Alcuin Society’s Best-Designed Canadian Books of 2019

Since 1981, the Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada recognizes and celebrates fine book design in Canada, and promotes the appreciation of beautifully produced books. We would like to congratulate our designers (who are also authors!) Kelly Hill and John Martz on their awards.

First Prize (tie)

Anne’s Alphabet
By Kelly Hill
Designed by Kelly Hill
28 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780735262867 | Tundra Books
Iconic moments from the beloved L.M. Montgomery classic are celebrated in this adorable concept book. Artist Kelly Hill creates vignettes of the most recognizable moments from Anne of Green Gables, including nosy neighbors, freckles, kindred spirits and imagination. Each letter of the alphabet is brought to life through a memorable Anne scene, with simple text and tactile, gorgeous works of art created from cut fabric and embroidery.

Second Prize (tie)

It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Designed by John Martz
48 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918593 | Tundra Books
Gyo Fujikawa’s iconic children’s books are beloved all over the world. Now it’s time for Gyo’s story to be told – a story of artistic talent that refused to be constrained by rules or expectations. Growing up quiet and lonely at the beginning of the twentieth century, Gyo learned from her relatives the ways in which both women and Japanese people lacked opportunity. Her teachers and family believed in her and sent her to art school and later Japan, where her talent flourished. While Gyo’s career grew and led her to work for Walt Disney Studios, World War II began, and with it, her family’s internment. But Gyo never stopped fighting – for herself, her vision, her family and her readers – and later wrote and illustrated the first children’s book to feature children of different races interacting together.

Third Prize (tie)

King Mouse
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Dena Seiferling
Designed by John Martz
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264045 | Tundra Books
A sweet, thoughtful tale of friendship, sharing and play, King Mouse begins when a mouse comes upon a tiny crown in the grass. The mouse puts the crown on his head, and when a bear subsequently comes upon him and asks if he’s king, the mouse responds “Yes.” This diminutive monarch settles into his new role very comfortably . . . until a snake comes upon a crown and claims she is queen. The mouse is not amused, especially when one by one the other animals find crowns and claim they are kings too. But when the bear can’t find a crown, King Mouse makes a most surprising decision. This inspired collaboration between an award-winning author and debut picture book illustrator Dena Seiferling is quietly profound in its simplicity and has the feeling of a modern classic.

Honourable Mentions

Alma and the BeastAlma and the Beast
By Esmé Shapiro
Designed by John Martz
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263963 | 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! At first Alma is scared, but when she realizes the beast is lost and misses her hairless home, Alma offers to help her find her way back. As the two take a fantastical journey through the red-headed woods and the bearded mushroom glen to the beast’s bald abode, they discover that they are much more alike than different. This quirky and charming story about friendship, empathy and perspective invites readers into a surreal, fantastical world that evokes Alice in WonderlandWhere the Wild Things Are and The Lorax.

Your First Day of Circus SchoolYour First Day of Circus School
By Tara Lazar
Illustrated by Melissa Crowton
Designed by John Martz
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263710 | Tundra Books
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages! It’s the most amazing day on earth: the first day of school! It can be a daunting prospect, but don’t worry – your big brother can show you the ropes. Join a nervous boy and his enthusiastic older brother as they navigate the highs and lows of a first day at school . . . except this school is a big top, the teacher is named Miss Stupendous, and the cafeteria can be a zoo, literally! It turns out, school isn’t so scary when you can let off steam during recess (on a steam train) and walk on stilts to all of your classes. With a bit of help from family and some new friends, you’ll make it to the top of the class in no time! This charming take on school readiness will delight new school-goers and take a bit of the fear out of those first-day jitters.

Pocatellecott Award Winner

The Pocatellecott Award is run out of the Marshall Public Library in Pocatello, Idaho, and the children’s librarian sent a lovely and personal email to say about how much she loved Kelly Hill’s work:
I could go on and on about the exquisite stitches and zig-zags and careful needlework found on every page. What amazing work you did, and what beautiful embroidery and stitches you produced for us to admire and marvel over.

Anne's ColorsAnne’s Colors
By Kelly Hill
Board Book | 20 Pages | Ages 0-3
ISBN 9780735262843 | Tundra Books
Iconic moments from the beloved L.M. Montgomery classic are celebrated in this adorable concept book. Artist Kelly Hill creates vignettes of the most recognizable scenes from Anne of Green Gables, including Anne and Diana’s first meeting, Gilbert pulling Anne’s hair, Anne’s puffed-sleeve dress and even Anne and Diana sharing raspberry cordial! Each scene has its own color, with simple text and tactile, gorgeous works of art created from cut fabric and embroidery. Part of a series of Anne concept books, Anne’s Colors is a perfect way to introduce future fans to this winning character.

