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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Canada, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 189
1. Norman McLaren Centennial Celebrations Take Over Downtown Montreal and Scotland

Animation is overtaking the streets of downtown Montreal’s entertainment district, the Quartier des Spectacles, and various cities in Scotland in honor of Norman McLaren's centennial.

0 Comments on Norman McLaren Centennial Celebrations Take Over Downtown Montreal and Scotland as of 4/10/2014 9:39:00 PM
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2. ‘Yellow Sticky Notes: Canadian Anijam’ by Jeff Chiba Stearns

An ‘Anijam’ is a collaborative animation where various artists create individual short animated segments that are linked together to make one larger film. For the first time in Canadian history, 15 of Canada’s most acclaimed independent animators have come together to create a collaborative animated film. "Yellow Sticky Notes: Canadian Anijam" is an innovative and global approach to animation filmmaking and unites animators from coast to coast, from Vancouver to Halifax and all parts in between, to self reflect on one day of their lives using only 4x6 inch yellow sticky notes, a black pen and animation meditation.

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3. Illustrator Interview Marie Lafrance

I have admired Marie Lafrance’s illustrations for French and English picture books for well over a decade. When another Canadian friend, Monica Kulling, author of THE TWEEDLES GO ELECTRIC, asked her publisher to send me a review copy of this … Continue reading

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4. Maggie Welcomes Thousands of Visitors Worldwide

Maggie Steele, the storybook heroine who vaults over the moon, has been attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. So many visitors, in fact, that she’s using a time zone map to keep track of them all.* People are … Continue reading

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5. Jane of Lantern Hill

General consensus seemed to be that, after The Blue Castle, Jane of Lantern Hill was the best L.M. Montgomery book. So, when I detached myself from the internet yesterday and had a mini reading spree, it was the first thing I read. I mean, after I finished the Nero Wolfe book I was in the middle of.

I’m sorry I’m late to the L.M. Montgomery party, but I’m not sorry I’m getting to read these books for the first time now. There are children’s books that I’ve read as an adult and wished I had read as a kid, but Jane of Lantern Hill isn’t one of them. Yes, reading it at the appropriate age would have been a very different experience, but I don’t think it would have necessarily been a better one; I have so much more context for things now. This is just me trying to rationalize, though. Mostly I can’t imagine enjoying Jane of Lantern Hill more when I was a kid than I did yesterday.

The setup is strikingly similar to that of The Blue Castle — the unhappy girl living in a strict, female-dominated household whose only escape is via her imagination, the awful aunts and uncles and the privileged cousin, etc. But Jane is a kid, and her family includes some non-awful people: her mother and father, who are estranged. Jane and her mother live with Jane’s grandmother, who basically hates everyone but Jane’s mother, and takes active pleasure in making Jane’s life miserable.

This is abuse. Her grandmother uses everything Jane does to reinforce a narrative where Jane is useless and terrible at everything and has “low tastes.” Anything that Jane does well or likes to do is either ignored or food for further criticism. Every nice thing that her grandmother gives is is secretly meant to make her unhappy. And Jane responds, as people being abused often do, by becoming bad at all of the things she’s told she’s bad at. It’s pretty uncomfortable reading.

But this is a mostly cheerful children’s book, and so there’s something irrepressibly humorous and interested in Jane that her grandmother can’t kill, and she gets to exercise those faculties when she goes away to spend the summer with her father on Prince Edward Island.

Jane’s first summer with her father is almost too perfect. They instinctively get each other, in a way that was enough like an idealized version of my relationship with my father that it almost made me uncomfortable. But only almost. What’s great about this section, though, is Jane’s confidence. Free of her grandmother’s influence, she knows she’s capable of doing all sorts of things. It’s interesting that so many of those things are in the areas of cooking and housekeeping — things her grandmother never repeatedly told Jane was awful at because she never allowed her to try them in the first place.

Even better is the fact that Jane takes some of that confidence back home with her at the end of the summer. And yes, she stands up for herself a little more, but my favorite thing is that her knowledge that she’s a capable person sticks with her and allows her to continue to be a capable person, doing better in school and becoming less clumsy. It’s great.

So, yeah, this book was so good for me in so many ways. I didn’t love the ending as much as I loved the rest, but I also don’t see how else Montgomery could have sorted things out, so I don’t really want to complain.

When I was finished with Jane of Lantern Hill I went on reading people’s recommendations/things I’ve waited for too long to read. Next up: The Adventure of Princess Sylvia, because I got mixed up and didn’t remember I was supposed to read Princess Virginia instead.

Tagged: 1930s, canada, lmmontgomery

8 Comments on Jane of Lantern Hill, last added: 6/18/2013
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6. Face

face design

Face. is an international design agency with a global perspective and a focus on branding. Founded in 2006, Face. has already created some impressive designs that showcase their modernist flair. Although many of their pieces are done in a straightforward style, they keep it fresh with fun color palettes and intriguing typography.  Having already created multiple offices across North America in their short life span, keep an eye on Face. for their next move.

face design

face design

face design


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7. Funny memories with my Dad.

My family and I each made photo collages for my Dad's funeral. I had a little fun with mine, adding some good, funny memories. I'll let this speak for itself....

You may have to right click and open in a new window in order to see it clearly. I would also recommend enlarging it in your browser a bit.

2 Comments on Funny memories with my Dad., last added: 5/3/2013
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8. Nonfiction Monday: Blizzard of Glass

Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 Sally M. Walker

As regular readers may remember, last year I was on the committee for the Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. In addition to our winners and finalists, the committee also publishes a list of vetted nominations (what I like to call the "long list.") I'm in the process of highlighting these titles during Nonfiction Monday.

In December 1917, war was raging in Europe. In Halifax Harbor, two ships were on their way to the action, one on it's way to pick up relief supplies, the other full of munitions. The two ships collided, causing a fire. As the munitions ship drifted, fire on its deck, it crashed into the pier and exploded, leveling most of of the harbor area and creating a shockwave that blew out almost every window in Halifax proper. 2000 people died, 9000 more were injured. Rescue and relief efforts were further dampened when a blizzard blew in the next day and dumped over a foot of snow on the area.

Until the advent of nuclear weapons, the Halifax explosion was the largest man-made explosion ever.

Walker tells this story (one that's very well known in Canada, but not so much in the US) through the eyes of children who lived around the harbor at the time. Children getting ready for school, running errands, and going about their day. She weaves these daily accounts in with the context of shipping lanes and traffic, and what was happening in the Harbor. Walker also covers the communities on the other side of the Harbor who were affected by the explosion, resulting shock wave, and tsunami. The book is also very good at detailing what happened after the explosion to everyone.

Fun fact: The Halifax coroner's office had a tested system in place to deal with a mass casualty event like this. It had been developed 2 years earlier, when they brought in the bodies from the Titanic.

Today's Nonfiction Monday roundup is over at a wrung sponge. Check it out.

Also check out today's YA Reading List post, in honor of Yom HaShoah.

Book Provided by... the publisher, for award consideration

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

2 Comments on Nonfiction Monday: Blizzard of Glass, last added: 4/10/2013
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9. “The Legend of Sarila” Trailer

The Legend of Sarila (La légende de Sarila) is the first 3D CGI film produced entirely in Quebec. Drawing on Inuit culture and tradition, Sarila was directed by Nancy Florence Savard,= and animated in Montreal at Modus FX. Production companies involved were 10th Ave Productions and CarpeDiem Film & TV. Budget was $8.5 million (CAN).

Sarila opened last weekend in Quebec province on 32 screens, grossing a modest $64,622 and landing in 10th place at the Quebec box office. The film has been sold to 20 countries.

(Thanks, Nicola Lemay)

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10. LMM Journals Read Along: Volume I

Want to know more about the Read Along? Click through for the introductory post and reading schedule.


It is will great excitement I welcome you to the LMM Journals Read Along! Picking up this first book has, in many ways, felt like coming home. If you are an Anne fan, you will be delighted to see phrases and circumstances that feel very Anne-ish. If you're an Emily fan, you'll see parallels between Maud's upbringing and Emily's.

Here you'll find school girl spats, small-town social events, a year with her beloved father (and ill-humored stepmother), a proposal from her former teacher (!), many, many heart-broken suitors, teaching, writing, an engagement, loneliness, the sale of ANNE.

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born November 30, 1874 in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island, Canada. "Thirty-four years later, in 1908, her first novel, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, put Prince Edward Island on the literary map of the world. When she died in 1942 Montgomery had published over twenty books, hundreds of short stories and poems, and her name was known far beyond the English-speaking world."

Before her second birthday, Maud, as she liked to be called, lost her mother. Her father quickly left for the mainland, remarrying and leaving Maud to be raised by her mother's parents. She began journaling as "a tot of nine" but destroyed those early copies. "Surviving are ten handwritten volumes that were begun when she was fourteen and date from 1889 to 1942." This first volume includes the first two of those ten journals, covering her PEI years "from ages 14 to 36" (including a year with her father in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan).

Without siblings, raised by older relatives, and intellectually ahead of her class, Maud often felt isolated and different from those around her. She "viewed her journals as a 'personal confidant in whom I can repose absolute trust'."

"Because the journals are so full and frank and cover such a long period, and because they are the work of a successful professional writer, they provide a degree of information, anecdote, and personal history that makes them unique in Canadian letters. The interest attached to the autobiographical content is obvious. What may not appear so obvious in this first volume is that the complete journals of L. M. Montgomery provide a fund of engrossing social history covering more than half a century and draw the reader surprisingly far into the depths of one woman's life."*

As I read, I'll share favorite quotes on Twitter, using the hashtag #lmmjournals. Make notes as you read or just enjoy. And please consider returning Monday, 25 February to join the discussion of Volume I.

Be sure to keep a second bookmark at the notes section at the back of the book. Extra details are given here.

Happy reading!

*All quotes taken from the introduction of the first volume

6 Comments on LMM Journals Read Along: Volume I, last added: 2/3/2013
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11. “Cattle Call” by Matt Rankin and Mike Maryniuk

Cattle Call (2008) offers a fascinating glimpse into a world that is completely foreign to me. It made a strong impression when I saw it a few years back in Ottawa and I’m delighted to report that it’s every bit as exhilarating to watch again now that it’s been posted online.

Directed by Matt Rankin and Mike Maryniuk, the film uncovers the inherent art within livestock auctioneering, which filmmaker Werner Herzog once described as “the last poetry possible, the poetry of capitalism.”

Filmmakers Rankin and Maryniuk capture the madcap energy of their subject matter by deploying a rapid-fire assortment of techniques, including stop-motion, cut-outs, open-exposures, hole-punching and rubbing Letraset directly on the celluloid. They manage to turn this experimental grabbag into a mightily entertaining film—a testament to their skills as animation filmmakers. Their unconventional approach also shows that the documentary format in animation offers a range of nonliteral and non-narrative possibilities that extends beyond the formal limitations of live-action documentary.

0 Comments on “Cattle Call” by Matt Rankin and Mike Maryniuk as of 1/31/2013 3:02:00 PM
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12. Family Literacy Day ~ January 27th, Canada

The weekend is upon us and tomorrow, Sunday, is Family Literacy Day in Canada! Created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27, Family Literacy Day raises awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development. Even just 15 minutes a day can improve a child’s literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well.

Even if you are not Canadian you can still participate in Family Literacy Day!  Check out these 15-minute activites to get started and here The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has put together a list of books that share in the joys (and struggles) of families of all sizes and combinations. To see the list of  events taking place across Canada on Family Literacy Day click here.

0 Comments on Family Literacy Day ~ January 27th, Canada as of 1/26/2013 5:04:00 AM
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13. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Book Week Writing Contest for Kids & Teens

Holly Kent, Sales and Marketing Manager at The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, recently emailed and asked if we could share with our readers about a great contest open to young writers in grades 4 to 12: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s annual Book Week Writing Contest for Kids & Teens. This national contest is a much anticipated part of TD Canadian Children’s Book Week and the deadline for entries is fast approaching.

Young Canadian writers are invited to send in a sample of their best writing (stories and/or poems, fiction or non-fiction) not to exceed 1,500 words.  Judging is done by noted writers from across Canada and the winner from each grade will receive a $250 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice. Two honourable mentions from each grade category will also receive $50 gift certificates.

All entries must be postmarked by February 1, 2013. The winners will be announced during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week May 4 – 11, 2013.

Contest details and entry forms can be found here.

To learn more about The Canadian Children’s Book Centre and the wonderful work they do, be sure to read Holly’s Guest Blogger posts that she wrote for us in August 2012.

0 Comments on The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Book Week Writing Contest for Kids & Teens as of 1/15/2013 4:34:00 PM
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14. Secession: let the battle commence

By James Ker-Lindsay

There has rarely been a more interesting time to study secession. It is not just that the number of separatist movements appears to be growing, particularly in Europe, it is the fact that the international debate on the rights of people to determine their future, and pursue independence, seems to be on the verge of a many change. The calm debate over Scotland’s future, which builds on Canada’s approach towards Quebec, is a testament to the fact that a peaceful and democratic debate over separatism is possible. It may yet be the case that other European governments choose to adopt a similar approach; the most obvious cases being Spain and Belgium towards Catalonia and Flanders.

However, for the meanwhile, the British and Canadian examples remain very much the exception rather than the rule. In most cases, states still do everything possible to prevent parts of their territory from breaking away, often using force if necessary.

It is hardly surprising that most states have a deep aversion to secession. In part, this is driven by a sense of geographical and symbolic identity. A state has an image of itself, and the geographic boundaries of the state are seared onto the consciousness of the citizenry. For example, from an early age school pupils draw maps of their country. But the quest to preserve the borders of a country is rooted in a range of other factors. In some cases, the territory seeking to break away may hold mineral wealth, or historical and cultural riches. Sometimes secession is opposed because of fears that if one area is allowed to go its own way, other will follow.

For the most part, states are aided in their campaign to tackle separatism by international law and norms of international politics. While much has been made of the right to self-determination, the reality is that its application is extremely limited. Outside the context of decolonisation, this idea has almost always taken a backseat to the principle of the territorial integrity of states. This gives a country fighting a secessionist movement a massive advantage. Other countries rarely want to be seen to break ranks and recognise a state that has unilaterally seceded.

When a decision is taken to recognise unilateral declarations of independence, it is usually done by a state with close ethnic, political or strategic ties to the breakaway territory.Turkey’s recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are obvious examples. Even when other factors shape the decision, as happened in the case of Kosovo, which has been recognised by the United States and most of the European Union, considerable effort has been made by recognising states to present this as a unique case that should be seen as sitting outside of the accepted boundaries of established practice.

However, states facing a secessionist challenge cannot afford to be complacent. While there is a deep aversion to secession, there is always the danger that the passage of time will lead to the gradual acceptance of the situation on the ground. It is therefore important to wage a concerted campaign to reinforce a claim to sovereignty over the territory and prevent countries from recognising – or merely even unofficially engaging with – the breakaway territory.

At the same time, international organisations are also crucial battlegrounds. Membership of the United Nations, for example, has come to be seen as the ultimate proof that a state has been accepted by the wider international community. To a lesser extent, participation in other international and regional bodies, and even in sporting and cultural activities, can send the same message concerning international acceptance.

The British government’s decision to accept a referendum over Scotland’s future is still a rather unusual approach to the question of secession. Governments rarely accept the democratic right of a group of people living within its borders to pursue the creation of a new state. In most cases, the central authority seeks to keep the state together; and in doing so choosing to fight what can often be a prolonged campaign to prevent recognition or legitimisation by the wider international community.

James Ker-Lindsay is Eurobank EFG Senior Research Fellow on the Politics of South East Europe at the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of The Foreign Policy of Counter Secession: Preventing the Recognition of Contested States (2012) and The Cyprus Problem: What Everyone Needs to Know (2011), and a number of other books on conflict, peace and security in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean.

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The post Secession: let the battle commence appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Secession: let the battle commence as of 12/6/2012 4:53:00 AM
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15. Waterloo Festival For Animated Cinema Announces Feature Film lineup

Every year at this time I find myself jealous of the people in the vicinity of Kitchener-Waterloo in Northern Ontario, Canada. No, not because of the weather, but for The Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema. I’m thankful, however, this event is happening anywhere in North America as it’s the only annual festival devoted to “showcasing the latest unreleased international animated feature films”. The festival just announced the first 12 films (several more to be announced shortly) of the 12th edition of the Festival – and it looks like an incredible program with a strong set of productions from Japan and Europe. The films confirmed so far include:

A LETTER TO MOMO • Director: Okiura Hiroyuki (Japan, 2011)

ANIME MIRAI • Directors: Kawamata, Miyashita, Kaiya and Tomonaga (Japan, 2012) A compilation of “four delightful films that point to the future of anime”

ARRUGAS (Wrinkles) • Ignacio Ferreras (Spain, 2011)

ASURA • Director: Sato Keiichi (Japan, 2012)

AZ EMBER TRAGÉDIÁJA • (The Tragedy Of Man) Director Marcell Jankovics (Hungary, 2012)

BABELDOM • Director: Paul Bush (U.K., 2012)

BLOOD-C: THE LAST DARK • Director: Shiotani Naoyoshi (Japan, 2012)

HEART STRING MARIONETTE • Director: M Dot Strange (U.S.A. / Iceland, 2012)

JENSEN & JENSEN • Director: Craig Frank (Denmark, 2011)

MARCO MACACO • Director: Jan Rahbek (Denmark, 2012)

STRANGE FRAME • Director: G.B. Hajim (U.S.A., 2012)

WOLF CHILDREN • Director: Hosoda Mamoru (Japan, 2012)

The 12th Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema runs November 15th to 18th, 2012. All screenings will be held at The Chrysalids Theatre, 137 Ontario Street North in Kitchener. For more information on each film and how to obtain festival passes click here.

0 Comments on Waterloo Festival For Animated Cinema Announces Feature Film lineup as of 10/13/2012 4:09:00 AM
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16. The Path To 10K In Sales: Strategy, Luck & Mistakes

I’ll admit my mind is blown knowing there are over 10, 000 Emotion Thesaurus books out there in the world. Becca and I are thrilled, and so appreciative to all the writers and teachers who took a chance on it. As aspiring novelists, we know just how hard it is to write and the perseverance it takes to create a book. Providing a tool to help other writers with emotion is nothing short of an honor (sappy, I know, but true. Writers rule and we love you guys!)

In that same spirit of wanting to contribute, we thought it might be beneficial to share our focus as we sent The Emotion Thesaurus into the world. We realize this is a non-fiction book, not fiction. Novels are a harder sell--instead of dealing primarily with what a audience NEEDS like NF, it is more about what they WANT, and personal reading tastes are unpredictable. However, much of the strategy we used with the ET can be adapted for fiction, so hopefully novelists will find value here regardless.  

A Bit of History...

As many of you know, The Emotion Thesaurus started on the blog as a 'set' of lists focusing on how to show a character’s feelings. Becca and I struggled with emotion, and when we could not find a good resource to help us, we created one. As it grew in popularity, readers asked us to turn it into an enhanced book version. 

We chose self publishing for a few reasons, the most important being TIME. It can take years for a book to find a publisher and then be available to purchase, and writers and teachers needed it NOW. We also discovered someone pirating our content for profit, so waiting any longer to create the book would be foolhardy. We launched The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression on May 14th, 2012.

What We Had Going For Us

PLATFORM. Becca and I have worked since 2008 to build a place within the Writing Community, providing resources through this blog and forging genuine relationships with our audience. Our attitude has always been to contribute and do what we can to add value. It was our hope that our readers would be willing to help raise awareness for The Emotion Thesaurus book. 

NICHE. Our book tackled a topic that writers struggle with, yet few resources were available to help. As writers, we knew exactly what type of tool was needed to help with emotion and body language.  

What Stood Against Us

LACK OF CREDIBILITY. Becca and I were not authors (yet), nor accredited editors, and certainly not psychologists or experts on emotion. We had a platform, but no ‘book world’ clout. How could we possibly compete with the biggies in the Writing Resource field, names like Donald Maass, James Scott Bell, James N. Frey, The Plot Whisperer, or the dozens of other incredible, best-selling authors/experts? 

SELF PUBLISHING. While the stigma is lessening, we all know bias remains. In some ways, creating a how-to writing resource and then choosing self publishing over traditional acted as a strike against us, meaning we would have to really prove ourselves with readers.

CONFIDENCE. This business is often a murky pool of feeling not worthy, not good enough.  Without a book deal in place for our fiction to give us credibility or a degree/subject-specific education to hold up, we felt naked. Putting ourselves out there and donning the hat of authority that comes with writing any sort of how-to guide was terrifying. 

The Scale Tipper

PASSION, BELIEF & TEAMWORK. As writers, we knew people needed this book. Heck, we needed it! We decided to create the best brainstorming tool we could and put all our effort into making it discoverable to those who might benefit from it. Working as a team allowed us to play off each others' strengths and aided in decision-making.


  • Set up a business
  • Paid for a professional edit
  • Hired a cover designer
  • Outsourced formatting to a HTML goddess because the book is full of links and redirects
  • Test-marketed it with a select group of writers & used feedback to strengthen

MISTAKE:  choosing a launch date and under-estimating the time it would take for setting up the business (two authors in different countries is a pain), uploading, formatting challenges, fixing last minute typos (again, our formatter Heather is worth her weight in gold!)  This created lots of down-to-the-wire stress. Test marketing the book (while super valuable) also meant enabling changes late in the game. 

First Hurdle: Launching A Book Without Feeling Like A Timeshare Salesman

For two writers who hate promoting, this was a massive challenge. Look at me! I have a book! Buy it! <---our personal nightmare. We needed a way to let people know about the ET but not be eye-bulging, book-waving maniacs about it. After many facetimes, we realized that to do this in a way that felt right, we needed to return to our AUTHOR BRAND: writers helping & supporting other writers. 

“Random Acts of Kindness for Writers” became our secret plan: instead of making our release date about us, we would do something to celebrate & thank writers. This was risky in the sense that to do it authentically, we had to steer attention AWAY from our book’s release. However, we felt the reward was twofold--traffic to our site, and it allowed us a way to pour our flag-waving passion into celebrating people who really deserve recognition and yet rarely get it. This event aligned perfectly with our pay-it-forward beliefs, driving us to do all we could to make it a success.

For brevity's sake, I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of how we set up the RAOK Blitz (but if enough people wish it, I can expand on this in a future post). Suffice to say it drew thousands of visitors and hundreds of writers participated, becoming a huge ‘feel good’ week for everyone that showcased the generous spirits of our Writing Community. :) 

Marketing Boost:  Becca and I gave away a free PDF called ‘Emotion Amplifiers’ as our RAOK gift to writers. This PDF booklet is a companion to The Emotion Thesaurus and has a similar layout. Our hope was that if a writer found it helpful, they might check the ET as well. (It’s still in our sidebar if you want a copy and helps with describing conditions like pain, exhaustion, stress, inebriation, etc.)

Second Hurdle: Reviews

A self-published book that is also non-fiction? Rough. Many professional reviewers will not take on SP books, and those that do usually only read fiction. So, instead of seeking out review sites, we put out a  call out to Bookshelf Muse readers and asked if any of them were  interested in reviewing the book. After all, the ET is BY writers FOR writers. Who better to review it? :)

We could not accommodate all the requests that came in, so we chose some reviewers strategically for their audience reach, and others through a random draw. 

MISTAKE:  We should have arranged for reviews much sooner. Due to not leaving ourselves enough time to get the book ready to go, we were unable to get a decent version out to reviewers until close to launch or after.

