Spring 2018, Vol. 38, No. 1
ISSN 1704-6033
En français

Letter from the Editor


My name is Patti McIntosh. I live in Edmonton where I founded a very small company, Junior Global Citizen Club, that produces children’s books and media with an emphasis on social justice, global citizenship and art.

I was very pleased to be asked to join the IBBY Canada board of directors and take on the role of newsletter editor. My very first job in the “real world” was as newsletter editor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta when the Faculty had a press. As the newsletter editor I had a wonderful opportunity to learn and I found myself very interested in how books are made. It is an interest that has stayed with me for many years.

And I was very pleased to take on the role for all the opportunities explored in this newsletter: to learn more about award-winning books, authors and programs both in Canada and internationally; to learn more about the exceptional programming work being done by IBBY Canada including the Indigenous Picture Book Collection and the Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program; and to learn more about the launch of the Children in Crisis reading program in Toronto. We plan to have a special focus on this program in the next issue of the newsletter.

I am deeply grateful to those who made the time to chat with me about the Children in Crisis program: Patsy Aldana, Mariella Bertelli and Mary Beth Leatherdale. Thank you to my fellow communications committee members and to the contributors to the newsletter. Thank you to Katie Scott her help and guidance with the transition. I am also grateful to Merle Harris for joining me for tea — and suggesting me for this role.

I hope we have the opportunity to get to know each other more through the newsletter — and our work together. A brief survey on communications preferences will be circulated in the coming weeks. I look forward to your input.

Happy reading!

– Patti McIntosh, Newsletter Editor

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Recap: Annual Meeting of Members

IBBY Canada’s Annual Meeting of Members (AMM) was held on March 3, 2018 at the Northern District Library in Toronto. The AMM provided a wonderful opportunity to review the activities of the previous year and preview the year ahead.

Highlights of this year’s AMM included:

  • Acknowledgment of the contributions of outgoing IBBY Canada board members and the introduction of this year’s executive
  • Programming news and updates on the Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program and the Indigenous Picture Book Collection
  • Review of IBBY Canada’s submissions to the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
  • Announcement of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award shortlist
  • A presentation by Mariella Bertelli on her work with creating a library and the Children in Crisis reading program on the island of Lampedusa in Italy, and the training of volunteers and others working with young refugees in Lampedusa

A very special component of the AMM was Fred Horler’s tribute to IBBY Canada Past President Sheila Barry, honouring her work and contributions to the organization. Fred talked about Sheila’s gift of making everyone she met feel special. Whether we knew her through IBBY or Groundwood or the larger publishing community, we all felt a personal connection with Sheila which explains why we all miss her very much.

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Launch of the Children in Crisis Reading Program for Refugee Children in Toronto

On April 23, 2018 IBBY Canada began the training of volunteers for a six-week pilot reading program in Toronto for young refugee claimants ages 6-12. The pilot program will run from May 28 to June 25, 2018.

The reading program follows a tradition of IBBY’s Children in Crisis programming worldwide which provides support for children whose lives have been disrupted through war, civil disorder or natural disaster.

The impetus for the reading program’s arrival in Canada began with a December 8, 2017 opinion piece by Patsy Aldana in the Toronto Star which cited the over 170,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America who are seeking refugee status in the United States. The opinion piece closed with mention of the IBBY/REFORMA program which is working to offer support for these refugee children.

That article was read by Steve Meagher, Shelter Manager of the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, who reached out and inquired about the availability of similar reading programs in Canada where the needs of refugee children are growing.

Increasing numbers of refugee claimants are arriving in Toronto and across Canada, and they are facing longer wait times for a refugee hearing. For example, it is anticipated that the children staying at the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre may be in the shelter system for 18 months to two years.

In this pilot program, IBBY Canada is training 30 volunteers, 15 of whom will take part in a test-run of the reading program with the children at Christie Refugee Welcome Centre.

In response to an open call circulated in March, volunteer interest in the pilot program exceeded expectations; attracting people with a range of backgrounds including people experienced in working with refugees, people experienced in working with books and reading — publishers, librarians, writers, storytellers — and people from the community-at-large.

For IBBY member and volunteer trainer, Mariella Bertelli, the exceptional response to the call for volunteers can be attributed to people “feeling the wave and have the sense that we belong to the world at large and want to help or contribute.” Further for Mariella, that success of the reading program lies both with the volunteers and the response from the children: “The volunteers come and stay. They connect with the children and the children connect with them. A message of hope and acceptance is transferred through the reading of the books and the children learn that the book is something they can come back to in trying times.”

For Mary Beth Leatherdale, IBBY Canada President, the reading program offers the opportunity to serve a well-defined need and do important and timely work that will potentially expand beyond the pilot project and address needs across the Greater Toronto Area and across Canada.

The most critical part of the program at this stage is the on-going commitment of volunteers who are, or who become IBBY members and who, in addition to giving their time, contribute their costs of involvement including police checks.

If IBBY members and supporters from across Canada are interested in becoming involved by volunteering or contributing to the reading program, they are encouraged to reach out to Mary Beth at president@ibby-canada.org.

– Patti McIntosh, Newsletter Editor

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Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program 2018

In April, IBBY Canada issued the call for submissions from published Canadian children’s book illustrators for the 2018 Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program, to be held in October at Toronto Public Library’s Northern District Branch. The submission deadline was May 18, 2018.

The program honours the memory of children’s book illustrator Joanne Fitzgerald (1956–2011), whose illustrations are in Plain Noodles, Emily’s House and Doctor Kiss Says Yes (winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award). The family of Joanne Fitzgerald collaborated with IBBY Canada to create and support the program, which launched in 2013 with Martha Newbigging. In the following years the illustrators were Patricia Storms, John Martz, Dianna Bonder and Ashley Barron.

From the submissions received, the 2018 Illustrator in Residence will be selected by a jury with representatives from IBBY Canada and Toronto Public Library, and 2017 illustrator Ashley Barron will also be on the jury. Remuneration of $4,000 will be provided to the illustrator; for out-of-town illustrators, there may be additional support for travel costs.

The 2018 Illustrator in Residence can look forward to a packed schedule in October, with art activities in the library for elementary school classes, evening presentations to adults about working as an illustrator, portfolio review meetings with individual artists, and talks to art students in high schools and colleges. As well, the illustrator’s original artwork will be exhibited in the library’s second-floor gallery.

IBBY Canada’s Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence coordinator Helena Aalto works closely with the illustrator, library staff, teachers in local schools, and arranges and schedules class visits and portfolio reviews. The libraries promote the program through their marketing vehicles, provide rooms and equipment for the sessions, and offer space to store art supplies.

Now in its sixth year, the Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence has become a high-profile program for IBBY Canada. We have built meaningful and lasting relationships with the family of Joanne Fitzgerald, Toronto Public Library and Edmonton Public Library — and in the years ahead we look forward to connecting with more libraries and more cities across Canada.

– Helena Aalto, Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Coordinator

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Update: Indigenous Picture Book Collection

The selection committee of Allison Taylor-McBryde, Patricia Knockwood, and Joanne Schwartz has finalized the list of 100 recommended picture books for the IBBY Canada Indigenous Picture Book Collection. The diverse collection includes titles from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit writers and illustrators from sea to sea to sea, reflecting their diverse cultures, languages, perspectives, and experiences. From board books to picture books for older readers, the list is a selection of some of the best work in print and available today. The list will be officially launched in Fall 2018.
If you’re interested in learning more, contact Mary Beth Leatherdale at president@ibby-canada.org.

– Mary Beth Leatherdale, President

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IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities

Every two years, IBBY launches its selection of (50) Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. All 75 national sections are invited to participate.

The IBBY Collection for Young People with Disabilities currently resides at the North York Central Library in Toronto. It boasts of a permanent collection of over 4,000 items in more than 40 languages. The collection includes:

  • Special formats such as Braille, Picture Communications Symbols, Sign Language
  • One-of-a-kind tactile and textile books
  • Extensive collection of picture books and novels that promote inclusion and disability awareness

This year, as in past years, the output of books with themes related to children and youth with disabilities in Canada was exceptional. It is a labour of love (and volunteer time) to read all of the books and then to select titles that best represent Canada. This work is repeated by each national section which collects and reads books submitted by its publishers. The books are assessed once again by Leigh Turina, head of the collection, and her team of volunteer readers. The list is beautifully presented in a full-colour printed bibliography at the biennial IBBY Congress (this year in Athens, Greece).

IBBY Canada is proud to support the Disabilities Collection and its mandate. In 2017, there were four Canadian books on the list of 50 outstanding titles:

  • Calvin by Martine Leavitt (Groundwood Books, 2015)
  • Dépourvu by Victoria Grondin (Éditions Hurtubise, 2016)
  • Rebound by Eric Walters (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2014)
  • Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books, 2015)

We eagerly wait to see which Canadian titles will join other international books on the list of IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities.

A PDF of the 2017 Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities is available here.

– Theo Heras, 2nd Vice-President

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IBBY on Social Media

Are you following IBBY Canada on social media? It’s the best place to see the latest news and updates from us as they happen. We would be so pleased to have you join us on Twitter and Facebook.

Please, don’t be shy — say hello!

