Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Beautiful Arctic Book Trailer

Illustrator Alice Priestley put together this gorgeous trailer in honor of Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay, which we recently reprinted.

Here's what Alice has to say about the process of both illustrating the book and creating the trailer:

One of the most amazing things about creating the illustrations for Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay is how colorful they turned out to be. The landscape is made up of ice and snow and two of the main characters are polar bears, so you’d expect to see a lot of white in the images, but the story takes place at the end of the day (“the sun was shining red on the snow...”) and all that white reflects the colors of the sunset.
The changing colors help to convey the moods of the story, too, I think. When the story begins and the mother bear is nursing her cub, the sky is all gold and pink and mauve, but as the suspense builds, the sky deepens to a glowing red, and then finally to cold blues and purples as father and daughter are left alone on the ice.
But despite the drama that unfolds, the story has a gentle tone (it’s a great story for reading aloud—it has the reassuring rhythms of a folk tale), so I wanted the illustrations to reflect that as well. Working in colored pencils with layered colors, I avoided outlines, concentrating on areas of light and shadow to convey the forms of the figures and landscapes in a softer way. And I added an Inuit art inspired frieze across the bottom of each page to give the book a timeless folk tale feel.
It was that frieze that became a jumping off point for creating the book trailer. Giving it movement so it scrolls across the page was an obvious first step, and then that suggested the gentle drift of other elements as well, and a series of “what if” ideas: what if some of the scrolling text goes behind the iceberg; what if the polar bears are actually running?
Music brings a whole other dimension to the trailer, and I chose it carefully. It couldn’t be too bright and sunny or too dark: like the art, it had to work with both the drama of the plot and the gentle tone of the narration. I actually chose the music before I began editing, so the timing of the edits could match the phrasing of the melodies. It was so interesting to see how adding music and movement to the artwork in the trailer helped to convey the atmosphere of the book.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012 Canadian Children's Literature Awards Gala!

Last night, the Canadian Children's Book Centre and TD Bank Group put on a dazzling gala at the Ritz-Carlton hotel to celebrate Canadian children's literature. Before the awards presentation, authors, illustrators, publishing and media professionals, and avid readers of all stripes mingled over a delicious buffet and signature martinis. Here are some Annick authors and illustrators enjoying the night:

Author Kate Cayley, right, with her friend Simone
Authors Kathy Stinson (L) and Andrea Wayne von Königslöw ham it up for the camera
Annick was fortunate to have a number of authors nominated: Edeet Ravel for Held (John Spray Mystery Award), Kate Cayley for The Hangman in the Mirror (Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People), and Rafal Gerszak and Dawn Hunter for Beyond Bullets (Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction).

The awards ceremony was a lively affair, skillfully hosted by CBC's Garvia Bailey (Big City, Small World). It was wonderful to hear the awards presenters re-affirm the importance of literacy and children's books, and to see the authors and illustrators recognized for their contributions to Canadian children's literature.

We are very proud to announce that Kate Cayley won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction. The jury described her winning book, The Hangman in the Mirror, as follows:
“A truly captivating piece of historical fiction that brings to life the gritty realities of life in 18th century New France... Cayley’s skills as a playwright are evident in the way the novel reads... The setting is so vivid and Cayley masterfully depicts the extreme disparity between the lives of the rich and the poor... Françoise is a delightfully multi-dimensional and very realistic character and Cayley does a fabulous job of capturing the essence of life at that time... A thoroughly engaging story that keeps readers riveted.”

Kate Cayley accepts her award for The Hangman in the Mirror
The other winners were:
  • TD Canadian Children's Literature Award: Trilby Kent, Stones for My Father (Tundra)
  • Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award: Genevieve Cote, Without You (Kids Can)
  • Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction: Susan Vande Griek (ill. Karen Reczuch), Loon (Groundwood)
  • John Spray Mystery Award: Rob Mills, Charlie's Key (Orca)
  • Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy: P.J. Sarah Collins, What Happened to Serenity? (Red Deer Press)
You can read more about all the nominees and winners on the CCBC website. Be forewarned: your to-be-read pile is about to grow by leaps and bounds!

