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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.

On designing the poster for TCAF 2014 – A guest post by Isabelle Arsenault

When the Toronto Comics Arts Festival contacted me asking if I was able to illustrate one of the official posters to promote its 11th year, of course I was honoured and thrilled by the invitation!


This year the festival has expanded its children’s programming, and I think they wanted to highlight this by featuring an illustrator who is associated with children’s literature.


My graphic novel, Jane, the Fox & Me (written by Fanny Britt) was the main inspiration for the concept of the poster. The book is a celebration of literature, and speaks of its importance to a pre-teen trying to find his or her place in life.


Hélène, the main character of the story, loves to escape her dull reality through reading books. She appears on the poster, next to that dog and other imaginary friends.


I’ll be at TCAF with Fanny Britt, and I think we will have lots of fun meeting young readers — and older ones — seeing friends, buying new books, eating with our publishers and shopping in TO. Can’t wait!


Meet Groundwood Creators at TCAF

Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault
Jane, the Fox and Me

Saturday, May 10th

11am-12pm: Jane, the Fox and Me read by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault
Location: Toronto Reference Library, Novella Room

 2:15pm-3:15pm: Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault present: Jane, the Fox and Me
Location: Toronto Reference Library, TCAF Kids Area – Beeton Auditorium

 3:45pm-4:30pm: Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault book signing
Location: Toronto Reference Library, Groundwood Books table

Sunday, May 11th

11:15am-12:15pm Spotlight: Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault
Location: Marriott Bloor Yorkville, High Park 2 & 3

12:30pm: Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault book signing
Location: Toronto Reference Library, Groundwood Books table

Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
This One Summer

Saturday, May 10th

12:15pm-1:15pm: Michael DeForge & Friends
Michael DeForge, Jillian Tamaki, Patrick Kyle, Moderator: Ryan Sands
Location: Marriott Bloor Yorkville, Forest Hill Ballroom

1:30pm-2:30pm: Spotlight: Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Location: Marriott Bloor Yorkville, Forrest Hill Ballroom

2:45pm-3:45pm Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki book signing
Location: Toronto Reference Library, Beguiling Signing Area (lower level)

4pm-5pm: Queering Comics – LGBTQ identity in comics and graphic novels
Mariko Tamaki
Meet five creators who, through their stories and published projects, are queering the medium and industry of comics.
Location: The Pilot, 22 Cumberland Street

Sunday, May 11th

12pm-1pm: Canadian Reading Series: Mariko Tamaki
Location: Toronto Reference Library, Novella Room

2:30pm-3:15pm: Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki book signing
Location: Toronto Reference Library, Groundwood Books table

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