– Trish Osuch, Website Chair

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Awards News

Samantha Cutrara receives IBBY Canada’s Russell Grant for research on Canadian children’s literature

IBBY Canada is pleased to announce that Samantha Cutrara is the recipient of this year’s Frances E. Russell Grant for research on Canadian children’s literature.

Dr. Cutrara, a History Education Strategist and Curriculum Specialist at York University in Toronto, received her Ph.D. in Education in 2012 with a focus on meaningful learning in Canadian history education and is now recognized as an expert in both traditional and non-traditional educational practices and sites of education, in the classroom, museums, and archives. The Russell Grant will help fund her research project on how graphic novels encourage new narratives about Canadian history and how these narratives can be linked into curriculum supports for teachers and librarians.

Thanks are extended to this year’s jury: Jo-Anne Naslund (Librarian Emerita, University of British Columbia); Erin Spring (former Russell grant winner and assistant professor, University of Calgary); jury chair, Deirdre Baker (author, Toronto Star children’s books reviewer, and assistant professor, University of Toronto).
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 Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr, 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.

Deadline for proposals for the 2018 Russell Grant is January 15, 2019. Click here for more information.

– Lesley Clement, Regional Councillor Ontario

Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award

On April 10, 2018, IBBY Canada proudly announced A Pattern for Pepper, written and illustrated by Julie Kraulis, as the winner of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award. The book is published by Tundra Books.

Members of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award were Camilia Kahrizi, former marketing and website coordinator for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre; Carol-Ann Hoyte, school librarian, poet, and children’s book editor; and Lyne Rajotte, school librarian for the Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Îles. Rajotte was the jury chair for 2018 and will pass the torch to Camilia Kahrizi next year.

The jury also chose two honour books for the award:

  • Town Is by the Sea, illustrated by Sydney Smith and written by Joanne Schwartz, Groundwood Books, 2017.
  • When the Moon Comes, illustrated by Matt James and written by Paul Harbridge, Tundra Books, 2017.

Thirty-eight English-language publishers and 11 French-language publishers submitted 140 books for this edition of the award. We thank all of them for the quality of the submitted works, which gave us a lot of pride in our Canadian creators.

The Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award was founded in 1985 in honour of one of the most celebrated illustrators in Canada. Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver left funds in her will to annually honour a remarkable artistic talent in a Canadian picture book. The winner receives $1000.

– Lyne Rajotte, Jury Chair 2018

Winners announced for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award

Patricia Aldana, chair of the jury for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and IBBY Canada member, announced the winners of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award on March 26, 2018 at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The Hans Christian Andersen Award is considered to be the children’s Nobel and is generously sponsored by Nami Island, Inc. in the Republic of Korea.

Congratulations to the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award winners — author Eiko Kadono of Japan and illustrator Igor Oleynikov of Russia.

Here’s what the jury had to say about their work:

Eiko Kadono from Japan

There is an ineffable charm, compassion, and élan in the work of this great Japanese author. Whether in her many marvellous and funny picture books, or her great series of novels about the witch Kiki, or her novel set during World War II about a brave girl who must walk through a terrifying tunnel of trees to get to school, Kadono’s books are always surprising, engaging, and empowering. And almost always fun. And always life affirming.
Although, Kadono has travelled widely throughout the world, her stories are deeply rooted in Japan and show us a Japan that is filled with all kinds of unexpected people. Her female characters are singularly self-determining and enterprising; figuring out how to cope with all kinds of complications without suffering too many self-doubts — though some of these do creep in. As such, they are perfect for this time when we are all seeking girls and women in books who can inspire and delight us with their agency. The language in her picture books is notable for its playfulness and use of onomatopoeia. And of course, the beautiful, but simple language in her novels makes them extremely readable. 

Igor Oleynikov from Russia

This exceptional illustrator can bring the page alive in a way that must be the envy of his peers. Coming from an early career as an animator, Oleynikov is a master of design and composition. Furthermore, he brings an extraordinary cast of characters to life — from young boys and girls, to witches and giants, to wolves and sharks, to fairies and trolls, to Joshua and Ruth from the Old Testament, to even a brilliant tiny mouse who goes to Harvard! Though he claims not to like illustrating ‘cute’ children, he is more than capable of creating beauty — in his landscapes and in his characters. Beautiful or not, human or not, they burst with life, movement and expression.
Oleynikov brings the great Russian artistic vocabulary, style and passion to his work. He frequently illustrates the Russian masters, Pushkin, Gogol, Trotsky, Brodsky, bringing them to life and to our contemporary sensibility. His versions of the classics are always original and surprising, never obvious or what one might expect. He is equally brilliant with Andersen, Grimm, the Old Testament, and Lear. While he excels at the short form — poems, stories, traditional tales, he can also create fabulous picture books. His talent knows no bounds.

