Celebrate Pride with Morris Micklewhite

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress is a story about the courage it can take to be yourself, and it is a celebration of the joy that comes from being exactly who you want to be. If you haven’t already shared this picture book with a child in your life, then Pride Month is the perfect time to pick it up.


Reviews

 “Baldacchino treats the tricky and controversial subject of expected gender behaviors and bullying with care and compassion, employing language and tone that avoid histrionics or preaching.” – Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

 “The message here – that it is not only okay but important to be yourself, and to support others in doing likewise – is of great significance.” – Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

“Baldacchino’s gentle story sensitively depicts gender nonconforming children, offering them reassurance and, one hopes, acceptance by introducing other children to the concept.” – Booklist

Excerpt

Morris likes lots of things about school. He likes to paint. He likes to do puzzles. He likes the apple juice at snack time and singing the loudest during circle time.

Most of all, Morris likes the dress-up center.
And the tangerine dress.
Morris likes the color of the dress.
It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother’s hair.

He likes the noises the dress makes — swish, swish, swish when he walks and crinkle, crinkle, crinkle when he sits down. He takes turns wearing all the different shoes but his favorite ones go click, click, click across the floor.

Illustrations

Morris Micklewhite

 

Morris Micklewhite


Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine DressAbout Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures, paints beautiful pictures and sings the loudest during circle time. But most of all, Morris loves his classroom’s dress-up center — he loves wearing the tangerine dress.

But the children in Morris’s class don’t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses.

One day when Morris feels all alone, and sick from the taunts of his classmates, his mother lets him stay home from school. Morris reads about elephants, and puts together a puzzle, and dreams of a fantastic space adventure with his cat, Moo.

Inspired by his dream, Morris paints the incredible scene he saw, and brings it with him to school. He builds his own spaceship, hangs his painting on the front of it and takes two of his classmates on an outer space adventure.

With warm, dreamy illustrations, Isabelle Malenfant perfectly captures Morris’s vulnerability and the vibrancy of his imagination. This is a sweetly told story about the courage and creativity it takes to be different.

Have a Perfect Day with Pinny in Summer

Have a perfect day by checking out these stunning spreads from Pinny in Summer, written by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant. What’s Pinny’s idea of a perfect day, you ask? Pinny and her friends spend their day watching clouds, picking wild blueberries and enjoying a picnic.

Pinny in Summer
Pinny in Summer
Pinny in Summer

 


Pinny in Summer

This engaging story, told in chapter-like episodes, follows Pinny on a long, lazy summer day. As sunshine turns to rain and back to sun again, Pinny searches for a wishing rock, watches clouds, picks wild blueberries, feeds a seagull, and bakes a cake to share with her friends.

An ideal book for children beginning to make the jump to independent reading, Pinny in Summer demonstrates the joy young people find in nature and an unstructured life. Pinny is allowed to explore her world freely, and her small setbacks and triumphs will be familiar to every child.

With charming illustrations by Isabelle Malenfant and a spare, poetic text from author Joanne Schwartz, Pinny in Summer is a bright and inviting picture book that captures all the delight of a perfect summer day.

New Releases from Groundwood this May

You won’t need to wait very long for this month’s new releases! We have two new juvenile fiction novels for YA fans, and two beautifully illustrated picture books coming out May 1st.


Flannery by Lisa MooreFlannery
by Lisa Moore
Available: May 1

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.

Tyrone isn’t Flannery’s only problem. Her mother, Miranda, can’t pay the heating bills, let alone buy Flannery’s biology book. Her little brother, Felix, is careening out of control. And her best-friend-since-forever, Amber, has fallen for a guy who is making her forget all about the things she’s always cared most about — Flannery included — leading Amber down a dark and dangerous path of her own.

When Flannery decides to make a love potion for her entrepreneurship project, rumors that it actually works go viral, and she suddenly has a hot commodity on her hands. But a series of shattering events makes her realize that real-life love is far more potent — and potentially damaging — than any fairy-tale prescription.


