Virtual Story Times and Singalongs

In times of need, you can always depend on the KidLit community to band together and help out. Many authors and illustrators are doing live events on social media for kids to tune into from home! We will be compiling a list of our authors and illustrators who are pitching in with virtual events for families to enjoy:

Monday, March 16, 2020 – ongoing

Monday, March 16, 2020

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020

  • Ben Clanton, the author-illustrator of the Narwhal and Jelly graphic novel series, will be doing Facebook Live author visits at 5:00 pm EST (2:00 pm PST).

Monday, March 23, 2020 – ongoing

  • Ben Clanton, the author of the Narwhal and Jelly series, will be doing Miximal Mondays on his Instagram live at 12:30 pm EST (9:30 am PST).
  • Susin Nielsen, the author of No Fixed Address, will be reading a chapter a day on her Twitter live at 1:00 pm EST (10:00 am PST).
  • David A. Robertson, the author of The Barren Grounds, will be reading a chapter a day on his Twitter live at 1:30 pm EST (10:30 am PST).

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

  • Elly MacKay, the author-illustrator of Red Sky at Night, will be reading her picture book and demonstrating a craft on Tundra’s Instagram Live at 2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST).

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020 – ongoing

  • Dan Bar-el, the author of Audrey (cow), will be reading a portion a day of his middle grade novel on his Facebook Live at 2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST). Download the Character List to follow which of the thirty-three narrators are speaking!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Important information for teachers, librarians and booksellers: Penguin Random House Open License Online Story Time and Classroom Read-Aloud Videos and Live Events

If you’re a Tundra, Puffin Canada, or Penguin Teen Canada author or illustrator, and you want to get involved during this time, please reach out to your publicist (Evan or Sam).

Last updated on: Wednesday, March 25 at 2:20 pm EST.

Author Q&A: Ben Clanton

Ben Clanton_vote for books
Hello! Please welcome our special guest today, Ben Clanton, creator of Mo’s Mustache and the graphic novel series Narwhal and Jelly as he talks about his re-issued edition of Vote for Me!
Ben Clanton_donkey
1. Vote for Me was originally published in 2012. Why did you decide to revisit this title?

Ben Clanton: Unfortunately (and I think unsurprisingly), politics and elections haven’t become any cleaner in the past 8 years. If anything, Vote for Me is more relevant now than when it first published in 2012. The divisiveness, name-calling, and mud-slinging parodied in Vote for Me are pervasive realities that people (including kids!) see and hear on a daily basis. I think a humorous take on this can be a great way to open a dialogue. I have written and illustrated a number of books since I made my debut with Vote for Me, but I think this title remains one of my best (and admittedly most polarizing) read-alouds. My hope is that in another 8 years, Vote for Me will not be as relevant . . . that bullying and untruthful boasts and bravado will be less tolerated. My hope is that young readers will help make that future!
Ben Clanton_elephant 1
2. Did you make any changes to this new edition? If so, what are they?

Ben Clanton: Yes, there are a number of changes! Vote for Me was my first published book and I feel I’ve made a lot of progress as a creator and person since it first came out, so I definitely welcomed the opportunity to make some updates.

At first, I wanted to re-illustrate the entirety of the book. I got as far as playing with character design and making a few mock-ups. But there is only so much time in a day! And there was actually a lot to work with in the original illustrations of the book. I found that some small changes made for a big impact, such as changing the background texture! That change alone made the book much brighter and bolder. The speech bubbles and typography were also updated (credit here to John Martz!) and I think that made a big impact.

There are also small changes to the illustrations that probably don’t seem important to anyone but me, such as the shadows under the characters. I’m digging the new shadows! 😂

But the changes weren’t just to the design and illustrations. There is name-calling in the book and some of the original word choices I had made for those scenes seemed too hurtful to me now. With the help of the Tundra team (thanks here to Peter Phillips and Tara Walker!), I went sillier and more ridiculous with the name-calling (i.e. “galumphus” and “dunderdoo”). I have a two-year-old daughter and four-year-old son and I wanted to be able to read the book with them without too much pause. There are a few spots I still either skip or adapt for the younger readers. This picture book skews older than a number of my other titles, such as Mo’s Mustache and Rex Wrecks It.

Mouse also had some line adjustments and additions . . .
Ben Clanton_elephant 2
3. Vote for Me is your first published book. Has your process changed since then?

Ben Clanton: Yes and no! It was fascinating to reopen the original Photoshop files for Vote for Me and see all the painstaking things I had done because I didn’t know there was an easier and more effective way. I didn’t know about blending modes at the time, such as “Multiply”, or about the wand tool. I also tend to use bolder line-work now to help with the readability of the illustrations when the book is read aloud in a group setting.

But my approach to story has also shifted somewhat. Vote for Me came about because I thought it would be fun to play with the gutter of the book as a dividing line . . . to use the opposing leaves of paper for opposing characters. The format inspired me more than those specific characters.

When I start on a book now it is much more character-driven from the get-go. I want to get to know my characters (especially the protagonists) very well before trying to figure out what happens in the book. I’m not sure what Vote for Me would have looked like if I had approached it this way. Donkey and Elephant are probably my least likable protagonists, which makes sense for this particular title. Perhaps Mouse would have a larger part to play if I had come up with the story today?


4. What do you hope readers take from Vote for Me?

Ben Clanton: First and foremost, I want readers to have fun reading it! That has been my main hope for all my books so far. I struggled with reading as a kid. I want to make books kids of all ages will enjoy.

But while I didn’t set out with a specific message or takeaway in mind, I certainly wouldn’t mind if the book starts some conversations about elections, voting, citizenship, service, kindness, bullying . . . there are a lot of potential subjects!
It isn’t even clear what Donkey and Elephant are running for in the book or why they want your vote. So I think the WHY behind all of it makes for an interesting topic. As too the HOW of them going about it. What is permissible? When are lines crossed? Who decides?

If Vote for Me has readers asking questions, I’d be very happy with that outcome.

Happy Narwhalidays5. Can you give us a little teaser of what’s next for Narwhal and Jelly?

Ben Clanton: Shore thing! Book 5 comes out in September and is called Happy Narwhalidays. It takes place when the waters are wintery (much to Jelly’s dismay!). But those cool currents don’t keep Narwhal from feeling warm and bubbly, especially with books to be read, parties to plan, and warm waffle pudding to eat! But what has Narwhal feeling most excited about the SEASon? The Merry Mermicorn!!!

I’m busy now working on two Narwhal and Jelly board books (featuring bubbles and a boot!). And I’ll soon start on book 6 which might involve treasure and rainbows.

Find out more about Vote for Me here:

Vote for MeVote for Me!
By Ben Clanton
Ages 3-7 | 40 Pages | Available now!
ISBN 9780735267589 | Tundra Books
A hilarious political satire by the creator of the bestselling Narwhal and Jelly series.

Hey, you! Yes, you with the dazzling smile! The donkey wants your vote. So does the elephant. And each will do just about anything to win your support. Brag? Sure! Flatter? Absolutely! Exaggerate, name-call, make silly promises and generally act childish? Yes, yes, yes and yes. Soon, the tension mounts, and these two quarrelsome candidates resort to slinging mud (literally) and flinging insults. And what happens when the election results are in? Well, let’s just say the donkey and the elephant are in for a little surprise–and a certain bewhiskered, third-party candidate is in for a first term!

CTV Your Morning Kids’ Book Segment on I Read Canadian Day

CTV Your Morning Feb 19 2020
Our Marketing & Publicity Associate Director, Vikki VanSickle, was on CTV’s Your Morning today to honour of #IReadCanadian Day by providing Canadian “readalike” choices for kids. Check out our titles from her recommended list below and don’t forget to watch her segment!

AGES 3-7

For fans of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond read:
how to give your cat a bathHow to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps
By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by John Martz
ISBN 9780735263543 | Hardcover
40 Pages | Tundra Books
In this hilarious and clever “how-to,” a little girl and a know-it-all narrator are thwarted by a cat who refuses to take a bath. Watch as the steps keep changing, the cat keeps escaping, the girl keeps eating cookies and the mess keeps escalating. Soon it’s not just the cat who needs a bath–it’s the whole house!

