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Kids and Teen Blog

New Releases: Kids and Teen Highlights April 2015

by Dan
March 30, 2015

Epic Yarns, Darth Vader, and more books for kids and teens available this month: 

KIDS

STAR WARS

Star Wars Epic Yarns by Jack & Holman Wang 
Jedi apprentices and little princesses will delight in this (heart)felt retelling of the Star Wars saga. And so will Star Wars fans of any age! The series launches with the original trilogy, and every word counts in these small but perfectly formed yarns.

Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope 
ISBN 9781452133935 | $13.50 cl

Star Wars Epic Yarns: The Empire Strikes Back
ISBN 9781452134994 | $13.50 cl

Star Wars Epic Yarns: Return of the Jedi
ISBN 9781452135007 | $13.50 cl

Available April 14


Darth Vader and Friends

Jeffrey Brown

ISBN 9781452138107 | $19.95 cl

In this funny and sweet new book in the bestselling Darth Vader™ series, Eisner Award-winning author Jeffrey Brown offers an intimate look at the friendships between best pals in the Star Wars universe, from Darth Vader and the Emperor to Leia and her Ewok pals, Han and Chewie, C-3PO and R2-D2, the bounty hunters, and other favourite characters. 

Available April 28


KIDS FICTION

The Skunk

Mac Barnett & Patrick McDonnell

ISBN 9781596439665 | $20.50 cl

When a skunk first appears in the tuxedoed man's doorway, it's a strange but possibly harmless occurrence. But then the man finds the skunk following him, and the unlikely pair embark on an increasingly frantic chase through the city, from the streets to the opera house to the fairground. What does the skunk want? It's not clear - but soon the man has bought a new house in a new neighbourhood to escape the little creature's attention, only to find himself missing something...

Available April 14


MIDDLE-GRADE

Ellie's Story

A Dog's Purpose Novel

W. Bruce Cameron

ISBN 9780765374691 | $19.50 cl

Every dog has work to do. Every dog has a purpose.

Ellie's Story is a heart-warming and inspiring tale for young animal lovers by W. Bruce Cameron, bestselling author of the acclaimed novel A Dog's Purpose. Adorable black-and-white illustrations by Richard Cowdrey bring Ellie and her world to vibrant life. A discussion and activity guide at the end of the book will help promote family and classroom discussions about Ellie's Story and the insights it provides about humankind's best friends.

Ages 8-12

Available April 14


Sugar and Spice 

The Cupcake Club

Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk

ISBN 9781402283369 | $8.99 pb

The girls of Peace, Love, and Cupcakes might be sugar and spice and everything nice, but the same can't be said for Meredith, whose favourite hobby is picking on Lexi. So when the PLC gets a cupcake order from the New England Shooting Starz—the beauty pageant Meredith is competing in—the girls have a genius idea: enter Lexi into the competition so she can show Meredith once and for all that she's no better than anyone else. Problem is, PLC has to make Lexi a pageant queen—and 1,000 cupcakes-all in a matter of weeks!

Have the girls of Peace, Love, and Cupcakes bitten off more than they can chew?

Ages 8-12

Available April 22


TEEN

CONTEMPORARY

The Truth About Us 

Janet Gurtler

ISBN 9781402278006 | $13.99 pb

A powerful and gripping contemporary YA novel from the author of I'm Not Her.

The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.
She's made mistakes, betrayed her best friend, and now she's paying for it. She pretends it's all fine. That her "perfect" family is fine. But it's not. And no one notices the lie… until she meets Flynn. He's the only one who really sees her. The only one who listens. But Flynn is the definition of "the wrong side of the tracks." When Jess's parents look at him they only see the differencesnot how much they need each other. They don't get that the person who shouldn't fit in your world… might just be the one to make you feel like you belong. 

Ages 12-18

Available April 7


All the Rage 

Courtney Summers

ISBN 9781250023490 | $19.50 cl

From Courtney Summers, the author of Cracked Up To Be and This is Not a Test, comes a powerful new young adult novel with a shocking conclusion, and writing that will absolutely knock you out. 

The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up.

Ages 14-18

Available April 14


One Thing Stolen

Beth Kephart

ISBN 9781452128313 | $23.95 cl

Something is not right with Nadia Cara. While spending a year in Florence, Italy, she's become a thief. She has secrets. And when she tries to speak, the words seem far away. Nadia finds herself trapped by her own obsessions and following the trail of an elusive Italian boy whom only she has seen. Can Nadia be rescued or will she simply lose herself altogether? Set against the backdrop of a glimmering city, One Thing Stolen is an exploration of obsession, art, and a rare neurological disorder. It is a celebration of language, beauty, imagination, and the salvation of love.

Ages 14-18

Available April 14


ACTION & ADVENTURE

Skandal

Lindsay Smith

ISBN 9781626720053 | $20.50 cl

The dramatic sequel to Sekret, this psychic Cold War espionage thriller follows Yulia to Washington, DC, where she fights to discover the truth about her family without losing control of her mind. 

Life in Washington, D.C. is not the safe haven Yulia hoped for when she risked everything to flee communist Russia. Her father is reckless and aloof, and Valentin is distant and haunted by his past. Her mother is being targeted by the CIA and the US government is suspicious of Yulia's allegiance. And when super-psychics start turning up in the US capitol, it seems that even Rostov is still a threat. Ultimately, Yulia must keep control of her own mind to save the people she loves and avoid an international Skandal.  

