Author Guest Post: Mental Space by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

We’re bringing you a special treat today: a guest post from Me and Banksy author, Tanya Lloyd Kyi! Check out Tanya’s previous posts on Reading with Rendz and The Contented Reader for more insight into her writing process and be sure to keep an eye on her own blog for the final installment tomorrow.


To write a novel, you need two types of time. Time to sit in front of the keyboard, tapping away. And time to let your mind wander, puzzling over characters and playing with plot twists. The problem with the latter is that it looks suspiciously like doing nothing. And if you live, like I do, in a house with a husband and two teenagers, you’re not allowed to do nothing for long.

Can you drive me to the gym? Can these extra friends stay for dinner? And have you seen my black socks? No, not those black socks, the other ones.

I wrote Me and Banksy on a very tight deadline. I loved my characters — passionate and artistic Dominica, fiery Saanvi, and the über-smart but highly unmotivated Holden. But every day I needed to churn out new pages. I desperately needed time to plan and plot. 

Can you sign these field trip forms? Can you proofread my essay? Where did I put my hat? No, not that hat, the other one.

The answer, I found, was bedtime. Not my kids’ bedtimes, because they stay up later than me these days. No, it was my own bedtime. Instead of picking up a book or plugging in an audiobook like usual, I would turn out the light, close my eyes, and imagine myself in Dominica’s world. More often than not, the glimmer of an idea would appear. Sometimes, I’d scribble it down during breakfast.

Can you book me a haircut? Is this a pimple or a wart? Where did I put my backpack? Yes, of course that one.

I recently read a tweet about making use of unclaimed time. The minutes while waiting for the noodles to boil. I’m going to take that advice to heart this year, and see what new ideas appear, and what new stories I can write. I might just find a few more glimmers, tucked between the socks, the hats, and the backpacks.


Me and Banksy is available now! Make sure you’re following Tanya on social media!

TANYA LLOYD KYI: website | twitter

2020 Outstanding International Books List

Since 2006, the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) has put together an honor list of international books for young people. The list is published each year in February and highlights international books that are deemed to be outstanding in their field. We would like to congratulate Miguel Tanco whose beautiful book, Count on Me, was included on this year’s Outstanding International Books list!

Count on Me
By Miguel Tanco
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9780735265752 | Tundra Books

A young girl sees the world differently in this beautiful picture book celebration of math.

Everyone has a passion. For some, it’s music. For others, it’s art. For our heroine, it’s math. When she looks around the world, she sees math in all the beautiful things: the concentric circles a stone makes in a lake, the curve of a slide, the geometric shapes in the playground. Others don’t understand her passion, but she doesn’t mind. There are infinite ways to see the world. And through math is one of them.

This book is a gorgeous ode to something vital but rarely celebrated. In the eyes of this little girl, math takes its place alongside painting, drawing and song as a way to ponder the beauty of the world.

Hans Christian Andersen Award Shortlist

The Hans Christian Anderson Award is the highest international recognition give to an author and an illustrator of children’s books. Awarded every other year by IBBY, it recognizes lifelong achievement and is presented to creators whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children’s literature.

With patronage from Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and a sponsorship from Nami Island Inc., the Anderson Award recipients are selected by an international jury of children’s literature specialists.

The Author’s Award was first given out in 1956 and the first Illustrator’s Award was given in 1966. We are thrilled to announce that Isabelle Arsenault has been shortlisted for this year’s award – congratulations, Isabelle!

Colette’s Lost Pet
By Isabelle Arsenault
ISBN 9781101917596 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
Colette is exploring her new neighborhood and wants to make friends. But when she encounters someone her age she’s never met before, she doesn’t know what to say—so she hastily invents a lost pet! Things spiral a bit out of control as a neighborhood-wide search party is assembled and Colette makes her pet bird more amazing with each telling. Will the neighborhood kids catch on to her ever-growing fib?

Albert’s Quiet Quest
By Isabelle Arsenault
ISBN 9781101917626 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
There are so many distractions in Albert’s Mile End neighborhood, what’s a book-loving introvert to do? Desperate for a quiet place to read, Albert storms out to the alley behind his house where his friends and neighbors often meet to play, looking for a quiet place to read. And he almost does too, except for those meddling Mile End kids . . . who just want to have some fun, as LOUDLY as possible. Will Albert ever find a moment of quiet to enjoy his book? Or could his friends be looking for a book break of their own?

Picture Books about Mental Health

Kids Books about Mental Health
With childhood anxiety and other mental health concerns on the rise, talking to your child about mental wellness is more important than ever. Here are some picture books that can help start conversations about mental health and wellness with young children.

What's Up MalooWhat’s Up, Maloo?
By Geneviève Godbout
ISBN 9780735266643 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
No other kangeroo can hop like Maloo! But one day Maloo’s friends find him stepping instead of hopping. What’s wrong, Maloo? His pals look for ways to help Maloo regain the spring in his step. With patience, support and a little “hop” from his friends, Maloo gets his bounce back.

Noni Is NervousNoni Is Nervous
By Heather Hartt-Sussman
Illustrated by Geneviève Côté
ISBN 9781770493230 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Noni is nervous about playdates, and global warming, and most of all, about the first day of school. Her parents are worried too, and even her brother is a little wary. But Noni finds a friend, someone a little more outgoing than herself, and discovers that through friendship, she can belong and succeed in a world that once filled her with dread.

