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From The Ground Up

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Groundwood Books!

In 2017 may we all live by the wisdom of Ms. Flower’s Shop

Seek out the good
Sow the good
AND THE REST
will come.


Boats of all shapes and sizes travel on the river, through the seasons, toward the sea. Who will you meet on the river?

Along the River is a vibrant picture book from Brazil depicts the joy of the journey, showing in simple yet detailed illustrations the people you might meet along the way, the sights you might see and the food you might eat. Readers will delight in identifying recurring details when rereading. Reminiscent of the highly acclaimed Jimmy the Greatest!, which received six starred reviews, Along the River is a celebration of community bonds and shared experiences.

With strong social studies curriculum connections, Along the River introduces young children to an alternate form of transportation, as well as to some of the customs and culture of Brazil.

 

Teachers Make a Difference! Guest post by Marie-Louise Gay

Leena, grade 3/4, Calgary

This post was originally shared on Marie-Louise Gay’s website, and she’s allowed us to repost it here.


Every month or so, I receive a batch of letters and drawings from a class that has been motivated, inspired and engaged by a teacher who makes a difference in their student’s lives.

Teachers who are enthusiastic and creative.

Teachers who don’t just read a book to a class but who expand and enrich the reading experience by encouraging children to get involved in the story, to change it, to pursue it, to compare it to their own experiences.

Teachers who understand the value of “reading” the art in a book, of understanding how the images were created, what materials were used.

Teachers who know that if they can get their students engaged in a book, captivated by a story, immersed in the illustrations, they are not only teaching them to read but they are teaching them to be curious, open-minded, observant and above all, to love reading!

Ella, Grade K1, Michigan:”…could you write a book about tree climbing? I love to climb trees…”

Two years in a row, K1 teacher Teresa Kellerman from Michigan, has sent me stories and drawings and suggestions from her students inspired by her incredibly imaginative projects based on Any Questions? She wrote:

Dear Ms. Gay,

I wanted to let you know how much you inspired my students as authors with your book Any Questions?. A fellow first grade teacher discovered the book at the local library and knew that I would love it, so she brought it to me. I immediately fell in love as my mind began swimming with lessons and ideas while my heart raced with the excitement that paralleled a child with a new toy! I couldn’t wait to begin sharing the book with my students.Each and every child was captivated by your book as we studied it in sections throughout the week, reading only a portion a day and following up with associated activities from painting the shy giant to guest authoring the”suddenly” section, to editing and sharing. Our final activity for the week was for each student to compose a letter to you offering his/her idea for your next book. The room was buzzed with the murmer of letter writers discussing their ideas with each other. We hope you feel the love that each pencil stroke brings from our classroom to you.

Thank you for inspiring young minds,

Teresa Kellerman and 1K

Mohamed,Grade3/4, Calgary: “…please write a story about Stella in Africa…”

Mrs. Killam, Grade three/four teacher from Calgary, sent me drawings and stories and many, many suggestions from her students. I could probably write a whole shelf full of books from her students suggestions. But I hope they will eventually write these stories. Mrs. Killam wrote:

Ms. Gay,

I hope our letters find you well. We have been exploring your books as an author study for the past 2 months. Your books have been accessible and have ignited the imaginations of 24 grade 3 and 4 students.

Our school is located in the inner city of Calgary. Nearly all students are new Canadians and are learning English for the first time. 16 Countries and 14 languages are represented in my class this year. Many students have come to Canada as refugees, and have experienced unbelievable tragedy and hardships beyond my imagination. Along with these challenges, many students have difficult home lives. With that being said, your books help to bring students together and help us to forget our differences. The students are always enamored by your stories. Thank you for making them.

You have moved this class and changed their expectations of a “good book.” They loved the imagery of “Moonbeam on a Cat’s Ear.” Their collective hearts fell when Mademoiselle Moon lost her job. They giggled and hooted along endlessly with Stella and Sam. They pondered about where the desert island could be that this boy and wolf were floating along on. And, of course, they ALL wanted to dig a hole bigger than Roslyn and make their way to the penguins. Next, we will be looking at “Any Questions?” and writing our own stories.

Thanks again for doing what you do. Please enjoy our letters! They are filled with questions, book suggestions for your next book, sketches, and lots of love.

Until next year,

-Mrs. Killam

Tania,Grade3/4. Calgary: “…I love your book about Caramba and Henry…”

When I read letters like these and receive enthusiastic letters and drawings from children, I feel hopeful as a creator as well as in the future of our children. I feel very thankful and heartened to know that there are many teachers out there really making a real difference in children’s lives.

Thank you to all the teachers who, day in and day out, inspire our children.

Braydon, Grade K1, Michigan

December 11, 2016: The White Cat and the Monk is 50% off for today only!

The White Cat and the Monk, written by Jo Ellen Bogart and illustrated by Sydney Smith, is 50% off for the day!

Recently named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book, Emma recommends The White Cat and the Monk for the cat lover out there. Shop now: http://bit.ly/23vOlcQ #AnansiElves

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Viola Desmond to appear on the Canadian $10 bill!


We’re absolutely thrilled that Viola Desmond, the Nova Scotian civil-rights pioneer arrested for sitting in the “whites only” section of a movie theatre in the 1940s, will appear on the Canadian $10 bill in 2018.

Bill Morneau, the Canadian minister of finance, had this to say about the selection:

It is my great privilege to announce that Viola Desmond will be featured on Canada’s new 10 dollar bill. Her story will remind all of us, and future generations, that big change can start with small moments of dignity and bravery.”

We hope you’ll be celebrating this great milestone in Canadian history like we are. For more info on Viola Desmond, head on over to our website to check out the book we published on her in 2010, Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged.

 

Dec 6, 2016: Flannery is 30% off for today only!

Flannery by acclaimed Canadian author Lisa Moore is 50% off for today only!

Cindy recommends Flannery, a spellbinding story about chasing love, fighting family, losing friends, and starting all over again for the big-hearted reader.

Shop now: http://bit.ly/1TuF3Yb #AnansiElves

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Groundwood Publishes Very Good Books

Holiday season is upon us, and the Anansi Elves have been hard at work! Visit houseofanansi.com to find great deals (and gift packages!) throughout the holiday season! (Don’t miss out on the Buddy & Earl Gift Pack, or the Groundwood Gift Wrap!) Happy holidays from everyone at House of Anansi Press and Groundwood Books!

The White Cat and the Monk named a Best Illustrated book by the New York Times!

White Cat & the Monk

Last year Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and illustrator Sydney Smith was named a Best Illustrated Children’s Book by The New York Times Book Review… and one year later Sydney Smith is back on the list! The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith was just named a Best Illustrated Book by the New York Times!

Sydney’s “distinctive art . . . falls partway between modernist fairy tale and graphic novel, opening an inviting portal between past and present,” notes Maria Popova.

Congratulations, Jo Ellen and Sydney!


Groundwood Logos Spine The White Cat and the Monk
Written by Jo Ellen Bogart and illustrated by Sydney Smith

A monk leads a simple life. He studies his books late into the evening and searches for truth in their pages. His cat, Pangur, leads a simple life, too, chasing prey in the darkness. As night turns to dawn, Pangur leads his companion to the truth he has been seeking.

The White Cat and the Monk is a retelling of the classic Old Irish poem “Pangur Bán.” With Jo Ellen Bogart’s simple and elegant narration and Sydney Smith’s classically inspired images, this contemplative story pays tribute to the wisdom of animals and the wonders of the natural world.

 

TWO Groundwood Titles Win #GGBooks Awards!

Governor General’s Literary Awards Winner Calvin by Martine LeavittWe’re thrilled to announce Martine Leavitt’s Calvin has been selected as the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award in the Young People’s Literature (text) category! Congratulations, Martine!

In Calvin – part romance, part adventure story, part quest novel — Martine Leavitt brings her inimitable gentle wit, humor and compassion to a story about a teenaged boy struggling to gain control of his own mind and destiny.

“In Martine Leavitt’s Calvin, a boy newly diagnosed with schizophrenia makes a pilgrimage across a frozen Lake Erie. Told in spare, beautiful prose, this transcendent exploration of reality and truth is funny, frightening and affirming. Calvin is an astonishing achievement.” — #GGBooks Jury Statement


Governor General’s Literary Awards Winner Tokyo Digs A Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen HatanakaBut, it doesn’t stop there… there’s a whole garden’s worth of good news today. Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka has won the Governor General’s Literary Award in the Young People’s Literature (illustrated books) category!

Tokyo Digs a Garden marries text and illustration in a richly ornamented dream landscape that simultaneously suggests a digital and an organic world. Kellen Hatanaka’s illustrations are inventive and groundbreaking and the hypnotic text by Jon-Erik Lappano conveys its message in a darkly humourous and elegant manner. A book for any age.” — #GGBooks Jury Statement

Congratulations, Jon-Erik and Kellen!


About Calvin

In the town of Leamington, Ontario, a seventeen-year-old boy is suddenly stricken by a schizophrenic episode and wakes up in hospital. The boy’s name is Calvin, and he is plagued by hallucinations.

As the hallucinations persist, Calvin comes to believe that the answer lies in performing one grand and incredible gesture.

And so he decides to walk across Lake Erie. In January. The temperatures have been below freezing for weeks. The ice should hold…

The lake, it turns out, is more marvelous, and more treacherous, than Calvin had ever imagined — populated by abandoned cars (joy ride!), ice-fishing eccentrics, psychokiller snow beings, and a not-so-mythical sea witch named Jenny Greenteeth.

Not to mention the man-eating tiger that looms just out of his sight lines as he treks.

But the biggest surprise of all is that Calvin finds himself accompanied by Susie, the girl of his dreams. Or is it his dreams that have conjured up Susie?

Part romance, part adventure story, part quest novel, Martine Leavitt brings her inimitable gentle wit, humor and compassion to a story about a teenaged boy struggling to gain control of his own mind and destiny.

About Tokyo Digs a Garden

Tokyo lives in a small house between giant buildings with his family and his cat, Kevin. For years, highways and skyscrapers have been built up around the family’s house where once there were hills and trees. Will they ever experience the natural world again?

One day, an old woman offers Tokyo seeds, telling him they will grow into whatever he wishes. Tokyo and his grandfather are astonished when the seeds grow into a forest so lush that it takes over the entire city overnight. Soon the whole city has gone wild, with animals roaming where cars once drove. But is this a problem to be surmounted, or a new way of living to be embraced?

With Tokyo Digs a Garden, Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka have created a thoughtful and inspiring fable of environmentalism and imagination.

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