Guest Post: Monica Kulling

Tundra author, Monica Kulling, shares with us in this guest post about her event on Wednesday, November 18, 2009:

Monica Kulling: I had the distinct pleasure last week of participating in my first-ever Canadian Children’s Book Week event. I read my first Canadian book, It’s a Snap! George Eastman’s First Photograph, to a group of grade fours and fives at the Black Creek Branch of the Toronto Public Library.

Clip art credit:

Since publishing my first picture book, in the U.K. and the U.S. in 1992, I have looked longingly (each November) at the Canada Book Week poster and felt a like the poor match-girl in the fairy tale, uninvited because she has never published a book in Canada. A sad state of affairs. But sad no longer!

Enter TUNDRA BOOKS and Kathy Lowinger and all the talented people who work so hard to produce the beautiful books that Tundra is famous for. And a huge thanks to Bill Slavin, the illustrious Canadian illustrator, whose work is so well-known that doors open for me when I mention his name! Thank you for putting me on the Canadian map! I am tickled pink to be a Canadian author and to have the opportunity to share my books with kids across our great country.

So … with my symbolic invitation in hand, I drove to the Black Creek library located in the North York Sheridan Mall. Driving up Black Creek Drive, I passed the perfectly named, “Photography Drive,” which indicates the street that leads to the old Kodak plant. In 2005 Kodak became a casualty of the digital age and was forced to close down its plant. Until then it had employed hundreds of people for nearly 100 years. All the Kodak film and photography paper used in Canada were manufactured at the place that was called, “Kodak Heights.” Now one solitary building remains—building number 9:

Photo from: "The End of Kodachrome and the Death of Kodak Heights" by Rick McGinnis (July 3, 2009 on

The Black Creek Library is on the lower level of the Sheridan Mall, tucked behind an escalator. But the strategy of arriving early, allowed me to get lost, at least once. Anne-Marie Di Lello, the librarian who contacted me, greeted me warmly. She is proud of the library. “This library is a pearl in the mall,” Anne-Marie tells me. “Most people don’t know it’s here. But when they discover it, they keep coming back.” And as I entered its cozy and quiet domain, I can see why.

I was shown the room where the reading was going to be. Nancy Velez, another Black Creek librarian, had gone to great lengths to search the Toronto system for every book of mine she could get. The table at the front of the room, made me feel right at home.

The group was a little late, but worth waiting for. I began my presentation by taking a panoramic photograph of the entire group. So see for yourself what a grand bunch of kids I had in front of me.

And did they have questions? They did indeed! For that Kirkus reviewer who thought that “a few phrases may confuse young readers (“George had a brain wave”),” you can rest easy. Not only did my young listeners understand the term “brainwave,” one astute young man answered my query this way, “It’s when you have a wave of an idea in your brain and then a lightbulb comes on over your head!” Sounds about right to me.

Thank you Black Creek for a wonderful visit!

Note from Tundra: We hope people are happy to see pictures of themselves on Talking with Tundra, but if you would like your photo removed, please contact us at Thank you.

Cybils: 2009 Nominations

cybils-logo-thumbThe Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards are back! Here’s a little background information about the Cybils Awards from their website:



  • Reward the children’s and young adult authors (and illustrators, let’s not forget them) whose books combine the highest literary merit and “kid appeal.” What’s that mean? If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussel sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.
  • Foster a sense of community among bloggers who write about children’s and YA literature, highlight our best reviewers (and shamelessly promote their blogs) and provide a forum for the similarly obsessed.

This year, Tundra has two nominations and we would like to congratulate Monica Kulling, Bill Slavin, and Gena K. Gorrell!

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction – middle/teen
Say WhatSay What? The Weird and Mysterious Journey of the English Language
Written by Gena K. Gorrell
ISBN 978-0-88776-878-1
This innovative book takes us on a journey through time to unravel and demystify the story of English. Word games, intriguing facts, and tricky quizzes add an element of fun while enriching readers’ knowledge and understanding. Thank you to Erin W. for nominating Say What?

CATEGORY: Non-fiction/Information Picture Books
It's a Snap!It’s a Snap! George Eastman’s First Photo (Great Idea Series)
Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
ISBN 978-0-88776-881-1
Monica Kulling’s spunky, playful text is beautifully complemented by the stunning pen-and-ink with watercolor illustrations of artist Bill Slavin. It’s a Snap! George Eastman’s First Photo introduces a new series for Tundra — the Great Idea Series — a must-have for schools, libraries, and parents alike. Thank you to Cristiana C. for the nominating It’s a Snap!

The finalists will be announced on Jaunary 1st and the winners will be announced on February 14th. More good reasons to look forward to New Years and Valentine’s Day!

Launch of: It’s a Snap!

Last night, Monica Kulling and Bill Slavin celebrated the launch of It’s a Snap! George Eastman’s First Photograph at the Stephen Bulger Gallery and Camera Bar. This was Monica’s first book launch in all her years of being published! There was a tremendous amount of support from family (especially Nancy and Esperança) and friends. Thank you to everyone that came out to congratulate Monica and Bill!

Camera SignWelcome! Come join the fun!

Signing StartsThe rush of signings start just as Monica and Bill sit down!

CakesMonica bakes a mean lemon cake! I wanted all four loaves to myself… Thank you to Monica’s cousin for baking and decorating her famous date cake. The rest of the snacks and nibbles were catered from Amazing Food.

Bill and MonicaBill Slavin and Monica Kulling!

Busy signingBusy, busy signing! Poor Monica and Bill, they don’t even have time for a bite of their cake yet!

Bill SlavinBill Slavin and two of his original artwork from It’s a Snap!

Monica signingMonica signing It’s a Snap!

Thank you to Stephen, Samantha, Natalie, and the wonderful staff at the Stephen Bulger Gallery and Camera Bar! They did such a wonderful job preparing for the book launch. If you were unable to come last night and would like signed copies, please stop by the Stephen Bulger Gallery to inquire.

It’s a Snap! Podcast

On this day in 1888, George Eastman registered the trademark Kodak. Click HERE to listen to the podcast of It’s a Snap! on “Just One More Book!”


Just One More Book! is a thrice-weekly internet radio program which promotes and celebrates literacy and great children’s books.  Each weekday morning, we take a few minutes out of our morning coffee ritual to discuss one of our many favourite children’s books. We also feature weekly interviews with authors, illustrators and experts and enthusiasts in the areas of children’s literature and literacy as well as listener-submitted book reviews.

After 3+ years and more than 600 episodes of free and fervent praise for publishing products and personalities, our completely sponsorship-free Just One More Book! online radio program and related site has built up a strong and faithful following of librarians, teachers, literacy advocates, publishers and parents.

Busy parents and educators can now discover great read-aloud children’s books while they are busy doing the many tasks that would otherwise rob them of the opportunity to research great children’s books in more traditional ways.

Thank you to Andrea and Mark for their review of It’s a Snap! and for all their hard work in maintaining “Just One More Book!” Click here to listen to previous podcasts of Tundra’s books. You can even follow them on twitter for updates.

It's a Snap!It’s a Snap!
George Eastman’s First Photograph
Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
ISBN 978-88776-881-1
Hardcover | 32 Pages
Ages 5-8

Monica Kulling’s spunky, playful text is beautifully complemented by the stunning pen-and-ink with watercolor illustrations of artist Bill Slavin. It’s a Snap! George Eastman’s First Photograph introduces a new series for Tundra — the Great Idea Series — a must-have for schools, libraries, and parents alike.

Book Launch:
Get snap happy! Join Monica Kulling and Bill Slavin on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at the Stephen Bulger Gallery/Camera Bar (Toronto, ON) from 7pm to 9pm. The author and illustrator will be happy to have their photos taken and to sign books.