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Articles by Chelsea

My Favourite Book of 2014, Chelsea Newcombe

by Chelsea
Kids / December 09, 2014

It was easy to choose my favourite book of 2014. I looked back over all of the books I encountered and thought, “Which one stuck with me? Who made me care enough to lose sleep?” Without a doubt it's Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign¸ inspired by her personal experience with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

Growing up, I devoured a steady diet of The Babysitter’s Club, Martin’s blockbuster paperback series now synonymous with the ‘90s. But even though I read every single one in numbered order with an almost religious fanaticism, they might as well have been magazines for the lack of an impression that the stories or characters had on me. Fast-forward 20 years later and I’m reading Ann M. Martin’s writing again, but this time to a much different effect. Rain Reign made me laugh and cry, feel worried for and proud of our heroine Rose, and hug my dog a couple of times.

Rose is very unique; she’s obsessed with prime numbers and homonyms, a side effect of her high-functioning autism, which in turn makes school, friendships and her relationship with her father fraught with stress. Her uncle Weldon and adopted mutt Rain are the bright spots in her world. Rose’s dad found Rain behind the neighborhood bar, wandering lost without a collar with owners nowhere to be found (although he didn’t put much effort into the search); girl and dog are inseparable until a hurricane blows in, Rain becomes lost, and Rose has to challenge her core beliefs about right and wrong to get her dog back home. 

The Secret Garden and the Joy of Colouring Books

by Chelsea
Art & Photography + Craft / February 21, 2014

There's something magical about Johanna Basford's Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book. The intricate black and white illustrations are gorgeous on their own, but the real beauty is in how everyone who colours in the pages will create something uniquely theirs. When I found out that my very crafty friend Stefanie received a copy for Christmas, I couldn't wait to see her progress through the pages.

Did you use colouring books as a kid? What's it like to come back to it now?

Yes! I was kind of a fanatic. My mom used to come home with stacks of them, mainly Barbie themed. I used to have coloring competitions with my next door neighbour, and I was pretty competitive about it. 

There was a definite sense of nostalgia coming back to a coloring book as an adult, but it's a obviously a little bit different. The pages are so well illustrated that I feel like I'm a part of creating something so beautiful, way beyond my own artistic capabilities. 

What kinds of drawing materials have you used (pencils, pens)? Which do you like best?

So far I've just used pencil crayons. I have a mismatched collection from several years ago, but they do the trick! My husband also gave me a small set of erasable pencil crayons that have been fun to use. One thing I haven't tried yet is coloured pens or markers. I think ink would work really well for some of the illustrations. 

What's your favourite part about filling in the pages?

I feel as though I am making these garden scenes really come to life. They are already so incredibly beautiful as black and white illustrations, but with a bit of colour, they turn into these lively scenes. There's also this scavenger hunt surprise factor to the book - I always end up finding little creatures within the lines of the trees and leaves. 

Do you have a colouring method, or is it random?

I don't have a specific colouring pattern, but I do like to have a plan of action before I start each page. I'll plan out all the colours I want to use before I get going. The illustrations are so detailed, sometimes beginning a page can be overwhelming. There are some really detailed pages I'll probably never touch. Working from the top to the bottom, or the bottom to top is also really fun. 

What do you get out of the experience, other than a pretty picture?

It's a nice way to relax and an easy way to feel creative without getting into a big project.

My Favourite Books of 2013, Chelsea Newcombe

by Chelsea
Art & Photography + Food & Drink / December 16, 2013

Well-Read Women

Well-Read Women

It's hard to pinpoint exactly why I love Well-Read Women so much, because it draws from the many reasons why certain books become important to me: liveliness, nostalgia, sadness, beauty, and memorable characters. Samantha Hahn's ethereal watercolour portraits of literature's leading ladies are juxtaposed against one of their signature quotes, and it makes for a gorgeous read. Anne Shirley is my absolute favourite ("Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?")


There is a special place in my heart for the Burgoo restaurant. I have memories of being there with friends, family, and even right after I graduated from college. Half-starved after the long ceremonial affair that is a UBC English Department graduation ceremony (there were many of us), my parents asked where I wanted to get lunch. Easy answer: "Burgoo!" No one does comfort food better, and thanks to their cookbook now everyone can bring it home. We're in Raincouver after all, and sometimes the only cure for the grey sky blues is cheesy biscuits and a hearty stew.

Chelsea Newcombe, Sales Associate

My Favourite Books of 2012, Chelsea Newcombe

by Chelsea
December 12, 2012

With 2012 coming to a close, it's fun to reflect back on all of the excellent books that I encountered at Raincoast in the past twelve months. Usually I can't remember what I had for breakfast, but for some reason my memories of books tend to stick around. I suppose it could be because I'm surrounded by books all day long. Hard life, isn't it?

As for my favourite books of 2012, I chose something for kids, teens, and grown-ups:

Gulf Islands Alphabet

Gulf Islands Alphabet
Bronwyn Preece, illustrated by Alex Walton

I’ve been lucky enough to spend time on a few of the Gulf Islands and thought I knew quite a bit about the area, but this beautiful picture book taught me that there is still much more to discover. The illustrations truly reflect how diverse and picturesque the islands are, and make me want to start planning my next trip!

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone
Leigh Bardugo

While you could easily say that Shadow and Bone is similar to Harry Potter (since teens are sent off to magic school) or The Hunger Games (since a solitary heroine must overturn the evil forces that threaten her society), it is also a unique story that reads differently than either of those popular series and is just as enjoyable. Without giving too much away, this is for fans of conflicted characters and darker fantasy.

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book
Jake Godby and Sean Vahey

My ice cream maker is the size of a large mixing bowl, is at least 25 years old, and the most complicated mechanism is a hand crank. Apparently that’s all you need to make delicious homemade ice cream in about 40 minutes with help from the Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book! Every recipe that I’ve tried has come out delicious, from the standard (Tahitian Vanilla) to the extreme (Balsamic Caramel) and the in-between (Honey Thyme). Plus, homemade ice cream is the ultimate way to cap off a dinner party; no need to tell anyone how easy it was to make.

Chelsea, Sales Associate

Job Posting: Sales and Marketing Assistant

by Chelsea
Job Posting / July 03, 2012


Reporting to the Director of Field Sales, the Sales and Marketing Assistant is the key contact for materials from our publishers to our reps. In addition the assistant provides administrative support to members of the sales and marketing departments. Main duties are as follows. Others may be assigned from time to time as appropriate.



• Contact publishers prior to each season with sales kit requirements, catalogue needs and deadlines, specifically requesting materials for all key titles and products.

• Distribute materials to sales representatives, appropriate publicists and members of the marketing team, maintain good records of materials received and distributed and follow up with publishers as necessary to ensure that all required materials are received.

• Order all rep samples and other samples as needed

• Maintain catalogue mailing list and manage seasonal catalogue mailing               


Administrative support

• Track department expenditures and maintain FMP purchase order system

• Maintain Better Business Rebate program grids and send quarterly reports to booksellers

• Provide support and share knowledge of Raincoast E-Cat program with sales reps

• Maintain co-op grids for national accounts, independent and mass customers; track and cut purchase orders. Work with the credit department to ensure customers are credited in a timely fashion.

• Maintain an inventory of marketing promotional materials for distribution to reps at book fairs, gift shows and bookstores throughout the year

• Assist in preparations for trade and gift shows and sales conferences

• Provide back up to data analyst in gathering sales data as needed

• Provide sales reports for Sales Reps and sale team when requested. Do monthly summaries for rep sales reports


Skills required

• The successful candidate will be highly organized, detail oriented and will have particularly good written and verbal skills. Candidate must have a proven aptitude for computer work and an ability to work well with other people. Must be able to multi-task, prioritize and work under pressure

• Strong computer skills in MS Office and Adobe Acrobat with excellent skills in Excel


We regret that we can only acknowledge applications from candidates selected for interviews. No phones calls or agencies, please.


To apply, please email your resume to Sandy Cooper by July 10thth, 2012

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

My Favourite Books of 2011: Chelsea (Sales)

by Chelsea
December 22, 2011

Like most of the Raincoasters, I found it hard to pick just one favourite book for 2011. How lucky are we to work with such a variety of beautiful, funny, inspirational, and engrossing books day-in and day-out?


Favourite to share

Do you like day-dreaming and lists? Then you're a kindred spirit and would love My Future Listography. Whimsical promps like "Events to time-travel to" are paired with illustrations to help get your creative juices flowing. I brought this book on a road trip and discovered how fun it was to share with friends; it turned out that if we all lived together, our dream house would have chandeliers, a waterfall, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves ringed by a ladder on wheels. Not too shabby.

Favourite book to give

Paola Opal's Simply Small board book series is too cute for words, so naturally I couldn't help but give it to babies who are too cute for words. In Saffy and Ollie, two characters finally meet and realize how much fun it is to share with friends! Simply adorable.


Favourite book to escape with


When I read Glow, the first book in Amy Kathleen Ryan's Sky Chaser series, I could not be pulled away (to the annoyance of my traveling partner). Excellent YA writing + spaceships + scientific/religious conspiracies + layered characters = a great read.

Books don’t come any fresher than this

by Chelsea
May 05, 2011

Don't be fooled: this is no boring pile of boxes. When I see these piled up in the Raincoast sample and materials room, my first thought is "Fun!"

What's inside? Brand-spanking new books. Specifically, pre-publication advance copies of upcoming titles that publishers send to our sales and publicity teams. As the one who receives and distributes these shipments, I often get the first look at new books and then spend some quality time with them. That spells F-U-N to a certified book-lover like myself. (Maybe I should get out more...)


So what's concealed within these deceivingly-monotonous boxes? A gorgeous assortment of brand-new journals, coming coming Fall 2011 from Chronicle Books!

Feast your eyes on some quality snaps (a.k.a cell-phone quality) of the  Typewriter Eco-Journal, Butterfly Fields Eco-Journal, Starry Crown Eco-Journal, and Keys Journal, which feature eye-catching and whimsical designs from some of Chronicle's favourite artists and designers (Julia Rothman, Jill Bliss, Grady McFerrin, and enormouschampion respectively). I love the little touches, like the lightly embossed edges on the Keys journal, that can really only be enjoyed with the book in-hand.

Good Times with the Vancouver Writers Festival

by Chelsea
Events + Graphica + Vancouver / October 22, 2010

The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival is in full-swing, bringing a line-up of superstar authors to our city. Raincoast is very excited that beloved cartoonist and author Lynda Barry has arrived today and is in town for (count 'em) THREE Writers Fest events.

Lynda's latest book Picture This: The Nearsighted Monkey (Drawn and Quarterly) is a graphic-memoir-how-to for drawing and self-expression, and is sure to inspire some facinating conversations and audience participation this weekend.

The Festival's opening reception was on October 19th at Performance Works on Granville Island. I went with one goal in mind: to meet Emma Donoghue, since I had just finished Room and couldn't stop talking about it to everyone in sight.

After a cruise of Dockside Restaurant’s delicious buffet (risotto nuggets, where have you been all my life?), I spotted Emma, which turned out to be fairly easy: she’s tall, a redhead, and was wearing a very eye-catching coat.

Mission accomplished! That's Emma Donoghue in the middle, and Inge Siemens (Sales Rep for HarperCollins) on the right.

The Writers Fest organizers throw a good party... too good, maybe. To keep back-row revellers from chatting during the welcoming address from Anne Giardini (Chair of the Board) and Hal Wake (Artistic Director), they hired a Scottish "Shusher" to prowl the audience and publicly shush (and shame) anyone talking out of turn. S/he was actually a little scary, so everyone was on their best behavior.

We had to get a picture together, of course; that's Doug Findlay (Sales Rep for HarperCollins) on the left.

Congratulations to the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival for another fabulous year. Enjoy the events, everyone (just don't talk when you're not supposed to, or you'll have the Shusher to contend with)!