|Spring 2015, Vol. 35, No. 1
Letter from the Editor
The May issue of our newsletter is my favourite to put together, because it’s always jam-packed with exciting news about the awards and grants that we’ve recently handed out. And it’s also the first issue after our Annual Meeting of Members in late February, which wraps up our activities over the past year. After the meeting, IBBY embarks on a new year, and I think we all leave with a bit of New Years excitement for what’s ahead.
If you have a chance, swing by our new website. The design has been updated and streamlined, and it’s looking great! And you can now follow IBBY International on Twitter at @IBBYINT. It’s a great way to stay in touch with our activities outside of Canada.
– Katie Scott, Newsletter Editor
Way back in the frigid temperatures of February, dedicated IBBY Canada members came to the Annual Meeting of Members. A pleasant group enjoyed reconnecting and breakfast before getting down to the business of the morning. After going over the IBBY Canada business of the previous year, Patricia Storms, the 2014 Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence, gave members an engaging and inspiring account of her residency. Participants were eager to hear as much as Patricia wanted to share, and photos of workshops and Patricia’s artwork were very welcome. The next day, the board of directors met and followed up with planning for the year ahead. If you missed it, the annual report is available on the IBBY Canada website.
This year is the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award nomination, and we are very grateful to IBBY Canada Past President Josiane Polidori and Membership Secretary Stephanie Dror for taking this on. We are very pleased with the nomination of Kenneth Oppel and Pierre Pratt, and wish them the best of luck!
In the next few months, we can look forward to the arrival of the Lampedusa Silent Books collection on Canadian shores, a marvellous collection of wordless picture books originating with IBBY Italia. Dates have been confirmed for Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto with additional cities a possibility.
Also on Canadian shores, it is the 30th anniversary of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award; you can read more about this special prize in the newsletter. The Frances E. Russell Grant was given to Erin Spring from the University of Lethbridge; you can read about her fascinating work in this issue, too.
Leigh Turina and Sharon Moynes recently gave a talk about the IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities at the Annual Conference of the Association des bibliothécaires du Québec–Quebec Library Association in Montreal to an interested audience of both school and public librarians. The tactile books from the collection were especially appreciated.
Looking forward to 2016, the call for presentations for the next IBBY Congress was just released. We encourage our members to share your projects in New Zealand!
– Shannon Babcock, President
On March 24, 2015, IBBY Canada and the Toronto Storytelling Festival co-hosted a luncheon at Free Times Café for children’s author and folklorist Elizabeth Laird, a featured speaker during the festival. Attendees of the 2012 IBBY Congress in London will remember her keynote talk, “Since Time Immemorial: Stories from Everywhere for Everyone.” Congratulations to Elizabeth Laird for receiving the British nomination for the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award.
– Lesley Clement, Regional Councillor Ontario
On behalf of IBBY Canada and the Cleaver Jury — Lyne Rajotte, Allison Taylor-McBryde and myself — I am pleased to announce that Pierre Pratt has won the 2014 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award for his illustrations in Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavec (Kids Can Press, 2014).
Colour covers every inch of the page in these gouache illustrations. Author Heather Tekavec has taken a conventional and durable plot and turned it into a clever story. There are great gags and jokes — on poor Max, it seems — that will induce giggles. But it is Pierre Pratt’s illustrations that elevate the story to greater humorous heights with his comedic strokes of genius. The illustrations, full of vitality and utilizing bold washes of colour, are perfect in their simplicity. Little dog Max jumps off the page. Stop, Thief! has a unity that is missing in many other books.
Pratt’s perspectives are fabulous. The expressions on Max are perfect, from his eager response to his master to his puzzlement at encountering the blue bug, his prime suspect. The full spreads are brimming with colour and clever detail and the small, individual illustrations add to the narrative.
The unspoken sub-plot of the farmer’s day, scattered illustratively in the background, adds another dimension of humour. It is a visual narrative that perceptive children will relish. The farmer standing in the foreground at the beginning and end brings the story full circle, with Max first looking up at his master and lastly looking at the scene of the sleeping culprits, but perhaps not quite understanding. There is an open-endedness to the conclusion. Has Max figured out who the real thieves are? Has the farmer figured it out? The readers know the answer to the question of who stole the crops.
This is Pratt at his best — uncovering and adding humour and absurdity to a comic tale. Let’s face it, Pierre Pratt is a master! And this year’s winner of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award.
This year the jury also selected two titles to shortlist. Mister Got to Go, Where Are You?, written by Lois Simmie and illustrated by Cynthia Nugent (Red Deer Press, 2014), is sophisticated and yet childlike. The small illustrations depict Mr. Foster’s ever more frantic and sometimes painful search for the lost, interloping cat. Nugent’s illustrations show originality in depicting all the feelings of both cat and humans in this emotionally resonant book.