A big thank-you to the jury members, who had some very tough decisions to make, and another round of congratulations to all of the nominated authors and illustrators, and the teams that worked on their books!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NCTE in Vegas!

Last week, our production manager Heather was manning the Annick booth at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual convention in sunny Las Vegas. It was her first time in Vegas, and while she didn't have any luck at the slots, she said that the city lived up to its reputation of being larger than life.
Heather also reported that the attendees were enthusiastic about Annick and its titles, and were especially interested in People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression. Teachers praised it for its international focus, as well as its curriculum relevance. If you'd like to review a copy, you can click here to find it on NetGalley.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Activities for Picture Book Month

In honor of Picture Book Month, we're having a contest to win a piece of signed, original artwork from one of our talented illustrators (details here). And while you're waiting for the results to be announced, why not try out some picture book-inspired activities with your little ones?

We found a great activity plan for The Stone Hatchlings on The Castle Library blog. It's got activities for both older and younger readers, discussion questions, and a video on making your own pet rock. (Trust me, that last bit is relevant to the story!) Click here to see the full post, and enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Contest for Picture Book Month!

November is Picture Book Month (you can read all about it here)! And what better way to celebrate than by having a contest? 

This month, we're offering the chance to win a piece of original art from the picture book Birthday Suit! Written by Olive Senior and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, this is the charming tale of a little boy who doesn't see what's so great about having to wear clothes.

Original artwork, shown next to the book for scale
Splashing in the ocean! (Note: colors are brighter in real life.)

The art is roughly 16x20 inches, painted canvas on a wood frame, and signed by the artist on the reverse. This painting will brighten up any room, or make a wonderful present for the holidays.

To enter*, please email the following to annickpress ~at~ annickpress ~dot~ com:
  • Your name and mailing address (U.S./Canadian addresses only, please)
  • Your favorite picture book (no, it does not have to be one of ours!)
The contest will be open from November 9-29. A winner will be randomly chosen on November 30. Good luck!

*Note: contest is only open to Canadian and U.S. residents. Thank you for understanding.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In the Studio with Loris Lesynski

On Monday, author/poet/illustrator Loris Lesynski paid a visit to Orange Lounge to record five of her children's books: one picture book (Boy Soup) and four books of verse (Crazy About Soccer, Dirty Dog Boogie, Nothing Beats a Pizza, and Zigzag). Although she prefers reading her work aloud to children--especially when they read along with her--she enjoyed the chance to practice old favorites and try out the as-of-yet unperformed poems in Crazy About Soccer. (She also made friends with the charming office dog, Jack, who convinced her to throw his ball a few times.)

Here are a few snapshots of the day:
Loris, ready to record!
Spencer, our sound engineer, hard at work
Loris's signature joins Katy Perry's, Bryan Cranston's... the list goes on!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sneak Peeks at New Art from Gosia Mosz

Today's post comes from illustrator Gosia Mosz. She reveals the story behind the characters Cat and Dog, who will appear in an upcoming pair of board books written by Hazel Hutchins. Gosia shares:
When I started my sketches for the book Cat Comes Too, my neighbour's cat could smell a great opportunity. He came to see me and posed for the first sketches! :) Of course, not for free, but for a bowl of sweet cream or other tidbit. Does someone know a disinterested cat? (Send me pictures please!)

The dog character wasn't so easy. There were those who did hang around like extras at a film casting--some very big, some small and shaggy, but none were right for Dog Comes Too. I had to excite my imagination--a little coffee with milk and chocolate cookies helped and here we have our happy puppy bravely running through meadows!

I am convinced that our little heroes Cat and Dog will make kids laugh.
Gosia also sent us some photos of her workspace and sketches from the books. Consider this an early sneak peek! You can click on any of the photos above to go to the photo set on Flickr. This one is my personal favorite... is Cat about to steal a cookie?

For more about Gosia and her work, please visit her website: