Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A Look at the Legacy of Annick Press

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A Look at the Legacy of Annick Press

Annick Press, one of Canada’s most innovative and cutting-edge publishers of books for children and young adults, is committed to producing titles that provide a positive reading experience by being self-affirming, educational, and entertaining.

Founded in 1975 by Rick Wilks and Anne Millyard, Annick's reputation was built on original picture books by such popular authors as Robert Munsch and Kathy Stinson. Munsch's The Paperbag Princess has sold millions of copies and continues to be a bestseller around the world.

While continuing to publish picture books, Annick has added contemporary fiction and non-fiction to its list, including books on science, world conflict, animal behaviour, and social history.

Brigitte Waisberg, Marketing Manager at Annick Press, confirms that Annick’s success is based on its commitment to evolve with the changing needs of young readers and as such, remain relevant. Annick’s award-winning titles speak to the issues that young people deal with every day: “Books such as The Little Black Book for Girlz/Guys and i.d.: Stuff That Happens to Define Us, for example, have demonstrated our willingness to tackle difficult subjects in unique ways,” says Waisberg.

Annick Press is also highly attuned to how children’s literature has evolved over the years. “Children’s books today have to challenge readers by presenting new ideas in an innovative way,” Waisberg continues. “Unlike any time in history, kids are growing up as visual learners. Books have to be visually engaging, which means attention-grabbing covers, interesting layouts and in the case of non-fiction titles, lots of photos or illustrations. Annick Press has always strived to be dynamic and groundbreaking, so keeping on top of change has been second nature.”

Annick books have won prestigious awards and honors around the world, including the Michael L. Printz Honor Award for Allan Stratton's Chanda's Secrets and the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-fiction for The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland. Approximately thirty titles a year are published by Annick’s editorial offices in Toronto and Vancouver, and books are distributed in North America by Firefly Books.

Notwithstanding the changes in children’s literature, Waisberg confirms that the very thing that makes a children’s book richly memorable hasn’t changed much over time: “Kids remember books in which they see themselves; adults still recall fondly picture books that mirrored their own experiences as children, 'Red is Best' being a classic example.”

Annick’s editors look for a high degree of originality, authentic dialogue, and richly visualized settings. For those burning with an idea for a children’s book, Waisberg advises that all prospective authors think deeply about their audience. “Any children’s book has to show respect for the reader and a willingness to enter the child’s world,” she says. “If writing for very young children, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself if you would want to read the story over and over again. If writing for older children or young adults, authors must be sensitive to what kids are thinking about, how they perceive and how they express themselves. Older readers will not tolerate phoniness of any kind. And finally, they should recognize that their primary job as an author is to offer new perspectives on old ideas.”

For more information about Annick Press, including submission guidelines, visit their website here.

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