The Most Magnificent Thing, written and illustrated by Ashley Spires (Kids Can Press, 2014), is both childlike and imaginative. The background of the line-drawn buildings creates a perfect backdrop and allows the focus to be on the main character and her dog. The overall design of the book is excellent. There is an economy of text in a font that is compatible with the style of the illustrations. The story both textually and visually is completely engaging.
– Theo Heras, 2nd Vice-President
IBBY Canada is pleased to announce that the 2014 Frances E. Russell Grant recipient is Erin Spring from the Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta.
The $1,000 grant will be presented to Erin Spring for a project that builds on previous work she completed for her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, and focuses on Aboriginal young adult responses to contemporary Canadian young adult fiction. Her research will engage young adults from a reserve school in southern Alberta, and their readings and artistic responses to Gordon A. Fox’s Arvus in Excelsus (Trafford Publishing, 2009) and Richard Van Camp’s The Lesser Blessed (Douglas & McIntyre, 1996).
Erin Spring’s research draws on an interdisciplinary framework and focuses on the intersections between young adult fiction, place, and identity construction in the lives of Canadian youth. She is currently teaching the Canadian Young Adult Literature course in the Department of English. Erin completed her graduate degrees in the Research and Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature at the University of Cambridge, UK. She has a BA in English from Trent University and a B.Ed from Queen’s University.
The Frances E. Russell Grant jury consisted of Joanne Findon, associate professor of English, Trent University; Judith Saltman, professor, School of Library, Archival & Information Studies and Chair of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program, University of British Columbia; and jury chair Deirdre Baker, author, Toronto Star children’s books reviewer, and assistant professor, Faculty of English, University of Toronto.
About the Frances E. Russell Grant
The Frances E. Russell Grant was established in memory of a long-time supporter of IBBY Canada. The $1,000 grant is intended “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. Past winners include Bonnie Tulloch, Beverley Brenna, Paulette Rothbauer, Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman, Michelle Mulder, Michelle Cobban, André Gagnon, Ronald Jobe, Carole Carpenter, Linda Granfield and Françoise Lepage.
For the 2014 Claude Aubry Award, a call for nominations was posted on IBBY Canada’s website and in the fall issue of our online newsletter. We contacted publishers and professionals in the field of children’s literature so that they could propose candidates. Each year, two awards are given to recognize distinguished service in the field of children’s literature in English and in French. We received a total of 12 nominations — and all were remarkable.
The jury was comprised of Lisa Doucet, Co-Manager, Woozles Children’s Bookstore, Halifax; Ann Foster, Branch Supervisor, Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatoon; France Lapierre, educational consultant, Laval; and Susane Duchesne bookseller, Librairie Monet, Montreal. We selected two winners and these were announced at IBBY Canada’s Annual Meeting of Members on February 28, 2015.
The award for distinguished service in the field of children’s literature in English goes to Judith Saltman. For four decades, Ms. Saltman has impressed us with an incredible level of expertise in the field of Canadian children’s literature. This appointment highlights her outstanding work as a librarian, professor of children’s literature, mentor, researcher, and writer. She also founded the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program at the University of British Columbia.
For distinguished service in the field of children’s literature in French, the recipient is Jacques Payette. At age 86, Mr. Payette happily recounts the adventure of creating Toupie and Binou, Alice, Caillou, and Galette — characters well known to children today. Mr. Payette began publishing and printing books for children in Quebec at a time when this activity was still the prerogative of religious congregations and where very few authors could hope to someday publish their children’s book manuscripts in Canada.
Son of a printer and eldest of four children, he joined the family business. His passion for literature and history gradually extended to the publishing business, while retaining the printing business founded by his father. It was at his initiative that Payette Group, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014, became a pioneer in children’s literature by purchasing Les éditions Héritage, founded in 1968.
Both winners will receive their awards in conjunction with a special event for children’s literature in the coming year.
– Susane Duchesne, Claude Aubry Award Chair
This year, I, your friendly neighbourhood membership secretary, have been honoured with the opportunity to work on the Hans Christian Andersen Award committee, along with the co-president Josiane Polidori. The selection committee included Gillian O’Reilly, Judith Saltman, and Josiane, who determined the two Canadian finalists.
Awarded biennially by IBBY International, the Hans Christian Andersen Award honours authors and illustrators for their lifelong achievements and contributions to children’s literature. The 2016 jury, selected by IBBY’s Executive Committee from nominations made by its national sections, will be led by Canada’s own Patsy Aldana as they embark on the exciting and difficult process of selecting the winners of this prestigious award from a stellar list of international artists.
