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.

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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

Phil’s Outdoor Studio: Illustrating Me and You and the Red Canoe

Me and You and the Red Canoe, written by Jean E. Pendziwol, is mononymous artist Phil’s first picture book.

Phil contemplates the view from his studio

Phil studied painting, printmaking, photography and design at the Alberta College of Art and Design, and the Ontario College of Art and Design. His paintings evoke memories as well as images and feelings from the past.

Gorgeous thumbnails of the picture book’s layout

His stunningly beautiful paintings rendered on wood panels give a nostalgic feeling, a perfect pairing with Jean E. Pendziwol’s poetic text.

A work in progress

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Scot Ritchie on Federica and Bringing Home Nature

A couple of years ago I was having lunch with my friend Odette in Germany. She was telling me about her two-year-old nature-loving daughter. Federica would take forever to walk one block because every leaf and bug was too interesting to pass by. Then she would bring them home. I loved Odette’s story and did some sketches while we talked.

When I got back to Canada I needed to catch up on other projects. In my “New Ideas” folder, I came across an idea I’d put aside. I knew it needed something, I just wasn’t sure what it was.  The topic was re-wilding, or bringing nature back into our urban lives. Then I remembered Federica. Her innocent idea of bringing nature home was a perfect fit. I was off and running.

As I developed the story, I realized mixing non-fiction with fiction is a tug-of-war — at some point one of them has to win. Federica seemed to stand on its own as a story, so I decided fiction would work. Any mention of re-wilding was gone (but hopefully could still be found lurking behind a bush, for the reader who was looking).

So it became a story about something we all do: cleaning house. Clever Federica does what’s obvious to her. Life at the park is orderly and peaceful, so to make her house orderly and peaceful, she invites her animal friends home. After all, raccoons clean, goats cut grass and spiders eat bugs. Once I was up and running, the book seemed to come naturally – with a good dose of help from my brilliant and supportive editor.

A few weeks before I was set to go to Germany this summer, a box full of the books arrived. I packed them up and flew to Berlin.

Which brings us up to last week when I had the great pleasure of delivering Federica to Federica. Odette and I had coffee while Federica looked through the book. She probably thinks every little girl has a book named after her.

Federica and her brother with the book

Federica speaks German and Italian but no English. I know her mom has done a great job of translating the story for her. But who knows, maybe at the book fair in Bologna next year Federica will find a German or Italian publisher, and she can read it in her own language.

As we were saying goodbye, Odette told me about her new little boy. He’s two years old and eats ladybugs — only ladybugs. It is a great story and, who knows, maybe it will fit nicely with an idea I have waiting in my “New Ideas” folder. I will keep you posted.


by Scot Ritchie

Federica’s busy family can’t keep their house clean! To get away from the buzzy, buggy mess, she escapes to the peaceful park where she can spend time with her animal friends…which gives her an idea.

She brings home sheep and goats, spiders and dragonflies, a toad, an owl, and some raccoons. Then she takes her family to the park for a picnic, and while they’re gone, the animals chomp the overgrown grass in the backyard, eat the garbage and catch the pesky bugs overrunning the house. After a peaceful afternoon at the park, Federica’s family comes home to a clean house — and raccoons doing the dishes!

Scot Ritchie’s warm art and original story bring a fresh perspective to the busy-family challenge of keeping the house clean, while featuring a clever and resourceful young girl who knows that, sometimes, letting nature back into our lives is the best answer.


And So It Goes: A gentle, loving book about loss, grief, birth, and celebration

A Mindful Meditation on the Mysteries of Life, for Children

by Dona Matthews, co-author of Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids

There were tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart as I read And So It Goes, written and illustrated by Paloma Valdivia, an award-winning Chilean illustrator and writer. Ms Valdivia hits just the right note of compassionate understanding of children’s tender innocence and wonder, while simultaneously being straightforwardly honest about the pain of grief and reminding them of the joys of life.

Very young children often wonder about death and worry about it, whether or not they experience it closely in their own lives. If you have a sensitive child who is asking questions about death, and if you are open to a contemplative acceptance of the mysteries of life, I can highly recommend And So It Goes.

This book is a wonderful resource for families coping with loss, as well as with other changes that parents might be happy about, but that children don’t always welcome, including a new baby or a move away from friends and family. There’s a lovely sense of the mystery of life itself, a light touch that emphasizes the importance of doing the best we can with what we have, here and now: “Those of us here are just here. And so we’d best enjoy ourselves.”

And So It Goes is mindfulness in practice, a thoughtful meditation for parents as well as children. It is a comforting reminder of the inevitability of change, and the importance of appreciating everything and everyone we have in this moment.

Parents may feel they should avoid discussing death and loss with their children, but even toddlers appreciate our honesty. Children worry when they don’t understand and will be comforted by the gentle acceptance of the changing nature of life itself that Paloma Valdivia captures so beautifully, both in the words and the whimsical illustrations in this book.

I love the easy balance between sadness and celebration, and the deft subtlety of Ms. Valdivia’s philosophical musings: “For a fleeting moment, those who leave and those who arrive cross paths in the air. They wish each other happiness.”

And So It Goes feels deeply imbued with a true understanding of the pain of loss and grief. It honors that pain, while reassuring young children that life goes on: “And so it goes, just as spring follows winter. Some arrive while others take their leave.”

Beyond Intelligence
Written by Dr. Dona Matthews
& Dr. Joanne Foster

From two internationally recognized experts in the field of gifted education comes this timely exploration of how best to nurture a child’s unique gifts, and set them on a path to a happily productive life — in school and beyond.

Drawing on the latest research in brain development and education theory, Beyond Intelligence is a must-read for today’s parents and educators.

Seamus’s Short Story Will Make You Stand Tall!

Seamus's Short Story

Seamus would give anything to be taller! One day, while playing dress-up in his mother’s closet, he finds a way to reach new heights.

With his mother’s high-heeled shoes on, Seamus can suddenly reach everything that was once too high: the top-floor elevator button, the chocolate milk in the fridge, the TV remote and that horrid picture of him as a baby. But when Seamus encounters problems that can’t be solved from a great height, he has to admit that sometimes being small just isn’t so bad.


Acclaimed picture book author Heather Hart-Sussman brings a light touch to this nuanced story about acceptance, resourcefulness and love, complemented by the humor and beauty in Milan Pavlovic’s colorful paintings of Seamus’s world — where there are times to be tall and times to be small.

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