Kids and Teen Blog
Articles by Kendal (Owlkids)
by Kendal (Owlkids)
October 24, 2011
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)!
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.
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.
With over 800,000 people tuning in to the season 4 finale of So You Think You Can Dance Canada last weekend, I think we can safely assume there are a whole lot of Canadians out there fascinated by the world of dance. That’s not to say that everyone wants to take centre stage, though — maybe it’s the choreography that you find fascinating, or the costumes, or the lighting. Maybe it’s the judges’ banter you find entertaining, or you just love seeing all the different dance styles from around the world in action. Put simply, whether you’re a performer or not, dance is a pretty cool art form to explore.
Luckily, Owlkids has got a book to help kids do just that.
Whether for an aspiring pro or a curious onlooker, Learn to Speak Dance by longtime dancer and dance teacher Ann-Marie Williams is a chance for kids to experience — and be inspired by — the world of dance as never before. They’ll learn how to choreograph steps, design costumes, mix dance styles, shoot a dance video...even about some of the careers available in the dance industry.
But this book isn’t an audition, a lecture, or a strict “how-to.” It’s just about having fun and seeing just how far your own two feet can move you! Check out this video starring four young students from the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre in Toronto to see what I’m talking about. These young dancers got their hands on Learn to Speak Dance and worked with author Ann-Marie to put together this cool video:
One of the things that sets Owlkids apart from other children’s book publishers is our ability to really talk to our readers through our three magazines, Chirp, chickaDEE, and OWL. They write to us with all their questions and comments, and we write back (and listen to what they have to say)! Well, we have yet to hear from a kid who does not absolutely love our Beastly Book series. (In fact, I have yet to meet an adult who does not love these books, too!)
One of the best things about being an Owlkids Books staffer is the complimentary issues of Chirp, chickaDEE, and OWL that land on my desk every month. Even better — I'm not supposed to take them home for my nieces and nephews — I'm supposed to read them! And, no, just in case you're wondering, there's nothing wrong with loving a magazine meant for preschoolers.
I always flip right to The Vole Brothers comic as soon as the newest Chirp arrives. They are so funny and cute! I mean, just take a look at this comic from our "Hairy" (hair-themed) issue:
Luckily, our readers love them, too. So much, in fact, that this September The Vole Brothers are getting their very first picture book! Taking the voles from a monthly, 8-panel comic strip all the way to a 32-page picture book was an adventure for our editorial, design, and production teams, and, most of all, for creator Roslyn Schwartz!
Actually, it was such an adventure — arm-wrestling and many, many storyboards were involved — that we decided to put a short video about the process together. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of a great picture book by watching the trailer below!