#YearOfAnne

Year of Anne

On the day of L. M. Montgomery’s passing, we’re reflecting on her enduring legacy all these years later. We’re honoring her work with a new publishing program and will be sharing these books with throughout the year.

Anne's ColorsAnne’s Colors
Inspired by Anne of Green Gables
By Kelly Hill
For ages 0-3 | Up to Preschool
Board book | 22 pages
Available May 1, 2018
ISBN 9780735262843
Iconic moments from the beloved L.M. Montgomery classic are celebrated in this adorable concept book. Artist Kelly Hill creates vignettes of the most recognizable scenes from Anne of Green Gables, including Anne and Diana’s first meeting, Gilbert pulling Anne’s hair, Anne’s puffed-sleeve dress and even Anne and Diana sharing raspberry cordial! Each scene has its own color, with simple text and tactile, gorgeous works of art created from cut fabric and embroidery.

Anne's NumbersAnne’s Numbers
Inspired by Anne of Green Gables
By Kelly Hill
For ages 0-3 | Up to preschool
Board book | 22 pages
Available May 1, 2018
ISBN 9780735262850
Iconic moments from the beloved L.M. Montgomery classic are celebrated in this adorable concept book. Walk along with Anne as she goes on a nature walk, counting trees, flowers, clouds and friends! The path Anne takes is based on the description of Anne’s walk to school in Anne of Green Gables. Each scene has multiple counting opportunities, with simple text and tactile, gorgeous works of art created from cut fabric and embroidery.

Goodnight AnneGoodnight, Anne
Inspired by Anne of Green Gables
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Genevieve Godbout
For ages 3-7 | Preschool-Grade 2
Hardcover | 40 pages
Available September 25, 2018
ISBN 9781770499263
Under the watchful eye of her adoptive mother Marilla, Anne has come to cherish life at Green Gables – the dearest, loveliest spot in the world, and her true home. Every night before she goes to bed, she thinks of all the people and places she loves: her family, her bosom friend Diana, her splendid teacher Miss Stacy, beloved tree Snow Queen, the Lake of Shining Waters and the brilliant sky above. Anne even wishes goodnight – or good riddance! – to pesky classmate Gilbert and nosy neighbor Mrs. Lynde. And through it all, Anne’s imagination takes flight on a whimsical journey through Avonlea.

Anne ArrivesAnne Arrives
Inspired by Anne of Green Gables
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Abigail Halpin
For ages 6-8 | Grades 1-3
Hardcover | 72 pages
Available September 25, 2018
ISBN 9781770499300
Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert need help on their farm, so they’ve adopted what they hope will be a sturdy, helpful boy. Instead, Matthew finds Anne awaiting him at the train station – imaginative, brash, redheaded Anne-with-an-e. With her place at the Cuthberts’ at risk – particularly if nosy neighbor Mrs. Lynde has anything to say about it – Anne will have to learn patience, understanding and what it takes to make Green Gables her true home.

Jane of Lantern HillJane of Lantern Hill
By L.M. Montgomery
Cover by Elly MacKay
For ages 10+ | Grades 5+
Paperback | 304 pages
Available January 9, 2018
ISBN 9781101919484
For as long as she could remember, Jane Stuart and her mother lived with her grandmother in a dreary mansion in Toronto. Jane always believed her father was dead–until she accidently learned he was alive and well and living on Prince Edward Island. When Jane spends the summer at his cottage on Lantern Hill, doing all the wonderful things Grandmother deems unladylike, she dares to dream that there could be such a house back in Toronto . . . a house where she, Mother, and Father could live together without Grandmother directing their lives–a house that could be called home.

The Golden RoadThe Golden Road
By L.M. Montgomery
Cover by Elly MacKay
For ages 10+ | Grades 5+
Paperback | 320 pages
Available January 9, 2018
ISBN 9781101919477
On a blustery November day the King children and Sara, the Story Girl, come up with a great idea that will help them endure the dreary winter season. They will publish a magazine of their thoughts and adventures. From “Personals” and “Fashion Notes” to an etiquette column and stories of the most interesting happenings in Carlisle, Our Magazine is simply the most entertaining and delightful publication anyone in town has ever read. But seasons pass, and nothing is forever – and soon it will be time for the Story Girl to leave her good friends on Prince Edward Island, friends with whom she has walked the golden road of youth.

