Spring 2017, Vol. 37, No. 1
ISSN 1704-6033
En français

Letter from the Editor

The May issue of our newsletter is always a favourite to work on, since it’s full of exciting news after our Annual Meeting of Members and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. In this issue of the newsletter we’ve got award announcements — from national and international awards — a recap of our Annual Meeting of Members, dossiers from our 2018 Hans Christian Andersen nominees, and more. We’ve also added a new column that will feature international IBBY news, so that you can stay connected with our national sections from around the world.

Enjoy the read!

– Katie Scott, Newsletter Editor

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President’s Report

Dear IBBY Canada friends,

With spring finally here, the board of IBBY Canada is gearing up for a membership drive that will begin in late May. If you know anyone who might be interested in becoming an IBBY supporter, we encourage you to suggest that they join. IBBY Canada has been fortunate in having dedicated and generous supporters over the years, and we welcome new members. We also look for opportunities to recognize and thank our current members for their unstinting support of IBBY’s efforts.

To that end, we are delighted to announce that we have made author Deborah Ellis a lifetime member of IBBY Canada, as well as naming Robert Young as an honorary patron. Deborah is the author of The Breadwinner series, among many, many other classic works for children, while Robert Young provides the necessary support for the Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program, named in honour of his late wife.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the newsletter. And, as always, if you have suggestions for how the IBBY Canada board can improve the work that it is doing, or if you would like to volunteer for a project, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Thanks and best wishes,

– Sheila Barry, President

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Annual Meeting of Members

On March 4, IBBY Canada’s members gathered at the Northern District Library in Toronto for the Annual Meeting of Members (AMM). The annual event is a great opportunity for members to hear about IBBY Canada’s activities from the past year, to meet the board of directors, and to hear about upcoming initiatives. Some highlights from this year’s AMM included:

  • Guest speaker Jenny Kay Dupuis spoke about the importance of making Indigenous literature accessible to children, youth, educators, and librarians so that they can explore truth, honour community voices, and build understanding.
  • We announced the winners for our national awards, including the Cleaver Award and the Aubry Award, and the Canadian nominees for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
  • We recapped Dianna Bonder’s experience as the Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence.
  • Mary Beth Letherdale spoke about the Indigenous Book Collection and our funding proposal to the Canada Council for the Arts.
  • Patricia Aldana spoke about the recent work of the IBBY International Reforma Project.

At the end of the meeting, people were invited to join an informal discussion about how we are doing as an organization, where we can improve, and how to get involved. IBBY Canada board members moderated the discussion groups, and we came away with lots of wonderful ideas and inspiration for the year ahead!

– Katie Scott, Newsletter Editor

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Isabelle Arsenault Wins Cleaver Award

IBBY Canada is pleased to announce the artists of the winning book and the two honour books for the 2016 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award. The winner of the Cleaver Award receives $1,000. The winning book and the honour books demonstrate the Cleaver Award criteria of “fusion of words and pictures,” with art that “speaks to the child,” has “warmth and depth of emotion” and a “storytelling quality.”

Louis parmi les spectres by Isabelle ArsenaultThe winner is Isabelle Arsenault for Louis parmi les spectres, a complex and mature graphic novel written by Fanny Britt (Éditions de la Pastèque, 2016). The lives of Louis and his little brother are shadowed by the rift between their parents and their father’s depression and alcoholism. Arsenault portrays their world in charcoal and watercolour, with washes of black, grey and tan, “the blues” lurking in many images, and delicate applications of chartreuse and red. The masterful visual storytelling speaks to the emotional depth of each character. Isabelle Arsenault previously won the Cleaver Award for Virginia Wolf (Kids Can Press, 2012), and is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration.

The artists of the two honour books for the Cleaver Award are:

Eric Fan and Terry Fan for The Darkest Dark, written by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion (Tundra Books, 2016). It was during the seminal summer of the 1969 lunar landing that young Chris Hadfield knew he would become an astronaut. The Fan brothers work collaboratively in ink, graphite, and digital composition, merging history with fantasy, weaving in cultural and historical references while illuminating the imaginative life of young Chris and his triumph over his fear of the dark.

Matt James for The Stone Thrower, written by Jael Ealey Richardson (Groundwood Books, 2016). The harsh reality of growing up in “the projects” in a segregated community in Ohio is vividly depicted in Jael Ealey Richardson’s story of her father, Canadian Football League icon Chuck Ealey. With bold colours layered and then scratched to create gritty images and textures, Matt James’ naïve paintings juxtapose the light and the dark, echoing Chuck’s challenges and ultimate victory. Touchdown!

The jury members for the 2016 Cleaver Award were Lyne Rajotte, school librarian and board member of Corporation of Professional Librarians of Quebec; Camilia Kahrizi, Marketing and Website Coordinator, Canadian Children’s Book Centre; and chair Allison Taylor-McBryde, Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia.

About the Cleaver Award

IBBY Canada’s Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award, established in 1985, honours 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. A list of the winners of the past 30 years is available on the IBBY Canada website.

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Gillian O’Reilly and Daniel Sernine Win Claude Aubry Award

IBBY Canada is pleased to present the 2016 Claude Aubry Award for distinguished service in the field of children’s literature in English to Gillian O’Reilly and in the field of children’s literature in French to Daniel Sernine.

Gillian O'ReillyFor more than 20 years, Gillian O’Reilly was the editor of Canadian Children’s Book News. Her significant contributions to the publication’s focus and content transformed the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s newsletter into an important and widely read national magazine. A passionate supporter of Canadian children’s books, Gillian is an active volunteer with many book organizations and a frequent participant at conferences, festivals, launches, presentations, meetings, and other book events. She is the author of two non-fiction books for young readers. From a letter nominating Gillian O’Reilly: “Gillian is a true champion of Canadian children’s literature. Her commitment shines through in all she does.”

As a creator, critic, and publisher, Daniel Sernine has worked in the world of literature for young people for most of his life. Since 1991, he has been the editor of the highly regarded children’s and youth literature magazine Lurelu, which focuses on French-language books published in Canada and is an essential resource in Quebec and across Canada. Daniel is the author of many novels for teens and writes for textbooks, comic books, magazines, anthologies, and collections. From a letter nominating Daniel Sernine: “As a cultural influence, Daniel is quietly persistent, eternally present as a voice for children’s literature, [and] an active advocate for the art and impact of the genre.”

About the Claud Aubry Award

IBBY Canada presents the Claude Aubry Award biennially to two individuals who have made significant contributions to Canadian children’s literature in English and in French. Previous recipients include Judith Saltman, Jacques Payette, Patsy Aldana, Marie-Louise Gay, Andrea Deakin, Chantal Vaillancourt, Dave Jenkinson, Charlotte Guérette, Peter Carver, Catherine Mitchell, Bertrand Gauthier, Michael Solomon, Ron Jobe, Virginia Davis, Judy Sarick, May Cutler, and Sheila Egoff. The Claude Aubry Award was established in 1981 to honour the late author, translator, and director of the Ottawa Public Library.

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Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr Receives Russell Grant 

Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr Credit Michelle Hulan
Photo credit: Michelle Hulan

IBBY Canada is pleased to announce that Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr (University of Ottawa) is the recipient of the 2016 Frances E. Russell Grant. The $1,000 Russell Grant will support her research on the effects of the sale of the Ryerson Press, the findings of the Ontario Royal Commission on Book Publishing, and the development of children’s literature in Canada in the early 1970s.

Ryerson Press was the first Canadian publisher, in its time publishing educational, professional, and trade books. Its eventual sale to McGraw-Hill in 1970 caused an uproar in the Canadian publishing industry, with questions raised in the House of Commons and a protest march in the streets of Toronto. A history of the press represents, to a great extent, the history of Canadian publishing.

Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr is a part-time professor at the University of Ottawa, where she received her PhD in English/Canadian Studies in 2014. She also runs her own writing, editing, and translation business. She has worked in Canadian publishing for more than 25 years, in editorial and production for a range of literary and academic presses, as well as in marketing for several children’s publishers.

The jury for the Russell Grant consisted of Jo-Anne Naslund, Instructional Programs Librarian, University of British Columbia; Benjamin Lefebvre, Assistant Professor, Ryerson University; and jury chair Deirdre Baker, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto Star children’s books reviewer, and author.

About the Frances E. Russell Grant

The Frances E. Russell Grant was established in memory of a longtime 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 Erin Spring, 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.

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Andy Jones Feted at Toronto Storytelling Festival

Andy JonesOn March 31, IBBY Canada and the Toronto Storytelling Festival jointly hosted a luncheon for Andy Jones, Newfoundland’s best-known storyteller, as part of the 2017 storytelling festival. Andy has been a professional writer, actor, and storyteller for over 40 years. He is well known in Canada as one of the groundbreaking members of the Newfoundland comedy troupe CODCO. Andy is also a prize-winning author of children’s books. His retellings of traditional Jack tales, with a Newfoundland twist, are published by Running the Goat Books & Broadsides.

Andy was one of the headliners at the festival this year. He told traditional tales at several venues during the weeklong event. At the final concert, he entertained the audience with his idea of what a Shakespearean tragedy might sound like if it were set in Newfoundland.

The luncheon brought together two communities — storytelling and children’s literature — who share a common love of good story. Those lucky enough to attend the luncheon, which was held in a cozy room at the Free Times Cafe, were treated to a sumptuous buffet lunch. Andy regaled the audience with his Jack tales and a piece from his audiobook Letters from Uncle Val.

Everyone left fully sated in body and soul — with excellent food and droll stories by a master storyteller.

– Theo Heras, Second Vice President

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Hans Christian Andersen Award: Canadian Nominees

The Hans Christian Andersen (HCA) committee are pleased to announce the Canadian nominees for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award. Kenneth Oppel is our author nominee and Isabelle Arsenault is the illustrator nominee.

Kenneth OppelKenneth Oppel is an author of diverse and exceptional talents. His body of work within Canadian children’s and young adult literature has received numerous awards and been commended by scholars and critics for strong characters, impressive world-building, and his ability to write across genre and age group — he has written picture books, novels for early readers, and young adult fiction. Oppel can move from historical fiction to contemporary and magical realism, from fantasy to steampunk, and each narrative garners fans, prizes, and yet more commendation. With books like The Nest (HarperCollins Publishers, 2015) and Every Hidden Thing (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016), no wonder Oppel’s work is beloved internationally and that IBBY Canada has chosen him as a HCA nominee for the third time! The nomination dossier for Kenneth Oppel is available to download here.

Isabelle Arseneault - Photo credit: Cindy Boyce
Photo credit: Cindy Boyce

Isabelle Arsenault is a well-loved and well-respected illustrator both with her readers and among reviewers from Canada and around the world. With 15 illustrated books now to her name, Arsenualt’s work has been recognized with the 2017 BolognaRaggazi Award for Art for Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016), the Governor General’s Literary Award for Le cœur de monsieur Gauguin by Marie-Danielle Croteau (Éditions Les 400 coups, 2005), Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear (Kids Can Press, 2012), and Jane, le renard & moi by Fanny Britt (Éditions de la Pastèque, 2012), and the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award for Virginia Wolf  and Louis parmi les spectres by Fanny Britt (Éditions de la Pastèque, 2016). From an alphabet book to graphic novels to picture books, Arsenault tackles and humanizes complex subject matter with her distinctive, evocative style and renders her characters’ inner landscapes with heart-stopping precision and humanity. The nomination dossier for Isabelle Arsenault is available to download here.

The Hans Christian Andersen Award — the highest international honour given to an author and an illustrator of children’s books — is awarded biennially by IBBY International to an author and illustrator in recognition of  creators whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children’s literature. Jury President Patricia Aldana will lead the international jury of children’s literature specialists to select the winners. After the jury meeting in January 2018, the shortlist will be published. The winner will be announced at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2018.

The committee comprised of Dr. Rob Bittner, Dr. Lesley Clement, Stephanie Dror, Mary Beth Leatherdale, and Josiane Polidori is grateful to Professor Mavis Reimer, University of Winnipeg, for writing Kenneth Oppel’s Statement of Contribution to Children’s Literature and to Professor Perry Nodelman, Professor Emeritus, University of Winnipeg, for writing the statement for Isabelle Arsenault. Thanks to Groundwood Books and HarperCollins Canada for generously donating the shipping of the books. Special thanks to Rob Bittner for his elegant design of Kenneth Oppel’s dossier and to Andrew Dupuis, Kids Can Press, for his delightful work on Isabelle Arsenault’s dossier. Thanks also to Meghan Howe for copy editing the dossiers and for her attentive enthusiasm in the final production stages.

Our congratulations to Oppel and Arsenault. Your exceptional contribution to the literary and artistic heritage of children’s literature in Canada and around the world deserves to be recognized and celebrated. For that, we’re grateful — and feeling lucky!

