Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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Giving Back: A Chat with Kathy Stinson

On this, my last day as writer-in-residence of Open Book Toronto, I’d like to say thanks for checking in throughout the month to read my chats with many of the people who sparkle within the world of children’s publishing. It’s been a wonderful experience for me to be able to host them in this forum.

For my final post, I’d like to introduce you to KATHY STINSON, the well-respected Toronto-born writer who has published books in many genres, for example: RED IS BEST and BIG OR LITTLE?, the two first Canadian picture books for preschoolers; four CANADIAN GIRL novels about Marie-Claire; novels KING OF THE CASTLE and RUBY; and the non-fiction HIGHWAY OF HEROES.

Reading on a Dump Site

by Susan Hughes

According to UNICEF more than 100 million children around the world do not go to school. Although they may enjoy listening to stories, and telling them too, it is likely that most of these kids will never learn to read, will never hold a book in their hands. One hundred million children ... Many aren’t allowed to go to school because of their gender, their background, or their citizenship. Many can’t afford to go to school. Others simply live too far away from their nearest school to attend.

The number 100 million is overwhelming, and yet, I know for a fact that change can – IS -- happening.

Views from the Bookstore - Part 3

I’m enjoying the opportunity to speak to kidlit book sellers CATHY FRANCIS, WENDY MASON, and HEATHER KUIPERS about their views on children’s book publishing. Today is the final posting in our three-part discussion.

ME: Finally, we know technology has brought great changes to the book industry. I’m curious about what you each think the future holds for children's book writers in Canada. Cathy, can you speak first about this?

CATHY FRANCIS: The future definitely holds challenges but whatever format the story is told in it still needs the writer. I believe there is room for all formats. Children still need the tactile, sensory experience that a traditional book gives. Other formats will give different experiences.

Picture Books Authors Tell All! - Part 2

Today I’m pleased to share the second of my two-part chat with picture book writers JEREMY TANKARD, LAUREL CROZA, and JO ELLEN BOGART.

ME: First, here’s a question just for you, Jeremy. You are a children's book writer AND illustrator. Have you ever written a picture book that you haven't also illustrated?

Views from the Bookstore - Part 2

I'm back again with WENDY MASON, the children’s literature specialist at Indigo Yorkdale; HEATHER KUIPERS, owner of the independent Toronto children’s book store Ella Minnow; and CATHY FRANCIS, former co-owner of the beloved Flying Dragon book store. Hope you enjoy today's discussion. (Canadian publishers, please take special note!)

Views from the Bookstore - Part 1

Welcome back after the long weekend!

On Thursday, I'll be running the second part of my chat with picture book writers, but today, I'm kicking off the week with a new series of three postings in which I chat with another set of experts in the world of children's publishing -- three women who choose the books that line the shelves in their respective book stores. I was keen to hear them reflect on topics important to children's book writers from their unique perspective.

WENDY MASON has been the children’s literature specialist at Indigo Yorkdale since the store opened in 1999. A lover of children’s books, she also has a collection of original works by Canadian illustrators, including incredible pieces by Barbara Reid, Kady McDonald Denton, Ted Harrison, and Werner Zimmerman.

Picture Book Authors Tell All! - Part 1

You’d never guess it when you read their books, which usually contain very few words on a very few pages, but picture book authors can be ... well, verbose on the page. Maybe it’s the delight of NOT having to compact a thought or scene into a confined space!

Anyway, today I planned to feature the responses of three well-known picture book authors to three simple questions about their craft -- but it seems that I can’t fit their answers into one blog posting! As a result, today’s post will be part one of two.

Not that I’m complaining, and neither will you. Not when you hear who the creators are:

Willow Dawson, Graphic Novelist with the Most-est, Chats with Susan Hughes

All this month, Open Book celebrates the amazing graphic novels and comics published in Ontario. I’d like to add to the hoop-la by introducing you to one very special kid lit graphic novelist, WILLOW DAWSON. The Toronto-based creator of books such as HYENA IN PETTICOATS (Puffin Books Canada) and LILA AND ECCO’S DIY COMICS CLUB (Kids Can), and the illustrator of NO GIRLS ALLOWED with Susan Hughes (Kids Can), Willow has been writing for 20 years and drawing for as long as she can remember. Willow is recently home from touring Prince Edward Island for TD Canadian Children's Book Week.

Sheila Barry, Co-Publisher at Groundwood Books, Chats with Susan Hughes

I have a real treat for you this morning. I’m chatting with SHEILA BARRY, one of the most respected and well-liked players in the world of children’s books. Sheila has worked in publishing for almost 20 years. For the past eight she was editor-in-chief at Kids Can Press. She is president of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and, in January of this year, became co-publisher of Groundwood Books.

ME: Sheila, thanks for speaking with me! You have been co-publisher of Groundwood Books for several months now. What exactly does a publisher of children's books do? What is your average day like?

Rock Stars for a Day

Look out, Ontario! The Festival of Trees, sponsored by the Ontario Library Association, takes place this week on May 15 and 16.

Kids across the province from K to 12 have spent months reading books nominated for “Forest of Reading” awards such as the as the Blue Spruce, Silver Birch, the Red Maple, White Pine, and the Prix Tamarac and then voting for their favourites. This Tuesday and Wednesday, dozens of the writers and illustrators lucky enough to have their books nominated for an award will gather at Harbourfront along with thousands, yes, THOUSANDS, of enthusiastic young readers.

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