The Winnowing Book Launch

image007-2

Fall is just around the corner which means sweater weather, pumpkin pie, and The Winnowing! I’ve been busy working on some guest posts for The Winnowing blog tour and booking events for the fall. Full details coming soon, but for now here is everything you need to know about the Toronto book launch!

When: Tuesday, August 29th 6:30pm

Where: Supermarket Bar & Restaurant, 268 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, ON. Kensington Market

This is a public event, kids and friends welcome!

Books will be sold by beloved Toronto institution and indie bookseller Bakka-Phoenix.

Trivia master and kid lit author Evan Munday will be hosting a round of trivia around 8pm. He will be focusing on related topics (children’s books, 1980s pop culture, science fiction, etc). There will be prizes, so bring your brainiest pals!

The Best Moments in Children’s Books, 2014

ColbyProcyk1

There were some shining moments in the children’s book world in 2014. This year we encouraged children to practice their reading with cats, celebrated graphic novels, established a new YA award in Canada, and took a stand on diversity.

Mac Barnett’s TED talk

Barnett’s books are funny, clever, and sophisticated, but never at the expense of child appeal. It comes as no surprise that the author himself is an engaging ambassador for children’s literature. In his TED talk “Why a good book is a secret door,” he discusses the human aptitude for imagination and gives plenty of real-life examples from his days as a camp counselor to his work at the inventive writing & tutoring organization 826LA, and his own writing.

 

Berks ARL Book Buddies Program 

ColbyProcyk1

I mean come on. Look at this picture! So cute I had to post it twice. This story of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County Book Buddies program went viral in February, due largely to this image of a little boy reading to a shelter cat posted on Reddit. Encouraging children to read AND comforting cats? I am in.

 

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

we-need-diverse-books-logo

This grassroots organization of diversity crusaders has come a long way. After BookCon announced an all-white, largely male line-up this spring, authors and readers took to the internet to make it known that #WeNeedDiverseBooks. To their credit, the organizers responded, and a panel entitled “The World Agrees: We Need Diverse Books” was added to the programming. Months later, after significant media coverage and successful crowd-funding campaigns,  WNDB is a full-fledged organization. Featuring grants, book lists, tips for bringing diversity into the classroom and an upcoming festival, it is safe to say that #WeNeedDiverseBooks is transitioning from a moment to a movement.

 

THIS ONE SUMMER wins the Governor General’s Award for Illustration

summer

In an insightful piece in The National Post this fall, Anna Fitzpatrick discusses the potential impact of Jillian Tamaki‘s GG win on the perception of comic arts. With the ever-growing popularity of graphic novels and memoirs for children (El Deafo, Sisters, Through the Woods and the upcoming Roller Girl), the ever-growing attendance at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and a TCAF pop-up shop at the Toronto Public Library this month, it is hard to deny that graphic art in all it’s permutations is commanding more respect. This is fantastic news. Just think of the amazing crossover and genre-bending books there are to come!

 

The Amy Mathers Teen Book Award is Established

amy mathers

Book-lover and CanLit advocate Amy Mathers began her marathon of books, reading her way across Canada one YA book at a time, in January 2014 hoping to raise enough money to fund a much-needed award for Canadian YA. At the TD Children’s Literature Award Gala in November it was announced that her dream would become a reality. The first Amy Mathers Teen Book Award will be awarded in 2015. This is great news for the vibrant and diverse range of YA books published by Canadians.  Follow Amy’s journey and peruse her book reviews on her website or connect with her on twitter.

Now doesn’t that make you feel good? Here’s to a great 2015! Happy holidays, friends!

Summer Days, Starry Nights Shortlisted for the 2015 Red Maple Award

summer-days-cover

I could not be more thrilled to be among the fantastic writers on the 2015 Red Maple Award list. The OLA Forest of Reading is one of the largest children’s choice award programs in Canada and attending the Forest of Trees ceremony in Toronto is one of my favourite days of the year. If you have any doubt about the state of reading in this country, this is a program to check out. But don’t take my word for it:

 

If you get the chance to go to Harbourfront and witness the 8000+ school children screaming for their favourite book, I highly recommend it. You will leave grinning and feeling like the world is in excellent hands. Mark Medley did a fantastic article about the event in The National Post. Read it here.

I have created some resources to compliment the Summer Days, Starry Nights reading experience. Please check out my resources page to find:

-Discussion questions and a list of related activities

Pinterest Inspiration board– Here you will find a collection of images that inspire the setting, the clothes, and some of the characters in the book

Playlist– I have pulled together some videos of artists and musical groups that are mentioned in the book or inspired the characters of Bo, Gwen, and Johnny

I am also available for school visits and have a quantity of Summer Days, Starry Nights bookmarks available for your schools and libraries. Leave me a message in the comments and I’m happy to put together a package for you (while supplies last).

