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The Chat, with GGs Winners Sydney Smith and JonArno Lawson

In our final interview of the Governor General’s special edition of The Chat, we speak to JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith, joint winners of the 2015 English-language Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature (Illustrated), for Sidewalk Flowers.

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JonArno Lawson is the author of several award-winning books of poetry for children and adults, and is a four-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. He has been most inspired in his work by his own children, and received a Chalmers Fellowship Award in 2007 to research children’s lap and bouncing rhymes cross-culturally in different communities across Toronto. Born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised nearby in Dundas, JonArno Lawson now lives in Toronto.

Sydney Smith. Photo Credit- D. Edwards

Sydney Smith discovered his love of children’s illustration while studying drawing and printmaking at NSCAD University in Halifax. Some of his first experiences illustrating children’s books were for the new editions of Sheree Fitch’s older books (Mabel Murple, There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, and …

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The Chat, With 2015 GGs Winner Caroline Pignat (Children's Text)

Next up in our series of interviews with the winners of this year’s English-language Governor General’s Award is Caroline Pignat, winner of the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature.

Caroline Pignat wins her second Governor General’s Literary Award with The Gospel Truth (2015), the young adult novel that also won her the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year Honour Book. Other award-winning books include Egghead (Red Maple Book Award, 2009) and Greener Grass (GG Award, 2009).

This year’s jury called The Gospel Truth “the powerful and poignant story of 16-year-old Phoebe, a slave girl in 1858 Virginia. Written in lyrical and elegant free verse, it is an unflinching look at the brutality of slavery and Phoebe’s struggle for freedom and truth. Ultimately, this is a story of hope.”

TheChat-GGs

 

THE CHAT WITH CAROLINE PIGNAT

Sometimes when we think back to the nineteenth century and slave ownership, we tend to lump the experiences of slaves together and contain them in one thought bubble: “They suffered, they sang songs to keep them going, they hatched plans to escape.” The Gospel Truth veers away from this simplification. Why was this important to you in writing the book?

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Top Shelf: Best of Julie Booker's Notes From a Children's Librarian

Too often, great blog posts and lists get buried in the web’s relentless tendency to favour the new over the old. That's the reason for Top Shelf, a series that shines a spotlight on the best of 49th Shelf lists and posts, no matter their recency.

For quite some time, Ms. Julie Booker, children's librarian and author of the critically acclaimed Up Up Up, has been knocking out incredible posts for those interested in great kids' and YA books; we call it Notes from a Children's Librarian. Here's a round-up of some of our favourites—click on the text link or book jacket for the full list of books captured in Julie's posts.

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Enviro Fiction Picks: Environmental issues can be so vast and complicated that for kids, simple, compelling stories are often the best way to instill a respect for our natural world and a sense of what they can do to be good to it. Julie picks out four books here for different age ranges.

 

Funny Books for Young Readers: Lest we ever forget, it can be hard work being a kid, especially given the ever-changing social dynamics at …

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