LUCK! Many people, after buying and using the ET, were so happy with it they wrote reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

MORE LUCK! These reviews swayed even MORE people to take a chance on the book, and they in turn became avid word-of-mouth spreaders, telling writing friends and critique partners all about The Emotion Thesaurus. This led to better sales, top 20 ranking in several (paid) writing categories for print & kindle, a strong Amazon Best Sellers Rank, and placement on the Top Rated, Best Selling & Most Wished For lists (writing).
Marketing Tactics - Swag

We chose to invest in a postcard-sized bookmark that doubles as a Revision Tool.  Many bookmarks lie forgotten in a drawer, or they end up being recycled. We wanted ours to stay right beside the computer during revisions, so we printed a ‘Crutch Word List’ on one side--words we commonly overuse and need to weed out. Our hope was that by making our swag useful, writers would hang onto it!

Spreading the word about a book can be difficult, so we put out a call (again utilizing our blog readers) and asked if people would be willing to take our bookmarks and hand them out to critique groups, or give them out at conferences and workshops. This allowed us to reach out beyond our own circle and hopefully reach new readers. 

MISTAKE (?) This was a bit pricey considering the postage involved (some were sent worldwide), and took time to get addresses and mail out. We had no way to track the effectiveness. And while I have heard from people who said they saw them at conferences or were given one by another writer, we are not sure if the ‘mail out’ idea brought a significant return. But, the postcards are super handy to have at events where Becca and I are presenting, and we can pass them out afterward to keep the ET in people’s minds. So overall, this swag was worth it!

Marketing Tactics - Discoverability

The bulk of our marketing energy went into discoverability. Because we have such an amazingly supportive audience at The Bookshelf Muse, we chose a 'grassroots' approach rather than solicit big bloggers/sites for exposure. In our initial blog post asking for assistance from readers, we utilized a sign up form so the people who wanted to help us could, and in a manner that most appealed to them. The results of this was amazing--so many people offered to help get the word out! 

One of our biggest needs was bloggers willing to host us for a visit. We were overwhelmed with gratitude to see how many people were willing to do this (have I mentioned how great you all are?) and we actually had to change how our form was worded to include offering book excerpts and reblogging previous TBM posts to accommodate the response. We ended up with over 115 hosts all told.

Attempting so many guest posts caused panic attacks, obsessive chocolate binging, feelings of inadequacy *coughs* was daunting. But Becca organized everything (SHE IS AMAZING!) and put us on an aggressive schedule that would allow us to finish them all within a 4 month window. We created a master list of topics, most centered directly on content that would tie into Emotion & Body Language, so that each post was a planned, quality post. The best thank you to those who offered to help us was to write content that would bring them strong traffic, not just exposure for us.  

GUEST POST TIP: We did our best to thank personally every person who hosted and helped. We also shared all links on our social networks to bring new people to their blogs.  We truly appreciated their time and energy, and their desire to see us succeed.

MISTAKE #1: biting off more than we could chew. This was an enormous amount of guest posts (with more requests coming in as a result of this visibility) and so it meant we were both unable to write anything but blog content for a good 4 months. We managed to get them done and we have no regrets because of the great exposure, but it also meant other things slipped. There were a few blogging relationships and opportunities we were unable to stay on top of because we were so busy posting elsewhere. We also had a tough time commenting on blogs and getting email written. With such a strict timeline to adhere to, I worried about messing up and forgetting something vital, letting a host down.

MISTAKE #2: not thinking enough about how to keep up with our own blog AND everyone else’s. Luckily as we met new people at different blogs, we found folks who wanted to guest post for us. We were able to give them exposure in return and bring some good content to the blog (LUCK!) So while we made a mistake about over committing, it worked out. 

MORE LUCK! These ‘seed’ guest posts led to some writing communities and bigger organizations contacting us. This resulted in book reviews and giveaways that were included in newsletters and offered exposure with bigger audiences. The Discoverability Tour worked!

Marketing Tactics: Giveaways

We utilized giveaways to generate interest in our book and bring attention to some of the blogs we visited. We purposefully did not host book giveaways during the month of May to encourage people to buy, not wait to win. We had a few giveaways in June and then more in July, August and September. Some were bigger exposure opportunities like being featured in a banner at the Writer’s Knowledge Base and as a prize at Ink Pageant (thanks guys--you rock!) We tried to go where our readers would be, and took advantage of opportunities that allowed us to reach beyond the Kidlit & YA writer’s network we know best in order to create inroads with Christian and other Adult genres who might not know us or The Bookshelf Muse. 

Marketing Tactics: Distribution Channels 

Becca and I talked about going KDP Select but neither of us could see the benefit to doing so right out the gate. In our minds, we wanted to ask a fair price for the books and have it available across as many channels as possible to reach readers where they are, not where we ‘chose’ to be. We distributed widely and included a PDF option for those who did not have ereaders or who felt more comfortable with PDF format. For those who like numbers, here’s the breakdown to 10,000 which we hit in September: 

Kindle (Amazon.com)
(Amazon Euro)











*Prior to September, Kobo sales were bundled with Smashwords. Once Kobo created their own distribution, we uploaded direct. Sony sales are under the Smashwords umbrella.

You will notice that Print is quite strong. We believe this is partly because many writers like 'craft' books in paperback. We also have had feedback that some original digital buyers were so pleased with the ET, they later decided to invest in a print version, too.

Pricing: We chose the 4.99 price point for digital, and 14.99 for print. We have not changed the price nor offered the book for free. In the future we may change our pricing, but for now it works well with Extended Distribution, which we sell enough through to make it important to keep.

MISTAKE: not enabling Extended Distribution right from the start. Originally we didn’t think it would do us much good, until we realized without it, we could not get onto Amazon.ca. Seeing as I live in Canada, it is important that the people I meet at events or at my workshops have a way to get the book. Not doing this before May meant a six week lag of fielding emails from Canadians unable to buy the book. 

Marketing Tactics: Paid Advertizing

We opted to not invest in any paid advertising. I think this was the right decision for us, but do see us choosing a few select ads in the future. 

Where We Got Extra Lucky

  • Winning Top 20 Best Blogs For Writers with Write To Done a few months before The Emotion Thesaurus released. This raised our profile significantly, and at a critical time.
  • Once sales started climbing, Amazon would send out mailers to people who purchased writing related books, and sometimes The Emotion Thesaurus was listed as a ‘Those that purchased X might also like’ pick.
  • A price war between B & N and Amazon. For the last week of September, the two duked it out, lowering the book’s price daily until the discount put it under 10 bucks. Average sales nearly doubled for print (although sales dipped that week for Kindle).

A Few Extraneous Mistakes

  • Not soliciting endorsements. We didn’t do this in advance of publishing the ET because we were worried about being turned down, worried about getting the cold shoulder because we were newcomers and new authors. Now more than ever we are seeing an acceptance of SP, and of Traditional authors making the leap. Endorsements probably would have helped us greatly and so moving forward we’ll be seeking them out.
  • Not believing in ourselves enough at the start. I think we wasted a lot of energy on doubt because we hadn’t published before (except in magazines) and we were afraid that while we felt The Emotion Thesaurus added value, others would not. The response to The Emotion Thesaurus has been nothing short of phenomenal and knowing that Illinois State University is using it in their Creative Writing curriculum makes us incredibly proud. A self published book going to University...who would have thought?

Thoughts to Leave You With

Looking back, I believe we did two things right that led to everything else:

First, we created a book that readers are very happy with, and it fulfills a need in a way that they are excited to share it with people they know. (We are so, so, SO grateful to this word-of-mouth. Thank you all for doing this!)

Second, we live our brand: writers who help and support other writers. This is who we are! We love writers and have forged genuine relationships with our readers. When we needed help to spread the word, people responded, and more than that, became our advocates. There are not enough thank yous in the world for me to say what this means to us.

If I can encourage writers planning to publish to do one thing beyond the above, it’s to be authentic in whatever you do. When you build your platform, start in advance and think very hard about what your brand will be. Be yourself, be likable, do what feels right and resonates with who you are. Understand your audience, their likes and dislikes, and search them out. Use keywords to find blogs, forum discussions and hashtags that will help you discover people who might be interested in a book like yours. Interact, be genuine and think about how you can add value, not how you can market to them. Focus on giving, not getting. Trust that the rest will come. :)   

Do you have any questions about what we did or why? Becca and I are happy to answer if we are able. And again, the biggest, squishiest, bacon-filled thank you for all your support of us and the ET. Your word-of-mouth has allowed writers and teachers everywhere to discover this book! 

38 Comments on The Path To 10K In Sales: Strategy, Luck & Mistakes, last added: 10/17/2012
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17. Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

My good friend and author Sudè Khanian is hosting a giveaway to celebrate the holiday. She asked me to join the celebration and I had to say yes!

For my part, I am contributing the first story from the One series. Meant To Be introduces the series, but also tells the story of a small miracle in my life.

But wait, there's more!

Ellen C. Maze's best-selling story of a devoted priest cursed for all eternity.

And Sudè's own story, The Magical Rose

Follow the link below to join the celebration!

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18. The Writer’s Life: Insecurity

50 Book Pledge | Book #41: Canada by Richard Ford

Every writer, without exception, is forced to confront their own insecurity. An internal fear that takes the form of a single debilitating statement: I’m not good enough. Like poison, these four words creep up every time you put pen to paper and make you question the merit of your words. If not dealt with, insecurity can not only sap your confidence but also kill your creativity. So, what do you do? You silence it.

Be warned that this does not happen overnight. Instead, you have to tackle it each and every day. The method you use is entirely up to you. Some writers like to read a quote, others write a phrase and, still others, like myself, recite a statement. The key here is repetition because the more you do this the stronger your belief will become. Slowly the fear will lose its strength leaving you with just your words. Yes, reaching this place of belief is difficult but once you do you’ll have conquered the greatest obstacle of all: Yourself.

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19. PaperTigers’ Global Voices: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents: The Art of the Picture Book Exhibition ~ by Holly Kent, Sales and Marketing Manager, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

(Part 3 of 3. Read Part 1 “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents TD Canadian Children’s Book Week” here and Part 2 “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s TD Grade One Book Giveaway Program”  here.)

It is through the support of generous sponsors, donations, and our members and subscribers that the Canadian Children’s Book Centre is able to run its many programs. We also hold fundraising events – one of the most exciting being The Art of the Picture Book Exhibition and Auction.

Over 80 original illustrations from Canadian picture books will be on exhibit at the world-famous Montreal Museum of Fine Art in fall 2012. Some of the most stunning images from Canadian picture books will be part of the exhibition celebrating Canadian children’s book illustrations. The exhibit will run from September 11 to October 14.

The kicker (for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre) is that each piece has been graciously donated by leading Canadian illustrators and the sale of these pieces will raise funds to support our programs, publications, and operating costs.

Works have been donated by renowned artists including Rebecca Bender (image on left), Geneviève Côté, Barbara Reid, Michael Martchenko, Mélanie Watt, and many more.

The month-long exhibit will be followed by Take Home an Original, an auction of the original art, on the evening of October 16, 2012.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications, and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers.

At the heart of our work at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre is our love for the books that get published in Canada each year, and our commitment to raising awareness of the quality and variety of Canadian books for young readers.

Our programs, such as TD Canadian Children’s Book Week and the TD Grade One Book Giveaway, are designed to introduce young Canadian readers not only to the books all around them, but to the authors and illustrators that create them. Our quarterly magazine Canadian Children’s Book News and the annual Best Books for Kids & Teens selection guide are designed to help parents, librarians and educators discover the world of Canadian books and to help them to select the best reading material for young readers.

We are thrilled to have The Canadian Children’s Book Centre join us as PaperTigers’ Global Voices Guest Blogger for the month of August. Part 1 of the series “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents TD Canadian Children’s Book Week” was posted here. Part 2 “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s TD Grade One Book Giveaway Program” was posted here.

