Archive for the ‘Global Voices’ Category

Guest Post ~ African youth literature: what visibility on the international market? by Mariette Robbes

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Mariette Robbes of the International Alliance of Independent PublishersMariette Robbes is a volunteer with the International Alliance of Independent Publishers, following an internship with the organisation in 2011.  She holds a Masters in the”World of the Book” (Aix-en-Provence University), for which she specialized in children’s book publishing in India; and she has just completed three months with the International Youth Library in Munich, pursuing her research into the history of youth publishing in India.  Mariette is also working concurrently on several textile and graphic creation projects.

At this year’s Bologna Book Fair, the International Alliance of Independent Publishers ran a workshop with African children’s book publishers (from Mali, Guinea, Togo, Senegal, Rwanda, Madagascar and Benin) and a Brazilian publisher specialized in the Afro-Brazilian culture.  We are delighted to welcome Mariette to PaperTigers with an article about the workshop and some of the issues discussed, and in which she highlights some of the challenges facing these small, independent publishers.

 

~ African Youth Literature: What Visibility in the International Market? ~

A reflection on multiculturalism, African children’s literature
and the international market place.

Children’s books publishing, in expansion in many regions in the world, is particularly strategic in countries where publishing is emergent – it is indeed through youth literature that tomorrow’s readership is formed. While catering for their local readership, publishers in Africa also wish to be known internationally and to have business with publishers from others countries. Their participation at some public book fairs in the North, for instance the Montreuil Children’s Book Fair (the biggest French children’s book fair) shows the existence of a readership on the Northern markets. However, publishers from African countries still participate very little in the global exchange of rights that animates the publishing world – and which is the core of international events like the Bologna or Frankfurt Book Fairs.

This question of visibility and intercultural exchange is quite complex and not specific to African children’s literature, as Gita Wolf – from the Indian publishing house Tara Books – underlines in her book Picturing Words & Reading Pictures (Tara Books, Chennai, 1997):

 ”Whether rights are bought for books from India or Africa also depends largely on current political climates. What should children in Europe or North America be reading? Are multicultural books exotic, or are they necessary? As in other industries like fashion, countries like India can be ‘in’ one season and ‘out’ the next.”

Those topics were the main subject of exchanges in a two-day workshop that saw eight independent publishers from different African countries and Brazil share their experiences and think of innovative solutions that would help them to be more visible at international book fairs, in order to promote their publishing houses worldwide.

Publishers present were:

Paulin Assem – Ago editions (Togo)
Agnès and Peter Gyr Ukunda – Bakame (Rwanda)
Antoinette Correa – BLD (Senegal)
Sékou Fofana – Editions Donniya (Mali)
Aliou Sow – Ganndal (Republic of Guinea)
Marie Michèle Razafintsalama – Jeunes Malgaches (Madagascar)
Cristina and Mariana Warth – Pallas editora (Brazil)
Cendra Gbado Batossi and Pierre Gbado – Ruisseaux d’Afrique (Benin)

All these publishers come from very different countries and backgrounds, and publish a wide array of books; from poetry to comics, to picture books and young adult literature. Their readerships are different, as well as the government policies supporting the development of book industries in their own countries. In this sense, all the publishers had different stories to share when it comes to marketing their books in the global market.

 

Aliou Sow (Ganndal, Republic of Guinea) and Paulin Assem (Ago Editions, Togo)

 

Marie Michele Razafintsalama (Jeunes Malgaches, Madagascar) and Sekou Fofana (Donniya, Mali)

 

Cristina and Mariana Warth (Pallas Editora, Brazil) and Antoinette Correa (BLD, Senegal)

 

During the two days of the workshop, intense discussion took place between publishers, sharing their own experiences of the international marketplace: for example, Marie Michèle Razafintsalama from the publishing house Jeunes Malgaches (Madagascar) related her experience of buying the rights of The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry to translate it into a bilingual Malagasy and French edition Ilay Andriandahy Kely; while Cristina and Mariana Warth from Pallas Editora (Brazil) explained their preparation process for the Fair, beginning months in advance.

Though it is well noted that the invitation program of Bologna Book Fair is a great opportunity because it allows publishers to attend, it is not sufficient in itself for creating a convincingly visible presence at the Fair.  On this point, a presentation by Hannele Legras, Literary Agent from Hannele and Associates agency, was very helpful. She gave an introduction to foreign rights management, practices of the profession, a panorama of international markets, and a lot of tips and advice that publishers were eager to try.

