The 2010 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award

The winners of the 2010 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award were announced today. As usual, we were all invited to attend the ceremony at the school. The winners were selected by two juries: students in grades 3 and 4 chose the children’s picture book winner and students in grades 7 and 8 picked the young adult/middle reader award winner.

Congratulations to our authors and illustrator!

Winner of the Children’s Picture Book Award Category
Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion
Written by Jane Barclay
Illustrated by Renné Benoit

Winner of the Young Adult/Middle Reader Book Award Category
Vanishing Girl: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 3rd Case
Written by Shane Peacock

Renné Benoit and Jane Barclay get their pictures taken with the grade 3 and 4 students and the awards committee:

Shane Peacock with the grade 7 and 8 student jurors:

Renné, Jane, and Shane stayed to sign books for the students:

Not to break tradition, there were cupcake treats at the end of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award!

Thank you to the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, the Awards Committee, the Canadian Booksellers Association, the students, librarians, teachers, and school principal!

Turning Pages 2010

We are happy to hear that there is a new literary festival for children in Kitchener-Waterloo!

Here are the scheduled times for our authors and illustrators:

11:30 am – Laura Beingessner
Illustrator of Our Corner Grocery Store and Sail Away With Me.

3:00 pm – Heather Hart-Sussman
Heather Hart-Sussman wants to tell you about Nana’s wedding. Life with Nana is perfect, that is until she meets Bob!

3:30 pm – Nan Forler
Local teacher, Nan Forler, brings the story of Bird Child alive. Bullying and the ability to rise above it are at the heart of this strikingly beautiful picture book.

Turning Pages – A Literary Festival
Date: Saturday, May 15th, 2010
When: 10:00am-9:00pm
Where: The Children’s Museum
Address: 10 King Street West, Kitchener, ON N2G 1A3
Admission: $10 each or buy any kids or teen book from Words Worth Books and receive 25% off a single admission!

Thanks TCAF!

TCAF is such a great event! Tundra Books was exhibiting at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this year and it was great getting feedback about our books and chatting with those that stopped by.

Did you have fun at TCAF’s Kids Day Programming?

We did! In the Novella Room at the Toronto Reference Library, J. Torres and Jason Bone introduced families to the world of Alison Dare! J. did Q&As with the children, explained the photo contest, and gave away some Alison Dare prizes.

Jason showed us how he sketches Alison Dare and the Blue Scarab. Then, the kids came up with their own challenging requests, broccoli with eyes and a very small dog were some of the examples:

Lesley Fairfield also came in to sign Tyranny at the Tundra table on both days:

A huge thank you to Chris, Peter, and The Beguiling for being our partnered bookseller! Thank you to Scott Robins for organizing Kids@TCAF! Finally, many thanks to the TCAF volunteers that helped out!

Tundra at TCAF 2010

Can’t wait to read Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden?

Well you’re in luck! Tundra Books will be exhibiting at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this year! Come by our booth at TCAF this weekend to get your copy before anyone else. We will be pre-releasing the books for TCAF only! The Beguiling will be our partnered bookseller at the booth. Otherwise, you’ll have to patiently wait for the release date. =)

Get your copies signed! The Alison Dare creators, J. Torres and Jason Bone, will be signing at our table from 2:00pm-3:00pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures
By J. Torres
Illustrated by Jason Bone
ISBN: 978-0-88776-934-4
96 Pages; Black & White
For ages 8+
Trade Paperback
“Filled with life and energy, the pictures seem to move on the pages as you read them.” — Jack Blake,

Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden
By J. Torres
Illustrated by Jason Bone
ISBN: 978-0-88776-935-1
104 Pages; Black & White
For ages 8+
Trade Paperback
“These are the comics I wish I had as a kid! … Jason Bone’s art really brings the story to life; it’s expressive without being exaggerated, and he really brings out the goofy humor of the stories.” – Brigid Alverson, Comic Book Resources

Additionally, TCAF has Kids Day Programming! On Sunday, May 9th from 11:30am-12:15am in the Novella Room, they will be spotlighting Alison Dare! J. Torres and J. Bone will introduce you to Alison’s world of globe-trotting quests filled with danger with a Q&A session and live drawing.

