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Tag: Picture Books

My Favourite Books of 2013, Crystal Allen

by Crystal
Kids + Picture Books + YA Fiction / December 20, 2013

I can't believe that 2013 is about to wrap up. Where did time go? It's too hard to pick just one book as my favorite for 2013 so I'm going to pick two. One picture book and one YA.

The Bear's Song

My favorite picture book for 2013 has to be The Bear’s Song by French author and illustrator Benjamin Chaud. With it’s extra tall format and incredibly detailed illustrations, this is a book that you will find something new in every time you read it... and trust me, show this to your kids and you will be reading it again and again and again.

Father Bear thinks that he and baby bear are settling down to hibernate for the winter but when he awakes Baby Bear has set off for the city following a bumble bee. Father Bear sets off to find Baby Bear. Each spread has an almost "Where's Waldo" type feel to it with lots of characters, things happening and beautiful forest and city scape scenery. Kids (and adults) will have fun exploring each page searching for the Baby Bear and bumble bee hidden in each spread.

If you only pick up one picture book from 2013 this should be it. Keep an eye out for I Didn't Do My Homework Because... also illustrated by Benjamin Chaud coming March 2014.


My favorite YA novel for 2013 is hands down, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. While I was on maternity leave my boss sent me the manuscript and asked me to read it. When I was 3/4 of the way through the book I sent him this email:

"I'm reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell right now. It's so good. The type of good where I'm simultaneously wanting to put it down so that it lasts longer but keep saying "Just one more page" because I love the main character so much and want to keep on spending time with her. I'm very excited to work with Rainbow when I come back."

Fangirl is about Cath and her twin sister Wren who both have just left home for college. Wren devestates Cath by telling her that she doesn't want to room with her at university and that she no longer wants to write Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) fan fiction with Cath anymore. Cath continues to write Simon Snow fan fiction as she waits for the final Simon Snow book to be released, discovers first love and figures out what it means to be independent.

I think one of the reasons that I connected with this book so much was because I started working as a bookseller right when the buzz around Harry Potter began. Later, I was hired as a Children's Book Publicist here at Raincoast, who at the time published the Harry Potter novels. I worked on the Harry Potter marketing campaigns. I was (and still am) a huge fan of the books and feel so blessed to have been involved with them as part of my career.

Fangirl spoke to me as someone who loves books with all of their heart. It spoke to me as someone who fantasizes about visiting fictional worlds. It spoke to me as someone who has yearned for that character they love to come alive and to become my friend or even boyfriend. It also spoke to me as someone who once was awkward, clueless about boys, and a total booknerd (ok maybe I still am).

I loved Fangirl. I wish I could read it again and again and again and have it be the first time every time. This book felt like an old friend, and that is something that is rare to find. Also, now 9 months after reading Fangirl I feel blessed to call the book's author, Rainbow Rowell a friend... which is pretty awesome. You can read about my time with Rainbow on her Toronto book tour on my blog Sew Creative.

Look for Rainbow Rowell's new novel, Landline, coming July 2014.

Crystal Allen, Publicist

My Favourite Books of 2013, Sandy Cooper

by Dan
Kids + Picture Books + Psychology & Self-Help / December 12, 2013

On a Beam of Light

On a Beam of Light

This is simply a beautiful and gentle book. In its text and its lovely pen and ink illustrations it explains how Einstein was an imaginary thinker… always questioning how things worked and why things were the way they were. What an inspiring story to get kids thinking about science and wonder about big magical ideas. Every parent, Grandparent and teacher will love this book.


I am not a sci-fi fan at all… but from the first book with Cinder (I loved her spunk and street smart intelligence), I became a fan. I eagerly anticipated and then devoured this second book in the Lunar Chronicle series.  Fairy tales mixed with sci-fi. Who knew? Scarlet is so feisty and such a survivor. The way the author brings these two character’s lives together is brilliant. I can’t wait until the third one.

Flora and Flamingo

Flora and the Flamingo
This book is such a delight. An unlikely friendship between a little ballerina (in her bathing cap), and a pink Flamingo… the little girl trying to mirror the dance moves of the Flamingo. Their relationship grows with each leap and lunge. I love this wordless picture book with interactive flaps… silent, beautiful and oh so graceful.


A fun and inspiring read. We are energy… and you can use that energy. Rather than take it on faith, you are invited to conduct nine 48-hour experiments to prove there really is a positive, totally loving force in the universe. Pam Grout is a funny and intelligent person so the book was an enjoyable read. I took this information with a grain of salt and am keeping an open mind. But it has certainly changed the way I think.. and focus my energy!

E-Squared proves the following: 

  1. There is an invisible energy force or field of infinite possibilities.
  2. You impact the field and draw from it according to your beliefs and expectations. 
  3. You, too, are a field of energy. 
  4. Whatever you focus on expands. 
  5. Your connection to the field provides accurate and unlimited guidance.
  6. Your thoughts and consciousness impact matter.
  7. Your thoughts and consciousness provide the scaffolding for your physical body.
  8. You are connected to everything and everyone else in the universe.
  9. The universe is limitless, abundant, and strangely accommodating.

Sandy Cooper, Director of Field Sales

My Favourite Books of 2013, Pete MacDougall

by Pete
Kids + Picture Books / December 10, 2013

The Snatchabook

My favourite book of the year is The Snatchabook. My daughter was about a year and half old when this book came home for the first time making she and I the perfect test audience. It was a huge hit the first night, and fast became a family favourite. Snatchabook is at times a mischievous brat who a toddler can relate to (not mine...), he gets sad and just wants to have books read to him by someone (something they all can relate to), and its a book about books which we both love. The illustrations are warm and nostalgic, and the story reads aloud beautifully. A bed time classic.

Vader's Little Princess

And being the Dad of a daughter Vader's Little Princess is up there as well. Jeffrey Brown's illustrations, and captions are right on point, and a not so welcome but funny window in to my future.

Peter Macdougall, Director of National Accounts

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

My Favourite Book of 2011: Sandy (Sales)

by Sandy
Kids / December 20, 2011

Press Here

If I had to pick just one book for this season... and that's almost impossible with the choice we have here at Raincoast... it would be the Chronicle children's book Press Here. It's a book that is difficult to describe because it has to be experienced. It is an action book that requires your full participation and attention. With so many electronic games, and plastic toys with batteries taking the attention of young brains these days (goodness I sound like my Grandmother...) this book is a delight for kids and adults alike. I read it to my 5 year old Grandson and he was so delighted he wanted to read it over and over again. My 12 year old Grandson was watching and then wanted to read it with us as well. It's good for all ages. The long lost art of imagination is alive and well in this special book by Hervé Tullet.

Originally published in France in 2010, Chronicle bought rights for North America. Give yourself and treat and take a few minutes to play...cover to cover in Press Here


By Hervé Tullet
Press here. That's right. Just press the yellow dot, and turn the page. The single touch of a finger sparks a whimsical dance of colour and motion in this joyful celebration of the power of imagination.


"A tour de force of imagination and playfulness that belongs on every family bookshelf."—Seattle Times
"An elegantly conceived picture book."The New York Times
"Irresistible... A cross between a high-concept picture book and an iPhone, only more charming."The Wall Street Journal

★"Brilliant."—School Library Journal, starred review
★"A breath of fresh air."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★"Magic."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★"An interactive book that gives the iPad a licking."—The Horn Book, starred review

Day & Night

by Dan
Kids / July 23, 2010

Day & Night Pixar cover

Opposites attract when Day meets Night and Night meets Day in the delightful new picture book Day & Night!

Available next month, the book is based on the Pixar short Day & Night, which which premiered with Toy Story 3.

In this video, Teddy Newton and the creative team behind Day & Night explain how they made the charming short: 

Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Thought Bubble

by Dan
Craft + Kids / June 04, 2010

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, New York Times best-selling author of Little Oink, Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Duck! Rabbit!, teamed up with the Smart Bubble Society to produce this lovely "Thought Bubble" on kindness: 

And if you're interested in finding out more about Amy, watch this great presentation she gave at the TEDx conference in Waterloo, Ontario called the "7 Notes of Life":

And you can find Amy's short film 17 Things I Made here!

Little Hoot coverBooks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal:

Life Pea

Little Hoot

Little Oink

Little Books Boxed Set

Duck! Rabbit!

Follow Amy on Twitter!