The workshop was also the place for publishers to express their views on the difference between their local readerships’ tastes, expectations and purchasing power, and what can be seen in the Western marketplace. Do publishers need to adapt their books in order to market them internationally? What are the market standards in other emerging markets i.e China, Brazil, Mexico, etc? How might they differ from the Western standards, thus creating not one standard for publishing, but many different business models?

In the coming months and as a follow-up to the workshop, the Alliance will produce a small guide which will summarise all the ideas shared by publishers and the different speakers at the workshop.

The workshop also allowed publishers, who do not often have the opportunity to meet up, to exchange projects, books and ideas among themselves. Watch out for new projects and collaborations coming soon!

N.B. This workshop took place in the context of the International Assembly of Independent Publishers (more information here), and thanks to a partnership with the Bologna Book Fair to engage in reflection about the visibility of African independent publishers in international book fairs and rights events.

 

The African Publishers' stand at the 2013 Bologna Book Fair

Remembering the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, March 2011 – “We Want Them To Know They Are Not Alone” by Chieko Furuta Suemori

Monday, March 4th, 2013

March 11th marks the 2nd anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake – two long years of striving and rebuilding for those whose lives were altered by the disaster.  At the IBBY Congress last year, JBBY, the Japanese section of IBBY, hosted a very well-attended early-bird session, where we learned about the phenomenal work being done to bring books to children, and the healing that those books were and are able to effect.  Each speaker gave a personal account of their own experiences on 11th March 2011 and the different children’s book and library projects they have been instrumental in getting off the ground.  You can read the presentation given by JBBY President Takao Murayama here, in which he introduced the “Books for Tomorrow” project.  Hisako Kakuage spoke “To the Children of Fukushima, and for Children with Special Needs”, showing a selection of multi-sensory books, including cloth books and music (I was delighted to see Suho’s White Horse there).

Chieko Suemori, a former Executive Member of IBBY and founder of publishing house Suemori Books, launched the 3.11 Ehon Project Iwate within days of the disaster.  To date, they have received more than 232,000 books, which reach children via the Ehon Car mobile library project.  Chieko has given me permission to reproduce her presentation here.  Six months after the IBBY Congress, it is still very relevant and definitely worth reading, especially around this time when our thoughts turn towards those who are still suffering because of what happened two years ago – and to those who are doing all they can to help them.

We Want Them To Know They Are Not Alone by Chieko Furuta Suemori
~ Presentation given at the IBBY Congress, London, August 25, 2012

One year before the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I moved from Tokyo, north to Iwate prefecture. The place where I live is inland, but still the shaking of the quake was horrible. It was a quake stronger than anything I had felt in my life. Electric power shut down, so we had no telephone, television or Internet access. Probably many of you were seeing the images of the tsunami on TV before we did.

Yamada is one of the coastal towns hit hardest by the 11 March tsunami. After the waves destroyed the town, fires raged from huge gas storage tanks and spilled crude oil, and even the water of the harbor was on fire. This once-peaceful place was a haven to my ancestors, who fled persecution of Christians in Kyushu, several generations ago. As soon as the telephone and Internet began to work, many friends asked me what they could do to help us in Iwate. I recalled the work of IBBY’s [founder] Jella Lepman, and I thought: we must gather books for the children. A newspaper reporter I had known since the IBBY Congress in Basel wrote a story about my plan, and within days we began to receive an overwhelming stream of picture books from all over the country. I had not realized how much confidence Japanese place in picture books as a source of strength for children. Some days we would receive 200 to 300 boxes of books! Within two months, we had 230,000 books.

We also had a wonderful team of volunteers who helped us at the Central Civic Hall that was the base of our project. They opened the boxes, unloaded the books, and filed the letters and messages enclosed by the senders. Then we began to sort and organize the books, following the advice of our experts on picture books.

On 4 April, three weeks after the quake, I first visited the disaster zone. Amid the rubble of the town of Yamada I came upon a young Buddhist priest wearing only straw sandals even as snow continued to fall. Desperately wanting to do something, he had come, determined at least to pray for the dead. He was not even sure how helpful that was, but still he kept on praying in those wretched streets of broken homes, washed out streets, and burned out workplaces. All he could do was pray, he said, but he would walk the whole length of the long, convoluted coastline of Iwate. At night he faced the ocean, which had claimed the lives of so many, and after a deep bow, raised his voice high, chanting a sutra for the repose of their souls. My encounter with that young priest was a blessing, an experience I will never forget.

