TWO Groundwood Titles Win #GGBooks Awards!

Governor General’s Literary Awards Winner Calvin by Martine LeavittWe’re thrilled to announce Martine Leavitt’s Calvin has been selected as the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award in the Young People’s Literature (text) category! Congratulations, Martine!

In Calvin – part romance, part adventure story, part quest novel — Martine Leavitt brings her inimitable gentle wit, humor and compassion to a story about a teenaged boy struggling to gain control of his own mind and destiny.

“In Martine Leavitt’s Calvin, a boy newly diagnosed with schizophrenia makes a pilgrimage across a frozen Lake Erie. Told in spare, beautiful prose, this transcendent exploration of reality and truth is funny, frightening and affirming. Calvin is an astonishing achievement.” — #GGBooks Jury Statement


Governor General’s Literary Awards Winner Tokyo Digs A Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen HatanakaBut, it doesn’t stop there… there’s a whole garden’s worth of good news today. Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka has won the Governor General’s Literary Award in the Young People’s Literature (illustrated books) category!

Tokyo Digs a Garden marries text and illustration in a richly ornamented dream landscape that simultaneously suggests a digital and an organic world. Kellen Hatanaka’s illustrations are inventive and groundbreaking and the hypnotic text by Jon-Erik Lappano conveys its message in a darkly humourous and elegant manner. A book for any age.” — #GGBooks Jury Statement

Congratulations, Jon-Erik and Kellen!


About Calvin

In the town of Leamington, Ontario, a seventeen-year-old boy is suddenly stricken by a schizophrenic episode and wakes up in hospital. The boy’s name is Calvin, and he is plagued by hallucinations.

As the hallucinations persist, Calvin comes to believe that the answer lies in performing one grand and incredible gesture.

And so he decides to walk across Lake Erie. In January. The temperatures have been below freezing for weeks. The ice should hold…

The lake, it turns out, is more marvelous, and more treacherous, than Calvin had ever imagined — populated by abandoned cars (joy ride!), ice-fishing eccentrics, psychokiller snow beings, and a not-so-mythical sea witch named Jenny Greenteeth.

Not to mention the man-eating tiger that looms just out of his sight lines as he treks.

But the biggest surprise of all is that Calvin finds himself accompanied by Susie, the girl of his dreams. Or is it his dreams that have conjured up Susie?

Part romance, part adventure story, part quest novel, Martine Leavitt brings her inimitable gentle wit, humor and compassion to a story about a teenaged boy struggling to gain control of his own mind and destiny.

About Tokyo Digs a Garden

Tokyo lives in a small house between giant buildings with his family and his cat, Kevin. For years, highways and skyscrapers have been built up around the family’s house where once there were hills and trees. Will they ever experience the natural world again?

One day, an old woman offers Tokyo seeds, telling him they will grow into whatever he wishes. Tokyo and his grandfather are astonished when the seeds grow into a forest so lush that it takes over the entire city overnight. Soon the whole city has gone wild, with animals roaming where cars once drove. But is this a problem to be surmounted, or a new way of living to be embraced?

With Tokyo Digs a Garden, Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka have created a thoughtful and inspiring fable of environmentalism and imagination.

THREE GROUNDWOOD TITLES SHORTLISTED FOR GOVERNOR GENERAL’S LITERARY AWARDS

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We’re thrilled to announce that three Groundwood authors have been shortlisted for the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Awards! Congratulations to:

Young People’s Literature Calvin, Martine Leavitt

Young People’s Literature— The White Cat and the Monk, Jo Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith and Tokyo Digs a Garden, Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka


9781554987207_hr Calvin
Written by Martine Leavitt

In the town of Leamington, Ontario, a seventeen-year-old boy is suddenly stricken by a schizophrenic episode and wakes up in hospital. The boy’s name is Calvin, and he is plagued by hallucinations.

As the hallucinations persist, Calvin comes to believe that the answer lies in performing one grand and incredible gesture.

And so he decides to walk across Lake Erie. In January. The temperatures have been below freezing for weeks. The ice should hold…

The lake, it turns out, is more marvelous, and more treacherous, than Calvin had ever imagined — populated by abandoned cars (joy ride!), ice-fishing eccentrics, psychokiller snow beings, and a not-so-mythical sea witch named Jenny Greenteeth.

Not to mention the man-eating tiger that looms just out of his sight lines as he treks.

But the biggest surprise of all is that Calvin finds himself accompanied by Susie, the girl of his dreams. Or is it his dreams that have conjured up Susie?

Part romance, part adventure story, part quest novel, Martine Leavitt brings her inimitable gentle wit, humor and compassion to a story about a teenaged boy struggling to gain control of his own mind and destiny.


Groundwood Logos Spine The White Cat and the Monk
Written by Jo Ellen Bogart and illustrated by Sydney Smith

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.

The White Cat and the Monk is a retelling of the classic Old Irish poem “Pangur Bán.” With Jo Ellen Bogart’s simple and elegant narration and Sydney Smith’s classically inspired images, this contemplative story pays tribute to the wisdom of animals and the wonders of the natural world.