Ages 12-17

Available Now


MYSTERY

The Revelation of Louisa May

Michaela MacColl

ISBN 9781452133577 | $22.99 cl

Louisa May Alcott can't believe it—her mother is leaving for the summer to earn money for the family and Louisa is to be in charge of the household. How will she find the time to write her stories, much less have any adventures of her own? But before long, Louisa finds herself juggling her temperamental father, a mysterious murder, a fugitive seeking refuge along the Underground Railroad, and blossoming love. Intertwining fact, fiction, and quotes from Little Women, Michaela MacColl has crafted another spunky heroine whose story will keep readers turning pages until the very end.

Ages 12-18

Available April 28


FANTASY

Dream a Little Dream 

Kerstin Gier

ISBN 9781627790277 | $20.50 cl

Liv has been dealing with a lot lately. She and her family have just moved in with her mother's new boyfriend in London, and she's starting over (again) at a new school. But Liv isn't sure that explains her dreams, which have gone from odd to… well, bizarre. Lately, her night-time hours have been filled with talking stone statues, mysterious corridors, and creepy rituals conducted by four boys in a graveyard.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys. They're classmates from her new school, and they seem to know things about her that they couldn't possibly know… unless they actually are in her dreams? Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute… 

Ages 12-18

Available April 14


NONFICTION

The Mindful Teen 

Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time

Dzung X. Vo

ISBN 9781626250802 | $22.95 pb

The Mindful Teen offers a unique program based in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to help you deal with stress. The simple, practical, and easy-to-remember tips in this book can be used every day to help you handle any difficult situation more effectively-whether it's taking a test at school, having a disagreement with your parents, or a problem you are having with friends.

 

 

Available Now


New Releases: Kids and Teen Highlights March 2015

by Dan
Kids + Picture Books + YA Fiction / March 06, 2015

Here's a look at just a few of the novels, picture books and poetry out this month for kids and teens

TEEN

FANTASY

The Winner's Crime 

Marie Rutkoski

ISBN 9780374384708 | $20.50 cl

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

A royal wedding is what most girls can only dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement—that she agreed to marry the crown prince just to guarantee Arin's freedom—if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? 

 

Ages 12+

Available Now


Instinct

Chronicles of Nick #6

Sherrilyn Kenyon

ISBN 9781250063861 | $22.99 cl

The next novel in the bestselling Chronicles of Nick series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Zombies, demons, vampires, shapeshifters—another day in the life of Nick Gautier—and those are just his friends. But now that he's accepted the demon that lives inside him, he must learn to control it and temper the very emotions that threaten the lives of everyone he cares for. Something that's hard to do while trying to stay off the menus of those who want his head on a platter. 

Ages 12-18

Available March 31


CONTEMPORARY

The Tragic Age

Stephen Metcalfe

ISBN 9781250054418 | $21.99 cl

A brilliant, debut coming-of-age novel about a misanthropic young man learning to love, trust and truly be alive in an absurd world.

This is the story of Billy Kinsey, heir to a lottery fortune, part genius, part philosopher and social critic, full time insomniac and closeted rock drummer. Billy has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. But Billy's life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey, a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw, and Gretchen Quinn, who suggests to Billy that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul. Billy knows that one is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is—Billy doesn't trust happiness. It's the age he's at. The tragic age. 

Ages 14-18

Available Now


KIDS

MIDDLE-GRADE

How to Hypnotize a Tiger 

Poems About Just About Everything

Calef Brown

ISBN 9780805099287 | $20.50 cl

This is the first longer-format, middle-grade poetry collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Calef Brown. Moving away from the picture book format offers Calef the opportunity to tackle a variety of themes and poetry styles as well as reach a slightly older audience along the lines of Doug Florian and Shel Silverstein.

Ages 8-12

Available Now


The Boy Who Lost Fairyland

Catherynne M. Valente; illustrated by Ana Juan

ISBN 9781250023490 | $19.50 cl

Here is Book 4 of the 5-book New York Times-bestselling Fairyland series, which TIME Magazine calls "one of the most extraordinary works of fantasy published so far this century."

A young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, and becomes a changeling in our world, a place no less bizarre than Fairyland in his eyes. Left with a human family in Chicago, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate.

When he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland changed and Hawthorn finds himself at the centre of a changeling revolution. 

Ages 10+

Available Now


The Whisper

The Riverman Trilogy #2

Aaron Starmer

ISBN 9780374363116 | $19.50 cl

The second book in the Riverman Trilogy is a twisting, turning, riveting roller coaster of a ride through a magical land where nothing is as it seems, and no one is to be trusted.

At the end of The Riverman, the first book in the Riverman Trilogy, twelve-year-old Alistair learns that his friend Fiona has been telling the truth about traveling to a magical land called Aquavania when she goes missing from their hometown of Thessaly, New York. Alistair knows her absence means that her soul has been stolen by a merciless stalker called the Riverman. Unless Alistair can travel to Aquavania to save her, Fiona may never return home. 

Ages 10+

Available Now


PICTURE BOOKS

Farewell Floppy

Benjamin Chaud

ISBN 9781452137346 | $21.99 cl

It was the perfect plan: abandon pet rabbit Floppy in the woods and take a giant leap toward adulthood. Having a bunny that moonlights as a best friend is for babies, right? It's better to cut a pet loose, make new human friends, and not be so dependent on a floppy-eared fur ball bent on chewing electrical cords, right? If saying good-bye to Floppy is required to grow up, why does life without Floppy seem so wrong? From Benjamin Chaud, the critically acclaimed author/illustrator of The Bear's Song and The Bear's Sea Escape, comes this unforgettable, thought-provoking picture book about the power of unlikely friendships.

Ages 3-5

Available Now


Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

Kate Messner; illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

ISBN 9781452119366 | $22.50 cl

In this exuberant and lyrical follow-up to the award-winning Over and Under the Snow, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves... and down in the dirt. Explore the hidden world and many lives of a garden through the course of a year! Up in the garden, the world is full of green-leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt exists a busy world-earthworms dig, snakes hunt, skunks burrow-populated by all the animals that make a garden their home.

Ages 5-8

Available Now


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School... 

Davide Cali; illustrated by Benjamin Chaud

ISBN 9781452131689 | $15.99 cl

First, some giant ants steal breakfast. Then there are the evil ninjas, massive ape, mysterious mole people, giant blob, and countless other daunting (and astonishing) detours along the way to school. Are these excuses really why this student is late? Or is there another explanation that is even more outrageous than the rest? From Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud, the critically acclaimed author/illustrator team behind I Didn't Do My Homework Because... comes a fast-paced, actionpacked, laugh-out-loud story about finding the way to school despite the odds-and the unbelievable oddness!

Ages 6-9

Available Now


I Wish You More

Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

ISBN 9781452126999 | $19.99 cl

Some books are about a single wish. Some books are about three wishes. The infallible team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld have combined their extraordinary talents to create this exuberant book of endless good wishes. Wishes for curiosity and wonder, for friendship and strength, laughter and peace. Whether celebrating life's joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of everyday moments, this sweet and uplifting book is perfect for wishers of every age.

Ages 5-8

Available March 31


The Winner’s Crime: An Interview with Marie Rutkoski

by Melissa
Author Q & A + YA Fiction / March 03, 2015

Today’s the day! To celebrate the release of The Winner’s Crime—the second book in Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Trilogy—the fabulous Jenn from Lost in a Great Book has shared her interview with the lovely Marie Rutkoski. Read on for fun secrets behind The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime. (Caution! There are spoilers for The Winner's Curse, and possible vague spoilers for The Winner's Crime. You've been warned!)

In January I had the distinct pleasure of chatting via Skype with the ever-charming Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime books. After we had both settled in with our respective cups of tea (Marie’s was an intriguing blue tea from Mariage Frères that I have since attempted to order online), we focused our discussion on all things Kestrel and Arin. Be warned: there are definitely spoilers for book one in this discussion, although I’ve tried to edit out the spoilers for book two.

J: So, I’ve finished book two, and I just have to ask … Are you trying to kill us with this book? I’ll bet you wrote that last chapter with an evil laugh!

M: Ha! I mean… Okay, is this going to be public?

J: It will, but I will edit for book two spoilers, don’t you worry!

M: Oh good, that makes things easier. Well, after I wrote the first book, and I ended it the way that I did, which felt like a true ending to me, it felt like the characters were true to who they are and how I had made them into, and this is what would happen to them. After I wrote that, however, I wondered what might happen to them and how the story would continue. One of the things I felt pretty strongly about was that the tension between Kestrel and her father, for example, could break things eventually, just because they are both so similar, but their goals are so extremely different. I knew that they loved each other but …

J: They really don’t know how to love each other, really.

M: Yes, that’s it. It’s very true.

J: There are events in this book that broke my heart, especially between Kestrel and her father.

M: He would definitely see her actions as a personal betrayal. Part of the reason he has been at war for so long is because he felt that he was building this great world, this empire for her, and in his mind, he knew she was capable of making it all hers. In book one, she tells him that she doesn’t want his life, and all of her actions, even if she doesn’t mean them to be against him, he could take it that way.

J:  She is very much her father’s daughter in her analytical thought processes.

M:  She is, that’s true. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t set out to break reader’s hearts with the endings of the books, but rather that I see each book as an inevitable conclusion. I did think that it would be interesting to write a book where readers feel that the books is about a certain romantic relationship, but that they also realize that there are so many other relationships that happen that are just as crucial, and end up having as much, if not more, of an emotional impact.

J: Your characters are not one-dimensional; Kestrel is genuinely hurt and abandoned in this book because she has lost everyone close to her in book one. Jess, Ronan, her father … there is so much more to her than just her relationship with Arin, and I found she really came into her own in book two. Book one was so much about figuring out the world, and I found book two was very much a character book. There is still lots of action, but so much of what happens is internal.

I also found it interesting to see how Kestrel and Arin developed and have almost changed roles. In book one, Arin is the enigma as we don’t have much from his point of view because he is hiding his role in the rebellion, while Kestrel is the more open of the pair.

M: That’s a really interesting comment. I was definitely aware that Arin was not a very outgoing character; even in his point of view, we don’t get a lot from him in the first book and that’s very deliberate. I thought of him as a character that does not want to share, so anything he does share is done so grudgingly, but in the second book he does open up more. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that Kestrel would have to keep things much more close to her chest with everyone around her, but I guess she is much more secretive than she was before.

J: In book two, there are some interesting scenes involving a particular moth. Do those chameleon moths exist?

M: Oh, thanks! Well the book is technically fantasy, because of the different world, but I didn’t want it to be fantastical. I love fantasy, but for this book I really wanted to focus on the human – relationship, scenery, etc. I did want to lend little touches to remind the reader that this was not our world. The moths were convenient to me, for various reasons – plot-wise, events…

J: For ….. reasons that will become apparent after release!

M: Yes, exactly! So those, and the dragonflies that appear in the East … when I tend to try to remind the reader that this is a new and different world, it usually comes out in nature somehow. There may be something different, like green storms in the first book, and the crops in the second book.

J: Let’s talk a little about some of the non-story aspects of the book.The Winner’s Curse is so named because the economic theory of, essentially, paying more for something than it’s actually worth at auction. Is there a similar meaning for The Winner’s Crime?

M: The Winner’s Crime doesn’t have as serious a meaning; when you write a trilogy you want the names to go together and have some fluidity to them (example: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Dreams of Gods and Monsters). I wanted to have some kind of cohesion with the first book, and I knew what the second book would be about.

J: What are you hoping people will get from book two?

M: Well, I have had to make a lot of apologies to people on Twitter – “You broke my heart!” “I’m sorry!”

In book one, Kestrel seems kind of unassailable, she’s the girl with all the answers, so I’m hoping in book two you see her much more vulnerable than before. I also think, as a writer, it was really satisfying to write more from Arin’s point of view. That happens a lot in book three as well.

They both grow a lot in these books.

If you’re interested in reading the rest of Jenn’s interview with Marie (or if you want more information on torture and book 3) click here!

I want to extend a huge thank you to Jenn for sharing her interview with us, and to the wonderful Marie Rutkoski for an intriguing behind-the-scenes look into The Winner’s Crime. Be sure to purchase your copy of The Winner’s Crime, in stores today!


New Releases: Kids and Teen Highlights February 2015

by Dan
Kids + YA Fiction / January 22, 2015

February brings science fiction from Kristen Simmons, Cecil Castellucci and Jessica Brody, as well as a new colouring book from Johanna Basford, and a Baby-Lit Spanish Primer! Here are some of next month's new releases available from Raincoast Books:

TEEN

SCIENCE FICTION

The Glass Arrow 

Kristen Simmons

In the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale, a haunting, yet hopeful, stand-alone novel from the author of the Article 5 trilogy.

Once there was a time when men and women lived as equals, when girl babies were valued, and women could belong only to themselves. But that was ten generations ago. Now women are property, to be sold and owned and bred, while a strict census keeps their numbers manageable and under control. The best any girl can hope for is to end up as some man's forever wife, but most are simply sold and resold until they're all used up.

Only in the wilderness, away from the city, can true freedom be found. Aya has spent her whole life in the mountains, looking out for her family and hiding from the world, until the day the Trackers finally catch her...

Ages 13-18

Available February 10


Stone in the Sky 

Tin Star #

Cecil Castellucci

In this thrilling follow-up to Tin Star, Tula will need to rely on more than just her wits to save her only home in the sky.

After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it's discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula's worst enemy.

Ages 12-18

Available February 24


Unchanged 

The Unremembered Trilogy #3

Jessica Brody

In this mesmerizing conclusion to the Unremembered trilogy, Sera will fight those who have broken her.

After returning to the Diotech compound and undergoing an experimental new memory alteration, Seraphina is now a loyal, obedient servant to Dr. Alixter and the powerful company that created her. Happy and in love with Kaelen, another scientifically-enhanced human designed to be her perfect match, Sera's history with a boy named Zen is just a distant memory from a rebellious past she longs to forget.

But as Sera and Kaelen embark on a nationwide tour to promote Diotech's new product line-a collection of controversial genetic modifications available to the public-Sera's mind starts to rebel. She can't stop the memories of Zen from creeping back in.

Ages 12-18

Available February 24


COMICS

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula

Andi Watson

Princess Decomposia is overworked and underappreciated. This princess of the underworld is always running behind and always buried under a ton of paperwork. Oh, and her father (the king) just fired the chef, so now she has to hire a new cook as well. Luckily for Princess Decomposia, she makes a good hire in Count Spatula, the vampire chef with a sweet tooth. He's a charming go-getter of a blood-sucker, and pretty soon the two young ghouls become friends.

Princess Decomposia has to sort out her life, and with Count Spatula at her side, you can be sure she'll succeed. Andi Watson (Glister, Gum Girl) brings his signature gothy-cute sensibility to this very sweet and mildly spooky tale of friendship, family, and management training for the undead. 

Ages 13-18

Available January 13


KIDS

NONFICTION

Enchanted Forest

Johanna Basford

This stunning new colouring book by Johanna Basford (Secret Garden) takes readers on a inky quest through an enchanted forest to discover what lies in the castle at its heart. As well as drawings to complete, colour and embellish, there are hidden objects to be found along the way including wild flowers, animals and birds, maps, lanterns, keys and treasure chests. Beginning at the entrance to the forest, the journey progresses through woodland, rocky caves and tree-lined mazes, over streams and a waterfall, across the trees tops, to finally reach the castle.

Available February 17


PICTURE BOOKS

 

Spring Walk

Virginia Brimhall Snow

After a long winter's sleep, the soil is springing to life. Spring flowers break through the ground to welcome warmer days. Come with Grammy and her grandchildren as they explore and learn all about 24 different flowers. Once home, she teaches them how to plant their own flowers from seeds and make beautiful bouquets.

Ages 4-8

Available February 15


Don Quixote

A BabyLit Spanish Primer

Jennifer Adams; illustrated by Alison Oliver

BabyLit® is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, these books are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library.

Ages Infant-3

Available February 15


Win a Winnie!

by Alisha
Kids / January 20, 2015

Raincoast Books is celebrating the launch of Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by giving away printer-fresh copies of the book via our Win A Winnie! contest. Participants in our online promotion include Zoomer Magazine, teacher-librarian book reviewers and parent bloggers like Lisa Evans of The Children’s Bookshelf. Lisa was the first to post her review and online contest—and she also interviewed author Sally M. Walker for an inside look behind the bear who inspired an international literary icon:


WINNIE: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
By Lisa Evans, The Children’s Bookshelf

Like many children, I grew up reading Winnie the Pooh stories and watching the loveable, honey-addicted bear on film. I had no idea at the time that Pooh was based on a real-life bear, purchased by a Canadian soldier during a short stop on a train ride across Canada during World War I.