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20. New on PaperTigers: Debbie Ridpath Ohi Gallery Feature

If you are a regular devotee of the kidlitosphere, you have no doubt come across Debbie Ridpath Ohi‘s inspiring writing and cartoons, whether on Inkygirl or another of her various and varied blogs, or indeed her website.  We are delighted to welcome Debbie to our online Gallery, with a selection of artwork that includes the first page spread from her short story for the Tomo anthology, our current Book of the Month; illustrations from her imminent picture book I’m Bored (written by Michael Ian Black and published by Simon & Schuster on 4 September…); and a selection of personal pieces.

Here’s a taster from our Q&A, in which Debbie’s excitement about illustrating I’m Bored is infectious:

So hard to choose just one part! The most exciting in terms of specific moments:

My meetings with Justin Chanda (editor/publisher) and art director Laurent Linn at the Simon & Schuster offices in NYC. I remember that for the first few minutes, all I could think was OHMYGOSH OHMYGOSH I’M AT SIMON & SCHUSTER!!! To talk about a book that *I* was illustrating!! But then I realized that I needed to focus, so forcibly dragged my thoughts out of gush nirvana and back to the meeting.

Seriously, though, I learned so much from Justin and Laurent, and it was incredibly exciting to see I’m Bored progress from early sketches to the final proofs.

Another highlight for me: the first time I read Michael Ian Black’s manuscript. I laughed out loud and was so delighted….and then it hit home. *I* was going to be illustrating this story.

Yeay!  And we are excited that Debbie has two more books with Simon & Schuster in the offing.  So head on over to Debbie’s PaperTigers Gallery now – and keep an eye out at your local bookstore on 4 September – we’re sure you won’t be bored and you may never be able to look a potato in the eye in quite the same way again!


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21. The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine

type writer book

The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine is the latest project from UPPERCASE magazine founder and editor Janine Vangool. This richly illustrated book will feature never-before published typewriter memorabilia, intriguing historical documents and entertaining anecdotes. To help raise the $25,000 needed for printing costs, freight and transaction fees Janine is currently holding a kickstarter-style funding campaign. If you would like to contribute either monetarily or by donating ephemera to be used in the book, please check out the UPPERCASE website for more info.

type writer book


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22. A Chat With Ottawa Animation Festival Director Chris Robinson

First staged in 1976, the Ottawa International Animation Festival is no spring chicken. Only the animation festivals in Annecy (France) and Zagreb (Croatia) can claim to be older. Despite its age though, Ottawa is more eclectic and surprising than at any point in its history.

For the past decade-and-a-half, under the artistic direction of Chris Robinson, the Ottawa Animation Festival has burnished its reputation for challenging and unconventional fare. It has also managed to piss off its fair share of filmmakers, including Sylvain Chomet and Aleksandr Petrov — controversies that Robinson has addressed in his writing.

The North American animation festival scene has become much more crowded in recent years, but at the end of the day, Ottawa remains the gold standard with its trifecta of provocative competition selections, intelligent film/lecture programming, and diverse attendees from the global animation community. It continues to grow too — while the festival has always been a hub for the East Coast animation community, it has recently made a concerted effort to invite more guests from the West Coast animation scene. Below, Chris Robinson talks with Cartoon Brew about the continuing evolution of the Ottawa festival and what we can expect at this year’s edition, which begins next Wednesday, September 19.

Cartoon Brew: How much has the Ottawa animation festival changed since you became its artistic director in the mid-90s?

Chris Robinson: Identity. Stability. Fluidity. Community. Foundation.

The biggest change is the OIAF has a pretty solid foundation in place and it has become very communal and team orientated.

Some of the seeding began when I came aboard in 1995. Having no animation background (outside of working for the OIAF since 1992), I couldn’t help but bring a different perspective to both the programming and identity of the OIAF. It was not always pretty or smooth, but it a starting point. The real turning point was in 2000 when Kelly Neall came aboard as Managing Director. We have very different personalities, almost opposites in some ways, and that yin-yang combination was perfect for the OIAF.

Kelly played a central role in giving the OIAF some sense of stability. Through Kelly, we’ve expanded and managed to put together a solid team of people. When I took over in 1995, I was the only regular employee really until about 2000 when Kelly came aboard. Today, we have about 5 full time, 1 part time along with a steady stream of contract staff through a government program. More importantly, people past and present like Maral Mohammadian, Andre Coutu, Jerrett Zaroski, Azarin Sohrabkhani and Dominique Forget play(ed) essential parts in helping shape and re-shape the OIAF structure, identity, programming, and vision.

Cartoon Brew: When I first started attending a decade ago, I don’t recall there being so many commercial/mainstream guests. This year’s line-up includes Hotel Transylvania director Genndy Tartakovsky, ParaNorman co-director Chris Butler, and Fairly OddParents creator Butch Hartman. Is this a good thing?

Chris Robinson: Why wouldn’t it be?

Cartoon Brew: Because Ottawa has always been about promoting unheralded independent filmmakers and industry iconoclasts. I wonder whether this commercial presence shifts the focus away from the creative filmmaking that is the reason many of us attend in the first place. How do you balance it and keep the festival from becoming too commercial?

Chris Robinson: I think the indie/commercial issue is a bit overstated. There’s more mainstream in some areas for those people who want that, but there’s the same amount of indie/experimental events for folks who don’t care about industry/commercial. It’s all perspective. You’ve pulled out a few events that fall into the commercial realm (no more than any other year), but what about the special screenings: Barry Purves, Karen Aqua, Run Wrake, Ralph Bakshi, 3 other thematic programmes (Intersections, Stand-Up Comedians, YouTube) about as removed from commercial as you can get.

Oh… and there are the competition screenings. Would anyone consider Chris Sullivan, Leah Shore, Hisko Hulsing, Theo Ushev, Michaela Pavlatova, Purves, Paul Bush, Michael Langan, Pierre Hebert, Don Hertzfeldt, PES, Steve Subotnick etc… to be icons of the commercial/mainstream? Kinda doubt it. On our post-festival surveys, we’ll get 10% who say programming is fine, 40% who say we’re too arty, 40% who say we’re too commercial. I’d say we’re doing just fine.

