October 19, 2018

Ottawa Public Library presents Teen Author Fest 2018 (Ottawa, ON)


 Saturday, October 27, 2018

12-5 p.m.

the Ottawa Public Library 


Teen Author Fest 2018

a free event with 11 French- and English-language 
writers of stories for young adults

Lucile de Pesloüan 
Pourquoi les filles ont mal au ventre?

Émilie Rivard
1re avenue

Sophie Labell

Hadley Dyer
Here So Far Away

Susan Glickman
The Discovery of Flight

Tiffany D. Jackson
Monday’s Not Coming

E.K. Johnston
That Inevitable Victorian Thing

Sarah Raughley
Siege of Shadows

Justin Joschko
Yellow Locust

Star Spider
Past Tense
Danielle Younge-Ullman
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined

There will be workshops,
panel discussions, 
author signings, 
a meet-and-greet, 
book sales (through Octopus Books).


All events will take place at

Ottawa Public Library Sunnyside branch 
1049 Bank Street


across the street at 
Southminster United Church 
15 Aylmer Avenue


This is a free event!

Details about the schedule and authors and their books are available on the Teen Author Fest pages at https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/content/teen-author-fest (English) or at https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/fr/content/festival-des-auteurs-pour-ados (French)

October 18, 2018

Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon

Written by Karen Autio
Illustrated by Loraine Kemp
Crwth Press
48 pp.
Ages 7-10
October 2018

For lovers of trees, history, horses and British Columbia, Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon will appeal to all.

Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon is about the history of Wild Horse Canyon, a hidden canyon in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, alongside the Okanagan River. The story, told as a series of dated vignettes in text and pictures, begins in 1780 with an Okanagan man communing with the natural world of the steep-walled canyon. Listening to the flora and fauna, he leaves behind a red-ochre and bear-grease paint pictograph.

Through the years, the Okanagan people find shelter and home in this valley, as do wild horses, alongside the growing ponderosa pines (also known as yellow pines) whose growth the reader observes in every illustration of this book. From seedling, as witness to the community of Okanagan people, and their taming of the horses for transport and carrying heavy loads, to saplings, the yellow pines and other flora give life and assistance to these first peoples. With the arrival of the first Europeans, the Okanagan people offer horses and temporary shelter and the Okanagan Brigade Trail becomes a route for fur traders, explorers and pack-trains.
From Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon by Karen Autio, illus. by Loraine Kemp
Like the seedlings and saplings of yellow pine growing into majestic trees, the canyon is evolving, specifically from a wholly natural element to one impacted by human development. Settlers move into the Okanagan Valley, displacing the Syilx/Okanagan people who are shamelessly shoved onto reserves. Trees are cut, a railway is built and more settlers establish themselves. But, with the onset of World War I, horses are being trapped for military purposes and still more rounded up to be trained, sold or killed because they compete with ranchers' animals. "Soon few wild horses are left in the Okanagan." (pg. 22) Forests are cut, land is cleared, and Wild Horse Canyon is being changed forever.
From Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon by Karen Autio, illus. by Loraine Kemp

Still the ponderosa pines grow and reproduce amidst Wild Horse Canyon.  As with any story in which humans begin to exert their will on the natural environment, Karen Autio recounts that critical time when development begins to be reined in, and the establishment of the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park heralds the recovery of the area to its humblest beginnings. Even wildfires like the firestorm of 2003 that destroyed a 223-year-old ponderosa pine in Wild Horse Canyon is still a new beginning.
From Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon by Karen Autio, illus. by Loraine Kemp
Don't misinterpret the story of Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon from its title as I did. It is a historical account of a Canadian region unique in its heritage.  Karen Autio makes sure to tell the story of Wild Horse Canyon from all perspectives: First Nations, European settlers, and Mother Nature. By using a ponderosa pine as her focus for the unfolding of the canyon's history, both natural and human, Karen Autio keeps the story fundamental.  She could be critical of the canyon's evolution–I'm thinking of the treatment of the First Nations and wild horses–but she presents its history as simply a timeline of events, warts and all. That completeness of story is likewise achieved by Karen Autio's inclusion of additional details like maps, photos and notes about the Syilx People upon whose lands the story unfolds. With Okanagan Valley artist Loraine Kemp's accurate and appreciative paintings as illustrations for the story, Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon becomes a history book that young readers will welcome and enjoy for its realism and truthfulness.

October 17, 2018

Swallow's Dance: Book launch (Toronto, ON)

Canadian-born Australian writer

Wendy Orr

author of
Dragonfly Song (Pajama Press, 2017)
Nim's Island (Allen & Unwin, 1999)
(among many others!)

launches her TD Children's Literature Award-nominated

middle-grade historical fiction novel

Swallow's Dance
Written by Wendy Orr
Pajama Press
288 pp.
Ages 10-14
October 2018


 Saturday, October 27, 2018


 2-3:30 p.m.


Queen Books
914 Queen St. East
Toronto, ON

From publisher Pajama Press's website:

In the myth-rich culture of Bronze Age Crete, a volcano cuts short the coming-of-age training of a young priestess. When her world is shattered and her future appears lost, she must find the strength within herself to ensure the survival of her family.

Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home–and her family–in pieces. And the earth goddess hasn’t finished with the island yet.

With her family, Leira flees across the sea to Crete, expecting sanctuary. But a volcanic eruption throws the entire world into darkness. After the resulting tsunami, society descends into chaos; the status and privilege of being noble-born are reduced to nothing. With her injured mother and elderly nurse, Leira must find the strength and resourcefulness within herself to find safety.

Retrieved from https://pajamapress.ca/book/swallows_dance/ on October 17, 2018.

There will be:
• a reading
• book signing
• light refreshments.

All are welcome!

October 16, 2018

The Zombie Prince

Written by Matt Beam
Illustrated by Luc Melanson
Groundwood Books
24 pp.
Ages 4-7
September 2018

With Halloween around the corner, a zombie prince sounds like a great costume. It oozes power and fear and may be just the thing to help Brandon destroy his enemies. But Brandon's is not a costume. It's an imaginary coat of armour to help the boy fight off, virtually, a schoolyard bully. 

Three boys, Brandon, Oscar and our narrator, hang out on the grass of the school yard, problem-solving how to deal with a bully, Sam, who has called Brandon a fairy. And though Ms. Gomez has declared that fairies are fearless creatures, Brandon is devastated by the bully's evident malice. So, each of the boys imagines himself as powerful enough to fight off Sam's hurtful words. Brandon sees himself as "a zombie who will destroy his enemies with the tears falling down his face." Oscar sees himself as a ghost who will block the mean words hurled at Brandon.  Our narrator declares himself a vampire who will suck bad things from the air, including "pollution and Mrs. Clark's perfume clouds and Sam's mean words."
From The Zombie Prince by Matt Beam, illus. by Luc Melanson
Finally our narrator suggests that "Sam was wrong, Brandon," and that Brandon would "make an awesome fairy, but you actually looked more like a prince." That delights Brandon and the three boys while away the rest of recess imagining planes, yetis and lasers in themselves and their surroundings.
From The Zombie Prince by Matt Beam, illus. by Luc Melanson
Anxiety about bullying often comes from ruminating over words said and abuses inflicted, and anticipating the worst as a consequence of overthinking. But, what the boys learn is that that same busy brain can be used to fuel an imagination that can allay that anxiety and produce calm and joy instead. Matt Beam's The Zombie Prince applauds the solace that comes from applying creativity to distracting and comforting rather than worrying, and with friends to help bolster that creativity with emotional support, Brandon glows with the relief of being a zombie prince.
From The Zombie Prince by Matt Beam, illus. by Luc Melanson
There's a similar glow to Luc Melanson's quirky illustrations that have a lovely green tinge, though not quite like that of a zombie's skin. The green is soft like grass and warm like sunshine, and uplifting like the support the three boys give each other. Moreover, by making the three children so different in their features, Luc Melanson supports Matt Beam's story assertion that all boys can be sensitive and supportive and never less for feeling vulnerable.

While littlest ones might be enamoured with the idea of a zombie prince–creepy and powerful–Matt Beam and Luc Melanson's illustrated story approaches the idea that power comes from something within, not from external appearances, and strength is built upon compassion and awareness, enhanced with a healthy dose of imagination.

October 15, 2018

The Log Driver's Waltz

Words by Wade Hemsworth
Illustrated by Jennifer Phelan
Simon & Schuster Canada
40 pp.
All ages
September 2018

Whether you know the song "The Log Driver's Waltz" from the National Film Board short (John Weldon, 1979) or the version by the group Mountain City Four (with vocals by Kate and Anna McGarrigle) that accompanied the Canada Vignettes animated film, The Log Driver's Waltz is a piece of Canadiana which all will recognize. Written by folk singer-songwriter Wade Hemsworth of the agile log drivers he observed while he worked as a surveyor in remote areas of Canada, The Log Driver's Waltz is an iconic folk song of work and play and love in a northern landscape of trees and water.

Wade Hemsworth's lyrics may take readers and music listeners to a time when log driving, the work of moving cut trees from the forest to the mills downstream via river, was common and economically critical, but The Log Drive's Waltz is really a song about dancing, as a girl dreams to dancing with a lively and sure-footed log driver.
When the drive's nearly over
I like to go down
And watch all the lads
as they work on the river
I know that come evening
they'll be in the town
And we all like to waltz with a log driver. 
From The Log Driver's Waltz by Wade Hemsworth, illus. by Jennifer Phelan
Reading The Log Driver's Waltz has me singing aloud a song that should be sung at campfires and school concerts to celebrate a Canada of our past. But it's Toronto artist Jennifer Phelan's updated artwork that brings the song and its story to the present, without making it a contemporary tale, which it is not. Log driving is very rare anywhere in the world now but Jennifer Phelan's illustrations seem almost timeless. Though the log driver's appearance could be from the 1920s or the 2010s–a bearded fellow in a plaid shirt and toque–the dress of others reflects a variety of times.  There are the long dresses of the 1900s or the flapper girl dresses and the spats of the 1920s and even top hats. In fact, our T-shirt-wearing girl puts on a simple frock and pumps that could be from anytime between 1920 and 2018.

While she makes The Log Driver's Waltz about the log driver and a girl who yearns to dance with him above all others, Jennifer Phelan also makes the story a detailed homage to the task of the log drivers. She creates movement, integral to the work and the dancing, with line and shape that reflects the original animation of the film with astounding success. It's an organic take on the log driver's story.
From The Log Driver's Waltz by Wade Hemsworth, illus. by Jennifer Phelan
Moreover she honours those folk who brought history to life through music and art. In one image, the girl prepping for the dance is seen wearing a McGarrigle Sisters'1979 concert tour T-shirt. The flyer distributed to all announces the Weldon Waltz, recognizing the director of the NFB film. Even the endpapers show a darkened theatre with a small lit screen. And a stone statue outside the dance hall where the Weldon Waltz is held depicts the songwriter himself, Wade Hemsworth. Moreover, this is a Canadian story, though log driving was done throughout the world. Here we see pine trees reflective of Group of Seven styles, beavers, moose and the folk art traditions of our country.

The Log Driver's Waltz is a celebration of music and art, retelling a story from the past and giving it new life in the present. And we're delighted to be reminded of those who go "birling down and down white water..." and renew the earworm experience of that vintage song.

October 12, 2018

2019 Forest of Reading® nominees announced: Le Prix Tamarac and Le Prix Peuplier

This listing completes the posting of the nominees for the school-aged programs of Ontario Library Association's 2018-2019 Forest of Reading® awards which were just announced yesterday. The two categories and three award programs for French language readers are included here.

Écrit par Daniel Laverdure
Illustré par Annie Rodrigue
Soulières Éditeur


D'où viens-tu, Aya?
Écrit par Danielle Charland
Illustré par Caroline Merola
Éditions Pierre Tisseyre

Dominic et le hérisson
Écrit par Alain M. Bergeron
Illustré par Sampar
Soulières Éditeur


Le fan club des champignons
Écrit et illustré par Élise Gravel
Les 400 coups

L’homme de la cave
Écrit par Alexandre Côté-Fournier
Illustré par Enzo
La Courte Échelle 

Une infirmière du tonnerre
Écrit par Dominique Demers
Illustré par Fabio Pellegrino
Québec Amérique

La longue histoire de la petite vache
Écrit par Daniel Marchildon
Illustré par Caroline Merola
Soulières Éditeur

Mammouth rock
Écrit par Eveline Payette
Illustré par Guillaume Perreault
La Courte Échelle

Perdue sans elle
Écrit par Marie-Hélène Jarry
Illustré par Geneviève Côté
Soulières Éditeur

Pow Pow, t'es mort!
Écrit par Marie-Francine Hébert
Illustré par Jean-Luc Trude
Les 400 coups

L'Acadie en baratte: Petit guide inusité des Maritimes
Écrit par Diane Carmel Léger
Illustré par Raynald Basque
Bouton d’or Acadie

Écrit par Sonia Sarfati
Illustré par Jared KarnasLa Courte Échelle

Le dernier camelot
Écrit par Marie-Renée Lavoie
Éditions Hurtubise

Gladiateurs virtuels
Écrit par Paul Roux
Bayard Canada

Jimmy Tornado: Atlas ne répond plus
Écrit par Frédéric Antoine
Illustré par Jean-François Vachon
Presses Aventure

Joujou Turenne raconte Mandela
Écrit par Joujou Turenne
Illustré par Patrick Noze
Éditions Planète Rebelle

Le livre où la poule meurt à la fin
Écrit par François Blais
Illustré par Valérie Boivin
Les 400 coups

Les poissons électriques
Écrit par Erik Harvey-Girard
Illustré par Stéphane Poirier
La Pasteque

La princesse qui voulait devenir générale
Écrit par Sophie Bienvenu
Illustré par Camille Pomerlo
Les Éditions de la Bagnole

Écrit par Élizabeth Turgeon
Éditions du Boréal

La doudou qui aimait trop le chocolat
Écrit par Claudia Larochelle
Illustré par Maira Chiodi
Les Éditions de la Bagnole

Le grand coeur de madame Lili
Écrit par Gilles Tibo
Illustré par Irene Luxbacher

Lapin perdu - Lapin trouvé
Écrit par Janou-Ève LeGuerrier
Illustré par Amélie Dubois
Les 400 coups

Lila et la corneille
Écrit et illustré par Gabrielle Grimard

Ma tête en l’air
Écrit par Danielle Chaperon
Illustré par Josée Bisaillon

Mémé à la plage
Écrit par Rhéa Dufresne
Illustré par Aurélie Grand
Les 400 coups

Moi aussi! Moi aussi!
Écrit par Mireille Messier
Illustré par Yves Dumont
Les Éditions de la Bagnole

Parfois je suis un renard
Écrit et illustré par Danielle Daniel

Qui va bercer Zoé?
Écrit par Andrée Poulin
Illustré par Mathieu Lampron
Les 400 coups

Une visite inattendue
Écrit par Anne-Marie Rioux
Illustré par Yves Dumont
Les 400 coups

Remaining nominees are listed here: