A New York Times Review

As always I’m a little late in announcing news, but this one is worth the wait! The Prisoner and the Writer, illustrated by Sophie Casson and published by Groundwood Books, was reviewed in The New York Times. By Michael Rosen. The Michael Rosen, author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Sad Book, not to mention The Disappearance of Emile Zola, which I used in my research.

Once more, The New York Times! Michael Rosen!

2 out of 3…

There is an expression in French: Jamais deux sans trois. Translated it means never two without three. It can be good news or bad news. In my case, it’s good news: two of my fall books have now officially launched, and one more is on the way.

It’s been a tiring couple of years preparing three books for a fall launch, but, well, I guess someone had to do it. I’m so thrilled to have these books in the world; they truly cover the things I love: history, social justice, jurisprudence, equality.

You can find Secret Schools and I Can’t Do What? in bookstores and online now. The Prisoner and the Writer will be available come October. If you’d like to learn more about the latter two, you can attend the virtual launch of I Can’t Do What? on September 22 at 7 pm ET (contact me for the link) or the in-person launch of The Prisoner and the Writer at Babar Books in Pointe-Claire Quebec on October 8 at 3 pm ET.

Four new books for 2022!

2022 is a busy year with four new books on the way!

I have to admit, I didn’t see much of 2021. I was busy writing, edited and proofreading three new books of my own and translating a very sweet book from French to English. I’ve also wrapped up a new middle-grade novel and a couple of picture books; hopefully a publisher will love them and want them. That news is to come, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy learning about the books being released this year!

Spring: I Can’t Do What? Strange Rules and Laws from Around the World (Red Deer Press), illustrated by Mike Deas. My Delicious Garden (Owlkids Books), written by Anne-Marie Fortin, illustrated by Julian Castanié and translated by me.
Fall: Secret Schools (Owlkids Books), illustrated by Erin Taniguchi. The Prisoner and the Writer (Groundwood Books), illustrated by Sophie Casson.

I Can’t Do What?: Did you know that you can’t keep a goldfish in a round goldfish bowl in Rome? That you can’t take a selfie while running with the bulls in Pamplona? That you can’t climb a tree in a Toronto city park? This book is a look at some of the more curious rules and laws that have been created around the world over many years. Some of these rules and laws may make us laugh. Some may make us angry or frightened for the people they influence. All of these rules and laws will make us think. How did they come to be? How can they be changed?

With numerous sidebars presenting historical information, quizzes after each of the four sections, and ideas throughout for discussion and response activities, this is an active, well—researched illustrated book that shines a bright light on our world and its human workings. The book unfolds in four sections, outlining “People Problems” (everyday life; family; animals; food; fashion), “Sports Zone” (soccer; baseball; hockey; basketball; more sports), “Entertainment” (books and media; television and film; music and dance; technology), and “Kid Concerns” (school; toys; outdoor fun). This new book from acclaimed author Heather Camlot might just be the start of a young reader’s passion for governance and social justice.

My Delicious Garden: In the depths of winter, one young girl is already dreaming of planting her very own vegetable garden. In January, she sketches out the rows of lettuce, the trellis for the peas, and a large plot for the tomatoes while she waits for warmer weather. March is time for sowing, and April gives way to the first leaves of her seedlings.

As the seasons change from spring to summer, she (with the help of her moms) spreads compost and turns up the soil to finally plant her veggies into the earth. As the months go by, she lovingly weeds, waters, and cares for her garden until it’s time to harvest a bounty big enough to share with all their friends! My Delicious Garden celebrates the joy of growing food from seed and is a cozy exploration of the connections between nature, food, and community.

Secret Schools: Education goes undercover in this compelling look at some of the world’s most secretive schools through history

Can you keep a secret? What if it meant hiding from your loved ones, sneaking out late at night, or risking imprisonment? And what if that secret was that you were going to school?

From covert classrooms created by enslaved Africans in the United States, to academic schools disguised as “sewing lessons” for women in Afghanistan, to espionage schools run by powerful governments, Secret Schools explores the hidden classrooms that have opened their doors so children and adults could learn.

Vivid linocut illustrations and interesting facts enhance the book’s 15 true stories of resilience and courage in the pursuit of education. Accompanying profiles for each story introduce readers to an important person who played a significant role in each secret school. Concluding with a look at inventive approaches to education in today’s world, this deep dive into clandestine learning will invite readers to think deeply about the meaning of education and the barriers many face in accessing it.

The Prisoner and the Writer: When a Jewish army captain is falsely accused of treason and sent to prison, a writer uses his pen to fight for justice.

In 1895 a prisoner watches the ocean through the bars of his cell. Accused of betraying France, Captain Alfred Dreyfus is exiled to a prison on Devil’s Island, far from his wife and children. It’s a horrible fate — but what if he’s innocent?

Seven thousand miles away, the famous writer Emile Zola wonders: Is Alfred a traitor to France? Or a victim of anti-Semitism? Convinced that Alfred is innocent, Emile knows that it is his DUTY to help. He pens the famous letter “J’Accuse …!”, explaining that Alfred was blamed, charged, tried and convicted … only because he is Jewish.

This powerful middle-grade story written in verse with full-page illustrations is told from the perspectives of both Alfred Dreyfus and Emile Zola, two men whose courage changed the world. The true story, published in time for the 125th anniversary of “J’Accuse …!”, acts as a reminder that a person committed to truth, justice and equality must stand up and speak out against prejudice for themselves — and for others. Includes an author’s note and further historical context.

2021 Skipping Stones Honor Award!

Super awesome news alert!

The Other Side has been named a 2021 Skipping Stones Honor Award winner!

If you don’t know Skipping Stones Magazine, the books selected for the honor “promote an understanding of cultures, cultivate cooperation and/or encourage a deeper awareness of nature, ecology, and diversity. They foster respect for multiple viewpoints and closer relationships within human societies. The honored titles offer many ways to explore and understand families, cultures, places, societies and their histories for readers of all ages—from the very young readers to high school seniors and adults.”

Which of course was part of the aim of The Other Side — along with celebrating soccer and solving a mystery 🙂

Huge thank you to Skipping Stones Multicultural Literary Magazine, Red Deer Press and Whale Rock Workshops!

Congratulations all the creators and publishers on the list!

What If Soldiers up for a Willow Award!

What lovely news that What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? is up for a Diamond Willow Award, the young readers’ choice awards from the province of Saskatchewan. What If Soldiers is my first nonfiction book, and what a thrill to have it honoured this way. For more information and a look at all the nominees, visit https://willowawards.ca/.

Writing about the Holocaust for Book News

My latest article for Canadian Children’s Book News is now available online. “The Emotional Impact of Writing About the Holocaust” is a personal essay along with interviews from Monique Polak, Emil Sher and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. It was a difficult piece to write, but I am so pleased with how it turned out. I hope you enjoy it.

2020 Red Maple Nominee!

What an amazing honour to be nominated for the Forest Of Reading’s Red Maple Award for The Other Side! And to be in a category with some many authors whom I admire and who inspire me everyday.

Big thank you to the Ontario Library Association, Red Deer Press, editor Peter Carver and everyone who helped in the creation of The Other Side.

If you’re a school, don’t forget to register so your students have the opportunity to vote. You can register here.

If you haven’t yet seen the video release of nominations, you can see it right now:

The biggest compliment of them all

Books get all sorts of reviews, the good and the bad. This week, What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? received a review that was beyond good. It was amazing. Incredible. Fantastic. I am still shaking. Booklist, from the American Library Association, said What If Soldiers is “a book that should be paired with John Lennon’s Imagine.” Huge. Awesome.

If you want to see the video for Imagine, click here.

Thank you, Booklist. This means so very much to me!