Tag Archives: Children’s literature

The Beginning of Critical Thinking

I recently read a review by a university professor slamming a children’s picture book because it depicted unsafe actions by the characters. I won’t say what the books is because I happen to love it and so do the children I read it to. It makes them laugh.

A lot of that laughter comes from the slightly uncomfortable, if unconscious feeling that what’s going on in the story shouldn’t and probably couldn’t happen. In other books there is vocabulary that we might not use, again soliciting uncomfortable giggles.

Wouldn’t you say that’s the beginning of critical thinking?

My message:

Sometimes characters in books say and do things that you would never say or do. [Shocking!!!] That doesn't mean that there are other people in the world who wouldn't say or do those things. There are all kinds of people in the world. [Thinking...] We grow by understanding others and then making our own choices.


Filed under Education, Library Class, Reading

Illustrator: Karen Reczuch ~ Award Finalist

Finalist for the 2012 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($25,000)
Sponsored by TD Bank Group

Written by Susan Vande Griek (Halifax, NS)
Illustrated by Karen Reczuch (Acton, ON)
Groundwood Books
for ages 4-7

“A beautiful combination of words and images… The poetic text perfectly captures the rhythm of a loon’s life cycle… Readers will respond on so many different levels – to Vande Griek’s lovely use of language and Reczuch’s beautiful images… A magical combination of poetry and illustrations that is both lyrical and scientifically informative.” (link)

Detail from Loon

Karen Reczuch

A childhood spent with a pencil always in hand has blossomed into a full and varied life for Ontario artist Karen Reczuch. Apart from her here-featured work as a children’s book illustrator, Reczuch has enjoyed extensive travel as part of post-secondary studies in advertising, work in educational publishing and employment since 2008 as artifact illustrator for an archeological expedition in Turkey.


(Click on the above thumbnails for their Goodreads page with reviews, and here for the full gallery of children’s books illustrated by Reczuch.)

Reczuch’s website cover image. Click to go there.

“Whether spending an afternoon sketching in a nearby woods or absorbed at my desk drawing an ancient artifact, I enjoy examining and recording the intricate world around me. Time spent drawing and painting is an opportunity to truly “see” and often an exercise in personal discovery and connection, not unlike meditation. My hope is that my work allows others to make similar discoveries and to share the delight of visually exploring our shared environment.”   Karen Reczuch

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Plan Ahead for Your Local Children’s Book Week

Canadian Children’s Book Week 2012 will be celebrated May 5-12th this year. If you are planning on ordering posters or bookmarks, you might want to get on it.

This site contains valuable information about the history of Book Week; the plans for this year’s touring program; the costs involved in hosting a reading; information about the touring authors, illustrators and storytellers and the presentations they do; contact information for the Book Week Coordinators who are organizing the tours in your province or territory; and information about our popular Book Week materials which can be used to celebrate Canadian books in the classroom, library or at home.

Canadian Children’s Book Week Poster by Montreal illustrator  Janice Nadeau, three-time Governor General’s Award winner.

Promotional poster for Children’s Book Week in the US  (May 7-13) is by David Wisener, author and illustrator of favourites such as Sector 7 and Tuesday.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia will be celebrating their Book Week August 27-23rd. 2012. The theme is “Champions Read”, but the promotional material is understandably not available yet for this coming celebration. Last year’s poster is below, but I have been unable to identify the artist. If any readers knows who created this attractive image, please let me know.

In the UK, Children’s Book Week is held during the first full week of October. Last year’s poster was by award winning author and illustrator Katie Cleminson.

If you know of any other children’s book celebrations around the world, please share.

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Filed under Art & Design, Library Programs

Peter Sís: Winner of International Illustrator’s Award

The International Board on Books for Young People have awarded artist Peter Sís with this year’s prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award.

“Now I am on the list with two of my professors and my mentor, Maurice Sendak,” says Sís, referring to illustrators Jiří Trnka and Quentin Blake, whom he studied with. “I still can’t believe it.”

Considered one of children’s literature’s most prestigious honors, the Hans Christian Andersen Award is granted biennially to an author and an illustrator “whose complete works have made lasting contributions to children’s literature,” reads IBBY’s statement.

Sís, originally from the Czech Republic, was selected from among 30 illustrators who were nominated for this year’s honor. The 10-member jury praised Sís for his “use of different design and artistic techniques, as well as his innovative approach using a subtle balance to depict well-documented and historical events and fantastic elements.” School Library Journal

Cover images link to Goodreads pages with reader reviews.

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Author Interviews on Books Alive

Click screenshot to play interview with the very prolific "Master of the Page Turner" Margaret Peterson Haddix

Over 3 dozen video interviews with prominent American children’s authors from the network TV show Books Alive, including AVI, Mem Fox, Gordon Korman, Tamora Pierce and many others can be found on the A Book and a Hug website. Creator and interviewer Barb Langridge has also created linked lists of recommended books by genre, gender and reading levels.

I’m looking forward to using the recommended lists as well as parts of the videos with book talks and author studies.

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators