Enter to Win a GG Books Gift Pack

We’ve made tote-bags in celebration of our recent Governor General’s Literary Awards and want you to have one to fill with all your Summer reads!

Enter below to win a Tokyo Digs a Garden tote-bag along with a copy of Governor General’s Literary Awards winners Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano & Kellen Hatanaka and Calvin by Martine Leavitt!

Tokyo Digs a Garden and Calvin

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.

Celebrate Earth Day with Toyko Digs a Garden

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Every April 22nd, the world comes together to celebrate the planet we are lucky enough to live on. Here at Groundwood, we’re getting involved by sharing a few spreads from Tokyo Digs a Garden, a thoughtful and inspiring fable of environmentalism and imagination.

Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano & Kellen Hatanaka Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano & Kellen Hatanaka Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano & Kellen Hatanaka
 


Tokyo Digs A Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano & 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.

Origins of Tokyo Digs a Garden—Guest Post by J.E. Lappano

I first had the idea for Tokyo about a decade ago.

Throughout most of my 20s, I worked as a landscaper in Toronto, spending the spring, summer and fall in the tiny backyards, alleyways and rooftops of the city. The designer I worked for used native plants in his designs and hand tools whenever physically possible, taking a gentle approach and respect for the ecosystems we’d be cultivating. When I wasn’t complaining about back pain or the heat or the rain or the wind or the cold, I loved this work because it provided the space and time for daydreaming.

Lappano1 One of the urban gardens Lappano helped install & maintain while daydreaming about Tokyo Digs a Garden (Credit: Todd Smith Design)

Before long, the idea for Tokyo appeared: nature transforming a city overnight. Through some magic, the boundless imagination and creative destruction of childhood, Tokyo and Kevin let the wild loose across the city.

I’m intrigued by the idea that “the wild” is not something we have to leave our own backyards to see; even in the parking lots of high-rises, nature it’s there waiting for us to discover. It doesn’t take much coaxing to show itself. Lift a brick, or look in the cracks of pavement and there it is, in its cool, muddy potential.

I sat with the idea for about ten years before I decided to finally write something down.

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A view of Lappano’s workspace with intern pictured (bottom left)

And I didn’t do it alone. Our daughter Maia (my trusty four-year-old editor in residence) helped with the early drafts. I’d read the story aloud to her, and it became painfully clear when something worked or when something didn’t. (Kevin the cat and his quest for ice-cream earned a more prominent role because of her notes!) Amelia, our youngest, also loves Kevin, but is more captivated by Kellen Hatanaka’s detailed and vibrant illustrations, and wants to know more about each and every thing on the page.

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Amelia & Maia – celebrated book critics & self-proclaimed wildlings

Since becoming a parent, stories, like the natural world, are joys to discover. My wife Stephanie is a library enthusiast; she comes home weekly with bags and bags of picture books that the four of us happily devour. I’m thrilled at the opportunity to add Tokyo Digs a Garden to the vast literary territory that’s out there for children, parents, and all book lovers to explore. With any luck, it can help to transport us into a space where nature thrives and endures in the wildness of our imaginations.

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Lappano poses with a woodland gnome in Guelph, Ontario. Nature is full of surprises!


Groundwood Logos SpineTokyo 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.

New Releases from Groundwood this March

We made it! It’s finally time to celebrate some new books, and we’ve got quite the selection this March; familiar faces, many new, and a couple favourites reissued in paperback.


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Buddy and Earl Go Exploring
by Marueen Fergus, illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
Available: March 1

Buddy and Earl are safely tucked in for the night; Buddy on his blanket and Earl in his cage. But just as Buddy settles in for a nice, long sleep, Earl says it’s time to say “Bon voyage.”

Soon these mismatched pals are at it again, exploring the wilds of the kitchen and defending a lovely lady hedgehog — who may or may not be Mom’s hairbrush — from imminent danger. When they’ve finally vanquished the greatest monster of all — the vacuum cleaner — it’s time for some well-earned shut-eye.

This second book in the Buddy and Earl series reunites this odd and loveable animal couple: a dog who likes to play by the rules and a hedgehog who knows no limits.


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Malaika’s Costume
by Nadia L. Hohn, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
Available: March 1

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.


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Tokyo Digs a Garden
by Jon-Erik Lappano & Kellen Hatanaka
Available: March 1

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.


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The White Cat and the Monk
by Jo Ellen Bogart, illustrated by Sydney Smith
Available: March 1

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’s Smith’s classically inspired images, this contemplative story pays tribute to the wisdom of animals and the wonders of the natural world.


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Arroz con leche/Rice Pudding
by Jorge Argueta, illustrated by Fernando Vilela
Paperback Reissue
Available: March 1

Now available in paperback, Arroz con leche / Rice Pudding is the second title of Jorge Argueta’s popular bilingual Cooking Poems series, celebrating the joys of preparing, eating and sharing food.

From sprinkling the rice into the pot, to adding a waterfall of milk, cinnamon sticks, salt stars and sugar snow, Jorge Argueta’s recipe is not only easy to follow, it is a poetic experience. The lively illustrations by Fernando Vilela feature an enthusiastic young cook who finds no end of joy in making and then slurping up the rice pudding with his family.

As in all the titles in this series, Arroz con leche / Rice Pudding conveys the pleasure of making something delicious to eat for people you really love. A great book for families to enjoy together.


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Guacamole
by Jorge Argueta, illustrated by Margarita Sada
Paperback Reissue
Available: March 1

Following on the success of Sopa de frijoles / Bean Soup and Arroz con leche / Rice Pudding is Jorge Argueta’s third book in his bilingual cooking poem series — Guacamole — with very cute, imaginative illustrations by Margarita Sada.

Guacamole originated in Mexico with the Aztecs and has long been popular in North America, especially in recent years due to the many health benefits of avocados. This version of the recipe is easy to make, calling for just avocados, limes, cilantro and salt. A little girl dons her apron, singing and dancing around the kitchen as she shows us what to do. Poet Jorge Argueta sees beauty, magic and fun in everything around him — avocados are like green precious stones, salt falls like rain, cilantro looks like a little tree and the spoon that scoops the avocado from its skin is like a tractor.

As in the previous cooking poems, Guacamole conveys the pleasure of making something delicious and healthy to eat for people you really love. A great book for families to enjoy together.


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Outside In
by Sarah Ellis
Paperback Reissue
Available: March 1

Lynn’s life is full — choir practice, school, shopping for the perfect jeans, and dealing with her free-spirited mother. Then one day her life is saved by a mysterious girl named Blossom, who introduces Lynn to her own world and family — both more bizarre, yet somehow more sane, than Lynn’s own.

Blossom’s family is a small band of outcasts and eccentrics who live secretly in an ingenious bunker beneath a city reservoir. The Underlanders forage and trade for the things they need (“Is it useful or lovely?”), living off the things “Citizens” throw away. Lynn is enchanted and amazed. But when she inadvertently reveals their secret, she is forced to take measure of her own motives and lifestyle, as she figures out what it really means to be a family, and a friend.

Classic Sarah Ellis, this novel is smart, rich, engaging and insightful.

Win a Trio of Upcoming Groundwood Books!

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We are giving away a gift-package to one lucky winner that includes a copy of each of these upcoming Groundwood titles:

  1. The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith
  2. Buddy and Earl Go Exploring by Maureen Fergus and Carey Sookocheff
  3. Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka

The contest runs from January 26th to February 7th. A winner will be randomly chosen. Fill out the form below to enter!

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