Where Oliver FitsWhere Oliver Fits
By Cale Atkinson
ISBN 9781101919071 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Oliver has always dreamed about where he will fit. Will he be in the mane of a unicorn? The tentacle of a pirate squid? The helmet of an astronaut? When he finally goes in search of his perfect place, he finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought. But like any puzzle, a little trial and error leads to a solution, and Oliver figures out exactly where he belongs.

swarm of beesSwarm of Bees
By Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Rilla Alexander
ISBN 9781101918791 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Watch out! A mischievous boy has unleashed an angry swarm of bees! The result is a zany gallop through a charming town where readers will encounter evidence of some bad behavior, some frenzied anger and thankfully, a hug and some spaghetti. It can feel good to be angry. It can feel better to stop.

Whimsy Heavy ThingsWhimsy’s Heavy Things
By Julie Kraulis
ISBN 9781770494039 | Hardcover
Ages 4-6 | Tundra Books
Whimsy’s heavy things are weighing her down. She tries to sweep them under the rug, but she trips over them. She even tries to sail them out to sea, but they always come back. Eventually Whimsy decides to deal with the heavy things one at a time … and a surprising thing happens.

Bug in a VacuumBug in a Vacuum
By Mélanie Watt
ISBN 9781770496453 | Hardcover
Ages 5-9 | Tundra Books
A bug flies through an open door where its entire life changes with the switch of a button. Sucked into the void of a vacuum bag, this one little bug moves through denial, bargaining, anger, despair and eventually acceptance – the five stages of grief – as it comes to terms with its fate.

The Bad Mood and the StickThe Bad Mood and the Stick
By Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
ISBN 9781101918777 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
Moods can be confusing. Especially to children. The Bad Mood and The Stick offers a refreshing, thoughtful look at the ways in which a bad mood wreaks havoc as it moves through the world, from person to person, leaving an unexpected trail in its wake: opportunities for laughter, forgiveness and even love. With wry, luminous art by Matthew Forsythe, at last you can look your bad mood in the eye.

The Pink UmbrellaThe Pink Umbrella
By Amelie Callot
Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
ISBN 9781101919231 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
When it’s bright outside, Adele is the heart of her community, greeting everyone who comes into her café with arms wide open. But when it rains, she can’t help but stay at home inside, under the covers. Because Adele takes such good care of her friends and customers, one of them decides to take care of her too.

CTV Your Morning Kids' Book Segment on Mental Health & Wellness

YourMorning_January20
Our Marketing & Publicity Associate Director, Vikki VanSickle, was on CTV’s Your Morning today to talk about kids’ books dealing with mental health and wellness. Check out our titles from her recommended list below and don’t forget to watch her segment!

PICTURE BOOKS

What’s Up, Maloo?
By Genevieve Godbout
ISBN 9780735266643 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
No other kangeroo can hop like Maloo! But one day Maloo’s friends find him stepping instead of hopping. What’s wrong, Maloo? His pals look for ways to help Maloo regain the spring in his step. With patience, support and a little “hop” from his friends, Maloo gets his bounce back.

Grumpy Monkey Party Time!
By Suzanne Lang
Illustrated by Max Lang
ISBN 9780593118627 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Random House Books for Young Readers
Have you ever been a little anxious about going to a party? Jim Panzee feels that. Porcupine is having a big party, and according to Jim’s best friend Norman, there will be–gulp–dancing. Jim can DEFINITELY not dance. When he tells his friends, they all try to teach him cool moves–surely that’s the only reason Jim isn’t excited about this party!

Big Boys Cry
By Jonty Howley
ISBN 9781524773205 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Random House Books for Young Readers
It’s Levi’s first day at a new school, and he’s scared. His father tries to comfort Levi by telling him “Big boys don’t cry.” Though the father immediately understands his misstep, he can’t find the words to comfort his son, and Levi leaves for school, still in need of reassurance.

CHAPTER BOOKS/MIDDLE GRADE

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
By Lenore Look
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
ISBN 9780375849305 | Paperback
Ages 6-9 | Yearling
Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’ s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770496545 | Paperback
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books
Thirteen-year-old Henry’s happy, ordinary life comes to an abrupt halt when his older brother, Jesse, picks up their father’s hunting rifle and leaves the house one morning. What follows shatters Henry’s family, who are forced to resume their lives in a new city, where no one knows their past. When Henry’s therapist suggests he keeps a journal, at first he is resistant. But soon he confides in it at all hours of the day and night.

YOUNG ADULT

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe
By Heather Smith
ISBN 9780143198673 | Paperback
Ages 12+ | Penguin Teen Canada
It’s Newfoundland, 1986. Fourteen-year-old Bun O’Keefe has lived a solitary life in an unsafe, unsanitary house. Her mother is a compulsive hoarder, and Bun has had little contact with the outside world. Bun and her mother rarely talk, so when Bun’s mother tells Bun to leave one day, she does. Hitchhiking out of town, Bun ends up on the streets of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
By Teresa Toten
ISBN 9780385678346 | Paperback
Ages 12+ | Doubleday Canada
When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. But when you’re fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it’s hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a “normal” relationship when your life is so fraught with problems?