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Kids and Teen Blog

Flying The Canadian Flyer

by Kendal (Owlkids)
October 24, 2011

Beware, Pirates!

When I was eight years old I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even allowed to go around the corner by myself, which is why I love our Canadian Flyer series — Emily and Matt, our two fourth-grade adventurers, have been to more provinces and territories (and gotten out of more jams) than anyone I know! Since 2007, when Beware, Pirates! first started flying off shelves, they’ve outrun dinosaurs in the Alberta Badlands, seen the Silver Dart soar high in Nova Scotia’s skies, drove a bumpy stagecoach from Montreal to Peterborough, and experienced other key moments in Canadian history firsthand (such is the magic of time travel)!

Halifax Explodes!

Owlkids is wrapping the series up this November with Halifax Explodes!, which finds Matt and Emily touching their magic sled down on Citadel Hill just as the city is rocked by a giant explosion. Nova Scotia is clearly a favourite province of theirs, as this will be their fourth visit in as many years! It will be sad not to have a new Canadian Flyer or two (or three) on our list next season, but luckily there are 17 books in total, which is plenty of material for even the most voracious of young readers.

Canadian Flyer Map

These books have great curriculum links for grades two to four — everything from geography to language arts and social studies — so author (and former teacher) Frieda Wishinsky has helped us put together these great lesson plans for teachers. Hope you can use them in your classroom or library! Plus, don’t you love this map of Canada, which shows all the places Emily and Matt have gone on their adventures? Let your Raincoast rep know if you would like one.

Bon voyage!  

Annie Barrows Returns to Kidsbooks

by Crystal
Events + Kids + Vancouver / October 21, 2011

Annie Barrows the author of the bestselling Ivy and Bean Series is returning to Vancouver for the North American Launch of Ivy And Bean No News Is Good News with Kidsbooks.

Two fabulous events to choose from. 

In North Vancouver:

Tuesday November 1st at 4 pm at North Van District Library, Lynn Valley Branch, Community Meeting Room
1277 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver
For more information, call Kidsbooks in the Village at   604-986-6190 

In Vancouver: 

Tuesday November 1st at 7 pm
West Point Grey United Church Sanctuary
4595 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver
For more information, call Kidsbooks at 604-738-5335  

Don't delay! Call and reserve your tickets early in order to avoid disappointment. 

13 New Halloween Books for Monsters of All Ages

by Siobhan
October 13, 2011

It's that time of year again: costumes are being sewn, pumpkins are being carved... The cold is starting to creep in, and we're all starting to crave some creepy, bonechilling tales. Here are a few new Halloween books for all ages, ranging from the cute to the creepy.


New Halloween Books for Young Monsters...

Little Owl Finger Puppet Book Count, Dagmar!

Little Owl Finger Puppet Book (Ages -3)

Count, Dagmar! by J.otto Seibold (All Ages)

Renowned artist J.otto Seibold (Olive the Other Reindeer) gives Halloween a delightfully wacky and sweet spin in this counting board book starring Dagmar, the beloved vegetarian vampire from Vunce Upon a Time. Lift the flaps and count from one to ten billion -- or at least from one to ten!


Ten Little Beasties

Ten Little Beasties by Ed Emberley and Rebecca Emberley (Ages 2-6)

If there's one thing beasties love to do, it's dance! When one little beastie is joined by two little, three little, and more little beasties, we count UP until there's a party on the page. But when one of the little beastie starts trouble, it's time to start counting DOWN.

Click here to listen to the "Ten Little Beasties" song!


When a Monster Is BornBone Dog

When a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor (Ages 3-6)

When a monster is born, there are two possibilities— either it’s a faraway-in-the-forests monster, or ... it’s an under-your-bed monster. If it’s a faraway-in-the-forests monster, that’s that. But if it’s an under-your-bed monster, all sorts of comical things can happen. Read it at bedtime and laugh your pajamas off ... or read it during the day and laugh your socks off!

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann (Ages 4-8)

Ghost dogs and skeletons in a tall tale with a tender heart from the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of My Friend Rabbit. Sam doesn't feel like doing much after his dog ella dies. He doesn't really even feel like dressing up for Halloween. But when Sam runs into a bunch of rowdy skeletons, it's Ella -- his very own Bone Dog -- who comes to his aid, and together they put those skeletons in their place. A book about friendship, loss, and a delightfully spooky Halloween.


Monster Doodles for KidsHorrid Henry Wakes the Dead

Monster Doodles for Kids by Chris Sabatino (Ages 6 and up)

Filled with prompts and illustrations to help inspire their inner Dr. Frankenstein, Monster Doodles for Kids lures boys and girls into this pocket-sized laboratory where they can create fiendish, snaggle-toothed monsters and eye-popping villains to their heart's desire.

Horrid Henry Wakes the Dead by Francesca Simon (Ages 7-10)

Henry will do anything to win the grand prize at this year's talent show...even wake the dead! Plus three other stories that will leave you screaming for more.


New Halloween Books for Tween Terrors...

The Orphan of Awkward FallsChihuawolf

The Orphan of Awkward Falls by Keith Graves (Ages 8-12)

"The worst is yet to come for a town built on secrets and sauerkraut..."

With a penchant for spooky details, surprising twists, and haunting illustrations, Keith Graves (best known for his picture books, Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance and Chicken Big) delivers a suspenseful and engaging first novel. 

Chihuawolf: A Tail of Mystery and Horror by Charlee Ganny (Ages 9-12)

Paco, a smart, fashionably-dressed Chihuahua, lives in a snug and comfortable world as the pampered pet of ten-year-old Olivia. The problem is Natasha, the gorgeous Afghan hound he adores, thinks him too tiny to be taken seriously. Determined to change his outside to reflect the lion-hearted courage he possesses inside, Paco decides to do something drastic. He enlists the help of his animal friends to help him transform into the biggest, fiercest canine he can imagine: a Chihuawolf!


WonkensteinSally's Bones

Wonkenstein: The Creature from My Closet by Obert Skye (Ages 9-12)

Click here to read the first chapter! (PDF)

Twelve-year-old underachiever Rob has better things to do than read. His parents give him lots of books but most of them just end up in the messy pile of junk he keeps locked in his closet that once doubled as a makeshift science laboratory. One day, Rob hears weird sounds coming from behind his closet door and discovers a funny little creature that seems to be a cross between two characters from books he's tried to ignore. He names him Wonkenstein...

Sally's Bones by MacKenzie Cadenhead (Ages 9-12)

Click here to read the first chapter!

Sally is a quirky character who loves Death Rock and faded blue jeans. She fits in better with the Addams Family than with a clique of catty sixth grade girls. After her mother's death, grief-stricken Sally begs for death... and death is exactly what she gets: a tail-wagging skeleton dog called Bones. A gift from beyond the grave, Bones is a dreadfully delicious girl's best friend. In this cleverly written, alliterative tale the neighbourhood's dog treats go missing and everyone blames Bones. Sally must solve the mystery to save her cadaverous canine from puppy prison. 


New Halloween Books for More Grown-Up Ghouls...

The House of Dead Maids

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle (Ages 12 and up)

Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy, but there are ghosts lurking the halls, and sleeping in her bed. Clare B. Dunkle, author of the acclaimed Hollow Kingdom trilogy writes this bone-chilling story as a prelude to Wuthering Heights.


Daybreak by Brian Ralph (Ages 16 and up)

Click here to read a excerpt from the graphic novel! (PDF)

Daybreak is seen through the eyes of a silent observer as he follows his protector and runs from the shadows of the imminent zombie threat. Brian Ralph slowly builds the tension of the zombies on the periphery, letting the threat-rather than the actual carnage-be the driving force. The post-apocalyptic backdrop features tangles of rocks, lumber, I beams, and overturned cars that are characters in and of themselves. Drawing inspiration from zombies, horror movies, television, and first-person shooter video games, Daybreak departs from zombie genre in both content and format, achieving a living-dead masterwork of literary proportions. 

Intern Insights: Thanks for the Little Things

by Janet
Fiction + Vancouver + YA Fiction / October 11, 2011

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a great long weekend. It was Canadian Thanksgiving and I definitely got my fill of stuffing and mashed potatoes (I'm a vegetarian so no turkey for me). I got to thinking about things I'm grateful for, this internship definitely being one of them, and it's always the small things that make a place great.

The Little Things:

  • Office Supplies:
    Who doesn't love office supplies? From the feel of a fresh new pen on a brand new Moleskine to colourful sticky notes and pink paperclips? I cleaned up my desk today with stackable trays and that definitely brings a smile to my face!

  • Tea:
    I'm not much of a coffee drinker but I can definitely finish off three cups or more of tea. Any kind: I love earl greys, greens, whites and blacks! A hot steaming cup, sometimes sweetened, sometimes with milk or cream - no matter how it's prepared it's always a warm and uplifting drink. Perfect for those rainy Vancouver days. (Crystal is tea lover as well!)

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~C.S. Lewis

  •  A good book:
    One of the perks of being an intern at a book distributor is access to advanced copies! Tempest is a hot new young adult book from St. Martin's press and has already been slated for a movie by Summit Entertainment (Twilight). Julie Cross debuts with this fast and action packed time jumping novel. The narrator is a teenaged boy, rare in the world of YA books, but don't let that scare you, when this comes out (January 2012) I suggest you pick it up!
    Romance and young love, secrets and government spies and time travelling! What more could you ask for in a good weekend book?

What are you thankful for? I’d love to hear in the comments or let me know by email.

I'll leave off with a lovely comic about reading (I think we can all relate):

The Intern Journals: Week One

by Janet
Kids + Picture Books + Vancouver / October 06, 2011

Imagine an office space: keyboards clicking away, the quiet humming of the air conditioner and the comfort of an ergonomic office chair. This isn't any office though, there are books everywhere. There's a staff library, there's an advanced reading copy library, there are books being shipped out and in and a huge warehouse filled and filled with books! Not to mention the many I have on my desk.

This is the Raincoast office and I am Janet, the new publicity intern and I've just survived my first week!

First off I have my own desk! This is pretty exciting to have your own workspace: 

I remember asking myself when I was lucky enough to grab this opportunity, "What is a publicist?" I had no idea what kind of work I'd be doing, I just knew I wanted to be a part of the publishing and book world. I did a quick Google search but there wasn't too much other than the vague "generate publicity" answer, I guess I'd have to wait until my first day to see!

My tasks so far have included creating Press Releases and mailing out books. A publicist will create a Press Release (pictured to the right) to build up hype. This document will detail a book's synopsis, rave reviews and an 'about the author' paired with the book's cover. Then we send these to media outlets!

I also mailed out books to reviewers today; we're crossing our fingers that they will promote them with good reviews. Today I mailed out two childrens'’ books to various magazine and newspaper reviewers.

One of the books was A Dog is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan. This picture book is a great and fun story filled with vivid illustrations; I was smiling at every turn of the page! I know my little sister and brother would laugh out loud at each hilarious revelation. Definitely recommended!


The other book we mailed out was The Crown on Your Head by Nancy Tillman. It reads like a dream, the pages are filled with gorgeous landscapes and ethereal children and animals. This is a beautiful book filled with love and self-esteem boosters. One of my favourite quotes with how Tillman describes our crowns:

"It was made up of glittering, sparkling things

Like moonlight, and fireflies, and dragon wings."

Well Thursday is almost over and I will be back next week for some more Intern insights. Happy Thanksgiving!

Win 2 Of Today’s Hottest Teen Reads from Myjellybean.com!

by Crystal
Contests + YA Fiction / October 06, 2011

While I was on vacation this summer, my husband and daughter were begging me to put down my book and spend time playing on the beach with them. I had the hardest time honoring their request because the book I was reading was unputdownable (yeah I just coined a new word!) "Just one more page!" "Just one more chapter!" "Just let me finish!" were the words that they grew accustomed to hearing. I was reading an advance reading copy of Glow, the first book in Macmillan's hot new teen series by Amy Kathleen Ryan. 

You thought Hunger Games was good? Waiting for another series to wet your YA Novel appetite? Well I am very pleased to tell you that Glow is now available in stores across North America, and my good friends you could win a copy from MyJellybean.com, just follow the link and enter! I promise, you won't be disappointed with this book. 

Glow: Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager — until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage — and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth. But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside. 