In light of the high quality of the submissions, the jury chose to create a list of 15 outstanding books, which they consider to be of the highest quality and should be read by children all over the world. IBBY Canada’s author nominee, Kenneth Oppel, and illustrator nominee, Isabelle Arsenault, both had titles selected for this prestigious list. Oppel’s novel The Nest (HarperCollins Publishers, 2015) and Arsenault’s graphic novel Jane, the Fox & Me (Groundwood Books, 2013) were named by the jury as “outstanding works that merit translation everywhere, so that children around the world can read them.”

Congratulations to Ken and Isabelle!

Jacqueline Woodson is the laureate of the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

On March 27, 2018, Jacqueline Woodson was named winner of the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Jacqueline Woodson is an American author, born in 1963 and residing in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of more than 30 books, including novels, poetry and picture books. She writes primarily for young teens, but also for children and adults. One of her most lauded books is the award winning autobiographical Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Group, 2014).

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The award amounts to 5 million Swedish krona (approximately $613,000 or EUR 500 000) and is given annually to a single laureate or to several.

The citation of the jury reads:

“Jacqueline Woodson introduces us to resilient young people fighting to find a place where their lives can take root. In language as light as air, she tells stories of resounding richness and depth. Jacqueline Woodson captures a unique poetic note in a daily reality divided between sorrow and hope.”

Read the complete press release here.

France’s Les Doigts Qui Rêvent wins IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award

On March 26, 2018, Sunjidmaa Jamba (Mongolia), jury chair for the 2018 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, announced the winner of the 2018 award. France’s Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (Reading Fingers) is the 2018 recipient.

Les Doigts Qui Rêvent was created in 1993 by a group of parents and one teacher in Talant, France as a response to the lack of access to Tactile illustrated Books (TiBs) for visually impaired children.

The idea was to create and produce TiBs that would be accessible to blind children with the same level of quality as books published for sighted children. Books that are crucial to help blind children in their familial and social inclusion. Books that can be found in the same cultural places where the sighted find their books, such as in school and public libraries.

Read the complete press release here.

IBBY Canada members are encouraged to provide recommendations for the 2020 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award. Please contact Merle Harris at alberta@ibby-canada.org.

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Picture the Sky: Barbara Reid art exhibit at Evergreen Brickworks

Visitors to the Young Welcome Centre at Toronto’s Evergreen Brickworks were treated to a visual wonderland from March 3 to April 12: Barbara Reid’s exhibit of original art from her latest book, Picture the Sky. Events kicked off on March 4 with an art sale, with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to support programming for arts and children.

Photo courtesy of Barbara Reid

Congratulations also to Barbara for the honour of having a school named after her in Whitchurch-Stouffville in Ontario’s York Region District School Board.

– Lesley Clement, Regional Councillor Ontario [councillorontario@ibby-canada.org]

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International News

New Catalogue from Organización Española para el Libro Infantil y Juvenil (OEPLI)/ IBBY Spain: La literatura infantil y juvenil española/Children’s and Youth Literature from Spain

Organización Española para el Libro Infantil y Juvenil (OEPLI), the Spanish section of IBBY, and its four branch sections: Consejo General del Libro, ClijCAt, Galtzagorri Elkartea and Gálix have published the catalogue La literatura infantil y juvenil española Selección OEPLI / Children’s and Youth Literature from Spain.

The catalogue, available in Spanish and English, features 200 titles of significant children’s and youth books published last year past year in Spain.

A PDF of the catalogue is available here.

International Literacy Association’s (ILA) 2018 Choices Reading Lists Announced

The International Literacy Association (ILA) has announced the winning titles of the 2018 Choices reading lists, an annual selection of outstanding new children’s and young adult books, curated by students and educators themselves.

The 2018 Choices reading lists comprise titles in English published in the US and provides a summary of books that explore themes such as racial prejudice and police brutality, religious persecution and biracial relationships.    
The 2018 Choices reading lists, including titles and annotations, and information about the project can be found at here.

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Upcoming Events

August 30–September 1, 2018 (ATHENS, GREECE): IBBY’s 36th International Congress. The conference’s theme is “East Meets West Around Children’s Books and Fairy Tales.” For more information, visit the Congress website.

September 15, 2018 (HALIFAX): The Word on the Street: Halifax Book & Magazine Festival

September 23, 2018 (TORONTO): The Word on the Street: Toronto Book and Magazine Festival

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IBBY Canada Newsletter

Editor: Patti McIntosh

Copy editor (English): Meghan Howe

Formatter: Trish Osuch

Banner Illustration: Martha Newbigging