The tsunami washed away schools and libraries. In some cities, even the mayor and members of the city hall staff were caught up in the deadly tide. The children said nothing, but I could see how bravely they understand the situation. On the day I visited a day care center, there was a little girl in a pink shirt who did not join the circle of children listening to a story, and while the others played happily, sat alone, gazing at the floor. She was one of the children waiting for a mother who would never return. All I could do was to take my chair over and sit next to the girl in the pink shirt. I wanted her to know she was not alone.

When we invited the children to pick a book they liked to keep, they began to search through the boxes. One boy kept on searching for one of his favorite books, and when he found it, he clasped it dearly as he left. I realized that the children were searching for their favorite picture books they had read at home, kindergarten or day care before the tsunami.

About a year after the tsunami, on the 5th of February, I visited Rikuzen Takata, a large city that suffered massive damage. I visited the school gymnasium. It had been designated as an evacuation center in case of emergency, but the 200 people who had fled there were caught up in the tsunami and whirled around as if in a huge washing machine. Except for two or three, almost all had died. Although a year had passed, the city still had buildings crammed with upside down automobiles washed along by the tsunami and tangled rubble everywhere. There I found a small stuffed animal lodged in the sand. Somehow unwilling to just leave it there, I wrapped it in a handkerchief and took it home. A cute pink figure of a cow, it had a broken bell around its neck. It must have belonged to a small girl. Thinking of the fate of that little girl, I keep the little pink cow on my windowsill.

With support from IBBY and many others, our Ehon Project Iwate has launched six Picture Book Car mini-bookmobiles. In the disaster zone are a number of people whose homes were not damaged in the disaster who have set up small bunko home libraries. The vehicles are small so they can pass along narrow roads and streets, and the managers of the home libraries can easily drive them. They are equipped with winter-use tires and even insurance policies.

This year, in order to provide information and encouragement for these home libraries, we started regular gatherings in Morioka centering on picture books called “Picture Book Rendezvous” (Ehon Salon). By offering various enjoyable events and a place for networking, we hope to support the endeavors of people devoted to bringing books to children in communities throughout Iwate.

We have decided to continue this project for 10 years, helping the people managing bunko libraries in their homes along the Iwate coastline. By then, the city offices, libraries, and schools that were destroyed in the disaster will have been rebuilt and restored to some extent.

In closing, I would like to ask you to listen to a song. It is a song about finding hope in the midst of despair and about what we want to leave to our children. All sorts of people are singing—actors and actresses, singers, television entertainers, professional sports people—all of them with roots in the disaster zone. The recording was originally part of an NHK program, but for this IBBY Congress we have prepared a special version with English translation by Roger Pulvers. The song gives us a visible sense of the meaning of hope and shows that we have taken up the torch to carry on for those who have died.

We think of the many children throughout the world who suffer in many different ways, even without destructive earthquakes and tsunami. For those children as well, we must sustain hope through our commitment to children’s books.

PaperTigers’ Global Voices: Richa Jha (India) ~ Part 3 of 3

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

It’s been our privilege to have Indian writer, editor and blogger Richa Jha as our guest blogger for the past two weeks. Today we present the final part in her three part series:

Reader-less Books: Reading Habits of Indian Children ~ by Richa Jha

If  you haven’t read the previous entries, you can get caught up by reading  Part 1 here  and Part 2 here. In today’s post Richa addresses some of the reasons on why Indian youth may not be reading books written by Indian authors.

We can’t see them

Our books get lost in the sea of international books on the bookshelves at the stores, especially when there are tens of series vying for attention. A single spine in the middle of it is no show. Some of the bookstores do have dedicated shelves or sections for Indian authors, but the traffic is thin there. Children’s books continue to figure low on most publishing houses’ agenda. The lack of the necessary promotional push for these books from their side affects their visibility. So does the media’s cool shrug at most of these books. The bookstores aren’t too enthusiastic either to back the Indian authors as they don’t see them moving off the shelf much. This chicken-egg situation only compounds the general feeling of apathy that the Indian authors sense towards their work, in general, from all sides.

Let’s blame it on our parents!