– Mary Beth Leatherdale, Vice President

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News from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 

From March 26 to 29, the international children’s literature community congregated in Italy for the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Winner announcements were made for several major international awards, including the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA). IBBY Canada is a nominating body for this award, and each eligible year we prepare nomination dossiers to champion Canadian talent on the world stage.

Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 

Wolf ERLBRUCHGerman illustrator and picture book author Wolf Erlbruch is the recipient of the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. This prize, the richest in children’s literature, is awarded each year to an author, illustrator, storyteller, or reading promoter of children’s literature.

The ALMA jury writes, “Erlbruch’s style as an illustrator grows out of a long and robust tradition reaching back to the early twentieth century and is characterized by strong lines combined with graphic precision. Erlbruch has pushed the envelope of tradition in many directions, making significant use of collage and experimental graphic techniques to convey narrative meaning. . . . A frequent moral of Wolf Erlbruch’s stories is that we should all try to see ourselves with some perspective, and accept even our unattractive qualities — we all have them, and perhaps it is really these qualities that make us special.”

On receiving this prestigious honour, Erlbruch says, “[Astrid Lindgren] didn’t know me, but I knew her for a long time through her books, which I love for her humour and sharpness. It’s everybody’s humour, it’s the kind of humour everyone can appreciate. I never believed I would receive this award, but now I know it is true. I’m still in a shock and will be for some time. But it’s wonderful!”

For more information, including the full jury citation, visit www.alma.se.

More News from Bologna

Mariella Bertelli, member of IBBY Canada and IBBY Italia, chaired a panel discussion titled “Bridging Worlds: Reaching Out to Young Refugees with Books and Stories,” in which she spoke about IBBY Canada’s Silent Books Exhibit and Syrian refugee initiative. Mariella was also a jury member for the third edition of the Silent Books Project: From the World to Lampedusa and Back, which selected Sidewalk Flowers (Groundwood Books, 2015) as an honour book.

Congratulations to Kids Can Press, a longtime IBBY Canada patron, for winning the 2017 Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year (North America).

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IBBY International News

International — Illustrators are invited to participate in an upcoming exhibition, Migrations (September 9–30, 2017), hosted by the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society (ICPBS) and in collaboration with BIBIANA, the International House of Art for Children in Bratislava, Slovakia. To participate, send ICPBS a postcard (10 x 15cm) with your illustration of a bird on the picture side of the card and a relevant message, phrase, or thought on the theme of migration on the message side of the card. The submission deadline is June 15, 2017. For more information, please download the brief and contributor agreement.

United States USBBY has announced its 2017 Outstanding International Books list, which recognizes 41 children’s books of exceptional merit from around the world. Download the full list here.

El Salvador — IBBY International is helping to establish the Library of Dreams in El Salvador. A video is available on IBBY’s Facebook page.

Greece — IBBY Greece will be hosting the 36th IBBY World Congress in Athens, Greece, from August 30 to September 1, 2018. The congress will be held in conjunction with the festivities surrounding the celebration of Athens as the UNESCO World Book Capital for 2018. For more information, please visit the IBBY website.

Thailand — The third annual Asia Oceania Regional IBBY Congress took place from May 9–12, 2017, in Bangkok, Thailand. The theme of this year’s conference was “READ = LIFE: Children’s Books in the Digital Age.”

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Upcoming Events

July 29–August 2, 2017 (TORONTO): International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) Congress at York University, Toronto. IBBY Canada’s Sheila Barry, Dr. Rob Bittner, and Leigh Turina will be part of a panel titled “An (Im)Possible Literature: Childhood and (Dis)ability Representation in Books for Young People.”

October 20–22, 2017 (SEATTLE): The 12th IBBY Regional Conference at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. The theme of this year’s conference is “Radical Change Beyond Borders: The Transforming Power of Children’s Literature in a Digital Age.” Guest speakers include Pam Munoz Ryan, Jerry Pinkney, Sarah Ellis, Sherman Alexie, Peter Sís, and more. IBBY Canada’s Theo Heras and Allison Taylor-McBryde will present “Canadian Picture Books — Across the Border: Embracing Diversity.” IBBY Canada members can register at the USBBY member rate.

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IBBY Canada Newsletter

Editor: Katie Scott
Copy editor (English): Meghan Howe
Formatter: Camilia Kahrizi
Banner design: Martha Newbigging

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