Tundra Telegram: Books That Do a Li’l Turn on the Catwalk

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we dig into the subjects on readers’ minds and recommend some recent great books to continue the discussion.

This past Monday was the Met Gala – ostensibly a fundraiser for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, but more widely known as “Fashion’s Biggest Night.” The theme in 2022 is “The Gilded Age” (not to be confused with the new HBO show by the same name), and while we didn’t see Rihanna as a bejeweled pope or Katy Perry as a hamburger, there were some notable fashions, like Blake Lively‘s reversible gown and Ashton Sanders‘s vampire steampunk look.

If you want to read some books that delve as deeply into high fashion and serving lewks, we have some recommendations for you. But whatever you read, as Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work!”

PICTURE BOOKS

With such fans as InStyle magazine and Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, the picture book Mitford at the Fashion Zoo by Donald Johnson, the fashion illustrator and a creative director at Estée Lauder, should be on your list of fashion picture books. Part Zootopia, part The Devil Wears Prada, Mitford’s story is both a fashion satire and inspirational tale of following your dreams.

But there’d be no fashion without the textiles used to make those gorgeous gowns and thrilling threads. And Julie KraulisA Pattern for Pepper follows Pepper as she journeys through notable patterns and their origins – pinstripe, houndstooth, ikat, toile, and more – in her effort to make a dress for a special occasion (not unlike the Met Gala).

If Lady Gaga’s 2019 Brandon Maxwell gown was one of your favorite Gala look in recent years, Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad’s Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli will probably intrigue you. Schiaparelli, known for turning art into fashion and for her imaginative designs, invented the color shocking pink (among other things). And you’ll learn that and more in this lyrical picture book biography.

MIDDLE GRADE

There are few better guides to fashion than Canada’s own Jeanne Beker. The FashionTelevision correspondent, style columnist, and Canada’s Next Top Model judge wrote Passion for Fashion: Careers in Style, illustrated by Nathalie Dion, as an introduction to the fashion industry and career guide, with information and profiles of agents, designers, models, photographers, stylists, makeup artists, publicists, journalists, fashion illustrators, creative directors, fashion show producers, color specialists, personal shoppers, and more!

The couture outfits of the Met Gala are one thing, but Fashionopolis: The Secrets Behind the Clothes We Wear by Dana Thomas, looks at the social issues surrounding fast fashion and its impact on the environment and social justice. If you ever wondered how designer jeans ended up in your local mall, this book is a helpful tool.

In the mood for fiction instead? Look no further than Lakita Wilson’s Be Real, Macy Weaver, a funny and fashion-filled story of friendship. Macy is fresh from a friend breakup and a move when she meets Brynn, a smart girl who seems to have her whole life figured out – right down to her future as a high fashion model. That’s when one small fib turns Macy’s life into one of dazzling dresses and glamour – like a Met Gala Junior High!

As Lee Pace could tell you at the 2021 Met Gala, The Swag Is in the Socks. And that’s the name of a novel by Kelly J. Baptist, in which young Xavier learns about the power of some out-there socks, and the importance of swagging out and speaking up.

YOUNG ADULT

If you’re looking to marry your love of high fantasy and high fashion, Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim has you covered. A teenage girl, Maia, poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and enters a cutthroat competition to sew three magic dresses – from the sun, the moon, and the stars. If that sounds like a cosmic version of Project Runway, you’re not wrong! (And check out the sequel, Unravel the Dusk.)

One thing the Met Gala excels in is showing a little skin. This very idea propels Marya Cuevas and Marie Marquardt’s Does My Body Offend You?, a story about two teenagers who join forces to fight the school’s dress code and find friendship, despite their different backgrounds.

Okay, so Namina Forna’s bestselling and blood-soaked fantasy The Gilded Ones may not have a lot to do with fashion, but it is an incredible tale filled with warrior women, and the title just fits the theme so well.

There is no shortage of reality TV stars and social media influencers found at the Met Gala, from Kendall Jenner to Addison Rae, which makes Raziel Reid’s Followers another perfect YA pick. This over-the-top satirical romp follows a naïve teenager thrown into a back-stabbing world of reality television, designer labels, and tabloid gossip.

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.

A Very Tundra Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, some of you may be scrambling for last minute gifts. Have no fear, we’ve got something for everyone on your list – even if you don’t celebrate Christmas!

Fashion Friday: A Pattern for Pepper

Today, we’re celebrating Fashion Friday with a little pattern-obsessed girl!

Pepper is getting a dress made for a special occasion. It’s the first dress that has ever been made just for her, and she wants it to be perfect. But what pattern is right for her? Pepper is particular, and nothing works at first. Dotted Swiss? Too plain. Houndstooth? Not enough color. Pinstripe? Too glum. As Pepper learns about each fabric, she finds a reason why it’s just not the one. Will Pepper ever be able to find the perfect pattern?

We’ve paired Mr. Taylor’s patterns with real-life dresses in shades of blue that would make Pepper proud. Which pattern is your favorite?

Herringbone

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); HighHatCouture [etsy](right)

Seersucker

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); ShopFlourishVintage [etsy](right)

Tartan

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); KateDiNataleVintage [etsy](right)

Houndstooth

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); RustBeltThreads [etsy](right)

Ikat

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); DreamingOfAvonlea [etsy](right)

Argyle

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); FASHIONRERUN [etsy](right)

Pinstripe

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); FASHIONRERUN [etsy](right)

Dotted Swiss

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); AvionVintage [etsy](right)

Toile

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); laucreations [etsy](right)

Paisley

Credit: Julie Kraulis (left); TrunkofDresses [etsy](right)

A Pattern for Pepper
Written by Julie Kraulis
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 5-9
ISBN: 9781101917565
eBook: 9781101917589
“All that information about textiles could have been dry and didactic, but Kraulis keeps it lively and filled with giggle-inspiring double meanings and puns. The oil-and-graphite illustrations in varying tones of blues and browns are perfectly suited to the tale, which has an old-fashioned sensibility that will charm modern young readers.” – Kirkus Reviews

#Tundra50 Tote Bag Auction

Tundra Books is turning 50! To celebrate we asked some of our illustrators to decorate the back of our limited edition #Tundra50 tote bags. Now you can own a one-of-kind work of art from your favourite picture book artist!

All proceeds from the auction will be donated to IBBY, a non-profit organization representing a network of people committed to bringing books and children together all over the world. For more information about IBBY please visit www.ibby.org.

This auction will run from Friday, June 23 to Friday, July 28th 2017. Minimum bid is $10 and all bids must be made in $5 increments.

Visit www.Tundra50.com to view the entire collection and to make your bids!