Groundwood Logos Spine Tokyo Digs a Garden
Written by Jon-Erik Lappano and illustrated by Kellen Hatanaka

Tokyo lives in a small house between giant buildings with his family and his cat, Kevin. For years, highways and skyscrapers have been built up around the family’s house where once there were hills and trees. Will they ever experience the natural world again?

One day, an old woman offers Tokyo seeds, telling him they will grow into whatever he wishes. Tokyo and his grandfather are astonished when the seeds grow into a forest so lush that it takes over the entire city overnight. Soon the whole city has gone wild, with animals roaming where cars once drove. But is this a problem to be surmounted, or a new way of living to be embraced?

With Tokyo Digs a Garden, Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka have created a thoughtful and inspiring fable of environmentalism and imagination.


Old Woman—Guest Post by Martine Leavitt

International Women’s Day is March 8th, so with the help of some of our female authors, we’ve decided to dedicate the entire month to women and their stories.

Old Woman

Dear Tim and David and Kekla,

I can never explain myself verbally, which is likely in part why I became a writer. I was trying, that night in the faculty lounge, to tell you what it is like for me, now that I’m an old woman. This is what I was really trying to say:

When I was young, though I didn’t know it, I was beautiful. I became aware of it the day before everything changed. I understood on that day that I had been moving through the universe in a slipstream of pulchritude, a sparkling force-field, a charmed existence that softened some hearts and inspired something else in others. One day I knew it, and the next it was gone. One day for knowing, one day for mourning, and one for wondering what I might have done with that beauty if I had known of it.

But then – lightness. I move smaller and unnoticed through the universe, since then, as if I passed some long initiation and now I get to go in peace, as if I am now acknowledged to be made of some finer material. I wonder how I lived before, with the weight of years-ahead-of-me, and ambition aplenty, and having to carry it all with the ideologies of femininity to face like a headwind. I can’t blame everything on the world, however tempted: Every day I shed something I didn’t recognize was my own strength, shed it like a snake sheds her skin, and I wondered at that papery being that looked something like me.

Now I am in the Sabbath of my life, the seventh decade, and in it I find a kind of rest. I have grown into my face. It is comfortable, not too tight, with just enough room to stretch into any given expression at any given moment, according to whim. My feet and ankles ache, but expectations are low. I have the comfort of grandchildren who are being raised better than their parents were. My dieting days are over, and yet my husband likes me just the way I am. I have a little less estrogen, my husband a little less testosterone, and the Venn diagram of our relationship overlaps a little more, sometimes even nests. I never shed my strength now – it means I am less shiny, but more interesting. My writing brings more joy because I have learned to admire where before I had envied, to pity those who are unkind, to see clearly that the line that divides coveting and surrender, pride and humility, resistance and forbearance, is a pale, wandering line.

I see young women as music, each particle of them vibrating at a register of loveliness. But I want to say this to them: One day you will cease to be beautiful and you will be old, and as hard as is it to believe, I promise you will be glad. What a remarkable thing is an old woman, if I do say so myself.

And that, dear friends, is what I was trying to say.

Much love,
Martine


Martine Leavitt is the author of ten novels for young readers. My Book of Life by Angel, which received five starred reviews, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year. Other titles include Keturah and Lord Death, finalist for the National Book Award; Tom Finder, winner of the Mr. Christie’s Book Award; and Heck Superhero, finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Her novels have been published in Japan, Korea, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. Martine teaches creative writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Martine Leavitt knows the power of a good animal story

You are a little girl. You are reading a story that has a plot like this:

Starving, deprived of food by the enemy, he steals to feed his mate, his children. The enemy puts a price on his head. Over and over, they try to kill him, but he eludes them. They devise a plan to pursue his mate, and finally they capture her. They break her neck with ropes tied to horse, while he watches helplessly from afar. He follows the body of his mate into the heart of the enemy camp, where they capture him. But they cannot hold him, for that night he dies of a broken heart.

You peek up from your book, and you nod. You had suspected as much.

The book is called Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton, and the story you are reading is “Lobo the King of Currumpaw,” the story of a wolf and his sad end. You look about you. None of your adults seem to mind that you are reading this book. They have, in fact, encouraged you. Usually adults don’t tell you secrets, don’t want you to know about the heartbreaks and horrors that are possible. You have guessed a great deal. You hear things they say to one another when they don’t realize you’re playing under the kitchen table or skulking in the next room. You have to find out almost everything there is to know about the adult world surreptitiously.

But now they have handed you a book that talks about survival, injustice, murder, brutality, heroism, despair, and unspeakable devotion and love. Your adults are not alarmed because it is a book about animals, after all. Books about animals don’t count. But somehow you feel that you have discovered something true, something profound and terrible and wonderful.

I hope that might be the experience of a child when she reads Blue Mountain, as Seton’s stories were for me. Ursula K. LeGuin has said, “The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.” I hope my child reader sees that my story is asking real questions about loyalty, courage, betrayal, dreams, death and the demands of a community. I hope, as she journeys with Tuk toward Blue Mountain, the world opens up to her a little.

I hope she peeks up from her book and nods.

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