While you are visiting MyJellybean enter to win a copy of Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel, a great teen novel about being the new girl and trying to fit in while attending a posh private school. The Art Geeks and Prom Queens contest on MyJellybean can be found here

Art Geeks & Prom Queens: Being the new girl is tough -- just ask sixteen-year-old Rio Jones. A New York transplant, Rio has no clue how she's going to fit in at her fancy new private school in Southern California. Plus, being late, overdressed, and named after a Duran Duran song doesn't make the first day any easier.

Then, Rio meets Kristi. Beautiful, rich, and a cheerleader, Kristi is the queen bee of Newport Beach, and she isn't friends with just anyone, so Rio is thrilled when she's invited to be part of the most exclusive, popular clique. At first, Rio is having a great time, but as she becomes more immersed in the jet set crowd, she discovers an unwritten rule that her new friends forgot to mention: don't cross Kristi...

Good luck!

Off To Class

by Kendal (Owlkids)
Kids / September 27, 2011

With September drawing to a close, kids have been “off to class” for a few weeks now. The grumblings about homework have probably begun, and all those recently bought school supplies might already be looking a little worse for wear. But this isn’t the case everywhere. Worldwide, there are over 100 million kids are missing out on getting an education. Sometimes, a community doesn’t have the necessary resources to build a school; other times, kids have to work to earn money for their families and can’t afford to spend time in a classroom. In even more cases, kids aren’t allowed to go to school because of their gender, their background, or their citizenship, or they live in remote areas or ones hit by natural disasters. Kinda makes you feel guilty for already starting the countdown to Winter Break, huh? 
Luckily, there are some really amazing and creative people who have stepped in to help these kids get the education they deserve. In Off to Class, Susan Hughes profiles some of the world’s most unique and unusual schools — built to overcome each community’s particular hurdle. In this book, readers will travel to Bangladesh to hop aboard a Boat School, an ingenious idea to ensure students don’t miss class during Bangladesh’s monsoon season; trek to Shree Santi Primary School in Nepal, where children from all castes are welcome; and go out on a limb to visit Grand Oaks Academy in the USA, a home school in a tree house. 
Off To Class
One of our favourite schools in the book is School-in-a-Box, which UNICEF hand-delivered to Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Each box contains everything a teacher needs to set up a classroom on the spot, including a special can of paint that can be used to turn a box lid into a blackboard. UNICEF sends these kits all over the world to help kids get back to school after disasters, and also to places where wars keep kids from going to school. Owlkids was so inspired by this that we recently partnered with UNICEF to try and raise money to send 630 of these Schools-in-a-Box to kids in need. 
Our hope for Off to Class is that it inspires some young readers in the same way — or, at the very least, that it gets them to think about their school (and homework) in a whole new way! 

Mom Minute- September 24th is Worldwide Day of Play

by Crystal
Kids + Parenting / September 23, 2011

This Saturday, September 24th is The Worldwide Day Of Play. As the mom of a 3 year old I firmly believe that two of the very best gifts you can give your child are The Gift of Reading and The Gift of Play. 

I had my daughter in my late 20's. I found it was easy to keep her entertained and stimulated when she was a baby but when the toddler years hit I realized something- I forgot how to play! I found that we were doing the same things over and over again. Going for a walk, feeding the ducks, visiting the park and then heading home. There are so many great outdoor activities to do all year long, I think that some of us just need to be reminded. 

15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out Of The House And Connect With Your Kids by Rebecca Cohen is the perfect tool to remind parents, like myself, how to play. 

To help celebrate the Worldwide Day of Play I checked in with Rebecca to see if she had any tips and tricks for getting outside to play during these cool fall months. 

Here are three things you can do right now to engage your kids in active, healthy play:

1) Plant sugar snap peas. They are easy to grow, love cooler fall temperatures, teach your child the plant lifecycle first hand, and offer a sweet result to taste. The pea plant vines its way up a stick you plant in the ground (or in a container with drainage) - you can even make a tee pee trellis or grow them on your windowsill. Keep soil moist and in the sun. In seven days you'll have a sprout, in two weeks an even taller plant, a flower in eight weeks, and the pod will grow straight from the flower!