Cartoon Brew: You curated a Ralph Bakshi retrospective this year. His work often feels very much of a time and place. Why is he relevant today?

Chris Robinson: I’m not smitten with all of his work, but what I respect is his punk attitude. He does what he wants, the way he wants. He had some quote saying “animation is whatever the fuck you want it to be.” That should be a mantra for every animator.

Bakshi’s work is flawed, raw, genuine, intense, shortsighted, naive, sloppy, arrogant, ugly, poetic, pretentious, uncomfortable, disjointed, violent and urgent. Just the way life is. Just the way we are. His films deal with issues (sex, race, class, identity) in ways that make people uncomfortable – even today. He showed us the sides of society many of us don’t want to see or acknowledge because they might force us to confront some complexities in ourselves.

When I started working on the retrospective part of my goal was to show what animation was missing today… that we don’t have a shitdisturber like Bakshi…. who did all this craziness in a commercial setting. I still believe that ..but an interesting thing happened during the process. I started noticing that we have a chunk of films this years that carry the Bakshi torch in different ways: Chris Sullivan’s Consuming Spirits, Ian Miller’s Cheap Joke, Leah Shore’s amazing film, Old Man (about Charles Manson), Hisko Hulsing’s Junkyard.

Personally, I’ve found that a lot of Bakshi’s words and ideas (however flawed) were really not all that far from what we try to do at the OIAF — especially this notion that animation is whatever the fuck it wants to be. That idea of challenging people’s perceptions and thinking about animation is very close to the spirit of the OIAF.

Cartoon Brew: Tell us about the programs you’re excited about at this year’s festival?

Chris Robinson: That never changes. The competition screenings are always the one I’m most excited about. We make these decisions in relative isolation and in less than ideal situations (ie. choosing 100 films or so out of almost 2400 entries)… so it’s always interesting to see how an audience reacts… and even how you react as a programmer to the film in a cinema context.

There are really a lot of great screenings this year that will appeal to everyone. Barry Purves, Run Wrake, Karen Aqua along with some unique special screenings featuring stand-up comedians, YouTube creations etc… but, yeah, I’m pretty excited about the Bakshi screenings especially the One on One event we’re having with Ralph. Could be some fireworks!

Hell, I’m excited to see what Frenzer and Foreman are going to do this year at the closing ceremonies. Hard to top an improvised Mandarin rap performance.

Cartoon Brew: For an artist reading this, either pro or student, how would you answer the question, Why attend an animation festival, especially when I can see so much animation online nowadays?

Chris Robinson: That’s like saying why have sex when I can jerk off anytime I want to.

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23. Week-end Book Review: Dear Baobab by Cheryl Foggo, illustrated by Qin Leng

Cheryl Foggo, illustrated by Qin Leng,
Dear Baobab

Second Story Press, 2011.

Ages 7-11

Following the death of his parents, seven-year-old Maiko has had to leave all that was familiar, encapsulated in his memory of the ancient baobab tree in his village, to come and live with his aunt and uncle in their red brick house in a Western city. Maiko forms a special bond with a small fir tree growing outside the house.  He listens to its whisperings, and confides his feelings and anxieties to it: his homesickness; and how Leonard, a boy at school, laughs at his ears.  When his aunt and uncle decide that the tree needs to be cut down, Maiko tries to protect it by hiding the tools.  Only when the inevitable day arrives, do his aunt and uncle realise the tree’s importance to Maiko, and an alternative solution is found.

The story is straightforward enough to appeal to young readers.  They will appreciate the way his love of his two special trees helps him to emerge with confidence from the unsettling changes in his life.  In addition, there is a subtle depth to the narrative that will make it appealing to older readers.  When Maiko hides the tools, for example, his aunt berates his uncle for leaving them out to be stolen.  The situation is not then tidily resolved – Maiko does not confess – and readers therefore find themselves asking questions that have no single straightforward answer.  The same is true of Leonard.  Something has certainly happened behind the scenes between Maiko’s telling his uncle about how he is being teased at school and our next encounter with Leonard.  It is enough to hear explicitly that while Maiko is playing with his friend Li, “They saw Leonard.  He did not laugh at Maiko’s ears.”  Older readers will probably pick up on this and ponder it.  The illustrations emphasise these key moments too.  They convey Maiko’s emotions throughout the story: his sadness , worry and guilt, but also his happiness playing in the snow, for example, or his exuberant play with Li when dressed up as a baobab for his first Halloween.

Dear Baobab is a gentle story about settling into a new home and a new culture.  It opens up many questions for young readers, who will be touched by its universally relevant themes of bullying and belonging.

Marjorie Coughlan
September 2012

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24. An Order of Amelie, Hold the Fries

An Order of Amelie, Hold the Fries Nina Schindler, translated from the German by Rob Barrett

You gotta love a book that references Leonard Cohen on the second page. With a big ol' picture of him, too.

Tim's a student who sees the woman of his dreams. He doesn't know her, but her address falls out of her bag, so he takes a risk and emails her. Only... it wasn't her email address. Amelie is NOT the girl of Tim's dreams, but her reply charms him, so he writes back and writes back, until she caves. It's a very sweet relationship the develops as Amelia tries to figure out what to do about her new feelings for Tim and some negative feelings with her very serious long-distance boyfriend.

Format wise, this one's much closer to Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf as we get a much better visual on the notes, flowers that are also sent, phones used in text messages (you actually tell the who's texting who because their phones are different.)

Interestingly, even though this is a German book, it takes place in Canada.

It's a short, sweet read that's a great use of the stuff format.

Book Provided by... my wallet

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25. Raymond Biesinger

Raymond Biesinger, who was one of the first editorial illustrators that I learned about when I got out of college, has some lovely new work on his freshly updated website. One of my personal favorites, Raymond seems to take the most simple of concepts to an entirely new level by creating intricate, complex worlds by using minimal color palettes and impressive line work. You can see Raymond’s influence on many current editorial illustrators, which makes him an important part of the industry’s foundation. He also has several great side projects, including his band, The Famines, & a book which comes out in November called Black & White Illustrations.


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