On Kids who are Caregivers

When we picture a family setting, we normally assume that the children of the family are the ones being cared for. In reality, though, over a million children in the United States act as caregivers for siblings, parents or grandparents.

In Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng’s emotionally gripping picture book Walk With Me, now available in English, we see how one little girl cares for her young sibling, does the shopping and prepares the family meals. Her mother has to work to support the family, and her father is completely absent…unless he might be related in some way to the imaginary lion who helps this little girl navigate each difficult day?


Walk With Me is a simple, imaginative story depicting the complex emotional reality of a girl whose father no longer lives at home.

The girl conjures up an imaginary companion — a lion — who will join her on the long walk home from school. He will help her to pick up her baby brother from daycare and shop at the store (which has cut off the family’s credit), and he’ll keep her company all along the way until she is safely home. He will always come back when she needs him, unlike her father whom she sees only in a photograph — a photograph in which he clearly resembles a lion.

May is Mystery Month!

May is Mystery Month! We’ve wrapped up some of our favourite Groundwood Books for all ages in limited-edition The Moon Inside gift wrap. Which book is inside will remain a mystery until you tear it open! Click here to get your mystery book.

Groundwood Books May is Mystery Month

Here’s how it works:

Select a book age range from the drop down on the mystery book page — and adjust the quantity if you want more then one mystery book. In the “add special instructions for your order…” field during checkout, please let us know of any Groundwood books you currently have (just so we don’t send you those books) and/or the interests of your gift recipient. That’s it! We’ll send out your mystery book and your young reader will get a Groundwood surprise!

Stéphanie Lapointe on landing among the stars

Why does today’s society put so much value in being famous? This is the question that led author Stéphanie Lapointe to write the graphic novel Grandfather and the Moon, illustrated by Rogé.

Lapointe has spent time in the limelight herself. In addition to writing, she acts, sings, and is involved in various television, theater and film productions. Her musical career began in 2004 when she won the televised singing competition Star académie. As she said in an interview with La Presse, the connection between stardom and stars in space in Grandfather and the Moon is no coincidence.

The book is about a girl who enters and wins a contest to go to the moon, hoping that her grandfather will be proud of her. The journey into space is thrilling right up until she is about to reach the moon. To Lapointe, the story is a fable about realizing that the journey can be more important than actually achieving your dreams.

In her own words:

Twelve years ago, in Quebec, I won one of these reality-TV singing competitions that can take various forms and that have been so popular all over the world since the beginning of the 21st century.

It has been more than a decade already, and yet this moment when, for a split second and a handful of musical notes, my life was turned upside down in public under the gaze of millions of viewers, is still one of my most intact memories.

From this path that shaped me, gave to me, took from me and made me grow up, was born (almost without my knowledge!) Grandfather and the Moon.

In this world, which too often leaves us under the impression that we have to shine in order to exist, Rogé and I wanted to create a project that would exist, like a fable, and would ask a question similar to this one:

What if the essence of our lives lies in the crossing rather than at the finish line?


This moving graphic novel tells the story of the affection between a girl and her grandfather. When the grandfather withdraws in grief after his wife dies, the girl is determined to live life fully herself and enters an extraordinary contest — the result is a sensitive portrayal of pursuing a dream.

Grandfather, a man of few words, is devastated when his beloved wife succumbs to cancer, and he sinks into depression. His granddaughter (“Mémère,” as he calls her) has a different response. She decides to enter the Who Will Go to the Moon Contest, and when she actually wins, she hopes that Grandfather will be proud of her. She embarks on the thrilling journey and at first it is wonderful, but just as she is about to reach the moon, her journey takes an unexpected turn.

The Making of an Alphabet Thief

Here at Groundwood, there’s nothing we love more than a little peek behind the scenes at how our books are made, so when Roxanna Bikadoroff mentioned that she still had some of her early sketches for The Alphabet Thief written by Bill Richardson, we jumped at the chance to share them with you, along with her explanation of how she designed the Alphabet Thief character.