It is IBBY Canada’s great pleasure to share with you our nominated author and illustrator.
Kenneth Oppel is the Canadian author nominee. Oppel’s career and renown has grown exponentially since his first book, Colin’s Fantastic Video Adventure (Puffin Books, 1985), which was published when he was just 17. His breakout book, Silverwing (HarperCollins Canada, 1997), secured his place in the Canadian children’s literature firmament when it won the Governor General’s Literary Award and the hearts of young readers around the country and, soon, the world. His books have earned him dozens of awards and many honours. Kenneth Oppel has published 28 books and has a special knack for capturing the voice of his child protagonists as they embark on life-changing adventures and must discover their own identities along the way. His 29th title, in partnership with Jon Klassen, will be a middle grade novel entitled The Nest (HarperCollins Canada, September 2015) and is highly anticipated — so keep your eyes peeled!
Pierre Pratt, the winner of the 2014 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award for the charming Stop, Thief! (Kids Can Press, 2014), is our Canadian illustrator nominee. Illustrating works for children since the early 1990s, Pratt has also won many major awards in Canada including the Governor General’s Literary Award (three times!), the Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, and the Mr. Christie Book Award. His artwork is a breathtaking and eye-catching mixture of oil pastels and acrylic paints; he uses strong lines and bright colours to tell his stories and capture his readers’ imaginations.
The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books. While my own small part in the Andersen Award process is nearly at its completion, I can’t help but think that, while our fingers are crossed for both Oppel and Pratt, whether or not they win the grand prize is incidental as they are clearly winners in the eyes of Canadian readers.
– Stephanie Dror, Membership Secretary
The jury for the 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) has announced that PRAESA (Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa) is the winner of this year’s award — the richest prize in children’s literature. Based in Cape Town, the organization has promoted reading and literature for children and young people in South Africa since 1992.
From the press release:
For more than 20 years, PRAESA has made powerful, innovative moves to highlight literature as a key component of both personal and societal development, always grounded in the specific conditions of South African society and culture. Its work focuses on encouraging children to read for enjoyment, building their self-esteem, and helping them connect to their native language through reading and story.
In 2014, PRAESA shared the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award with IBBY Canada’s nominee, The Children’s Book Bank.
IBBY is pleased to announce that 50 books from around the world have been selected as part of the biennial Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. These outstanding books, in a variety of languages and formats, are for and about young people with disabilities.
Four Canadian titles were selected this year: How To by Julie Morstad (Simply Read Books, 2013); The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (Doubleday Canada, 2013); Emily Included by Kathleen McDonnell (Second Story Press, 2011); and Writing with Grace: A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome by Judy McFarlane (Douglas & MacIntyre, 2014).
The books will be on display at the IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities, housed at the North York Central branch of Toronto Public Library.
USBBY, the US section of IBBY, has announced the 2015 selections for its Outstanding International Books List. This year marks the 10th anniversary that USBBY has been recommending children’s books from around the world in their annual list.
A number of Canadian books — from picture books to YA — made the list. The full list of honourees is available here.
CODE is please to announce that Guyanese author Imam Baksh has won the 2015 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature for his first novel, Children of the Spider. More information about the winner and the two shortlisted titles is available on CODE’s website.
July 1, 2015: Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature has sent out a call for submissions for a special issue on Indigenous children’s literature from around the world. The submission deadline is July 1, 2015. More information is available on IBBY’s website.
September 1, 2015: Early bird registration opens for the 35th IBBY International Congress to be held in Auckland, New Zealand, from August 18 to 21, 2016. The theme of next year’s congress is “Literature in a Multi-literate World.” Find out more here.
September 30, 2015: Submission deadline for individual presentations and posters for the 35th IBBY International Congress in Auckland, New Zealand. The Congress will be held from August 18 to 21, 2016. More information is available here.
October 16-18, 2015: USBBY will be holding their 11th IBBY Regional Conference. The theme this year is “Through the Looking Glass: Exploring the Wonderland of International Children’s Literature.” The three-day conference will include talks by Kate DiCamillo, Leonard Marcus, Roger Mello, Paul Zelinsky, and more. You can find more information on their website.
October 27-31, 2015: IBBY Cuba will be holding their Reading 2015 International Congress. More information is available on their website.
IBBY Canada Newsletter
Editor: Katie Scott
Copy editor (English): Meghan Howe
Formatter: Camilia Kahrizi
Banner design: Martha Newbigging
French translation: Shannon Babcock, Susane Duchesne, Yveline Jean-Charles, Todd Kyle, Josiane Polidori