Win an International Women’s Day Prize Pack

IWD Giveaway

In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Groundwood Publicist Cindy Ma chose her favourite books for girls!

In honour of International Women’s Day, I wanted to talk about children’s books that feature female characters because it’s important to have female experiences represented in its multitudes, and how all these experiences are equally valid. The impossible terror that permeates the lives of the characters in Elise Moser’s Lily and Taylor is just as important as the journey of self-discovery in Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s Skim; the entrepreneurial spirit of the protagonist in Nadia L. Hohn and Irene Luxbacher’s Malaika’s Costume is just as significant as the courage of Parvana in Deborah Ellis’ The Breadwinner series. I think it’s imperative that one can read books about female characters and realize that there will always be a spectrum of personalities and experiences, and all of them matter so much. Here are three of those books:


Naptime is a fun picture book with lovely illustrations, charming dialogue, and a fantastic protagonist: she’s assertive and brave, while maintaining fearlessness and a sense of humour. She may only be a toddler, but all of us could stand to be a little bit more like her!


Growing up can be hard, as explored in the story of the unforgettable Hélène and her loneliness (because, let’s face it: we’ve all been there). There’s also something magical about going through the journey with her and finding out that everything will (probably) be okay, as we all strive to find the foxes and Géraldines in our own lives. This is a truly stunning graphic novel about one girl’s quest to belong. 


Where was this book when I was a teenager?! This is a short and gorgeous YA novel about fifteen year old Charlotte, as she makes her own decisions and mistakes, and learns to take responsibility for her actions. Charlotte is curious, open-minded, and independent, with a strong sense of empathy and the courage to be her own person. I Don’t Live Here Anymore is an unconventional story about first love, featuring a female character that isn’t afraid to defy expectations.

Enter for a chance to win Cindy’s top 3 picks for girls, including:

  1. NAPTIME written by Iris De Moüy
  2. JANE, THE FOX AND ME, written by Fanny Britt & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
  3. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, written by Gabi Kreslehner

Fill out the form below to enter. Contest closes March 15th. A winner will be randomly chosen.

Win a Black History Month Gift Package!

Black History Month Contest

In celebration of Black History Month, we’re giving one lucky winner a copy of the upcoming title, The Stone Thrower (May 2016), and Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged!

The contest runs from February 17th to February 24th. A winner will be randomly chosen. Fill out the form below to enter!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with The Menino

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the love birds out there!

We would like to celebrate a different kind of love today, because what says love better than a newborn baby? The Menino is a beautiful look at the early years of being a parent, as well as the world through a newborn’s eyes. Author/illustrator Isol captures the relationship between parent and baby beautifully, and has created a book that can be shared and enjoyed by grownups and children alike.






A book for babies and their parents about the whole new world that they both encounter when the baby arrives.

When the new baby arrives, both the baby and the parents are in for a steep learning curve. In this book, born out of personal experience, internationally renowned author/illustrator Isol brings us a dual narrative and guide. For babies, there’s a rich range of images of babies and all their functions to look at. From crying, to nursing, to peeing and pooing, to looking, to hearing, to deciding that this weird new world they’ve entered is worth staying in (because they finally recognize that in every grown-up they see a former baby), there are hours of fun and amusement, since babies love nothing better than looking at and talking about themselves.

For parents, this is a wonderful exploration of the new world this stranger-baby brings with them. Amusingly written, the text presents in a humorous, wry way all the facets of the new baby’s reality. A great gift for new parents both before and after baby is born.



The Diverse World of Groundwood Books

Dear Readers,

We are very happy to share with you this sampling from some of our most beautiful and engrossing books — books from around the world, books that take the whole world as their subject. We have borrowed the title for our catalogue from the often-quoted statement that 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 as our cover art by Mandana Sadat so wonderfully shows, a book can also be a door that children walk through, a door that leads from loneliness to companionship.

You can find out more about the books highlighted in these pages — the awards they have won, the accolades they have received, and of course the generous and talented people who created them — by visiting And do keep in mind that the titles in this catalogue represent just a fraction of our diverse and inspiring list. I do hope you will visit the website to find out more. In other words, our door is open, and we hope you will walk through it.

With thanks,

Sheila Sig2



Sheila Barry, Publisher
Groundwood Books

Explore The Diverse World of Groundwood Books


Win a Copy of Malaika’s Costume



Happy Carnival! Happy Mardi Gras!

To celebrate, we’re giving away a copy of the upcoming title, Malaika’s Costume by Nadia Hohn, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher!

The contest runs from February 9th to February 16th. A winner will be randomly chosen. Fill out the form below to enter!

Celebrate Black History Month with Malaika’s Costume and The Stone Thrower

February is Black History Month in Canada and the United States, a time where Black History — the people, events, and contributions — is recognized, remembered, and celebrated. To mark the start of Black History Month, we asked Nadia Hohn, author of Malaika’s Costume, a story of Malaika’s first Carnival since her mother moved to Canada, and Jael Ealey Richardson, author of The Stone Thrower, which tells the inspirational story of Chuck Ealey, about the origin story behind both books.

The Origins of Malaika’s Costume
by Nadia L. Hohn

The seeds for Malaika’s Costume come from many things.

As a child, I used to write and illustrate picture books. One of the few I still have today is called The Greatest Carnival Ever. I wrote it at the age of ten and it was influenced by a kid book talk on the television show, Reading Rainbow.

Nadia Hohn: The Greatest Carnival Ever Nadia Hohn: The Greatest Carnival Ever Nadia Hohn: The Greatest Carnival Ever

Nadia HohnCarnival in the English-speaking Caribbean started in Trinidad and although I have never been there, I attended the Caribana parade (now called Toronto Caribbean Carnival) since I was a child. I loved the festive atmosphere, costumes, and music, and I longed to be in the parade one day. (I got the chance years later in 2009, 2014, and 2015 as a grown-up.)

I wrote Malaika’s Costume for an assignment in the Writing for Children course through George Brown College in 2010. The course was held at Mabel’s Fables Children’s bookstore and is still taught by my teacher, author Ted Staunton. When I was given the picture book assignment, naturally I focused on Carnival. Yet, I wanted to tell the story from the perspective of a little girl, Malaika, set in the Caribbean and have a connection to Canada, the country in which I was born and to which my parents immigrated from Jamaica in the 1970s. As I worked on it, I soon realized that this was going to be like the stories of adults in my family and many people of Caribbean descent to the United States, UK, and Canada, which often involved years of separation from loved ones, including their children. Malaika’s Costume is a culmination of all of these things and a celebration of resilience, creativity, and resourcefulness.

MALAIKA’S COSTUME Written by Nadia HohnAbout Malaika’s Costume

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?

Disappointed and upset at her grandmother’s hand-me-down costume, Malaika leaves the house, running into Ms. Chin, the tailor, who offers Malaika a bag of scrap fabric. With her grandmother’s help, Malaika creates a patchwork rainbow peacock costume, and dances proudly in the parade.

A heartwarming story about family, community and the celebration of Carnival, Nadia Hohn’s warm and colloquial language and Irene Luxbacher’s vibrant collage-style illustrations make this a strikingly original picture book.

The Origins of The Stone Thrower
by Jael Richardson

In 2009, I wrote the memoir The Stone Thrower because I needed to know more about my dad’s story. I needed to know who he was and why he chose to move from the United States in 1972 and raise us here in Canada. A few months after the memoir came out, a teacher-friend asked me if I would turn it into a children’s book. She said there were not enough stories about African-Canadians and she wanted to be able to share important and relevant stories with her students. She said my dad was a hero and that kids should be learning about him in school. I couldn’t agree more. So I wrote it. Sometimes, I just need a bit of a nudge.

THE STONE THROWER Written by Jael Ealey RichardsonAbout The Stone Thrower

The African-American football player Chuck Ealey grew up in a segregated neighborhood of Portsmouth, Ohio. Against all odds, he became an incredible quarterback. But despite his unbeaten record in high school and university, he would never play professional football in the United States.

Chuck Ealey grew up poor in a racially segregated community that was divided from the rest of town by a set of train tracks, but his mother assured him that he wouldn’t stay in Portsmouth forever. Education was the way out, and a football scholarship was the way to pay for that education. So despite the racist taunts he faced at all the games he played in high school, Chuck maintained a remarkable level of dedication and determination. And when discrimination followed him to university and beyond, Chuck Ealey remained undefeated.

This inspirational story is told by Chuck Ealey’s daughter, author and educator Jael Richardson, with striking and powerful illustrations by award-winning illustrator Matt James.

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