When coming up with the Alphabet Thief character, the first visuals that popped into my head were of the Chief Blue Meanie from the animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine and of a classic 17th-century highwayman. I also tried to imagine what sort of person she was. What would drive someone to commit such crimes? Perhaps she had never learned to read, so hoarding letters and depriving others of words was her method of compensation or revenge. Like most serial criminals, the Alphabet Thief is after fame and notoriety, hence her flamboyant attire. Perhaps she sees herself as a bit of a Lone Ranger or Caped Crusader, with her steampunk goggles being a modern version of the classic eye mask.  Her enormous hat feather is indicative of a highly mercurial nature and her mismatched gloves show an imbalance (like the Chief Blue Meanie’s boots). I’m not really sure where her striped stockings came from, other than I wanted to break up the solid black.

I suppose this somewhat sympathetic antihero, who leaves a trail of altered reality in her wake, can be interpreted as being all right-brained (i.e. stolen letters are hung up as pictures, rather than used in words), while the little girl hero is more the rational left-brained sort, determined to solve a mystery (even dressed like Sherlock, at one point) and restore order to a surreal, dysfunctional world that has ceased to make sense.


The alphabet thief stole all of the B’s, and all of the bowls became owls…

When night falls, along comes a peculiar thief who steals each letter of the alphabet, creating a topsy-turvy world as she goes. It seems that no one can stop her, until the Z’s finally send her to sleep so that all the other letters can scamper back to where they belong.

Bill Richardson’s zany rhymes and Roxanna Bikadoroff’s hilarious illustrations will delight young readers with the silly fun they can have with language — and may even inspire budding young writers and artists to create their own word games.

Short Stories for Little Monsters — guest post by Marie-Louise Gay

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

What planet does my new book Short Stories For Little Monsters come from? The planet of my childhood, of course, as well as the outer-space of my adolescence! But also from the hours of joy spent reading and sharing my favorite comic strips or bandes dessinées with my two young boys as they fell over laughing at the hilarious adventures and mishaps of Spirou, The Shtroumps, Lucky Luke, Le génie des Alpages, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Philémon and Le concombre masqué etc.

I wrote these stories to tickle the funnybone of my ticklish readers, to recapture that sense of wonder and absurdity that inhabits children’s minds, the curiosity and boundless imagination that easily crosses the border between reality and fantasy.

Some of these stories are true, like Zombie-Mom, where a mother can see through ceilings all the mischief her children are getting into. Guess who the mother is ?

Other stories came to me as I walked through forests, eavesdropping on trees as in What do Trees Talk About?

I also eavesdropped on my kids when they started bossing worms around as in the story called Worms.

Nineteen short stories about invisible boys, arrogant snails, the secret life of rabbits and many more. Stories full of laughter, jokes and truth, sometimes stranger than fiction.

Groundwood Books Awards and Starred Reviews for 2016

2016 was an amazing year at Groundwood Books, and while we prepare for our new titles releasing over the next few months, we’re also reflecting on all the wonderful books we published last year.

We’d like to celebrate the books (and their wonderful authors and illustrators) that have received starred reviews in 2016, in addition to acknowledging some additional awards and accolades that were picked up along the way. Thank you to everyone — librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, reviewers, booksellers, and, of course, parents, children, and readers everywhere — for making 2016 such an incredible year.

Awards

Starred Reviews 

A BOY NAMED QUEEN by Sara CassidyA Boy Named Queen
Sara Cassidy

Groundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Review in Kirkus

Evelyn is both aghast and fascinated when a new boy comes to grade five and tells everyone his name is Queen. Queen wears shiny gym shorts and wants to organize a chess/environment club. His father plays weird loud music and has tattoos.

How will the class react? How will Evelyn?


Sara O'Leary A Family Is a Family Is a FamilyA Family Is a Family Is a Family
Sara O’Leary and Qin Leng

Groundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Reviews in Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal

When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all.


A Small Madness by Dianne TouchellA Small Madness
Dianne Touchell

Groundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Review in Booklist

Rose and Michael are good students with bright futures. They are also in love. But when Rose gets pregnant, her behavior becomes increasingly strange as she pulls away from her best friend, and from Michael, while she struggles to cope with her predicament.

 


Book Uncle and Me by Uma KrishnaswamiBook Uncle and Me
Uma Krishnaswami

Groundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Reviews in Kirkus and School Library Journal

Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something. But what can she do? The local elections are coming up but she’s just a kid. She can’t even vote!


Buddy and Earl and the Great Big BabyBuddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby
Maureen Fergus and Carey Sookocheff

Groundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly

Mom’s friend Mrs. Cunningham is coming for a visit, and she’s bringing her baby! While Buddy tries to explain the ins and outs of babydom to Earl, neither of them is prepared for the chaos the small and adorable creature brings with him.


Flannery by Lisa MooreFlannery
Lisa Moore

Groundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Reviews in Kirkus, CM Magazine, Quill & Quire, School Library Journal, Horn Book, and Shelf Awareness

Sixteen-year-old Flannery Malone has it bad. She’s been in love with Tyrone O’Rourke since the days she still believed in Santa Claus. But Tyrone has grown from a dorky kid into an outlaw graffiti artist, the rebel-with-a-cause of Flannery’s dreams, literally too cool for school.

Which is a problem, since he and Flannery are partners for the entrepreneurship class that she needs to graduate. And Tyrone’s vanishing act may have darker causes than she realizes.


Kabungo by RolliKabungo
Rolli

Groundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Review in Kirkus

Ten-year-old Beverly is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary best friend. Her name is Kabungo, and she lives in a cave on Main Street. No one knows where she comes from or who she really is, but life is never dull when Kabungo is around.

 


MALAIKA’S COSTUME Written by Nadia HohnMalaika’s Costume
Nadia Hohn and Irene Luxbacher

Groundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Review in CM Magazine

It’s Carnival time. The first Carnival since Malaika’s mother moved to Canada to find a good job and provide for Malaika and her grandmother. Her mother promised she would send money for a costume, but when the money doesn’t arrive, will Malaika still be able to dance in the parade?


Snow Summer by Kit PeelSnow Summer
Kit Peel

Groundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Review in Kirkus

Massive climate change has caused a winter that will not thaw, and it seems that the forces of nature have turned on humanity itself. But in the sleepy British village of Pateley, one special girl may hold the key to the earth’s survival.

 


SOMOS COMO LAS NUBES / WE ARE LIKE THE CLOUDSSomos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds
Jorge Argueta and Alfonso Ruano

Groundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Horn Book

Why are young people leaving their country to walk to the United States to seek a new, safe home? Over 100,000 such children have left Central America. This book of poetry helps us to understand why and what it is like to be them.


THE TRAGIC TALE OF THE GREAT AUKThe Tragic Tale of the Great Auk
Jan Thornhill

Groundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books

For hundreds of thousands of years Great Auks thrived in the icy seas of the North Atlantic, bobbing on the waves, diving for fish and struggling up onto rocky shores to mate and hatch their fluffy chicks. But by 1844, not a single one of these magnificent birds was alive.


TURN ON THE NIGHT Written by Geraldo ValérioTurn On the Night
Geraldo Valério

Groundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly

A little girl falls asleep and in her dream becomes a huge gray wolf, like the one in her bedtime story. Out the window she leaps, and a marvelous nighttime adventure unfolds. She visits the rooster in his coop, and invites him to hop upon her back and together they run through the night. A reindeer joins in the fun, until the three are suddenly stopped in their tracks by a giant dazzling star. The reindeer climbs upon the wolf, and the rooster upon the reindeer to reach the star, then they carry it home, where it brings all kinds of light to the little girl’s world.


The White Cat and the MonkThe White Cat and the Monk
Jo Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith

Groundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred ReviewsGroundwood Books Starred Reviews

Starred Reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal, Quill & Quire, Booklist, and CM Magazine

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.

Enter to win five books kids need to read now

Groundwood Books

Books give children a mirror in which to see themselves reflected, as well as a window through which they can see the wider world. And with a certain President-elect about to take office, the need for children to read diverse books is now more important than ever.

Groundwood is committed to publishing books for and about children whose experiences of the world are under-represented elsewhere. (A sample of our diverse books can be found at diversity.groundwoodbooks.com.) Enter the contest below for your chance to win five such titles, including:

Good Luck!

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

dec-10-emma

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