 

Read, Write, Blog: 2013 in Review

WHAT I PUBLISHED

Instagram DAYS Jenn Hubbs

Not one, but TWO new novels! Bringing my series about Benji and Clarissa to a close in DAYS THAT END IN Y was bittersweet. I love this review in CM Magazine because above all else I aim to be authentic, and if the mother of a teenage daughter who happens to be a middle school librarian says I succeeded, than I am a happy girl. I  still think about those crazy kids and what they might get up to in high school. I feel like Benji would be a big Lorde fan and that Clarissa would have many opinions on Miley Cyrus.

IMG_8468

SUMMER DAYS, STARRY NIGHTS came out a few months later and I was thrilled with the fantastic response it received, including pieces in The National Post, The Toronto Star, and on such great blogs as CanLit for Little Canadians and Fabbity Fab Book Reviews. This is my love letter to summer and the 1960s and on my snowy walk home from the bus stop I often imagine sitting lakeside with Reenie at Sandy Shores. Plus the launch party held at 3030 was my favourite night of the year!

WHAT I WROTE

typewriter

Some of my blogging highlights include the fantastic discussion generated by my spring post, YA Is Too Late: Gay Characters in Middle Grade Fiction. I got some great recommendations from this post, and I will continue to seek out titles for an update in 2014. Rounding up the idiosyncrasies shared by kidlit lovers everywhere in You Probably Work in Children’s Books If…  was a labor of love and celebration of our quirky community. I also ruminated on the oft-discussed niche genre of New Adult, listed my Top Ten Under-Sung Series, and started the CAIRN writing retreat, which will be returning in 2014.

WHAT I READ

book pile

The thought of recapping everything I read is daunting, but here are some highlights: I wept over the  Montmaray journals, gushed over the latest Kiki Strike, had my faith in whimsy restored by Rooftoppers, found my spirit animal in the form of a book in Jane, The Fox, and Me, and fell in love with middle grade all over again with The Apothecary. If (like me) you enjoy a visual list, feel free to browse my Read Shelf over at the Fifty Book Pledge. I stand by all of these books. This list is missing a few unpublished titles (the hazards of working in publishing include reading books that are sometimes YEARS away from publication), but it’s fairly accurate. I’m aiming to get to 115 by December 31st!

What am I looking forward to in 2014? I want to read more books set in remote areas (real or imagined). I want more chapter books with spot illustrations. I want to read fantastic YA that doesn’t revolve around a love story. I’d like my magic to be subtle,and my characters strong. More than anything I want to read WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. Thank you for joining me in a year of reading and writing- I hope you’ll join me in 2014!

A Star for Starry Nights!

photo

Despite the crisp autumn air, Summer Days, Starry Nights is still kicking around! I was thrilled to see a shiny red star next to Summer Days, Starry Nights in the Fall 2013 edition of Best Books for Kids & Teens. Days That End in Y also got a mention, which means that all three Clarissa books have been recognized by this educational resource. I spent a very happy year on the selection committee for this publication in my reviewing days and I know all the reading, deliberating, and careful evaluation that goes into this process. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the committee for recognizing my books!

Cybils Logo Large

I was also thrilled to learn that Summer Days was nominated for a Cybils award in the Middle Grade Fiction category! The Cybils are administered and evaluated by the book blogging community. If you want to get a well-rounded sense of what books are out there for kids, check out there lists here.  Thank you to CanLit for Little Canadians for the nomination.

Fall 2013 Events

Today is the first day of school for many kids across the country, so it seems a fitting time to do a round-up of my fall events. Here is the schedule thus far:

Sept 13: CANSCAIP September Meeting, 7pm

canscaip

I’ll be chatting social media with a CanLit dream team consisting of Lena Coakley, Cheryl Rainfield, and Joanna Karaplis.

Sept 15: Telling Tales Festival, Rockton ON

Telling Tales 2012. Landscape Shot

One of my favourite literary festivals, partially because it takes place at an honest to goodness PIONEER VILLAGE! I’l be reading from 12:30-1 on the Summer Stage and signing at 1:15 at the signing table.

Oct 15: Reading at TPL: Annette Branch, 7-8pm

tpl long

This is my local branch- I”ll be reading from Summer Days, Starry Nights and talking about books, writing, and probably my cat. FREE all-ages event!

Oct 19: Bloor/Gladstone Library 100th Anniversary Bash

bloor

This funky branch is celebrating it’s 100th in style! I will be on hand to read and sign books, which will be available for purchase. FREE all-ages event!

Roald Dahl Day

Later that day I will also be stopping by the Small Print Toronto Roald Dahl Day celebrations at the Lillian H, Smith library to get my Matilda on and celebrate the writing contest winners.

Oct 20: Writer’s Community of York Region

writers-community-of-yr1

I’ll be joining this group of writers for lunch, chatting about writing, publishing, and probably my cat. Books will be available for purchase from Blue Heron Books.

Summer Days, Starry Nights in The National Post

Instagram NatPost

What a way to start the weekend! I was so thrilled to be interviewed in The National Post this weekend.  Goodness knows it is like pulling dragon’s teeth to get any major media coverage for children’s books in Canada, so I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to talk about my beloved Reenie, place in children’s literature, depression, and how Summer Days, Starry Nights reflects a pivotal time for women.

Check out the full interview online here, or catch the abbreviated version in today’s paper.