Bringing Stories to Life with Storytime Trail

OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation (OWSH), a literacy and reading charity, is including On the Trapline as one of two Indigenous picture books featured in their “Good With Words” campaign, engaging Canadian youth in reconciliation. For the first 100 orders of On the Trapline book walk signs, a donation of $250 will be made by the Schad Foundation in the name of participating schools to the Land Needs Guardians program, up to a maximum donation of $25,000.

Participating schools will also be invited to an On the Trapline virtual event with David A. Robertson to commemorate National Indigenous Peoples’ Month this June. For more details on the event and to register, sign up here.

This initiative is part of the  Storytime Trails program, in which select Canadian books are printed as a series of signs and posted in participating school yards, encouraging classes to take “book walks” and for schools to incorporate Canadian books in their curriculum. OWSH has created custom lesson plans and, in some cases, author video content, for each featured title.

On the Trapline
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266681  | Tundra Books
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago – a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination, and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.

Other Tundra titles included in the general Storytime Trails program:

Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes
By Wab Kinew
Illustrated by Joe Morse
40 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262928 | Tundra Books
Celebrating the stories of Indigenous people throughout time, Wab Kinew has created a powerful rap song, the lyrics of which are the basis for the text in this beautiful picture book, illustrated by the acclaimed Joe Morse. Including figures such as Crazy Horse, Net-no-kwa, former NASA astronaut John Herrington and Canadian NHL goalie Carey Price, Go Show the World showcases a diverse group of Indigenous people in the US and Canada, both the more well known and the not- so-widely recognized. Individually, their stories, though briefly touched on, are inspiring; collectively, they empower the reader with this message: “We are people who matter, yes, it’s true; now let’s show the world what people who matter can do.”

If I Had a Gryphon
By Vikki VanSickle
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770498099 | Tundra Books
Sam just got a hamster for a pet. But the hamster is kind of boring . . . he just eats and sleeps and gets his shavings wet. Inspired by her book of mythological creatures, Sam longs for a more exciting pet. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought. Sasquatches are messy, unicorns are shy, hippogriffs scare the dogs at the dogpark, and having a fire extinguisher handy at all times makes dragons seem like an awful lot of work. In the end, Sam realizes that her hamster is a pretty sweet and safe pet . . . or is he? If I Had a Gryphon is a raucous rhyming read-aloud about fantastical beasts in everyday situations – and the increasingly beleaguered heroine who has to deal with them.

9781770493018-450My Name Is Blessing
By Eric Walters
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
32 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770493018 | Tundra Books
Based on the life of a real boy, this warm-hearted, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Baraka, a young Kenyan boy with a physical disability. Baraka and eight cousins live with their grandmother. She gives them boundless love, but there is never enough money or food, and life is hard – love doesn’t feed hungry stomachs or clothe growing bodies, or school keen minds. Baraka is too young, and, with his disability, needs too much, and she is too old. A difficult choice must be made, and grandmother and grandchild set off on a journey to see if there is a place at the orphanage for Baraka. The story begins by looking at Baraka’s physical disability as a misfortune, but ends by looking beyond the disability, to his great heart and spirit, and the blessings he brings.

Out into the Big Wide Lake
By Paul Harbridge
Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265592 | Tundra Books
It’s Kate’s first time visiting her grandparents on her own at their lakeside home. She’s nervous but excited at the adventure ahead. She helps her grandfather with his grocery deliveries by boat, where she meets all the neighbors, including a very grumpy old man named Walter. And she makes best friends with her grandparents’ dog, Parbuckle. Her grandmother even teaches her to pilot the boat all by herself! When her grandfather takes ill suddenly, it’s up to Kate – but can she really make all those deliveries, even to grumpy old Walter? She has to try! Based on the author’s sister, Kate is a lovable, brave, smart and feisty character who will capture your heart in this gorgeous and moving story about facing fears and gaining independence.

Ten Little Dumplings
By Larissa Fan
Illustrated by Cindy Wume
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266193 | Puffin Canada
In the city of Tainan, there lives a very special family – special because they have ten sons who do everything together. Their parents call them their ten little dumplings, as both sons and dumplings are auspicious. But if you look closely, you’ll see that someone else is there, listening, studying, learning and discovering her own talent – a sister. As this little girl grows up in the shadow of her brothers, her determination and persistence help her to create her own path in the world . . . and becomes the wisdom she passes on to her own daughter, her own little dumpling. Based on a short film made by the author, inspired by her father’s family in Taiwan, Ten Little Dumplings looks at some unhappy truths about the place of girls in our world in an accessible, inspiring and hopeful way.

The FogThe Fog
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Kenard Pak
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770494923 | Tundra Books
Warble is a small yellow warbler who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human watching. But on a warm day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don’t seem to notice the fog or the other changes Warble observes on the island. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile) appears, Warble discovers that he’s not the only one who notices the fog. Will they be able to find others who can see it too? And is the fog here to stay? Kyo Maclear’s witty story, brought to life with the delicate, misty artwork of Kenard Pak, is a poignant yet humorous reminder of the importance of environmental awareness.

