Canoeing on Pickerel Lake with Jean E. Pendziwol

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the haunting laugh of a loon and the wind whispering through the pine trees, then slipping out of a warm sleeping bag to peek through the tent screen and watch the sun rise.

We’ve canoed as a family since our children were young, paddling the Boundary Waters along the Canada / US border, Quetico Provincial Park, and once, into an isolated and somewhat mysterious wooden castle built on White Otter Lake. We fell in love with being on the water, the scent of pine needles under our bare feet, swimming off the rocks, watching wildlife, cooking over the campfire and, of course, fishing.

I wrote Me and You and the Red Canoe to capture the magical moment of early morning on a lake, of that special time when the world is just waking up and the fish are, hopefully, biting. It was inspired by our many canoe trips, and is as much about simply slowing down, looking around and appreciating the amazing world around us as it is about the beauty of the Canadian landscape.

The stunning illustrations by Phil capture the scenery of my Northwestern Ontario paddling adventures and the Algonquin Park area that he is more familiar with. This August, I was able to take a short trip into Quetico Provincial Park’s Pickerel Lake and I snapped a few pictures of our time there.

Here’s hoping you get the chance to slip away to a quiet lake and trail a lure through the blue-green depths, spinning, twirling, dancing.

Our campsite this year was on a small island close to several other islands. On the one adjacent to us was an aerie, and the eaglet called continuously for its mother. Only the mature birds have white heads and tails.

My daughter, Erin, who is now grown and living in BC, came along on this trip. I’m paddling in the helmsman position, steering the canoe, and she’s in the bow, the avant in voyageur terms.

Not an early-morning paddle, but this captures some of the Quetico scenery.

There are sandy beaches as well as lovely rocky areas, perfect for camping on.

We had a loon or two visit us every day, and we could hear them calling, especially in the evenings.

The root system of this pine almost seemed to be gripping the rocks.

Our campsite had the perfect spot to sit and watch the sunset.

Sometimes we cast a line right from shore. You never know!

And sure enough! There was a smallmouth bass lurking in the rocks just off the point.

The best breakfast ever: fresh pickerel (walleye) cooked over the open fire.

This brigade passed by our campsite just as the sun was setting.


Me and You and the Red Canoe
Written by Jean E. Pendziwol
Illustrated by Phil

In the stillness of a summer dawn, two siblings leave their campsite with fishing rods, tackle and bait, and push a red canoe into the lake. A perfect morning on the water unfolds, with thrilling glimpses of wildlife along the way.

Now Available: Only In My Hometown

The northern lights shine, women gather to eat raw caribou meat and everyone could be family in this ode to small-town life in Nunavut, written in English and Inuktitut.

Sisters Angnakuluk Friesen and Ippiksaut Friesen collaborate on this story about what it’s like to grow up in an Inuit community in Nunavut. Every line about the hometown in this book will have readers thinking about what makes their own hometowns unique. With strong social studies curriculum connections, Kisimi Taimaippaktut Angirrarijarani / ᑭᓯᒥ ᑕᐃᒪᐃᑉᐸᒃᑐᑦ ᐊᖏᕐᕋᕆᔭᕋᓂ / Only in My Hometown introduces young readers to life in the Canadian North, as well as the Inuit language and culture.

Angnakuluk’s simple text, translated into Inuktitut and written out in syllabics and transliterated roman characters, is complemented by Ippiksaut’s warm paintings of their shared hometown.

Learn More

Recipe: Yarrow Tea

Written in Cree and English, Caitlin Dale Nicholson’s nipêhon / I Wait is a sweet story about a little girl who picks wild yarrow with her mother and grandmother. The book includes a recipe for yarrow tea, which is known for its refreshing, soothing effects. We’ve included the recipe here.

 

Yarrow Tea

4 cups water
4 tablespoons yarrow flowers and leaves, fresh or dried

Bring water to a boil, then add yarrow.
Steep for five minutes, strain and enjoy.
Drink hot or cold — hot to relieve a fever.

 

wâpanêwask nihtiy

nêwo minihkwâcikana nipiy
nêwo êmihkwânisak wâpanêwask wâpikwaniya, oski-nîpiya ahpô ê-pâstêki.

kisâkamisa nipiy; ohtêki, êkota wâpanêwask ka-takonên.
pêho niyânan cipahikanisa, sîkopwâtina êkwa minihkwê.
kika-kî-minihkwân ê-kisâkamitêk ahpô ê-tahkâkamik — ê-kisâkamitêyik ka-miyoskâkow awiyak ê-kisisot.

 

ᐋᐧᐸᓀᐊᐧᐢᐠ ᓂᐦᑎᕀ

ᓀᐅᐧ  ᒥᓂᐦᑳᐧᒋᑲᓇ   ᓂᐱᕀ
ᓀᐅᐧ  ᐁᒥᐦᑳᐧᓂᓴᐠ  ᐋᐧᐸᓀᐊᐧᐢᐠ  ᐋᐧᐱᑲᐧᓂᔭ, ᐅᐢᑭ  ᓃᐱᔭ  ᐊᐦᐴ  ᐁ  ᐹᐢᑌᑭ᙮

ᑭᓵᑲᒥᓴ  ᓂᐱᕀ;  ᐅᐦᑌᑭ,  ᐁᑯᑕ ᐋᐧᐸᓀᐊᐧᐢᐠ  ᑲ  ᑕᑯᓀᐣ᙮
ᐯᐦᐅ  ᓂᔮᓇᐣ  ᒋᐸᐦᐃᑲᓂᓴ,  ᓰᑯᐹᐧᑎᓇ  ᐁᑲᐧ  ᒥᓂᐦᑫᐧ᙮
ᑭᑲ  ᑮ  ᒥᓂᐦᑳᐧᐣ  ᐁ  ᑭᓵᑲᒥᑌᐠ  ᐊᐦᐴ  ᐁ  ᑕᐦᑳᑲᒥᐠ  —  ᐁ  ᑭᓵᑲᒥᑌᔨᐠ  ᑲ  ᒥᔪᐢᑳᑯᐤ  ᐊᐃᐧᔭᐠ  ᐁ  ᑭᓯᓱᐟ᙮


