBC
News from Our Partners
CODE: The winners of the 2015 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature have been announced. Visit the CODE website for details.
IBBY Canada Newsletter
Editor: Katie Scott
Copy editor (English): Meghan Howe
Formatter: Camilia Kahrizi
Banner design: Martha Newbigging