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Looking for the best books for your kids and teens? Of course you are! Fortunately, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1976) publishes just such a list. And we’re thrilled to share that sixteen Orca titles made the list for Spring 2013.
“All of the titles in Best Books for Kids & Teens have been handpicked by expert committees of educators, booksellers, and school and public librarians from across Canada. The reviewed materials include picture books, junior/intermediate fiction, graphic novels, and powerful teen fiction, in addition to a wide array of non-fiction, magazines and audio/video resources.” —Canadian Children’s Book Centre website
The following Orca titles were selected for the list this season. Congratulations to all the authors on their achievement!
He recently sat down (online) with Curtis LeBlanc to answer nineteen questions about books, writing and his life as an author. Some highlights: who are Richard’s top three authors? Which bands does he listen to while writing? And what will he be working on next?
See your name in print—and on a dedication page, no less!
William Kowalski, author of three titles in Orca’s Rapid Reads series is running a fantastic new contest through his website. The winner will have Kowalski’s fourth Rapid Read title, Just Gone, dedicated to them.
Have you ever wanted to have a book dedicated to you? Not just signed by the author, but actually dedicated to you, with your name in print for all eternity?
Well, your time has come. Your ship has come in. Your Eagle has landed. I’m running a contest for my readers, and the winner will receive this fabulous prize: my fourth Rapid Reads novel, JUST GONE, which is coming out later this year, will be dedicated to them and them alone. By name. Exciting? You betcha.
That’s it. How to define ‘unlikely’ is up to you. (Just be safe, please.) The title of the book must be clearly visible. You may not use Photoshop or any other kind of enhancement or alteration tool. Other than that, the sky’s the limit.
Whoever is featured in that picture or owns the rights to it will earn the right to have JUST GONE dedicated to them by name.
I reserve the right to remove any pictures that are cruel or insulting to anyone. I won’t put anything obscene or disrespectful in the dedication. I really want this to be dedicated to YOU, the winner. So, you agree, by entering the contest, that if you win, you have the right to have the book dedicated to you by first and last name, or first name only if you prefer, and perhaps a brief message, such as “To John Smith, the hoopiest frood in England.”
Go forth and photograph yourselves. Have fun. Don’t get hurt. And make us lol.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, we’re excited to share the cooperative efforts of some of our wonderful women writers! They’ve decided to review each other’s new spring titles in the spirit of collaboration. Here, Karen Krossing showcases four new YA titles from fellow authors Leanne Lieberman, Shelley Hrdlitschka and Robin Stevenson!
Looking for reviews of our recent titles? The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, published by the University of Alberta, has reviewed six of our latest titles in its Winter Reading special issue. You’ll find reviews of Agent Angus(Orca Currents) by K.L. Denman, Dead Run (Orca Soundings) by Sean Rodman, Disconnect(Orca Currents) by Lois Peterson, Living Rough (Orca Currents) by Cristy Watson, Maxed Out (Orca Currents) by Daphne Greer and Pyro (Orca Currents) by Monique Polak.
While many families in British Columbia enjoyed spending some time together as our province celebrated its first ever Family Day, host of the CBC’s Titles and Tate Nikki Tate-Stratton got in the Family Day spirit by discussing three novels focused on the same family: Sara Cassidy’s Slick (Orca Currents), Windfall (Orca Currents) and Seeing Orange (Orca Echoes) all feature the same family, although the protagonists are two different siblings.
Slick: Liza, determined to prove that her mother’s boyfriend is no good, starts researching the oil company he works for. Liza discovers a lawsuit against the company for compensation that is long overdue to Guatemalan farmers. She starts a group at school called GRRR! (Girls for Renewable Resources, Really!) and launches an attack on Argenta Oil. As her activism activities increase, her objections to her mother’s boyfriend become political. She is learning to separate the personal from the political, but when her mother discovers her plans for a demonstration outside the Argenta Oil head office, the two collide in ways Liza least suspected.
Windfall:Life is full of challenges for thirteen-year-old Liza. She is already having trouble coping with the death of a local homeless man when she learns that her family’s apple tree will need to be chopped down. If that wasn’t enough, the new principal at school keeps blocking her attempts for a positive outlet by refusing permission for every project that GRRR! (Girls for Renewable Resources, Really!) and BRRR! (Boys for Renewable Resources, Really!) proposes. Liza starts to feel like she needs to create change in her world without seeking permission. When she chooses the school grounds as the site for her latest endeavor, she may have gone too far.
Seeing Orange:Seven-year-old Leland has trouble writing, but he loves drawing. He so dislikes his teacher that he conjures up Delilah, an imaginary seeing-eye dog to help him into class each day. When a neighborhood painter recognizes Leland’s gifts as an artist, Leland grows more confident about the world as he uniquely sees it. And when his family’s cat goes missing, it is Leland’s keen observation skills that lead to finding him. Leland’s newfound confidence helps him both confront and sympathize with his teacher, who only wishes Leland could be a bit more focused.