AGES 6-9

For fans of the Narwhal and Jelly series by Ben Clanton, read the Disgusting Critters series by Elise Gravel:
The BatThe Bat
By Elise Gravel
ISBN 9780735266483 | Hardcover
32 Pages | Tundra Books
Hilarious illustrated nonfiction about bats perfect for beginning readers. Conversational text and silly illustrations will have you up all night reading about the only flying mammal on Earth!

AGES 8-12

For fans of the Guinness Book of World Records and National Geographic, read: Innovation NationInnovation Nation: How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier, Happier
By David Johnston and Tom Jenkins
Illustrated by Josh Holinaty
ISBN 9780735263017 | Hardcover
128 Pages | Tundra Books
Successful innovation is always inspired by at least one of three forces – insight, necessity and simple luck. Innovation Nation moves through history to explore what circumstances, incidents, coincidences and collaborations motivated each great Canadian idea, and what twist of fate then brought that idea into public acceptance.

For fans of realistic fiction master Judy Blume, read:
Me and BanksyMe and Banksy
By Tanya Lloyd Kyi
ISBN 9780735266919 | Hardcover
272 Pages | Puffin Canada
Dominica’s private school is covered in cameras, and someone is hacking into them and posting embarrassing moments for the whole school to see. Who has access to the school security cameras and why are they doing this? Dominica and her best friends, Holden and Saanvi, are determined to find out, and in the process start an art-based student campaign against cameras in the classroom.

For fans of mystery queen Agatha Christie, read:
Aggie Morton Mystery Queen The Body Under the PianoAggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano
By Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
ISBN 9780735265462 | Hardcover
336 Pages | Tundra Books
A smart and charming middle-grade mystery series starring young detective Aggie Morton and her friend Hector, inspired by the imagined life of Agatha Christie as a child and her most popular creation, Hercule Poirot.

For fans of the classic survival story Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, read:
The Skeleton TreeThe Skeleton Tree
By Iain Lawrence
ISBN 9781101918371 | Paperback
288 Pages | Tundra Books
Less than 48 hours after twelve-year-old Chris casts off on a trip to sail down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they’ve got to find a way to forage, fish and scavenge supplies from the shore.

Feb 19 2020

Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide 2019

The Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide is back again! For the last two years, we put together gift guides inspired by Travis Jonker’s The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 featuring Tundra’s illustrators from 2019! This list has something for everyone from some of the best children’s book illustrators in the world – treat your family and friends (or yourself!) to a beautiful piece of art this holiday season.

Shop Anne ArrivesAnne’s Kindred Spirits; and Abigail’s artwork

Abigail Halpin is an illustrator living in southern Maine, a few miles from the sea. Her illustrations are a blend of traditional and digital media, mixing watercolor, ink, pencil and more. She has created illustrations and lettering for a range of clients including Galison/Mudpuppy, Simon & Schuster, Disney Publishing, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Penguin Books. Inspired by vintage textiles, all things Slavic, mystery novels, the ocean and long-forgotten ephemera, Halpin also creates mixed media artwork that blends drawing and embroidery, portraiture and needlework.

Shop Peanut Butter and Jelly; Narwhal’s Otter Friend; and Ben’s artwork

Ben Clanton is an author and illustrator whose picture books include Mo’s Mustache; Rot, the Cutest in the World!; Boo Who?; It Came in the Mail; Something ExtraordinaryRex Wrecks It! and Vote for Me! He lives with his family in Tacoma, Washington.

Shop Where Oliver Fits; Unicorns 101; and Cale’s artwork

Cale Atkinson is an author-illustrator and animator whose books include Unicorns 101Where Oliver FitsTo the SeaOff and Away, and Sir Simon: Super Scarer. He lives lakeside with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. See more of Cale’s work at Cale.ca, and follow him on Twitter at @2dCale.

Shop King Mouse and Dena’s artwork

Dena Seiferling graduated with a BFA and Visual Communications Degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1999. She works as an instructor at ACAD while pursuing her illustration and needle-felted art. Dena lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband and two children. King Mouse is her first picture book.

Shop The Blue Castle and Elly’s artwork

Elly MacKay is a paper artist and a children’s book author and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated the picture books If You Hold a SeedShadow Chasers and Butterfly Park, among others. She studied illustration and printmaking at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her distinctive pieces are made using paper and ink, and then are set into a miniature theatre and photographed, giving them their unique three-dimensional quality. Elly lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, with her husband and two children.

Shop Alma and the Beast and Esmé’s artwork

Esmé Shapiro grew up in Laurel Canyon, California and Ontario, Canada. Currently she and her dog, Chebini Brown, split their time between Brooklyn and New York’s Hudson Valley. A graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design, Esmé is a past recipient of both the Nancy Lee Rhodes Roberts Scholarship and The SILA West 53 Gold Award-Phillip Hayes Scholarship. She has exhibited at The Society of Illustrators and her work has been featured in Taproot and Plansponsor magazines. Connect with her online at esmeshapiroillustration.com, on twitter and Instagram @esmeshapiro.

Shop Now? Not Yet! and Gina’s artwork

Once upon a time, Gina Perry picked wild blueberries, floated on lakes in her inner tube and was always on the lookout for a real moose in the woods. Now she writes and illustrates books for young readers from her New Hampshire home, where she lives with THREE monsters: her husband and two kids. She is still on the lookout for moose.

Shop Great Job, Dad!Great Job, Mom!; and Holman’s artwork

Holman Wang is a lawyer who also finds time to make children’s books. He and his brother, Jack, are the twin powers behind the board book series Cozy Classics and Star Wars Epic Yarns, which abridge literary and cinematic classics into just twelve words and twelve needle-felted images. Their unique artwork has been exhibited around the world, including at The Original Art exhibition in New York, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the National Museum of Play. Holman lives with his wife and kids in Vancouver, Canada, and is a board member of the Vancouver Writers Festival.

Shop Albert’s Quiet Quest and Isabelle’s artwork

Isabelle Arsenault is a graphic-design graduate who has applied her skills to illustration. She contributes to magazines and newspapers across the US and Canada, and has been the recipient of major illustration awards such as the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards for Illustration, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and the National Magazine Awards of Canada. Arsenault lives in Montreal.

Shop Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess and Janet’s artwork

Janet Hill is a painter and children’s book author/illustrator. Her work is both elegant and whimsical, and her painting style evokes a sense of nostalgia, mystery, and humor. She has written and illustrated two picture books: Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess and Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat CountessLucy Crisp and the Vanishing House is her first novel. Janet lives in Stratford, Ontario, where she paints in a small in-house studio and lives with her husband, John, the manager of an independent bookstore, and their cat and dog.

Shop The PaintingThe Ghost Road; and Jensine’s artwork

Jensine Eckwall is a Brooklyn-based illustrator whose clients include BUST Magazine, BOOM! Studios/Adventure Time, The Boston Globe, Lucky Peach, The New York Times and Nylon.

Shop It Began with a Page and Julie’s artwork

Julie Morstad is an author, illustrator, and artist living in Vancouver. Her books have all received great acclaim; most recently, How To was a 2013 Governor General’s Award finalist and received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal.

Shop Megabat and Fancy CatSergeant Billy; and Kass’s artwork

Kass Reich works as an artist and educator and has spent the majority of the last decade travelling around the world. She earned a degree in Art Education from Concordia University and was an early childhood educator in Beijing, which inspired her to start making picture books for very young readers. She now lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.

Shop You’re in Good Paws and Kathryn’s artwork

Kathryn Drust is a graduate of Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. With a background in animation, she has interned with Pixar Animation Studios in addition to working with various children’s book publishers. When she is not illustrating books like Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire and Hey Grandude!, she may be found playing the accordion, growing vegetables, folk dancing, or putting on shadow puppet shows. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her grumpy mini dachshund named Chili Dog.

Shop Frankie’s Favorite Food and Kelsey’s artwork

Kelsey Garrity-Riley is an illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Germany and Belgium before moving to the US to pursue her love of art at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, graduating in 2010. She has illustrated several books, including The Whirlpool: Stories by Laurel Croza (Groundwood) and the forthcoming Born to RideA Story About Bicycle Face (Abrams). Frankie’s Favorite Food is her debut as both author and illustrator.

Shop The Not-So Great Outdoors and Madeline’s artwork

Up-and-coming illustrator Madeline Kloepper, a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, brings wise-beyond-her-years illustrations full of sweetness and curiosity to her debut picture book. Madeline grew up in the lower mainland of British Columbia amidst a sea of humans and spent a few years in Vancouver; she has since migrated northward to Prince George. Her work is influenced by childhood, nostalgia and the relationships we forge with nature, no doubt inspired by her love of exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Shop Encounter and Michaela’s artwork

Michaela Goade is a designer and illustrator living and working in Juneau, Alaska. Her childhood was spent in the forests and on the beaches of Southeast Alaska and her artistic style is rooted in the depth and beauty of its landscapes. At the heart of her work is a love for nature, the beautiful region she calls home and a passion for evocative storytelling. Forever inspired by the coastal wilds of Southeast Alaska, she works to capture its magic and honor its vibrant cultures. Michaela, a Tlingit woman, has illustrated a few picture books for an Alaskan nonprofit organization, the Sealaska Heritage Institute; Encounter is her debut with a trade publisher.

Shop Count on Me and Miguel’s artwork

Award-winning artist Miguel Tanco is a children’s book author and illustrator. He teaches illustration and organizes creative workshops for kids in Spain, where he was born and raised, and in Italy. He has published over forty children’s books including Great DogYou and Me, Me and YouLes Farfelus; and The Story of Cyrano de Bergerac. He lives in Milan with his wife, Federica, and their two sons, Pablo and Javier.

Shop Princess Puffybottom…and Darryl and Olivia’s artwork

Olivia Chin Mueller is an illustrator whose work includes I am a PuppyI am a KittenA Bedtime YarnAll the Love in the World, and Babies in the Forest. She currently lives in Providence, RI.

Shop Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink and Qin’s artwork

Throughout her career, Qin Leng has illustrated picture books, magazines and book covers with publishers around the world. Recent picture books include her author/illustrator debut I Am Small (to be published in fall 2018); Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson; and Family Is a Family Is a Family written by Sara O’Leary. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the APALA Award for best picture book. She lives in Toronto, with her husband and her son.

Shop Swarm of Bees and Rilla’s artwork

Rilla Alexander is an Australian designer and illustrator whose work has appeared on everything from toys and tea cups to buses and buildings. She designed the children’s products for Madrid’s Museo del Prado, teaches Character Design at the Pictoplasma Academy in Berlin and her work has been showcased at Paris’ cultural mecca Colette and at the Musée de la Publicité/Louvre. Her books celebrate creativity, reading, making and doing. She currently lives in Portland, OR.

Mastermind Toys Best Books of 2019

We are so excited to see some of our books in Mastermind’s 2019 gift guide! Have you checked out the whole list of titles yet?

Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink
By Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, Bram Morrison, and Randi Hamson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
ISBN 9780735264069 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
What does “skinnamarink” mean? You may not find its definition in a dictionary, but the meaning is clear to the generations of children who sang along: friendship, happiness, sharing, community and, ultimately, love. This song has been sung in weddings and in classrooms. It can be fun and silly – especially with the accompanying actions! And it has a way of bringing people together.

Narwhal’s Otter Friend
By Ben Clanton
ISBN 9780735262485 | Hardcover
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Narwhal and Jelly . . . and Otty?! Exuberant Narwhal and skeptical Jelly test the waters of adding a new friend to their pod when they meet Otty the super-adventurous otter in the fourth book of this blockbuster early graphic novel series! Dive into three new stories about the joy of adventure and the power of friendship! In the first story, Otty the otter makes her debut splash; while Narwhal greets her with immediate enthusiasm, Jelly’s not so sure about her…mostly because he worries she’ll take his place as Narwhal’s best friend.