Pinny in Summer by Joanne Schwartz

Pinny in Summer
by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Available: May 1

This engaging story, told in chapter-like episodes, follows Pinny on a long, lazy summer day. As sunshine turns to rain and back to sun again, Pinny searches for a wishing rock, watches clouds, picks wild blueberries, feeds a seagull, and bakes a cake to share with her friends.

An ideal book for children beginning to make the jump to independent reading, Pinny in Summerdemonstrates the joy young people find in nature and an unstructured life. Pinny is allowed to explore her world freely, and her small setbacks and triumphs will be familiar to every child.

With charming illustrations by Isabelle Malenfant and a spare, poetic text from author Joanne Schwartz, Pinny in Summer is a bright and inviting picture book that captures all the delight of a perfect summer day.


The Stone Thrower by Jael Richardson

The Stone Thrower
by Jael Ealey Richardson, illustrated by Matt James
Available: May 1

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.


A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell

A Small Madness
by Dianne Touchell
Available: May 1

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.

Rose cannot admit that she is pregnant (“If I say it, it will come to be true.”). She moves from denial to ineptly trying to terminate her pregnancy, to believing that she has miscarried, while deep inside, she is on a mental and emotional downward spiral. Meanwhile, Michael, in his confusion, desperation to help and fear of the wrath of his controlling father, sinks into his own kind of small madness.

Inspired by the story of two teens in the US who were arrested for hiding the girl’s pregnancy and later disposing of the baby, Touchell says, “When I saw them on TV I was amazed to see they looked like normal kids. They were from good families; they just looked destroyed. . . . I thought, there’s more than one victim here; what went on with these kids and why did they think they had no one to go to?”

 

International Women’s Day—Guest Post by Christine Baldacchino

I guess it would be odd to start off a piece for International Women’s Day by admitting that I grew up rather distrustful of girls.

I was bullied badly when I was a child, by both boys and girls. But being bullied by the girls felt as though it was edged with betrayal, and that left far deeper cuts. I was a girl, they were girls. Weren’t we all supposed to stick together?

I grew up watching shows like Dallas and Dynasty with my parents in the evening, and soaps like Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless in the afternoon. Women were constantly attacking each other. They were getting pushed into pools or wedding cakes. They were pulling each other’s hair or ripping each other’s clothes. They were slut-shaming each other, humiliating each other, throwing each other under buses. They were rarely fighting for money or power – that was for the men. The women mostly fought over men. The women would only fight for money or power if it involved taking it from other women. The woman almost never got to be the super villain – she had to fight other women to be the super villain’s wife.

I slowly started to become aware of how frequently and enthusiastically the media pitted us against one another. And when I say slowly, I mean at a glacial-like pace, because the whole “survival of the fittest/prettiest/thinnest/best-dressed/most popular” thing was very deeply ingrained. It took years to realize that my mistrust had been entirely misplaced. The “mean girls” were also victims in a way, though blissfully unaware of it. Or maybe they weren’t. Maybe we weren’t giving each other enough credit.

When I was a child being bullied for not being “a real girl”, I rarely took the time to consider what had the girls so adamantly believing I wasn’t normal, and what gave their attacks that extra bite. Once I did take that time, though, it went a long way towards me silently forgiving my childhood tormenters and doing a little healing. When I wrote Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, I wanted to infuse Morris not just with the pride that comes with being yourself, but also with the pride that comes with being enlightened. It’s what saved my life. It’s what gave me hope that if I could figure it out, maybe other girls could, too.

I was afraid of girls once. Maybe the same way some people are still afraid of a boy in a dress.

Fast-forward to today, sitting in front of my laptop at 4:30 a.m. trying to decide which of all the amazing, inspiring women I’ve opened my life up to I should write about for International Women’s Day. I’ve been agonizing over it for two weeks now, but it’s hopeless – I can’t pick just one, and if I were to write about all of them, I’d never get to bed.

I could have bigger problems, right?


Christine Baldacchino is a graphic artist and web designer with a background in early childhood education. Her picture book Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress was the winner of the CBC Bookie Award for Best Picture Book 2015. She lives with her husband in Toronto. She likes cats and the colour orange.

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