The National Reading Campaign’s “What Did You Read Today?” contest winners have been chosen! Read on for the message shared with us today from the National Reading Campaign.
What did you read today? Public Campaign
Congratulations to the 10 winners of the contest for the general public: Josh Siemens, Waldheim, SK; Kathy Whelan McNiff, London, ON; Jill Dean, Saskatoon, SK; Mark Young, London, ON; Charlotte Brotschi, Toronto, ON; Margaret MacDonald, Lethbridge, AB; Michael Donnelly, Toronto, ON; Natalie Brea Van Apeldorn, Vancouver, BC; and Dave Binsette, Tecumseh, ON. They had been invited to tweet their answer to #whatdidyoureadtoday? for a chance to win a Glo e-reader, generously provided by Kobo. In recognition of the thousands of enthusiastic entries, Kobo donated an additional $10,000 to the National Reading Campaign.
The contest for children involved thousands of kids from Nanaimo to Halifax. The winning schools & libraries are: Taylor Evans Public School in Guelph, ON; Woodhaven Middle School, Spruce Grove, AB; Vancouver Island Regional Library (Nanaimo Harbourfront Branch), Nanaimo, BC; Cardiff Elementary School, Cardiff, ON; Maple Leaf School, Winnipeg, MB; Torquay Elementary School, Victoria, BC; James McQueen Public School, Ajax, ON; Shediac Library, Shediac, NB; Montreal Children’s Library (Jean Rivard Branch), Montreal, PQ; and Lord Elgin Public School, Fergus, ON.
Each winner will receive $1000 worth of Canadian books for their school or library. The National Reading Campaign is grateful to the following publishers for contributing prizes: Annick Press, Cormorant Books, Fitzhenry & Whiteside Publishers, Groundwood Books, Hachette Canada, Harper Collins Canada, Kids Can Press, Nimbus Publishing, Orca Book Publishers, Pajama Press, Penguin Canada, Scholastic, Second Story Press, Simon & Schuster, and Tradewind Books. We’re working on the public campaign, and will launch the advertising element in the fall.
The #whatdidyoureadtoday? contest may be over, but the National Reading Campaign is just beginning!!
Kit Pearson, award-winning children’s author, will discuss her new books, The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth, and talk about her life as an author at the next Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable on Monday, January 21. The Whole Truth won the CLA Book of the Year Award for Children and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award in 2012. The Whole Truth was shortlisted for the Bolen Book Prize 2012.
January 21, 2013
The VCLR is open to the public. Members free, drop-ins $5, students $4. Meetings are held at the Nellie McClung Branch Library, 3950 Cedar Hill Road. Doors open at 7 pm.
The Canadian Children’s Book Center recently released its guide to the Best Books for Kids & Teens from Fall 2012. We’re thrilled to announce that twenty four Orca titles were included, many of those as starred selections.
The list comprises recommended books for kids and teens ages 0-18 and helps parents, teachers, librarians, booksellers and children’s literature enthusiasts stock their bookshelves with the very best books Canada has to offer
According to the Canadian Children’s Book Center, “all of the titles in Best Books for Kids & Teens have been handpicked by expert committees of educators, booksellers, school and public librarians from across Canada, so every book included in the guide is guaranteed to be a great read!” Each listing contains a brief summary of the book, the interest level listed by age, reading level listed by grade and thematic links—a simple reference tool to help readers select appropriate books by subject.
The full list of selected titles is not available online, but you can purchase a copy of the guide from the Canadian Children’s Book Center website for $5.95. We can, however, share the list of selected Orca titles. Asterisks indicated a starred selection. Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators! (Click each title to learn more about the book or order a copy from us.)
Searching for books that will hook your reluctant readers? School Library Journal recently published a list of fun, fast-paced fiction that fits the bill. These books “feature clear narratives that quickly draw readers into the action and are supported by snappy dialogue that helps move the stories along.” They feature “appealing protagonists, attractive covers, and layouts that feature generous print size and plenty of white space, and bingo, you have something to hand to the hard-to-please.” [Read full article]
Featured on this list is Dawn Patrol, by Jeff Ross. Dawn Patrol is part of the Orca Sports series, which combine mystery and adventure with sports action.
Book Synopsis: Everything stops making sense for extreme surfer Kevin Taylor after his parents die in a plane crash. When Kevin disappears, leaving only a cryptic note, his best friends Luca and Esme have no choice but to try and find him. Their journey takes them to the coast of Panama, where they must confront unfriendly locals, a surfer who seems bent on destroying them, and monster waves. As their hope dwindles and time runs out, the mystery of what really happened to Kevin’s parents deepens, and Luca and Esme begin to wonder if they are in over their heads.
Congratulations to Deborah Ellis and Pajama Press!
Deborah Ellis has won the Reliable Life Insurance Award for Children & Young Adult Book for her YA psychological thriller True Blue. The award was presented on November 12, 2012, during the 18th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards at Theatre Aquarius’ Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario. Ron Ulrich, artistic director of the host theatre, announced the award and shared the compelling first chapter with the audience.
True Blue has met with critical acclaim in both Canada and the United States. School Library Journal said, “True Blue is about the courage to believe in oneself and fight for what’s right, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. A book worthy of any school curriculum.” Kirkus Reviews said protagonist Jess “grabs readers’ attention and never lets it go.” True Blue has also been nominated for the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award and the John Spray Mystery Award.
It’s been nearly a month since the publication of Seven (the Series), and boy have these books taken off. In fact, we’ve already had to reprint the entire series because booksellers can’t keep them on the shelves! Shane Peacock (Last Message) reported that he recently dropped in to his local Chapters store to sign a few copies, but couldn’t because the store was completely sold out: Shane said, “They were very excited that a ‘7′ author was in the store…and said the series was selling extremely well, a sort of phenomenon for them. They said kids, mostly boys (!) were coming into the store regularly asking for it. Nice to see.”
The Seven panel at the International Festival of Authors
The authors of the seven titles in the series, Eric Walters (Between Heaven and Earth), John Wilson (Lost Cause), Ted Staunton (Jump Cut), Richard Scrimger (Ink Me), Norah McClintock (Close to the Heel), Sigmund Brouwer (Devil’s Pass) and Shane Peacock (Last Message) have been visiting schools and bookstores across the country, including stops in Kingston, York, Hamilton, Peterborough, Mississauga, the International Festival of Authors in Toronto and the International Writers Fest in Vancouver.
Response to the series has been overwhelmingly positive from booksellers, teachers, and most importantly, from readers. Of Lost Cause, one teen reviewer wrote, ”I had to force myself to take a break for food or sleep once in a while. I just wanted to keep reading. This was an excellent book and I’m happy I picked it up to read.” (YALSA YA Galley Teen Review). The titles have been featured in Kirkus Reviews (Devil’s Pass was named a Critic’s Pick!), CM Magazine, Canadian Children’s Book News, Quill and Quire and many more publications! Visit the In the News page at www.seventheseries.com to read review excerpts.
Find out what it takes to write like a pro from a panel of published authors.
Catherine Austen, author of last year’s award-winning dystopian teen fiction title All Good Children, will be part of a YA discussion panel in Ottawa as part of Teen Author Fest. Catherine will be answering questions with YA authors Lesley Livingston and Max Turner. The panel is a free public event for young writers.
Wednesday, October 24, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Ben Franklin Place, The Chamber, 101 Centrepointe
Congratulations to Caitlyn Vernon, whose Nowhere Else on Earth: Standing Tall for the Great Bear Rainforest has been named a finalist for the 2012 Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize. The winners will be announced at an awards gala at the Union Club of Victoria on October 10 at 7:30. Tickets are $15 and are available now at Bolen Books, Munro’s Books, Ivy’s Bookshop and the Victoria Book Prize Society (250-589-8430).
About Nowhere Else on Earth
You don’t have to live in the Great Bear Rainforest to benefit from its existence, but after you read Nowhere Else on Earth you might want to visit this magnificent part of the planet. Environmental activist Caitlyn Vernon guides young readers through a forest of information, sharing her personal stories, her knowledge and her concern for this beautiful place.
Full of breathtaking photographs and suggestions for ways to preserve this unique ecosystem, Nowhere Else on Earth is a timely and inspiring reminder that we need to stand up for our wild places before they are gone.
Visit the book’s dedicated website at www.greatbearrainforest.ca to view photos from the book, download the study guide and access additional resources.
Catherine Austen’s All Good Children is on a roll. Since its release in the fall of 2011, the dystopian teen fiction title has won or been nominated for a growing list of awards, including Resource Links‘ “The Year’s Best,” the CLA Young Adult Book Award (winner), the CCBC Best Books list, YALSA’s Teen’s Top Ten (nominee) and most recently, the YALSA Best Fiction for YA (nominee—winner to be announced later this year).
About All Good Children
It’s the middle of the twenty-first century and the elite children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens. Maxwell Connors, a fifteen-year-old prankster, misfit and graffiti artist, observes the changes with growing concern, especially when his younger sister, Ally, is targeted. Max and his best friend, Dallas, escape the treatment, but must pretend to be “zombies” while they watch their pad and hopes decay. When Max’s family decides to take Dallas with them into the unknown world beyond New Middletown’s borders, Max’s creativity becomes an unexpected bonus rather than a liability.
Spring is the time of year that snow melting from the mountains and extra rain flows into the Fraser River and causes the water level to rise. And that’s exactly what happened in 1948, when Flood Warning, the new chapter book by Jacqueline Pearce, takes place. The main character, Tom, wants to help build the dykes with his dad and the other men, but instead, he has to go to school and then help his mom on the family farm. He’s sure his favourite radio hero, the Lone Ranger, wouldn’t stick around home. But when the family’s dairy cows are in danger, Tom gets called on to be a real-life hero.
Find out more about the story and the events that inspired it on Jacqueline Pearce’s blog and leave a comment to be entered in a draw for the book and a Lone Ranger DVD (draw June 15, 2012).
Are you excited about the upcoming launch of Seven (the Series)? Seven adventures from seven fantastic YA authors: Eric Walters, John Wilson, Ted Staunton, Richard Scrimger, Norah McClintock, Sigmund Brouwer and Shane Peacock. And all seven titles will be released on the same day!
To help you decide which of the seven adventures to read first, Orca Book Publishers is releasing an excerpt from one book each month leading up to the series launch on October 10, 2012. The excerpt for August is from Sigmund Brouwer’s Devil’s Pass.
About Devil’s Pass
Seventeen-year-old Webb’s abusive stepfather has made it impossible for him to live at home, so Webb survives on the streets of Toronto by busking with his guitar and working as a dishwasher. When Webb’s grandfather dies, his will stipulates that his grandsons fulfill specific requests. Webb’s task takes him to the Canol Trail in Canada’s Far North, where he finds out that there are much scarier things than the cold and the occasional grizzly bear. With a Native guide, two German tourists and his guitar for company, Webb is forced to confront terrible events in his grandfather’s past and somehow deal with the pain and confusion of his own life.
Visit www.seventheseries.com to download an excerpt of Devil’s Pass or any of the five previously published excerpts.
The Ontario Library Association (OLA) will soon be marking the 1o-year anniversary of the Blue Spruce reading program. The anniversary event will be held at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto from Aug. 17, 2012 to Sept. 3, 2012.
The Blue Spruce program brings Canadian children’s picture books to Ontario children in kindergarten through grade two. Over 70 Blue Spruce books will be featured, at the Ex, including two recent Orca picturebooks: Jeffrey and Sloth (Kari-Lynn Winters and Ben Hodson) and Buttercup’s Lovely Day (Carolyn Beck and Andrea Beck).
The Blue Spruce exhibit will feature craft activities for children based on the themes of the nominated titles, illustrator signings and more. Author Kari-Lynn Winters will be on hand August 18 and August 31 from 2-5pm in the Arts, Crafts and Hobbies building of the exhibition, so we hope you’ll head down and pay her a visit. And maybe you can grab a Mars bar while you’re at it…
Teachers and librarians are always looking for new ways to connect with children and teens categorized as “reluctant readers.” On September 25, 2012, you can participate in a free hour-long webinar that addresses that need.
Joining Orca’s publisher, Andrew Wooldridge, will be a reading specialist and literacy coach, along with a representative from Saddleback Educational Publishing. The webinar will cover strategies and resources effective in reaching struggling readers ages 10 and up, as well as present books that combine high-interest topics with accessible writing. You’ll also hear about new releases and best-selling series from Saddleback Educational Publishing and Orca Book Publishers.
Have a question about “reluctant readers”? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org before September 24 and we will attempt to answer your query in the webinar. Questions addressed during the webinar will receive a sampling of current titles valued at $100. So keep them coming!
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 1:00 pm (Central Daylight Time)
The launch of Seven (the Series) is just around the corner, and just a few days after the launch, three of the seven authors (Norah McClintock, Shane Peacock and Richard Scrimger) will team up at the Vancouver Writers Fest to discuss their parts in the project. If you plan to be in the Vancouver area on October 16, 2012, this would be a fantastic event to attend. Tickets are available to individuals and school groups, and you can download a study guide right from the online ticket office.
Event Details Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012—1:00-2:30pm
Location: Granville Island Stage
Cost: $17 / $8.50 for student groups BUY NOW
Event Description: A unique and ambitious series is launching just days before this year’s Vancouver Writers Fest—seven Young Adult novels published simultaneously, stemming from the fictional instructions of a dying man to his seven teenaged grandsons. Each grandson is thrust into challenging and sometimes dangerous events to fulfill his grandfather’s wishes—ranging from tattooed gangs close to home, to near-impossible tasks set in Iceland, France, Spain or Tanzania. Three of the seven exceptional Canadian authors chosen to write these stories will talk about their part in this unusual project. Readers can look forward to Scrimger’s sense of humour, McClintock’s sense of mystery and Peacock’s dark plotting.