Author Sally M. Walker tells the story of how the soldier’s pet became an international literary icon in her new book Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

The book follows Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian who enlisted in the Canadian military during the First World War. At a train station, Colebourn encounters a hunter with an orphaned bear cub. He buys the cub for $20, naming her “Winnie” after his hometown, Winnipeg. The loveable bear quickly becomes adopted as the soldiers’ mascot, and when the regiment is shipped out to England, Colebourn takes Winnie with him. But when the soldiers are needed on the front lines, Colebourn realizes he will have to give Winnie up and finds her a permanent home at the London Zoo.

It’s there at the zoo that Winnie begins her career entertaining children, including one young boy named Christopher Robin, who renames his own stuffed animal bear Winnie-the-Pooh, after the zoo bear. Christopher Robin’s father, the famous author A.A. Milne, is inspired by the bear and begins to create bedtime stories to tell Christopher Robin. These stories led to the famous book “Winnie-the-Pooh”, published in 1926.

This heartwarming tale is one that parents and children are sure to love. I always enjoy the opportunity to share a piece of my childhood with my son, and this tale doesn’t disappoint. The book blends illustrations that bring Winnie’s remarkable story to life and also includes real-life photos of Harry Colebourn and Winnie. 


Author Q & A

I had an opportunity to speak with Sally M. Walker, the author of Winnie about her new book. Here’s what she had to say.

Lisa Evans: When did you become aware that the iconic literary figure was based on a real life bear?

Sally M. Walker: It wasn’t until three years ago that I learned that Winnie-the-Pooh was inspired by a real bear. I heard a lecture, given by a mystery writer. She casually mentioned that many Canadian veterinarians served during the war and took care of horses used on the battlefield. She went on to say that one of them, Harry Colebourn, had donated a bear from Canada to the London Zoo, and that she inspired A.A. Milne to write Winnie-the-Pooh. At that point, I knew I had to find out if that was true!

Why did you decide to turn the history of Winnie the Pooh into a children’s book?

Winnie’s story totally captivated me. I love history and I love true stories. The two topics blended naturally into a compelling story. After all, how thrilling is it to discover that an animal you love—Winnie-the Pooh—was, once upon a time, a real bear?

What do you hope that children can learn from reading Winnie’s story?

I hope that children, especially, will begin to realize that history holds many interesting stories. We just have to take the time to find them.

How did you research Harry Colebourn’s relationship with the famous bear?

I borrowed a microfilm copy of Harry’s diary from the Archives of Manitoba. After reading it, I went to London, England, and visited the London Zoo. There, I read the Winnie files and the Zoo’s daily log. They contain many documents about Harry and Winnie. For example, Harry’s son, Fred, wrote many letters about his father and Winnie. He knew their story should be remembered. Winnie was so extraordinarily gentle. While much of that had to be part of her personality. I am sure Harry’s kind treatment of her affected her future relationships with humans.

A UK survey named Winnie the Pooh the most beloved children’s book of the past 150 years and he came in second to Anne of Green Gables’ Anne Shirley in CBC Books’ Great Canadian Character Showdown. Why do you think the bear became such a literary legend?

When my sister and I were children, we had hundreds of imaginary adventures with our stuffed animals. My two children did the same with their toys. Any adventure that children share with an animal becomes extraordinary. And I think we all recognize a little bit of ourselves in Pooh’s bumbling character.

What is your favourite memory of reading Winnie the Pooh as a child?

As a child, I thought honey looked like glue and was probably nasty. I ONLY tasted it because Winnie-the-Pooh ate it! (I like maple syrup better.)

This past Christmas, I had the pleasure of reading my book about Winnie to my two-year-old grandson, Donovan (to whom the book is dedicated). He loves Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh and sings about Winnie in the tree top. He also likes honey. So far, he likes the real pictures of Winnie and Harry the best. That and the part in the book where Winnie and Harry go on the ship. We’ll see how that changes as Donovan grows up.


New Releases: Kids and Teen Highlights January 2015

by Dan
Kids + YA Fiction / January 08, 2015

Happy New Year! Here's sneak peek at some of the new kids and teen books coming from Raincoast Books this month...

TEEN

THRILLERS

Gone Too Far 

Natalie D. Richards

Keeping secrets ruined her life. But the truth might just kill her.

Piper Woods can't wait for the purgatory of senior year to end. She skirts the fringes of high school like a pro until the morning she finds a notebook with mutilated photographs and a list of student sins. She's sure the book is too gruesome to be true, until pretty, popular Stella dies after a sex-tape goes viral. Everyone's sure it's suicide, but Piper remembers Stella's name from the book and begins to suspect something much worse...

 

Ages 13+

Available Now


FANTASY

Frostfire

The Kanin Chronicles #1

Amanda Hocking

The first book in a magical new YA series from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking that invites readers back to the beloved world of the Trylle.

Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royalty. But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin—a fallen hero who she once loved —appears to be up to something dangerous, kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

Ages 12-17

Available Now


Fairest 

The Lunar Chronicles

Marissa Meyer

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and the forthcoming Winter, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story—a story that has never been told... until now.

 

Ages 12+

Available January 27


KIDS

FICTION

Bad Kitty: Puppy's Big Day

Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty's in a bad mood . . . a very bad mood, and Puppy is not helping.

Enter Uncle Murray, who's tasked with taking care of Puppy for the day, but that's when the trouble begins. When they go on a walk through the park, Uncle Murray almost gets himself arrested while Puppy ends up in the pound, where he meets some very peculiar new pals.

 

 

 

Ages 7-10 

Available Now


Tuck Everlasting

40th Anniversary Edition

Natalie Babbitt; foreword by Gregory Maguire 

Doomed to-or blessed with-eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Ages 10-14

Available January 20


PICTURE BOOKS

Winnie

The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

Sally M Walker; illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear at a train station, he knew he could care for it. Harry was a veterinarian. But he was also a soldier in training during World War I.

Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company's home town, and he brought her along to the military camp in England. Winnie followed Harry everywhere and slept under his cot every night. Before long, she became the regiment’s much-loved mascot.

But who could care for the bear when Harry went to battle? Harry found just the right place for Winnie—the London Zoo. There a boy named Christopher Robin played with Winnie—he could care for this bear too!

Ages 4-8

January 20


Supertruck

Stephen Savage

When the city is hit by a colossal snowstorm, only one superhero can save the day. But who is this mysterious hero, and why does he disappear once his job is done?

Find out in this snowy tale about a little truck with a very big job, the second of Steve Savage's vehicle-based picture books.

Ages 2-6

Available Now


Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish

Deborah Diesen; illustrated by Dan Hanna

Feeling sleepy? It's time for bed! Toddlers will love swimming along with the Pout-Pout Fish as he turns little frowns into sleepy smiles.

Debbie Diesen and Dan Hanna's best-selling Pout-Pout Fish comes flippering and swishing into the hearts and minds of very young children with this compact and fun new tale sure to delight the sleepiest of guppies.

Ages 1-4

Available January 15


The Secret Garden

A BabyLit Flower Primer

Jennifer Adams; illustrated by Alison Oliver

BabyLit® is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, these books are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library.

Ages Infant-3

Available January 15


COMICS

All For Stilton, Stilton For All!

Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels #15

Geronimo, Trap, Pandora, Benjamin and Patti return to the era of Louis XIII on the trail of the Pirate Cats. At Fontainebleu Castle they enroll in Richelieu's army of mousketeers and are commanded by the cardinal to oppose two brigands in the area. The mice discover that the brigands are no other than Cattardone and Tersilla who have replaced Louis XIII with Bonzo! Our heroes must find the real Louis XIII and and put him back on the throne.

 

 

Ages 7-11

Available January 13


Ares: Bringer of War

Olympians #7

The myth continues in the tenth year of the fabled Trojan War where two infamous gods of war go to battle. The spotlight is thrown on Ares, god of war, and primarily focuses on his battle with the clever and powerful Athena. As the battle culminates and the gods try to one-up each other to win, the human death toll mounts. Who will win this epic clash of power? And how many will have to die first?

 

 

Ages 9-14

Available January 27


Teens Read Spring Preview

by Megan
December 08, 2014

Last Saturday, we met in person (and virtually) with a crack team of caffeinated bloggers for a sneak peek at some amazing YA titles on the horizon for Spring 2015. Several (most) of us present likely hadn’t started our Christmas shopping, but the amount of excitement on hand for these Spring titles months away still put any holiday concerns to shame. There were treats, squeals, and overall giddy anticipation. Here are some of the highlights...

 

Title that elicited the biggest freakout:

Fairest by Marisa Meyer

There was a genuine Fairest freakout when we discussed this title; stampede for the book is imminent.

 

Science Fiction/Fantasy titles that elicited tribute volunteers in exchange for ARCs:

Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking

The Novice by Taran Matharu

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Public Enemies by Ann Aguirre

Bell Weather by Dennis Mahoney

 

Titles that caused spontaneous shrieks/squeals of excitement:

From the Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess by Meg Cabot

Elena Vanishing by Elena Dunkle & Clare Dunkle

Joyride by Anna Banks

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart (THAT COVER!)

The Revelation of Louisa May (book nerds + bookish historical themes = !!!!!)

Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Weightless by Sarah Bannan

 

Titles that generated the most spontaneous singing:

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally (Go ahead. Try not to burst into song with this one.)

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

 

Titles with the most maple-syrup covered Canuck love:

Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone

The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

Lola Carlyle’s 12-Step Romance by Danielle Younge-Ullman

 

Thrillers, horror, and other heart-rate-increasing titles that left some presenters (Melissa, I’m looking at you) feeling a little faint:

The Forgetting by Nicole Maggi

The Escape by Hannah Jayne

The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

Gone Too Far by Natalie D. Richards

 

To check out all the action from the preview, follow the #TeensReadFeed hashtag on Twitter, and let us know the books you can't wait for!

Our beloved bloggers! Full of treats, coffee, and wielding goodie bags:


New Releases: Kids Highlights November 2014

by Dan
Kids / November 11, 2014

We have three fabulous new nonfiction titles for kids available this month!

The Lonely Planet Kids World Atlas

Lonely Planet

Finally, Lonely Planet has made the Atlas kids have been waiting for!

With 160 pages of illustrated maps, engaging infographics, mind-blowing photography and a large dose of humour, this is the atlas that shows kids what the world is really like. Touching on popular culture, sports and school life, this will bring the world to life for kids aged 8 and up.

 

 

Ages 8+ 

Available Now


How to be a Space Explorer

Lonely Planet

Everything young explorers needs to know to travel in space, covering what life in zero gravity is like, how to find your way around the solar system, and the all-important question of how to pee in a spacesuit!

Unique illustrations take kids to the heart of the action and amazing photos show what the universe is really like.

Incredible stories of real-life space exploration for kids aged 8 and up, by author and astrobiologist Professor Mark Brake.

 

Ages 8+

Available Now


Henri Matisse

Meet the Artist!

Patricia Geis

Henri Matisse: Meet the Artist! takes young readers of all ages on a colorful interactive journey through the work of the beloved French painter and sculptor. Featuring flaps, cutouts, and pull tabs, this engaging pop-up book covers Matisse's entire artistic career, including his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and paper cutouts, as well as the story of his lifelong friendship with Pablo Picasso. With activities that encourage readers to explore the artist's signature methods, this hands-on introduction will inspire budding artists from eight to eighty.

Ages 7-12

Available Now


The Mother-Daughter Duo behind the House of Night Series

by Alisha
Fiction + Science Fiction and Fantasy + YA Fiction / October 29, 2014

Jennifer Tammy is a Canadian psychologist and Montessori educator who blogs at Study at Home Mama and In the Kids' Kitchen. In the following interview she speaks with P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, the dynamic mother-daughter duo behind the internationally bestselling House of Night series. 

Everyone must be curious how a mother-daughter team makes it work. Can you describe your working and creative dynamic together?

PC Cast: Writing is usually such a solitary job that it's nice to have someone in it with me. I write the entire first draft, and then send it to Kristin for her to go through. It makes me feel like I can relax and write, knowing she has my back. Believe me, she'll let me know if I've messed up and made Zoey sound 40-something! I guess the down side would be that she's the only person in the world who can tell me (and has), "No, Mom. You have to change it 'cause that sucks."

KC Cast: Writing with Mom is great because for once in my life I get to tell her she's wrong! I serve mainly as her teen voice editor. During the first couple books, we tried to split up the chapters but realized very quickly that it wasn't working. So, she will write the first draft of the whole book and then I go through and fill in gaps she's left for me, edit, and I also cut parts out—but don't tell her I said that.

PC: We do some brainstorming, and then I write the first draft. It's hard for me. I want to call her and talk to her about it sometimes, but she hasn't read up to where I am. I used to send her pieces of it, but I revise constantly. So what I will have sent her before might have completely changed. So that didn't work. When I get done, I'll send it to her. I'll talk to her in the manuscript sometimes. Then she goes through it and fills in the blanks and answers the questions. She makes sure I'm being succinct enough because I tend to do too much description. So she'll write these little bubbles to me. Then she sends the manuscript to me and I see what changes she's made. I re-read it carefully to make sure she's not messing up any of my dominoes, because I have a much better idea of where I'm going than she does. When I'm done, we send it off.

 

When did you start creatively collaborating together?

PC: I brought Kristin in while I was writing the first three chapters of Marked. I kept stumbling over silly little things, like specific slang that I thought I knew, but found out once I started writing about teenagers that MY deeply buried inner teen from the 70s kept trying to resurface and butt in with her slang! Kristin keeps me straight about that. She also says she keeps Zoey from "sounding like a 40-something disgruntled school teacher."

 

The "House of Night" series is incredibly prolific, how did you stay inspired? Did you know ahead of time that you'd end up writing twelve titles in this series?

PC: No! When I began writing Marked I envisioned a trilogy, but by the time I was in the middle of Betrayed (book 2 of the series) I knew I had something much larger. Thankfully, book 3, Chosen, debuted #2 on the New York Times best seller list, and at that time my publisher gave me the go-ahead to expand the world and follow the plot wherever it might lead me.

 

Your books have a really unique premise when it comes to vampyre literature; how do you view your series alongside (or in comparison to) the other books in this genre?

PC: My world is the only one that is based around a matriarchal belief system. The message of empowering young women really resonates with teenagers. Also, I try hard to keep the kids real, which means that quite often I push the envelope with the themes I tackle in the books, and while that can be difficult it also reaches my audience and means a lot to them.

When I decided to write a vampire series I focused on creating a new mythos for my world. Right away I knew I would make it matriarchal, and that automatically was a shift in the traditional vamp lore.  I'm from a family of teachers and they are mostly science teachers. My father is one of the most knowledgeable biologists I know. In my fantasy books he has always kept my ecosystems in check and made sure I didn't create a world that wouldn't really work ecologically. So I turned to him for brainstorming help with my vamps. As the daughter of a biologist, I was always strong in the sciences myself, and took lots of biology electives in college where I was a literature major. I already had an idea about using what science slang calls junk DNA—Dad loved the idea—and we brainstormed from there! The red vampyres developed naturally. Dad and I talked about what would happen if someone tried to bring back a kid who had died when his body rejected the Change. Of course dying and then un-dying would cause a large amount of physiological injury, and many of the more bestial characteristics of the red vamps grew out of that. I then add the paranormal element of Nyx's influence, as well as the earth magic that is alive and well in the HoN world, and I have a whole new depth to my vampyre mythos!

 

Are there any other projects you'd like to try?

KC: I am just a couple days from being finished with my first solo novel! I like to think of it as a fairy tale because it's written as poetry rather than prose. Hopefully, I will have news about dates, etc. for it soon. Mom and I have been discussing a new series. I'm not going to say anything too specific, but we should have more info within the next year or so.

 

Who do you write your books for? Is there anyone you would not recommend your books to?

P.C.: Kristin and I do feel a definite sense of responsibility writing for teens. I've been teaching high school since 1993, and as I’ve said before, I'm from a family of teachers. We know the impact words can have on young adults. Yes, there is bad language in the books. Yes, there is sex in the books. Yes, hard things happen to teens—some even die—in the books. All of those things are going on today with teens, minus the vampyre element. Kristin and I feel it is essential that Zoey and the other characters deal with real issues. Zoey has an excellent sense of honor and integrity, but she's a teenager and she messes up. Basically, the "message" in the House of Night series is one of acceptance and tolerance, as well as the fact that just because a kid makes mistakes it doesn't mean his/her life is over.

