Articles by Crystal
Seriously? You want me to pick my favorite children's books from 2011? That's like a parent choosing which of their kids is their favorite! Impossible. Can't be done. There are just too many FABULOUS choices!
Ok if you really want to twist my arm. Here are a few of my MANY favorite books from 2011. I should also say that I love all of the kids books that my collegues chose, but decided not to have any repeats.
I first heard that Lonely Planet was planning a line of Children's Books at sales conference 4 years ago. I waited for 4 long years for a Lonely Planet Children's Book to chomp my Kids Publicity teeth into. This book did not disappoint. Like the adult version of The Travel Book it features a page for every country in the world. Fun facts will keep kids turning page after page, trying to find new, gross things to gross mom out, while not even realizing their learning. An example: When Queen Elizabeth II visited Belize in 1985, she was served a local rodent called a gibnut, which some people say looks a bit like a giant rat without a tail (picture below). It tastes like rabbit.
This beautiful picture book is all the lovelier because the author (Sara O'Leary) and illustrator (Julie Morstad) are both really fabulous Canadian women. I also love that the little girl looks an awful lot like my daughter, Bella, if she would only allow me to have her hair chopped off into a bob. The story is of a mother telling her son the story of what it was like when she was little, however she takes it one step further and tells a fantastical story about her not only being little (young) but also little (tiny). My favorite spread is the one below where she feasts upon raspberries.
I confess. I have a shelf in my sewing studio of children's picture books that inspire me creatively. I don't let me daughter play with these books (mostly because I know that she will steal them and bring them to her own room.) Zeal of Zebras is one of the books that graces my sewing studio bookshelf. Created by Woop Studios (the graphic designers for the Harry Potter movies) this book of collective nouns is visually stimulating, educational and just plain entertaining. Really who knew that a group of pandas is called an embarrassment of pandas? The page below is the one that I find myself turning to most often as it reminds me of my time snorkeling with the sea turtles on The Big Island.
I affectionately call this title "The Book That Almost Ruined My Summer Vacation". It was just so good that I couldn't put it down! My husband and daughter were pretty upset that my nose was buried in my book the entire time instead of playing with them in the sand. Like Hunger Games in space, this book is a must read. Here is a trailer to give you a sneak peek.
Last but definitely not least I'm going to cheat a little bit. One of my favorite things about being a Children's Book Publicist is that I get to read a lot of books well before they hit bookstores.
Embrace is a book coming in March but I read it a few months ago and just can't get it out of my head. Here is a link to a blog post that I wrote on the day that we did the Embrace Cover Reveal. Sourcebooks also created a Making The Cover video which I found to be really fascinating. So much goes into creating a book cover.
Wishing you happy reading this holiday season and into 2012!
Check out her appearance below along with the book trailer and for more information pick up her book Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You.
The Eat Naked Book Trailer
It's time for our afternoon chocolate break here at Raincoast Books. We like the good stuff here. My favorite is the Organic Fair Trade Canadiana Bar from Organic Fair. I can't help thinking when I tear this package open "Do I deserve this chocolate?"
Having worked with New Harbinger Titles for a few years now and in particular being familiar with one of their star authors, Dr. Susan Albers, I now know that it is ok to eat chocolate, as long as I am eating it mindfully- AKA I don't scarf down the entire bar while going through the pile of emails that are sitting in my inbox. Instead I should take a few moments and really enjoy every single second of the one or two pieces of chocolate that I eat. Being mindful of the way it melts on my tongue, the flavor and creaminess that coats the back of my throat. Yum. Well, at least I hope that is what she is going to tell me in her new book But I Deserve This Chocolate: The 50 Most Common Diet-Derailing Excuses and How to Outwit Them.
Happy reading... and chocolate eating.
“We recognize that travelers are stuck all over the country due to these recent storms and will need access to our content”, said John Boris, Lonely Planet’s Managing Director. “Thus, we made all our USand CanadianiPhoneCityGuide apps free so that regardless of whether they are stuck in a blizzard or on the beach, they can easily download the practical information and recommendations we provide straight onto their phone”.
The 14 guides will be free in the iTunes App Store from 5pmPST on Tuesday, February 1st to 5pmPST Friday, February 4th 2011.
The cities available are:
· San Francisco
· New York City
· Washington DC
· New Orleans
· Las Vegas
· Los Angeles
· Fort Myers & Sanibel
Lonely Planet has a history of helping stranded travelers, having offered their EuropeaniPhoneCityGuide apps free during the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull and again during the Christmas snowstorms. This is the first time they’ve offered their US or Canadian city guides for free.
Those who know me well consider me to be a bad girl, a rebel if you will. I think that is why they hired me as a Children's Book Publicist here at Raincoast, to give it a bit more edge. Rules? Ha! I laugh in the face of rules. So when Dan Wagstaff our dashing (yes dashing! Have you heard Dan's English accent?) Online Marketing Specialist asked us all to come up with our favorite 3 books of 2010 I said "No way! I'm choosing 5!" So here they are, in no particular order, Crystal Allen's Favorite Raincoast Books of 2010!
Out of Sight
Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais
Chronicle Books ISBN 9780811877121
I remember the first time I heard about this book I thought "Oh that sounds like it will be pretty good!" Then I saw it and it and I was absolutely blown away! If you want to buy one book this year that will be enjoyed by everyone in your family from ages 6 months (with supervision) to 100 this is the book. The animal kingdom comes alive with over 50 known and unknown creatures from around the world. With lift the flaps and pop ups this 11 inch by 15 inch book is not only beautiful but it will also keep a child entertained for hours. And it's only $22.95 which gives you a lot of bang for your gift giving buck!
The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World
Lonely Planet ISBN 9781741792119
My husband and I were given the first edition of The Travel Book for a wedding present back in 2006. Too poor to travel the world we often pull this tomb out and armchair travel for an evening. The book has 229 countries & destinations to explore each laid out over a two page full color spread. My very favorite part of the book is that each destination has recommendations on something to Read, Listen To, Watch, Eat and Drink to help experience the country. Then it sums up each country in one word. One of my favorites is Tahiti who's word is Haere Maru which means Take It Slow.
Alphabeasties Amazing Activities
Sharon Werner & Sarah Forss
Blue Apple ISBN 9781609050412
One of my favorite book of 2009 was Alphabeasties, a book that explored all the different types of fonts and turned them into animals made out of combinations of different typefaces. From an alligator made of A's to a Zebra made of Z's the book took fonts blocky, small, thick, tall, roundish, slope-y fancy and dopey and brought them to life. For 2010 we have the sequel to the book Alphabeasties Amazing Activities which is packed full of mazes, word searches, rebus puzzles and other intellectual play plus 300 stickers and the really cool animals. It's a must have not only for kids but also for design nerds... or want to be design nerds... like me.
I had the opportunity to work with 2 fabulous authors in 2010 for their Canadian Tours and I would be remise if I did not mention their books on my list.
The first was the lovely Annie Barrows who visited Vancouver and did 3 events plus a bookseller & librarian lunch all in one day for her new book Ivy and Bean What's The Big Idea. The Ivy and Bean books are my very favorite chapter book series about two girls who are neighbors and best friends and get into all kinds of mischief together. My favorite books as a child were the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary and these take me right back to those days. Like the Ramona books the Ivy and Bean books have huge fans that are both female and male. I expected a ton of little girls to gush over Annie during the day that I spent with her but I was pleasantly surprised to see how many little boys were huge fans as well!
The second author we had in Canada was the hilarious and delightful Bart King who visited Toronto to promote his book The Big Book Of Gross Stuff. Bart was on Breakfast Television and fried up some worms for a little breakfast treat and had a great time sharing gross facts from around the world on YTV's The Zone. Farts, poop, boogers, maggots, vomit, head cheese and just about every other gross thing you can think of are explored in this book so it will delight boys (and we have to admit girls too) with it's grossness. The thing that parents will love? Bart is a middle school teacher so while kids think they are reading about all this nasty stuff that would churn grownups stomachs they are actually being tricked into learning a lot of really great things!
So that's my list of my favorite books of 2010! I think there is something for just about anyone that you may have on your gift list! Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!
Crystal Allen is the Children's and Travel Publicist at Raincoast books. As much as she would like to think of herself as a bad girl, she really isn't. She is also mama to 2 year old Isabella and the owner of Lilikoi Lane where she makes and designs really cool shirts for kids!
Almost every day is a great day to be a Vancouverite. We have such an amazing community of diverse, passionate, driven, friendly, artistic, funny, talented, hardworking and incredible people. There are some days when I feel like I've had one too many days in a row of rain but 9 times out of 10 just when I'm feeling that way the next day the sun bursts out from behind the clouds, the snow sparkles on the North Shore Mountains, everything has been washed clean and The City of Glass shines!
I'm not the only one who thinks that Vancouver is a great place to live. So does Bob Kronbauer, in fact he things Vancouver is so awesome that he has a blog called Vancouver Is Awesome.
See the fabulous Vancouver prize pack below? Bob is giving it away on Vancouver is Awesome! It includes- The Winter Olympics: An Insider's Guide to the Legends, Lore and Events of the Games, Vancouver Edition, Vancouver Encounter and City Walks- Vancouver: 50 Adventures on Foot. Everything a true Vancouverite needs on their book shelf... because you know that now that the world has seen how beautiful Vancouver is that everyone is going to want to come and crash on your couch!
Go enter now!
-Visit the Kids Market
-Stroll the Public Market and grab a pint of raspberries in the produce section and a Montreal Smoked Meat Bagel at Siegel's Bagels
- -Head outside and eat your lunch on one of the benches overlooking the water and be entertained by buskers and interesting visitors from all over the world
-Chase the pigeons for awhile... Like Bella did in this picture.
-Hop on the Aquabus and take in the gorgeous views of False Creek and English Bay
-Then when they are all tuckered out and snoozing in their strollers head over to the Net Loft and browse the great titles at Blackberry Books
The Olympic spirit is hitting me hard today. I found out over the weekend that the Olympic torch is going right down my street today at 1:00! I can stand on my deck and watch the whole thing! Since it is such a once in a lifetime experience I am working from home today so that I can watch the Olympic torch go by our house with my 18 month old daughter during my lunch break.
I keep taking quick peeks out the window to see if any festivities have started up yet and keep wondering about all of the amazing Olympic activities that must be going on all over this beautiful city of ours.
Then "Bing" an email arrives in my mailbox from Lonely Planet! It says:
In honor of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Lonely Planet is offering a free iPhone city guide application to the host city! Travelers can get the low-down on all Vancouver has to offer in the mobile app "Vancouver Travel Guide: The Sights". This free application can be downloaded via the iPhone's application store or on iTunes. It is available now through March 1st, 2010.
As this spectacular city gears up for the games, there is no better time for visitors to have all of its sights at their fingertips. From UBC Thunderbird Arena and the Pacific Coliseum, to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Capilano Salmon Hatchery, Lonely Planet has listed over 70 top sights and shows where they are using location-aware maps. Plus, by tilting the iPhone, users have access to fun facts on Vancouver, special tips on what to do, see or eat, photos and much more.
-List of Top Vancouver Sights
-Fun Vancouver Facts
-Integrated Google Maps
Sadly I do not have an iPhone... but I know that some of you do and I would love to hear what you think of the new Lonely Planet App! Share it with your friends who are coming to Vancouver for the Olympics, play with the application, spread the word, rate it and come back here and let me know what you think of it!
Comment and then on February 11th I will pick one of your fabulous responses and I'll send the winner a free copy of Lonely Planet Vancouver City Guide!
Happy Olympics everyone!
Who doesn't dream of taking a trip around the world? The sight, the sounds, the tastes, the experiences -- THE COST!!! The last one quickly brings me back to reality every time I start daydreaming about it.
What if you could win a trip for two around the world from everyone's favourite travel publisher Lonely Planet? I know I would go for it!
To celebrate the publication of Lonely Planet's 100 Millionth Guidebook and all of their readers' incredible travel experiences Lonely Planet has launched the 1 Planet, 100 Million Stories Contest.
Go to their site and you can explore a world of travel experiences one photo at a time.
Enter a photo of your own and you win a trip for two around the world or one of 200 Nokia Handsets.
To sweeten the deal Raincoast will have a little contest of our own. Enter your favourite travel experience (or even your dream travel experience) in the comments field. On March 1st we will choose one lucky person to win a Lonely Planet Travel Guide to the destination of their choice!
REMEMBER COMMENT HERE FOR A FREE TRAVEL GUIDE ENTER AT LONELY PLANET FOR THE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD!
Happy travels my friends!