2) Play 15 Minutes Outside Before School. It sounds crazy, but kids will get ready faster in the morning - dressed, breakfast, and lunches made - with the promise of play time outside before they leave. Your kids will get ready so quickly that you'll have time to play with them!

3) Pack a picnic dinner for the playground. Grab some sandwiches, water bottles, and a blanket from home, then do homework and reading outside and let the kids run around to get their wiggles out before bed while watching  the sun set. The kids will be exhausted at bedtime and you'll be happy.

Thanks for the tips Rebeccah!

What activities do you and your kids do outside? Are you planning on celebrating Worldwide Play Day? Have a great weekend. Hope you find time to enjoy this lovely fall weather. 

Ivy and Bean Day November 12! Stores and Libraries Order Your Materials!

by Crystal
Events + Kids + Vancouver / September 21, 2011

November 11th is Ivy + Bean Day! If you aren't familiar with Ivy and Bean you are sorely missing out. Ivy and Bean are the lovable characters in the bestselling series by Annie Barrows. Two young girls who are sure that they won't like each other, but become best friends anyways. Their favorite activities? Bugging Bean's older sister, causing mischief and of course, spending time together. "A little bit bad and a whole lot funny", Ivy and Bean bring me right back to my childhood reading Beverly Cleary's Ramona books

What Ivy + Bean day mean's for you:

If you are a school, library or bookseller head over to the Ivy + Bean Day website, download and request materials to help you celebrate! But do it fast! Supplies are limited. 

If you are an Ivy + Bean fan contact your local bookstore, library or school and ask them to throw an Ivy + Bean celebration. Direct them to this page for all the info they will need to throw and Ivy + Bean party. 

Also make sure to check out all the Ivy + Bean fun and games that are available all year long on the Chronicle Books website. Every day can be Ivy + Bean day!

If you live in Vancouver you are especially lucky! Annie Barrow's will be launching Ivy + Bean Book 8: No News Is Good News with Kidsbooks on November 1st. Stay tuned for more information. 

Make sure to "like" Ivy + Bean on Facebook

Things That Make You Say, “Awww!”

by Guest
Kids / September 20, 2011

A guest post by Bart King

Cute Bart King

Writing Cute! A Guide to All Things Adorable (for readers 9-13 and immature adults) put me in an analytical frame of mind whenever I saw a baby or a duckling. This led me to conclusions about what we find cute. And if you’re good, I’ll share some of them with you. grin

For this guest blog post (thanks Raincoast Books!), I thought I’d consider the very first thing I saw today that I found cute. And here it is:

Cute Kids

My friend took this photo after her son’s Boy Scout troop lost a sailboat racing tournament (hence his tragic expression). But just as the portrait of his grief was snapped, the Scout’s sister joyously photobombed it.

I find this cute, and perhaps you agree with me. But why? What is it about this shot that makes us respond with an “Awww!”? First, just by virtue of being YOUNG, these two kids get automatic Cuteness Points. A scientist named Konrad Lorenz studied cuteness and found that almost everyone automatically thinks babies are cute. It doesn’t stop there. Anything that even LOOKS like a baby is also cute. As a child ages, he or she looks less like a baby, but there are enough reminders (chubby cheeks, smooth skin, large noggins) that we are still favorably predisposed to kids like these two.

But CONTRAST is the main reason I find this photo cute. It turns out that contrast can really enhance cuteness. So because a little girl is little, she’ll look really cute if she holds something BIG. That means a five-year-old girl holding a giant inflatable killer whale is probably cuter than if she were just standing there empty-handed.

Cute Kid / Credit Jennifer Kallis

image credit Jennifer Kalis

Anytime a little kid wears something big , the contrast is funny AND cute. Like little boys in football uniforms: No matter how well the equipment fits, those helmets always look too large. Cute! And here, this young man is in an official scouting uniform. He’s engaged in some official business regarding a small sailboat. But his thousand-yard stare is SO serious, we can’t take him seriously. And he is obviously utterly unamused by his sister’s antics. For her part, the grinning ginger jester provides a perfectly contrasting counterpoint . . . and it’s just darned cute!

In conclusion, please buy my book. It’s the cutest thing you can do today.

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