May Cutler (1923-2011)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tundra Books founder, May Cutler at the age of 87. May passed away at her home in Montreal, surrounded by her family after battling several illnesses.

May’s accomplishments were remarkable, and after completing an MA in journalism from Columbia University, she worked for the United Nations, then as a journalist and later taught in the English department at McGill where she set up a three-year extension program in journalism. She also served as the first female mayor of Westmount from 1987-1991.

But we will always know her as the founder of Tundra Books, which she ran for almost 30 years. May was a visionary, and her passion for the arts and creating children’s books as works of art was evident in titles by renowned artists such as William Kurelek, Ted Harrison, Arthur Shilling, Song Nan Zhang, and many others. She is also responsible for the discovery of the incomparable Dayal Kaur Khalsa, who admired her publisher so much that she named the heroine of her books May.

May worked with author Roch Carrier and filmmaker Sheldon Cohen, when they teamed up to create one of Tundra’s perennial favorites, The Hockey Sweater. She also introduced Mohawk artist C. J. Taylor and the legends of the continent’s aboriginal peoples to children across the country.

May’s legacy is lasting. Every children’s book published in this country bears her influence. Her contribution to Canadian children’s literature was enormous and will live on forever.

We invite Tundra’s authors, artists, colleagues, and anyone who knew May, or even those who want to comment, to please leave your thoughts and reminisces below.

Please visit articles on May Cutler from:

The life and accomplishments of former publisher May Cutler will be celebrated in a special memorial event on Saturday, March 19 at 2:00p.m. at Victoria Hall in Montreal. The memorial event is being organized by members of the Cutler family, and will feature several guest speakers, including Mayor Peter Trent and author Roch Carrier.

Family establishes May Cutler Arts Fund
In honour of Cutler’s life and accomplishments — especially her interest in promoting the arts — a memorial fund has been set up by the family to help sponsor various art projects. This initiative came about over the past two weeks, said daughter-in-law Marina Cutler.

“As word got out about May’s passing, we had so many people contacting us to ask what they could do,” said Marina, who is overseeing the fund. “People wanted to know if they could make a donation, or should they send flowers — and if so, where should they send them?

“May and I had spent a lot of time discussing one of her dreams, which was to create an international sculpture garden in Montreal, so that was the springboard for the idea of the fund. We thought we could establish the May Cutler Art Fund in order to further her dream of this garden. Right now the focus is to follow through on that idea.”

Anyone interested in making a non-tax-exempt contributions to this fund can do so by sending a cheque to the May Cutler Arts Fund, P.O. Box 122 Station Victoria, Westmount, Quebec, H3Z 2V4. Contributions can also be made at the memorial event in Victoria Hall.

 

Guest Post: Intern Meets Superconference

Hi Everyone!

My name is Alison and I’m happy to introduce myself as Tundra’s new intern. I’m four weeks in and still excited to come into work to find myself surrounded by so many amazing children books! The walls here echo with stories….

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the OLA Superconference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on February 4th and 5th and help out at the Tundra stand. It was a great exhibition and an opportunity to get a peek at what’s new and exciting in the publishing world. It was also nice to meet so many friendly librarians and people who work so hard at getting the right books into the hands of the right kids!

OLA – the colourful worlds of publishers and libraries collide!

We had a lot of traffic at the Tundra booth for the author book signings. Marthe Jocelyn, Susin Nielsen, Heather Hartt-Sussman, Cyndi Sand-Eveland, Rina Singh, Farida Zaman, Monica Kulling, Ed Butts, and Christopher Moore signed copies of their latest Tundra books and answered questions about their stories and the inspiration behind them. (There were several requests for signed copies of Monica Kulling’s Merci Mister Dash! to be addressed to special friends of the canine persuasion, of which I’m sure Mister Dash would approve.)

I had created little signs announcing the time slots for the author signings. Of course, as a good little intern should, I made sure to double-check the spelling of all of the author’s names. But alas, there was one that slipped through, and I was quite embarrassed to realize at the last-minute that I had spelled Susin Nielsen’s name as “Susan.” Unfortunately, I’m sure she gets that a lot! I quickly turned that “a” into an “i” with a black marker but the mistake was pretty glaringly obvious (even little mistakes are scary when you’re an intern and you’re continually trying to prove your competence!). But, when Susin came around to sign Dear George Clooney, she was very sweet and not at all annoyed about it, and we joked that the now-massive “i” was done on purpose to remind others not to make the likely-common mistake. Oops!

Ed Butts signing copies of Shipwrecks, Monsters, and Mysteries of the Great Lakes

On Friday afternoon, the seventh annual CANSCAIP Mass Book Launch was held at the Expo. Twenty authors and illustrators went on stage to give pretty entertaining “infomercials” and insights into their latest titles. It was interesting to see the wide range of personalities going into the creation of current Canadian children books. From Tundra, Marthe Jocelyn (Folly), Richard Scrimger (Me & Death), Farida Zaman (Nearly Nonsense), and Veronika Martenova Charles (Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales), each did an excellent job giving a teaser snapshot of their books and describing what makes them relevant for young readers.

Marthe Jocelyn reading an excerpt from Folly at the CANSCAIP Mass Book Launch

This week Tundra’s going to another conference – Reading for the Love of It – February 10th and 11th at the Sheraton Centre. I’m looking forward to interacting with another incredibly important part of the kids + books equation: the teachers!

Launch of: Counting on Snow

On January 15, 2011, Maxwell Newhouse hosted the launch of Counting on Snow, his latest picture book for ages 2-5. The event was held at the Chilliwack Art Gallery in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Here are some of the photos from the reception, courtesy of Maxwell Newhouse.


Maxwell invited local schools to attend and provided lots of healthy snacks and refreshments.


Maxwell had all the original paintings displayed from Counting on Snow for attendees to see.


He also showcased original artwork from The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew.


As well as The House That Max Built.


Here comes the rush of signings books and posters!


If you were not able to attend the launch, Maxwell Newhouse’s art installation will be on display until February 17, 2011. We recommend that you stop by to check them out!

Counting on Snow Giveaway:

As a bonus, enjoy the snow in the comfort of your own home. To enter, leave us a friendly comment below telling us what comforts you during snowy weather – is it a cup of hot chocolate, a roaring fireplace, or snuggling under the covers?

A winner will be chosen at random and will receive a copy of Maxwell Newhouse’s Counting on Snow and a set of the illustration miniatures. Please review our rules and this giveaway ends at midnight on Thursday, January 27, 2011 . Thank you for entering!


The miniatures would look lovely framed and hung in a library, classroom, or child’s bedroom!

What readers are saying about Counting on Snow:

CBC TD Kids Bookclub Contest

CBC Radio is partnered with the TD Bank Financial Group and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre to run a contest for middle school students across Canada – Greater Vancouver, the Edmonton area, the Calgary area, Manitoba, Toronto, the Montreal area, and Mainland Nova Scotia.

It’s an opportunity for young readers to win a visit from one of the five nominated authors for a book club discussion, plus copies of the book. CBC Radio will even record the event for broadcast, so readers will be heard on the radio!

We have two TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award nominees this year who are participating in the contest:

A Thousand Years of Pirates
Written and illustrated by William Gilkerson
Hardcover | 96 Pages
ISBN 978-0-88776-924-5
For ages 10 – 14
“A beautifully illustrated treasure trove of information… Chronicles the history of piracy from the time of the Vikings to the present day… This clear and compelling cross-over (history) for all ages includes not only biographical and dramatic narratives, but also the rarely-told sordid and sad details of piracy.” – Jury Comments

Watching Jimmy
Written by Nancy Hartry
Hardcover | 160 Pages
ISBN 978-0-88776-871-2
For ages 12 and up
Watching Jimmy is a masterful exploration of the impact a young girl’s voice can have when she is supported by adult allies… A suspenseful novel of loyalty, determination and compassion… Hartry creates a memorable portrayal of the secret subculture of childhood… A profound and powerful story.” – Jury Comments

The other nominees are Janet McNaughton (Dragon Seer), Sharon Jennings (Home Free), and Arthur Slade (The Hunchback Assignments)! All great authors and books!

To Enter:
Individual classes must submit an original short story, poem or song convincing CBC Radio to bring the TD Kids Book Club to their school. Entrants must tell CBC why their class is so special when it comes to books and reading. Please visit www.cbc.ca/kidsbookclub for more information related to your location.

Contest Entry Deadline:
Friday, October 15, 2010. Please help spread the word, the entry deadline is approaching fast!

The 2010 Word on the Street

Have you started planning out your schedule for Sunday, September 26th, 2010? Everyone is buzzing about the author events, presentations, workshops, and marketplace with the best selection of Canadian books and magazines. We hope to see you at the Word on the Street festival this weekend!

IN VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA:
Raise-a-Reader Corner:
12:00 PM – Kathryn E. Shoemaker with Clay Man and Good-bye Marianne
1:20 PM – Maxwell Newhouse with The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew
Cancelled – Irene Watts with No Moon

  

IN KITCHENER, ONTARIO:
Heritage Canada Reading Rocks Tent:
12:00 PM – Nan Forler with Bird Child
TBA – Ann Love and Jane Drake with Talking Tails: The Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets

 

IN TORONTO, ONTARIO:
The Children’s Reading Tent:
1:20 PM – Heather Hartt-Sussman with Nana’s Getting Married
2:40 PM – Susin Nielsen with Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom
3:40 PM – Monica Kulling with All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine
4:30 PM – Kevin Sylvester with Splinters
4:50 PM – Jan Andrews with Rude Stories
Great Books Marquee:
1:15 PM – Richard Scrimger with Me & Death
The Activity Tent:
3:00 PM – Jason Bone with Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden

       

Tundra Books will be selling books, giving away posters, catalogues, postcards, and bookmarks. Look for us at KidStreet! Also, click here to see photos from last year’s festival.

Bonus, to celebrate KidStreet, Open Book: Toronto and The Word On The Street are giving away a Children’s Book Prize Pack and a Family Pass to the Ontario Science Centre! To enter, please visit the Open Book: Toronto website.