The Story GIrlThe Story Girl
By L.M. Montgomery
Cover by Elly MacKay
For ages 10+ | Grades 5+
Paperback | 336 pages
Available January 9, 2018
ISBN 9781101919491
Sara Stanley is only fourteen, but she can weave tales that are impossible to resist. In the charming town of Carlisle, children and grown-ups alike flock from miles around to hear her spellbinding tales. And when Bev King and his younger brother Felix arrive for the summer, they, too, are captivated by the Story Girl. Whether she’s leading them on exciting misadventures or narrating timeless stories – from the scary “Tale of the Family Ghost” to the fanciful “How Kissing Was Discovered” to the bittersweet “The Blue Chest of Rachel Ward” – the Story Girl has her audience hanging on every word.

Mistress PatMistress Pat
By L.M. Montgomery
Cover by Elly MacKay
For ages 10+ | Grades 5+
Paperback | 400 pages
Available January 9, 2018
ISBN 9781101919460
When she was twenty, nearly everyone thought Patricia Gardiner ought to be having beaus – except, of course, Pat herself. For Pat, Silver Bush was both home and heaven. All she could ever ask of life was bound in the magic of the lovely old house on Prince Edward Island, “where good things never change.” And now there was more than ever to do, what with planning for the Christmas family reunion, entertaining a countess, playing matchmaker, and preparing for the arrival of the new hired man. Yet as those she loved so dearly started to move away, Pat began to question the wisdom of her choice of Silver Bush over romance. Was it possible to be lonely at Silver Bush?

LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY (1874-1942) was born in what is now New London, Prince Edward Island, and raised by her grandparents after the death of her mother when she was just two. She worked for a time as a teacher and a journalist, then wrote her first novel, Anne of Green Gables, in the evenings while caring for her grandmother. When the book appeared in 1908, it was an instant success; it would go on to sell millions of copies in dozens of languages the world over, making Anne one of literature’s most beloved characters of all time.

Let’s Tour Medina Hill: Round-Up

Medina HillTundra’s first blog tour came and went last week! We would like to give a HUGE round of applause to all the participating bloggers and readers who left comments. Thank you for being so accomodating in hosting a stop for Trilby Kent. Thanks again to the amazing team at Open Book: Toronto for kicking off with the first stop and for posting “Where is Trilby Kent Today?” for tour followers.

We would also like to use this chance to thank some of the people behind-the-scenes! Kathryn Cole for editing Medina Hill and Kelly Hill for the fantastic cover and design. There’s also Production, Rights, Marketing, Special Sales… Go Team!

Here is a quick round-up about Trilby Kent’s debut novel, Medina Hill:

  • “…fun and eccentric but completely believable.” – Carrie Anne, Another day, another thought… or two
  • “…captivating tale…” – Lauren, Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf
  • “…intriguing plot and interesting characters.” – Melanie, Melanie’s Musings
  • “…looking forward to reading more by Trilby in the future.” – Cindy, Cindy’s Love of Books
  • “After reading Medina Hill, I’ll certainly be on the look out for whatever Trilby writes next. The main reason? Originality.” – Kerry, Shelf Elf
  • “It’s incredibly heart-warming…. ” – Carrie, Carrie’s YA Bookshelf
  • “I love a book that references other books or major historical characters as a main plot point… I think that was the book’s major success.” – Janssen, Everyday Reading
  • “…a satisfying, refreshing, unique tale…” – Khy, Frenetic Reader
  • “…a glorious read, full of warmth and extraordinary, vibrant characters.” – Eve, Vulpes Libris
  • “…well-researched and interesting…. A clever, richly texture book, both for modern children and traditionalists like me” – Sally, An Awfully Big Blog Adventure
  • “Medina Hill is a clever debut novel that will appeal to fans of historical fiction….” – Jenny, Wondrous Reads
  • “This book is full of warm, well constructed characters…” – Luisa, Chicklish

With permission from Morgan at Books and Literature for Teens, here is the book trailer she created for Medina Hill:

A Note from Trilby Kent: I’m not sure that I’d have anything to add, other than to extend very sincere thanks to all the bloggers for taking part. Overall, the response seems to have been really positive, which is great!