Where Oliver FitsWhere Oliver Fits
By Cale Atkinson
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919071 | 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. Where Oliver Fits is a sweet and funny story that explores all the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn’t always the best fit . . . .

CTV Your Morning Kids’ Book Segment on Quarantine Reads and Virtual Storytimes

Your Morning VVOur Marketing & Publicity Associate Director, Vikki VanSickle, was on CTV’s Your Morning today to talk about books to read while in quarantine and virtual events to keep kids occupied. Check out our titles from her recommended list below and don’t forget to watch her segment!

AGES 3-7

Studio: A Place for Art to Start
By Emily Arrow
Illustrated by The Little Friends of Printmaking
ISBN 9780735264854 | Hardcover
40 Pages | Tundra Books
In this charming ode to creativity, noted children’s singer and entertainer Emily Arrow introduces readers to the concept of the studio: a place for painters, dancers, singers, actors, sculptors, printmakers . . . and you! Whether it’s a purpose-made space with big windows, a room filled with equipment, or the corner of a bedroom, your studio can be anywhere–you just have to find it! Check out At Home with Emily Arrow on YouTube!

Alma and the Beast
By Esme Shapiro
ISBN 9780735263963 | Hardcover
44 Pages | Tundra Books
Alma lives happily in her hairy world, where she can braid the trees, comb the grass, pet the roof and feed her plumpooshkie butterfly. Until one day . . . a hairless, button-nosed beast appears in the garden!

If I Had a Gryphon
By Vikki VanSickle
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
ISBN 9781770498099 | Hardcover
32 Pages | Tundra Books
If I Had a Gryphon is a raucous rhyming read-aloud about fantastical beasts in everyday situations–and the increasingly beleaguered heroine who has to deal with them. Keep up with all our virtual story times and events using this handy schedule!

AGES 6-9

Megabat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
ISBN 9780735266957 | Paperback
192 Pages | Tundra Books
The first installment of a sweet and hilarious chapter book series about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.

AGES 8-12

The Last Kids on Earth
By Max Brallier
Illustrated by Douglas Holgate
ISBN 9780670016617 | Hardcover
240 Pages | Viking Books For Young Readers
Told in a mixture of text and black-and-white illustration, this is the perfect book for any kid who’s ever dreamed of starring in his or her own comic book or video game. And then grab the rest of the series, now a New York Times bestseller!

The first season of The Last Kids on Earth is available on Netflix now!

AGES 12+

The Blue Castle
By Tanya Lloyd Kyi
ISBN 9780735265233 | Paperback
288 Pages | Tundra Books
At twenty-nine, Valancy has never been in love, and it seems romance has passed her by. Then a letter arrives from Dr. Trent–and Valancy decides to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy does and says exactly what she wants. Soon she discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams. Listen to Rachel McAdams narrating Anne of Green Gables for free on Audible.ca!

The Story of Owen
By E.K. Johnston
ISBN 9780823445028 | Paperback
320 Pages | Holiday House
Dragons. In modern day North America. How can sixteen-year-old Owen fight back when he can barely pass algebra? It takes a village to train a dragon slayer, and Owen needs all the help he can get.

Sir Simon and 10 Haunted Easter Eggs You May Have Missed

Hello ghouls, goblins, witches, and readers!

This is Cale, taking over Talking with Tundra and bringing you a ghostly guest post! You may know me from such Tundra books as Where Oliver FitsIf I Had a Gryphon, and The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold.

I’m here today to talk about my latest picture book Sir Simon: Super Scarer and fill you in on some haunted trivia!

For those of you in the dark and unaware of what this book is about, here is a fancy lil’ write-up to fill you in:

Meet Sir Simon, Super Scarer. He’s a professional ghost who has been transferred to his first house. And just in time! He was getting tired of haunting bus stops and forests and potatoes. And to top it off, this house is occupied by an old lady— they’re the easiest to haunt!

But things don’t go as planned when it turns out a KID comes with this old lady. Chester spots Simon immediately and peppers him with questions. Simon is exasperated. . . until he realizes he can trick Chester into doing his ghost chores. Spooky sounds, footsteps in the attic, creaks on the stairs— these things don’t happen on their own, you know!

After a long night of haunting, it seems that maybe Chester isn’t cut out to be a ghost, so Simon decides to help with Chester’s human chores. Turns out Simon isn’t cut out for human chores either.

But maybe they’re both cut out to be friends . . .

Now that you’re up to speed:

In many of my books, I love sneaking in little details that most readers miss on their first read. As a kid, I always loved finding little details in books, and now, as a pseudo-adult, I have just as much fun drawing in my own.

Since Sir Simon is a ghost story, I felt this would be the perfect opportunity to sneak in my love of classic scary movies in the form of hidden Easter eggs.