Tyranny author and illustrator, Lesley Fairfield, will be signing at the Tundra table at 3:00pm on Saturday and at 12 noon on Sunday.

By Lesley Fairfield
ISBN 978-0-88776-903-0
120 pages; Black & White
For ages 11+
Trade Paperback
New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age list
“ . . . This is one of the most moving and important graphic novels to come along in years . . .” – Starred Review, School Library Journal

Come by, say “hi,” and pick up the Tundra Books and McClelland & Stewart Graphic Novel Sampler, featuring the works of: J. Torres, J. Bone, Lesley Fairfield, Shaun Tan, David Small, Cam Kennedy, Alan Grant, Scott Chantler, and Steve Murray!

TCAF Exhibition Days:
Saturday, May 8th, 2010 from 9am-5pm
Sunday, May 9th, 2010 from 11am-5pm
Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto
Free admission! Follow TCAF on Twitter.

Guest Post: Nan Forler

Nan Forler, author of Bird Child, was invited to participate in gritLIT 2010. Here, she recaps her adventures in Hamilton for the festival and a reading at a school she used to teach in. Sounds like she had a busy (but fun) week! Photos courtesy of Nan Forler.

Nan Forler: I have recently returned from two days of readings at inner-city schools: the first two as part of the Hamilton GritLit Literary Festival, and the second at a school Read-a-thon in Kitchener.

You can feel the spirit when you walk into these inner-city schools. There is a joy among the kids, a sense of belonging in a place where they are free to be themselves. The teachers seem to have a palpable love of the school and the sense of humour needed to get through each day.

I drive through the fog and rain to Earl Kitchener School, where Lindsay Hodder, the children’s event coordinator for GritLit, welcomes me at the door. She has everything meticulously arranged and ready to go. We wander up and down stairs and through old brick corridors, with a history and character you don’t find in the “leafy green schools,” as those of us who teach in poorer neighbourhoods refer to the fancy new buildings in suburbia. The audience is much larger than planned, but the students are wonderfully attentive and eager to participate, the teachers supportive and welcoming. Sincere thank yous as we pack up to leave.

That afternoon, I drive past Hess Street School twice, questioning my GPS that insists I have arrived at my destination. The school is tucked between factories and row houses, with no parking for me, my guitar, and my gear in the pouring rain.

Hess Street School is 75% ESL students, the literacy teacher tells us. “You’ll love these kids,” she adds. And who wouldn’t? The students file in, a United Nations of faces, the future of Canada in front of me. With every question, a hundred hands of varying shades shoot up, some students so eager to answer, they can barely hold it in. During the reading, there is complete silence, until the oohs and awes of the final image, the huge snow castle filling the wall of their gymnasium, then appreciative applause.

Afterwards, the students run towards me, wanting to strum my guitar, page through the book, talk to me. A little boy picks up a tiny feather left behind and looks up at me. “You can have that if you’d like,” I tell him. He clutches it in his hand and smiles. I sit down for a photo and the students fight to sit close to me, to hold the book, to put their arms around me. In the hall afterwards, they hug me as they pass, then continue walking. They shout thank you and clap and cheer from the school yard as we leave. One boy bolts towards us and says in careful English, “Thank you for reading your book, Bird Child, to our school, Nan Forler.”

The following morning I am off to my beloved St. Bernadette, a school close to downtown Kitchener, where I taught for 3 years. I am exhausted and fighting off a migraine and a cold but it feels like I am coming home. I know this school, these kids, this staff. I know the challenges that come from teaching here, that go far beyond curriculum, that have to do with helping to raise up children in spite of the life they have been handed. I understand when the principal tells me, her eyes filled with tears, that yesterday was a heart-breaking day.

Again, I feel the love of appreciative kids. “You the best story, Ms Forler,” one girl tells me, pointedly.

I hope these experiences pass on the love of literacy to these kids. I am thankful that the Hamilton GritLit Festival chose these schools as the audience for this story, that the teachers and parents at St. Bernadette chose a Read-a-thon for the school fundraiser.

Standing up for kids like these, being a voice for those who are voiceless, passing on a love of literacy, bringing about justice – this is the message of Bird Child. This is what it’s all about.