 

Vampyre literature comes with its fair share of controversy, how do you deal with that?

PC: I've never been of the mind that I must please everyone, so I don't read reviews and pay little attention to genre-based controversies.  I focus on writing the story I would most want to read and keep moving ahead in a positive manner.

Meet mother and daughter PC & Kristin Cast at our special event to celebrate the release of Redeemed, the final electrifying installment in the House of Night series! 

Tonight, Oct 29 at 7 pm at Chapters Metrotown
Metropolis, Metrotown 4700 Kingsway
Burnaby, British Columbia
(604) 431-0463
Click here for event details


The Storyteller’s Son: Sebastian Robertson

by Alisha
Kids + Music / October 21, 2014

 

As the bus pulled off the dirt road of the reservation to the pavement of the highway back to Toronto, Robbie would stare out the window, waving good-bye. "Hey, Ma, I wanna be the storyteller one day."

Sebastian Robertson, a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, lives in Los Angeles where he works as a composer. He has written music for major television series and is the head writer for a music library, We the People, which he owns and operates. More recently, he has become an author with the publication of Legends, Icons & Rebels in 2013 and more recently, Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story. His new title, released today, is a heartwarming tribute to his father, Robbie Robertson, the famed songwriter and guitarist who discovered his love of music and storytelling on a First Nations reservation in southern Ontario. Dedicated, talented and driven to succeed, Robertson rose quickly through the ranks to perform alongside rock-and-roll legends as a teenager. Written for children ages 6 to 11, Rock and Roll Highway is a story that will inspire young and old alike. In an e-mail interview yesterday, Sebastian shared his thoughts on music, reading, and his relationship with a Canadian legend.

Your close relationship with your father is evident in the telling of his life story. How much were you influenced, if at all, by your father’s reputation, when you were young? As a successful composer and musician in your own right, how have you been able to carve out your own identity, separate yet complementary to his own?

As a kid I didn’t really understand my father’s fame or profession all that well. By the time I was born he had ceased touring and he really kept his work life and home life separate. I just thought it was really cool when people would ask for his autograph. That gave me a sense of pride. As far as my own work is concerned I forged a new path in an area of music that is separate from my dad. Not on purpose, but because I was pulled in another direction and found it to be the most fulfilling for me. However, he’s an amazing guy to be able to bounce ideas off of and we’ve collaborated on a number of projects.

One of the most powerful moments depicted in Rock and Roll Highway is your father’s decision, as a teen, to sell his beloved guitar and amplifier in order to buy a bus ticket and join Ronnie Hawkins in the American south. His sense of mission, and at such a young age, is unusual but I am intrigued by the amount of synchronicity, almost destiny, that plays out in the book. It’s as if Robbie was always at the right place at the right time and that fate was always one step ahead of him. But when did Robbie first know, really know, that music would be his life’s work?

My dad spent a lot of time with his mother’s relatives and they were terrific storytellers and quite musical too. He was bitten by the music bug and immediately knew he was going to completely give himself to the process. At the age of nine, he got his first guitar and after a few lessons, he taught himself the rest. This clearly is an unusual amount of commitment and discipline for a young boy but it speaks to his talent and success.

Your previous book, Legends, Icons & Rebels, profiles the musical legacies of popular music's most influential voices, and is accompanied by two CDs that include recordings by Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, and many others. The book, aimed at pre-teens, was recently nominated for a 2015 Red Maple Non-Fiction award. (Congratulations!) With the publication of Rock and Roll Legend, you appear to be carving a path for yourself as a writer of music history books for young people. Where does your desire to preserve—and celebratemusical history originate from? And why young people (as opposed to an adult audience)?

First off I’m honored by the nomination and also that I have the opportunity to share an art form with those I believe to be the most open minded, honest and interesting peoples of our world, children. When I play music for my son, Donovan who is nine, he approaches it with no judgment or baggage, just curiosity. This allows him to appreciate everything from Curtis Mayfield, Billie Holiday to Iggy Azalea and M83. This is what I consider a perfect audience.

In the book, you describe the incredible support and love Robbie received from his relatives. At a young age, he and his mother would often visit the Six Nations Indian Reservation located two hours north of Toronto, his hometown. “It was here where it all began; it was here where the rhythm, melodies, and storytelling of Robbie’s First Nation relatives captured his imagination.” It’s apparent that his ancestral legacy played a part in developing his intense connection to music. What do you consider to be your father’s most important legacy? And as a musician and writer, and most importantly, as a father, what do you hope your legacy will be to your own son?

For me, his most important legacy will always be as a loving, kind, generous and devoted father. I’ll never forget his handcrafted, early morning western omelettes before a big 8:30 am little league game. I’ll never forget the compassion when I miss-stepped as boy and into my teens. My goal and my legacy are simple: To be the best friend, son, father and husband I can be.

In your own Q & A section at the back of Rock and Roll Highway, your father mentions a love of reading and particularly enjoyed the classics by Steinbeck and Faulkner when he was on the road. He also reveals he was inspired by these books, saying “…some of the songs I wrote were about historical times and events, and the reading I was doing really helped me paint pictures with the lyrics and expand my vocabulary.” How much of your own work as a television music composer is inspired by the books you read—and who are some of your favourite writers?

When I started out playing in bands, reading was an integral part of the writing process. I have always felt that you needed to read in order to write. I was greatly impacted by Steinbeck but also loved authors of “darker” literature, like Camus, and specifically enjoyed Hunger by Knut Hamsun, The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy and some of Aleister Crowley’s works. I suppose these books stay with you forever and impact any creative endeavor you give yourself to.


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