Within the pages of Sir Simon: Super Scarer there are over 50 little hidden Easter eggs referencing all kinds of classic scary movies! Friday the 13th, Halloween, The Exorcist, Beetlejuice, The Shining… If you can think of a classic, there’s a fairly good chance it’s somewhere in the book.

For any of you taken aback and thinking: “Cale! You monster! How dareth you put these frightening films in a children’s book?! Have thou gone mad!? To answer yee olde English question, rest assured that all these references are so slight that most kids, and adults alike, will never notice them, nor know what they are referencing.

In this post I am going to point out 10 such Easter eggs, and then leave the rest for you to hunt out yourselves.

Time to double-check your house is secured from zombie invasion, restock your anti-vampire garlic, and grab some popcorn, ’cause here we go!

#1 Sweater on Elm Street
You may notice Chester’s finely striped sweater bears a striking resemblance to a certain fella who likes to hang out on Elm street.

(Nightmare on Elm Street)

#2 We’re gonna need a bigger boat

Simon’s haunted many a things in his past! He once haunted a boat with a Quint-essential captain.

(Quint from Jaws)

#3 Only Simon floats down here.

In my opinion any clown costume is too scary, but when it’s Pennywise’s duds, no wonder Simon is not a fan.

(Pennywise from IT)

#4 TV Reception from another dimension

A relic of TV past! The TV fuzz may not be seen as much these days in entertainment viewing, but once upon a time it was common place to not only see it, but wonder if you’ll start hearing a voice speak through it.

(Poltergeist)

#5 Amityville, population Simon

I wanted to base the design of Simon’s house on something, and always loved the eerie, iconic windows of this haunted house.

(Amityville Horror)

#6 The Pumpkin King

Among various paintings and portraits, you may spot Halloween’s top haunter and his seamstress companion.

(The Nightmare before Christmas)

#7 Slimer-y Cross stitch

Who are you gonna call? Well if you want a rad cross stitch of everyone’s favourite hungry green ghost, you better call Simon.

(Slimer from Ghostbusters)

#8 Big wheeling, forever, and ever, and ever.

It’s a proven fact that there is no better vehicle to escape two terrifying identical twins than a Big Wheel.

(The Shining)

#9 Feed me, Simon

Grandma has all sorts of plants in her sewing room. This particular plant is always hungry…

(Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors)

#10 Ghost Melody

What’s a ghost book without a Ghost reference!? Now while we don’t get to see Simon or Chester make beautiful pottery in this story, I’m sure in the film adaptation we’ll have our own Righteous Brothers scene.

(Ghost)

A bonus *Eleven*

Leggo my Eggo!

(Stranger Things)

Well that’s it for me, folks! I hope you enjoyed reading my guest post and seeing some of the spooky secrets hidden within Sir Simon: Super Scarer!
If you have a chance, please check out Sir Simon and be sure to let me know what you think! Don’t forget to give a little extra look at details.

Until next time! Have a ghoulishly great October!

BOO!

-Cale Atkinson

Twitter: @2dcale
Instagram: @2dcale

Instagram Stories to Read Bedtime Stories to Kids

IG storiestimeInnovative new series uses Instagram to help parents engage kids in storytime by reading picture books on Instagram Stories.

Tundra Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada, has teamed up with advertising agency Rethink Canada to develop and produce the reading series “StoriesTime” launching September 10th, 2018. The new initiative designed to encourage families to read together, shares celebrated children’s books on Instagram through a series of bedtime Instagram Stories.

New stories featured on @tundrabooks Instagram each Monday and Thursday showcase beautifully illustrated children’s books from a collection of best sellers and new favourites, including Almost a Full Moon, written by Juno Award-winning musician Hawksley Workman. The stories, shot against a cozy home-like setting, and charmingly read, are designed to create an enjoyable experience for the whole family.

IG storiestime titles

“Bedtime reading is a wonderful way for parents to bond with their children, and we are excited to introduce our books to families in this new Instagram approach,” said Vikki VanSickle Associate Director, Marketing & Publicity, Young Readers at Penguin Random House Canada, and also a children’s book author herself.

The idea was inspired by a desire to promote an important childhood ritual, bedtime reading. “Every child should get that experience of bedtime stories. Using Instagram Stories we can use technology to give every kid that chance.” said Mike Dubrick, Partner, Creative Director at Rethink Canada in Toronto. “We see this as a way to encourage greater participation in an essential part of childhood.”

Tundra Books will host two different stories on their Instagram (@tundrabooks) each week over a four week period, the first having debuted September 10th. Each Story will remain active for a 24 hour period.

For more information or for high-resolution photographs please contact Vikki VanSickle at 416.928.2419 or vvansickle@penguinrandomhouse.com.

Window Wednesday

#WindowWednesday: We are incredibly fortunate to have stores create window features of our books. We want to highlight their amazing work here on our blog for you to see (and perhaps you’ll discover a new local bookstore).

Book City
2354 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6S 1P3
Photography: Sarah Ramsey

BookCityBloorWest (1)BookCityBloorWest (2)BookCityBloorWest (3)BookCityBloorWest (4)