My generation of parents grew up on a staple diet of Enid Blyton and Edward Stratemeyer (creator of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew), and for most, that fodder lies frozen in time. An essential rites of passage, we expect to see our children reading these. Most parents shy away from even exploring the Indian-Author shelves at bookstores.

At the same time, we do have a new (but small) breed of parents who are keen to introduce their children to the growing world of Indian YA fiction. But while the parents take care to buy these books, most children are reluctant to explore them. Buying, therefore, isn’t always enough. A possible way to get our kids interested in them would be to explore the book together. I remember sitting with my son a couple of years ago and reading aloud a relatively unknown gem by Ranjit Lal, The Red Jaguar on the Mountain. By the end of the first chapter, he was hooked and came back later to say, ‘The book is so cool!’

Things can only get better from here. Last month, India’s first zombie fiction for young adults, Zombiestan by Mainak Dhar hit the shelves (the second one by him is due for a release soon). Payal Dhar’s There’s a Ghost in My PC, Oops the Mighty Gurgle by RamG Vallath and The Deadly Royal Recipe by Ranjit Lal – all for middle schoolers slated for release soon – promise to be a hell of an adventure-and-fun packed reads. There’s visible promotion around them and the publishers and the authors seem to be having fun talking about their books. Don’t stop me from turning up that bubbly voice inside me that’s humming now-these-are-what-our-children-will-go-grab. Out of choice. Ahem! Amen.

Richa Jha is a writer and editor and, like many of us, nurtures an intense love for picture books. In her words:

I love picture books, and want the world to fall in love with them as well. My blog Snuggle With Picture Books is a natural extension of this madness. The Indian parents, teachers and kids are warming up to loads and loads of Indian picture books beginning to fill up the shelves in bookshops. It’s about time we had a dedicated platform to it. The idea behind the website is to try and feature every picture book (in English) out there in the Indian market. Usually, only a few titles end up getting talked about everywhere, be it because of their true merit, or some very good promotion, or some well-known names associated with them. There are many other deserving titles that get left out in the visibility-race. This website views every single book out there as being deserving of being ‘seen’ and celebrated.

PaperTigers’ Global Voices: Richa Jha (India) ~ Part 2 of 3

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Reader-less Books: Reading Habits of Indian Children ~ by Richa Jha

Part 2 of 3. (Read Part 1 here.)

There can be no one reason for the disinterest or the disconnect. But in most cases, it’s a combination of some of these factors below:

Are these stories for us?

We have consistently failed to write what our teenagers want to read. There is a commendable cultural, historical, socio-political and emotional depth in the kind and range of issues being tackled in the Indian YA books (terrorism, war, riots, child abuse, female infanticide). But unless having lived through these experiences, they are unlikely to grab a young adult’s attention. Where are the real here-and-now YA concerns of first love, sexual awakening, the tempting world of drugs and alcohol, pressures to perform or self discovery? Or, the gripping fantasy tales of good versus evil, written in blood as the adolescent battles the demons within and around? We are yet to create a genuinely pan-India super hero. Samit Basu’s Turbulence is the closest we can get to in this genre. India has just four or five good fantasy writers, and just as many who can write a light entertaining breezer. It’s about time our YA writing started loosening up.

Do we know them?

Reading is a natural progression from one stage to another. A first or second grader is hungry for books. The middle schoolers and young adults of today grew up with very few Indian titles available to them when they were younger, other than the more involved renditions of illustrated mythological tales and folk lore. That’s where the Enid Blyton books and the series like Bailey School Kids, Horrid Henry and Magic Tree House slipped in (and continue to slip in) to fill this natural gap. Before we know it, Geronimo has invaded the book shelves, and soon, there is a deluge of Potter and Wimpy Kid in the house. In the smaller towns, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew almost exclusively continue to hold sway over young minds. Try putting an Indian YA fiction in the teenager’s hand at this stage; you must be kidding if you expected success!

We like one, we want all:

A corollary to the previous point is the lack of series in India. A few do come to mind, like Payal Dhar’s A Shadow in Eternity Trilogy and Subhadra Sengupta’s Adventures of Foxy Four for young adults, or G S Dutt’s Adventures of Nikki for middle schoolers and Roopa Pai’s Taranauts for kids little younger than them. But these are few and far between. A good enough start, yes, but certainly not enough to feed the hunger of a book-devouring generation.

I’ll look like a dork if I read that Indian book while my friends read other cool books:

Did I hear someone say peer pressure? {to be continued on Dec. 5th}

Richa Jha is a writer and editor and, like many of us, nurtures an intense love for picture books. In her words:

I love picture books, and want the world to fall in love with them as well. My blog Snuggle With Picture Books is a natural extension of this madness. The Indian parents, teachers and kids are warming up to loads and loads of Indian picture books beginning to fill up the shelves in bookshops. It’s about time we had a dedicated platform to it. The idea behind the website is to try and feature every picture book (in English) out there in the Indian market. Usually, only a few titles end up getting talked about everywhere, be it because of their true merit, or some very good promotion, or some well-known names associated with them. There are many other deserving titles that get left out in the visibility-race. This website views every single book out there as being deserving of being ‘seen’ and celebrated.

PaperTigers’ Global Voices: Richa Jha (India)

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

As our 10th Anniversary celebrations have come to a conclusion we are now back to our regularly scheduled blog programming so to speak. First up we are pleased to welcome Richa Jha  as our new  Global Voices Guest Blogger. Richa will be joining us here on the blog  for three consecutive Wednesdays (today, Nov 28th and Dec. 5th) and has written a wonderful piece for us:

Reader-less Books ~ by Richa Jha

Part 1 of 3.

Roll of Honour, a recent novel by Amandeep Sandhu is a gripping, haunting, disturbing page-turner. In many ways, it is also India’s first boldly written brutally honest crossover fiction. Set against the prominent backdrop of the Sikh militancy in the 1980s, it is a gritty account of a troubled adolescence and split loyalties at a military boarding school. A couple of years ago, I read Siddharth Sarma’s The Grasshopper’s Run in five straight hours, transfixed, glued to the pages. It’s an outstanding read (little surprise that it was picked up by Bloomsbury for international publication), with all the elements of good YA read: it’s fast paced, there’s friendship, deceit, loyalties, war, trauma, revenge, retribution. The depth and detailing – geographical, political and emotional (like in Roll of Honour) – is of an exceptionally high order. Books like these get noticed and talked about in India, for sure; they get rave reviews. And they win awards.

But the copies don’t sell; not the way they should, not to the readers they ought to. The young adults don’t go looking for these titles. So, what’s up with the reading habits of teenagers in India?

The good news: Indian urban children are reading for pleasure, and reading more than ever before. There are dedicated book festivals for children’s books, schools hold their own book weeks with the primary intent of getting kids to develop a lifelong affair with reading, the libraries at schools look well stocked where reading is encouraged as part of the school curriculum even outside those designated book weeks, and parents don’t mind spending on books. Head to any large bookstore in a metro, and you’ll find children’s books and teen fiction occupying a substantial (and impressive) shelf space. Families walk in, browse at leisure over coffee and brownies in the store café and walk out with big shopping bags. So far so good.

And now, we look inside those shopping bags for the bad news. If you’re lucky, you may find a book by an Indian author among a bunch of Gerenimo Stiltons, Wimpy Kids, Percy Jacksons or the Twilights. If this is your day like it’s never been before, you’ll hear that the Indian book is meant for personal consumption, and not as a birthday gift for a friend. Third time lucky? The child grabbed the copy himself and not upon his parents’ insistence.

That, in a nutshell, is what happens with most of our own books. So, our kids are devouring books, but the bulk of it is pretty much the reigning fads from the West. Much as I would love to be proved wrong, I’ll be surprised if we find our teenagers buying and reading a brilliant book like Roll of Honour. Out of choice. {to be continued on Nov. 28th}

 

 Richa Jha is a writer and editor and, like many of us, nurtures an intense love for picture books. In her words:

I love picture books, and want the world to fall in love with them as well. My blog  Snuggle With Picture Books is a natural extension of this madness. The Indian parents, teachers and kids are warming up to loads and loads of Indian picture books beginning to fill up the shelves in bookshops. It’s about time we had a dedicated platform to it. The idea behind the website is to try and feature every picture book (in English) out there in the Indian market. Usually, only a few titles end up getting talked about everywhere, be it because of their true merit, or some very good promotion, or some well-known names associated with them. There are many other deserving titles that get left out in the visibility-race. This website views every single book out there as being deserving of being ‘seen’ and celebrated.

 

PaperTigers 10th Anniversary – “PaperTigers at 10″ by Founding Producer Elisa Oreglia

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

We have a new Personal View by Elisa Oreglia, the founding Producer/Editor of PaperTigers in 2002.  Elisa is currently a PhD student at the University of California Berkeley School of Information researching the circulation and use of mobile phones and computers in China, especially in the countryside.  You can read articles written by Elisa in PaperTigers’ early days here and here.

Elisa recently produced this reading list for the Ethnography Matters blog – plenty to get your teeth into there – and she still loves children’s books, especially ones about elephants.

“PaperTigers at 10″ by Elisa Oreglia

Happy Birthday, PaperTigers! And what a great age to be, ten years old. When I was ten years old, that was my golden age of reading: a treasure of picture books still behind me, to consult secretly from time to time, and a whole new world of books for young adults and grown-ups slowly opening up. Around that time, my grandmother gave me a book of legends, myths, and stories from around the world which, at least according to the family lore, shaped a lot of my future interests. At the time, legends and myths from other countries were about as far as multicultural literature had gone, and I drank it up. I read the book in one go, and kept going back to the different stories, especially the legend of the dragon boat festival from China… see where this is going?

I can’t say that I thought about these stories a lot or became obsessed by dragon boats in the following years, but when, years later, Peter Coughlan asked me if I’d be interested in working with him to create a website centered around children’s books and the Pacific Rim, the dragon boats came back to my mind. I wondered what had happened in the years since I stopped reading children’s books: were kids still reading myths and legends from around the world? Were there more books about faraway cultures now that the internet was seemingly shortening the distance between countries? What did children’s books look like in China and India and other Pacific Rim countries? How could I say no to such a tempting adventure?

Read the rest of the article…

PaperTigers’ Global Voices: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents: The Art of the Picture Book Exhibition ~ by Holly Kent, Sales and Marketing Manager, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

(Part 3 of 3. Read Part 1 “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents TD Canadian Children’s Book Week” here and Part 2 “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s TD Grade One Book Giveaway Program”  here.)

It is through the support of generous sponsors, donations, and our members and subscribers that the Canadian Children’s Book Centre is able to run its many programs. We also hold fundraising events – one of the most exciting being The Art of the Picture Book Exhibition and Auction.

Over 80 original illustrations from Canadian picture books will be on exhibit at the world-famous Montreal Museum of Fine Art in fall 2012. Some of the most stunning images from Canadian picture books will be part of the exhibition celebrating Canadian children’s book illustrations. The exhibit will run from September 11 to October 14.

The kicker (for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre) is that each piece has been graciously donated by leading Canadian illustrators and the sale of these pieces will raise funds to support our programs, publications, and operating costs.

Works have been donated by renowned artists including Rebecca Bender (image on left), Geneviève Côté, Barbara Reid, Michael Martchenko, Mélanie Watt, and many more.

The month-long exhibit will be followed by Take Home an Original, an auction of the original art, on the evening of October 16, 2012.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications, and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers.

At the heart of our work at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre is our love for the books that get published in Canada each year, and our commitment to raising awareness of the quality and variety of Canadian books for young readers.

Our programs, such as TD Canadian Children’s Book Week and the TD Grade One Book Giveaway, are designed to introduce young Canadian readers not only to the books all around them, but to the authors and illustrators that create them. Our quarterly magazine Canadian Children’s Book News and the annual Best Books for Kids & Teens selection guide are designed to help parents, librarians and educators discover the world of Canadian books and to help them to select the best reading material for young readers.

We are thrilled to have The Canadian Children’s Book Centre join us as PaperTigers’ Global Voices Guest Blogger for the month of August. Part 1 of the series “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents TD Canadian Children’s Book Week” was posted here. Part 2 “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s TD Grade One Book Giveaway Program” was posted here.

PaperTigers’ Global Voices: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (Part 2)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s TD Grade One Book Giveaway Program~ by Holly Kent, Sales and Marketing Manager, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

(Part 2 of 3. Read Part 1 “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents TD Canadian Children’s Book Week” here)

The largest print run in Canada isn’t a holiday bestseller, winner of the prestigious Giller prize, or even the newest Robert Munsch book. It’s a paperback re-issue of a Canadian children’s picture book, a different title each year, and it’s given to every Grade One student in Canada by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. The TD Grade One Book Giveaway distributes over 500,000 books, in English and French, to students across the country. Due to a new promotion by TD Bank Group, the title sponsor that fully funds the program, 700,000 copies will be printed this year and an additional 200,000 will be distributed in bank branches across the country.

Sometimes this book ends up being the first book a child has ever owned. That’s why it’s such an important program. Studies show that the mere presence of books in the home gives children an enormous advantage in school.

This fall, Grade One children nation-wide will take home I’ve Lost My Cat, written and illustrated by Philippe Béha, and published by Éditions Imagine. This book was originally published in French as J’ai perdu mon chat and will be distributed in its original language to French language schools.

It’s the charming story of a young boy who loses his cat – he’s round, he’s cute, he’s yellow, black and white, and his name is Greyling. The boy’s friends all try to find Greyling and they bring the young boy all sorts animals that somewhat match the description of his cat. They bring him a leopard, a pig and an elephant… but none of them are Greyling.

An important component of the TD Grade One Book Giveaway is a national tour. Philippe Béha will be traveling across Canada this fall to speak to students and celebrate the distribution I’ve Lost My Cat.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications, and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers.

At the heart of our work at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre is our love for the books that get published in Canada each year, and our commitment to raising awareness of the quality and variety of Canadian books for young readers.

Our programs, such as TD Canadian Children’s Book Week and the TD Grade One Book Giveaway, are designed to introduce young Canadian readers not only to the books all around them, but to the authors and illustrators that create them. Our quarterly magazine Canadian Children’s Book News and the annual Best Books for Kids & Teens selection guide are designed to help parents, librarians and educators discover the world of Canadian books and to help them to select the best reading material for young readers.

We are thrilled to have  The Canadian Children’s Book Centre join us as PaperTigers’ Global Voices Guest Blogger for the month of August. Part 1 of the series “The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents TD Canadian Children’s Book Week” was posted here. Part 3 will be posted on August 22nd.

PaperTigers’ Global Voices: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre Presents: TD Canadian Children’s Book Week ~ by Holly Kent, Sales and Marketing Manager, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre runs several programs that promote the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of quality Canadian children’s books in Canada. TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is one of our most ambitious programs, and the results are overwhelming.

Each year, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre sends dozens of authors, illustrators, and storytellers on a whirlwind of tours in every Canadian province. The first Book Week took place in 1977. Eleven authors set out on the first Children’s Book Festival tour sponsored by the one-year-old Children’s Book Centre. Today, close to 35,000 children, teens and adults participate in activities held in every province and territory across the country. In 2012, 29 touring creators gave 396 readings in schools, public libraries, bookstores and community centres host events as part of this major literary festival.

The best thing, in my opinion, about TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is that so many communities who wouldn’t normally be included in an author tour are able host readings and presentations. Aside from the fact that authors are touring less and less, Canada is big – really big. Travel to less populated cities and towns can be prohibitively expensive. TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is sometimes a child’s first encounter with an author, and often their first experience getting excited about reading.

Willow Dawson, an author/illustrator from Ontario read at Eliot River Elementary School in Cornwall, PEI during TD Book Week 2012: “After the session, a bunch of kids stayed behind for autographs. Thankfully, I didn’t have to rush off to the next event so there was a little time to draw each of them a small picture. The next day I received a really beautiful email from a mother thanking me for inspiring her son to read for the first time in his life. He was one of the kids who stayed after for a picture! Her message really made me choke up.”

Each year, TD Book Week celebrates a specific theme for which books are chosen and classroom materials are created. The 2012 theme was Read a Book, Share a Story, selected in part to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Lillian H. Smith becoming the first trained children’s librarian in Canada, and in the British Empire. The twenty-nine authors, illustrators, and storytellers who toured Canada were the very embodiment of this theme.

The 2013 TD Canadian Children’s Book will be held May 4 – 11 and we are excited to announce the authors, illustrators and storytellers who will be touring. Visit the TD Book Week site in September to find out what province/territory each of these creators will be touring and the types of readings and workshops they will be giving. Schools, libraries, bookstores and community centres interested in hosting a Book Week visitor can apply online starting mid-September. For more information, please contact Shannon Howe Barnes, Program Coordinator shannon(at)bookcentre(dot)ca

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications, and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers.

At the heart of our work at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre is our love for the books that get published in Canada each year, and our commitment to raising awareness of the quality and variety of Canadian books for young readers.

Our programs, such as TD Canadian Children’s Book Week and the TD Grade One Book Giveaway, are designed to introduce young Canadian readers not only to the books all around them, but to the authors and illustrators that create them. Our quarterly magazine Canadian Children’s Book News and the annual Best Books for Kids & Teens selection guide are designed to help parents, librarians and educators discover the world of Canadian books and to help them to select the best reading material for young readers.

We are thrilled to have  The Canadian Children’s Book Centre join us as PaperTigers’ Global Voices Guest Blogger for the month of August. Part 2 of the series will be posted here on the blog on August 15th and Part 3 on August 22nd.

PaperTigers’ Global Voices: René Colato Laínez (USA/El Salvador) ~ Part 3

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Going Back to El Salvador ~ by René Colato Laínez

Part 3 of 3 (Read Part 1 “The War in El Salvador” here and Part 2 “My Life in the United States” here)

In the winter of 2010, I received a call from Salvadoran children’s book author Jorge Argueta. He and his wife Holly Ayala were organizing a children’s poetry festival in El Salvador and he was inviting me to present at the festival. For one reason or another, I had not gone back to El Salvador since my father and I had left the country and moved to the USA. I did my math: 2010 – 1985= 25. Twenty-five years away from El Salvador! It was time to go back.  I was returning to my homeland as a teacher and as an author.

My country was still beautiful. But in 25 years, there had been many changes. I saw new roads, big shopping centers and new tourist places. The war torn El Salvador had evolved into a peaceful place. Salvadorans are working hard to have a better El Salvador for the new generations.

For three days, November 8-10, more than 600 children visited the National Library Francisco Gavidia. They came from more than 25 neighborhoods around the country.  Children were excited to meet authors and poets. Some authors live in El Salvador such as Ana Ferrufino and Manlio Argueta. The rest of the authors came from others countries such as  Jorge Argueta, Francisco X Alarcón and Margarita Robleda, Jeannette Martinez Cornejo,  Jackie Méndez and myself.

Most of my books are about Salvadoran children such us René Has Two Last Names/ René tiene dos apellidos and My Shoes and I. Children were connected to these books because they could see their faces, culture and country. I told them that dreams come true. When I was a kid in El Salvador, I had two dreams: to become a teacher and to be an author. Now my dreams are a reality because I believed in myself, did my best and did not give up. Children looked at me with sparkles of hope in their eyes. They told me that they will also reach for their dreams and they were so proud to meet me a “famous Salvadoran author”.

Children were amazed to discover that a Tooth Fairy collect children’s teeth in the United States. They were interested in that “pretty princess” on the cover of The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. “But she will not find any tooth here. All the teeth belongs to El Ratón,” a boy said. I told them that in the United States it was that pretty princess, the Tooth Fairy, who collects children’s teeth. They enjoyed the story and the adventure where their beloved Ratón Perez met their new hero the Tooth Fairy.

The Second Children’s Book Festival took place last November. Salvadoran authors Maria Guadalupe Castellanos, Silvia Elena Regalado, Jorgelina Cerritos and Manlio Argueta joined Jorge Argueta, Francisco X Alarcón, Margarita Robleda and myself. We had an incredible time reading to children. Children had fun writing their own poems and stories and you can watch a video of the festival here.

I am eager to go back to El Salvador for the Third Children’s Poetry Festival which will take place November 14 – 16, 2012. In this short video authors Jorge Argueta and Manlio Argueta talk about the next Children’s Poetry Festival.

In the meantime, we need to raise money for the next festival. We have an online fundraising campaign (click here to donate) and on Sept. 15, 2012 we will have the first Children’s Flor y Canto Festival at the Brava Theater in San Francisco. Come and visit authors Francisco X Alarcón, Lucha Corpi, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Jorge Argueta and more! Lots of surprises are in store and we guarantee a fun time for all! We need your support to have another great children’s poetry festival in El Salvador. Visit the Talleres de Poesia Facebook page to learn more!

René Colato Laínez is the Salvadoran award-winning author of many multicultural children’s books including  The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez, From North to South, René Has Two Last Names, I Am René, the Boy, Playing Lotería and My Shoes and I. He is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults. René is “the teacher full of stories” at Fernangeles Elementary School. In his books, you can find culture, fun and hope for the future. Visit him at www.renecolatolainez.com and read our 2006 interview with him here.

We are thrilled to have René  join us as PaperTigers’ Global Voices Guest Blogger for the month of July. Part 1 of his series “The War in El Salvador” was posted here. Part 2 “My Life in the United States” was posted here.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre will be joining us as our Global Voices Guest Blogger in August.