nipêhon / I Wait
Caitlin Dale Nicholson with Leona Morin-Nelson

A young child, her grandmother and mother are going out to pick wild yarrow. As Grandmother gets ready, the child and her mom wait. Grandmother leads the way to the field of blossoms, where they can finally start to pick … only now they have to wait for Mom!

The simple story, written in Cree and English and accompanied by rich acrylic illustrations, shows the patience, love and humor involved as three generations accommodate one another on a family outing. nipêhon / ᓂᐯᐦᐅᐣ / I Wait was translated by Leona Morin-Neilson, who was the inspiration for the book.

This companion volume to niwîcihâw / I Help includes a recipe for yarrow tea, known for its refreshing and soothing effects. The recipe is reproduced here.

Tanya Lloyd Kyi on the inspiration for Prince of Pot

“Could the tale of a grow op guarded by bears get any weirder? Yes.”

That was the headline of a Maclean’s article in 2013. It seems that while dismantling an outdoor marijuana farm near Grand Forks, BC, police found two dozen habituated black bears. They suggested the animals might have helped the pot farmer protect his grow.

Most people who read the story probably thought about the legalization of pot, or the protection of wildlife, or about the explosives found on the property.

Me? I thought: What if that was your dad?

And so my novel Prince of Pot was born. It’s the story of Isaac, a teen struggling to decide between following in his dad’s footsteps or pursuing his dreams of art school.

I grew up in a small town where my parents ran their own business, so I know what it’s like to feel torn between family and future. There’s only one teensy difference between my story and Isaac’s …

My parents ran a restaurant. His run a grow op guarded by bears.


Prince of Pot
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Isaac loves art class, drives an old pickup, argues with his father and hangs out with his best buddy, Hazel. But his life is anything but normal. His parents operate an illegal marijuana grow-op, Hazel is a bear that guards the property, and his family’s livelihood is a deep secret.

It’s no time to fall in love with the daughter of a cop.

Isaac’s girlfriend Sam is unpredictable, ambitious and needy. And as his final year of high school comes to an end, she makes him consider a new kind of life pursuing his interest in art, even if that means leaving behind his beloved home in the Rockies and severing all ties with his family.

For a while he hopes he can have it all, until a disastrous graduation night, when Sam’s desperate grab for her father’s attention suddenly puts his entire family at risk.

 

 

 

The Breadwinner to Premiere at TIFF

Animated Film Adaptation of Deborah Ellis’s Bestselling The Breadwinner to Debut at Toronto International Film Festival

We are proud to announce that the full-length animated adaptation of The Breadwinner will be making its world premiere on September 10th at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is based on Deborah Ellis’s internationally bestselling novel of the same name.

The Breadwinner tells the story of eleven-year-old Parvana, who lives in Kabul. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must disguise herself as a boy and become the breadwinner for her family. First published in 2000, The Breadwinner is the first book in the four-part award-winning Breadwinner series about loyalty, survival, family and friendship under extraordinary circumstances during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan. The series has sold over two million copies worldwide and has been published in twenty-five languages. A movie tie-in edition of The Breadwinner in now available. Watch for a graphic-novel adaptation in January 2018.

The Breadwinner film was directed by Nora Twomey of Cartoon Saloon. It was produced by Aircraft Pictures, Cartoon Saloon and Melusine Productions, with producers Tomm Moore and Paul Young of Cartoon Saloon, Anthony Leo and Andrew Rosen of Aircraft Pictures, and Stephan Roelants of Melusine Productions. The film was executive produced by Angelina Jolie’s Jolie Pas Productions.

Farewell, Jan Andrews

We at Groundwood were sad to learn of the loss of beloved children’s author Jan Andrews on September 2nd. Jan was a consummate storyteller and a recipient of the Order of Canada.

On learning of her death, I remembered the sweetly melancholy themes of her 1990 picture book The Auction, illustrated by Karen Reczuch.

The Auction tells the story of Todd’s final visit to his grandfather’s farm. The contents of the farm — from the combine to the kitchen utensils  — are soon to be sold, and the property will move into the hands of new owners. Already the farm is eerily quiet with the cows, pigs and chickens gone.

Together Todd and his grandfather walk the fields, and Todd’s grandfather reminisces about the life he built there with Gran — their children and grandchildren and the changing seasons. Together they eat the last of Gran’s preserves from her garden. Gran is gone too.

It’s a rare thing, such a poignant and nuanced book about loss written for children. All things pass away, and in this quiet moment we witness the last view of Todd’s grandparents’ life together before the pieces scatter and join other stories.

We are sorry to say goodbye to Jan, but we will find solace in the books she left behind. It’s not all sadness, after all. Even The Auction ends in a burst of silliness. Todd and his grandfather construct scarecrows and place them in joyful tableaux all over the farm. Todd is still young, and he will have a life and a story all of his own.

Jan Andrews Obituary, CBC

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