Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fave Books of Erin Grittani from Mabel's Fables!

Being a children’s bookseller at Mabel's Fables means that not only am I introducing people to wonderful books, helping them to share their favourites with little ones in their lives and connecting children with inspiring, engaging, on the edge of your seat reads but that I, myself, am always reading. I go home and kick back after a long day of being surrounded by books to my very comfy couch surrounded by…well…towers of books! Here are just a couple of books, from a long list of 2015 favourite releases. I am honoured to be able to share them with you.

I finished this book and immediately had a sense of panic set in- how long would I have to wait for the next one?!?!? Action, adventure, kids needing to rise to their true potential and overcoming all odds- all with an underlying dialogue about the dangers of environmental overconsumption and the exploitation that exists in the mining industry. AND IN TAKES PLACE IS SPACE! What’s not to love??? What Sylvester did with this one is pretty brilliant- at no point do we learn the exact ages of the kids in the book, allowing readers of different ages to really see themselves in the characters’ shoes. He also uses culturally diverse names. This was a fantastic read with a major cliffhanger! BRING ON #2! (*watch out for deaths of parents for any particularly sensitive readers*)

Another 2015 love. Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome, takes a first crack at writing for children with this one and it’s beautiful! Not only visually stunning and interactive, this book introduces the concept of mindfulness to children. Increasingly, I am asked for books that focus on opening a dialogue on mental health with young ones- either at home or in the classroom. Pasricha has created a stunning book that helps teach kids about being in the moment and about perspective all the way down to the significance of a single grain of sand. With a positive, inspiring spin on mental health & carrying on the spirit of the Book of Awesome, this book has nailed it!
Erin Grittani is the BOOKS FOR SCHOOLS MANAGER  at Mabel’s Fables Bookstore in Toronto. She works directly with educators to help them curate their school collections, make curriculum ties and bring the best books into their schools. To connect with her to learn more about Mabel’s school services, please email her at erin@mabelsfables.com.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fave books of the year!

We have asked some of our favourite readers across the country to tell us about their fave books of the year. It was no easy task for these folks to come up with their top two and we applaud them for their efforts! First up is Chris Hall co-owner of McNally Robinson the awesome Prairie bookseller.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. The more I read about H is for Hawk the more compelling it seemed and so I took the bait and read the book itself. It didn't disappoint. In fact it's easily the best book I read this year. Macdonald, cast adrift by the death of her father, decides to adopt and train a goshawk but that premise barely begins to describe what the book is about. The writing is startling and as vigorous as the goshawk whose raw energy sits at the core of the book. Captivating, and now I have a fascination with hawking and I know a goshawk from an austringer.
The Hunter and the Wild Girl by Pauline Holdstock. Pauline Holdstock came to my attention when she made the Giller Prize shortlist in 2004 for Beyond Measure, a fascinating novel about the world of art in 16th century Italy. With her new novel, Holdstock takes us to 19th century France where Peyre Rouff has retreated from the world after suffering a tragedy. But a feral girl crashes into his calm and wrenches him free of his estrangement in a subtly told story about a man who can't avoid the consequences of the choices he makes. 

About McNally Robinson from Chris:

"McNally Robinson is an independent bookseller: family-oriented, committed to the values of community bookselling, and determined to present an alternative to corporate-chain bookstores. Our focus is on Canada, and we work closely with authors and publishers to reach Canadians with their own stories. Moreover, we select all our books, wherever written, to reflect the interests and circumstances of Canadians.We firmly believe in a literate society: one in which reading is co-relative with a thoughtful, imaginative and fulfilled life. We have stores in Winnipeg and Saskatoon".

If you are out that way, a stop in is MANDATORY!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Toronto Author Amanda Orlando at the Big Carrot - Yum! Yum!

Allergen-Free Desserts to Delight Your Taste Buds: A Book for Parents and Kids
ISBN  9781632203373

More than 100 recipes for anyone with food allergies

I Want to Eat Your Books - a positive review in the Globe and Mail

 ISBN 9781634501729
October Publication

This is where I Want to Eat Your Books knocks it out of the park. There’s nothing sacred or touchy-feely about this story about a zombie who bursts into a library, starts eating the books, then realizes that reading them is more fun. This is exactly why it works.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

You gotta laff!

This website is HEEELARIOUS! Library Problems.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Top Grade

Top Grade is an initiative focused on bringing samples of new and recently published books by ACP (Association of Canadian Publisher) members to the attention of key decision makers, book buyers, and educators in school boards across Canada.
In addition to ensuring that educators are aware of the wealth of appropriate materials for schools through each new selection with publishers’ books, catalogues, promotional matter, and other material suitable for schools, there is also a conscious effort made to bring awareness to the wider literary community and the organizations, groups, and projects that publishers support through their publishing programs. Information about such organizations as the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, The Writers’ Union of Canada, CANSCAIP, the League of Canadian Poets, among others, are included with the aim of helping schools make connections that bring awareness, sales and support to members. 
The authors love it too. They are seeing more school visits and library invitations as a result. The 49th Shelf is featured as educators are readers too. The result is the receipt of many messages of thanks for filling the gap in the chain left by the disappearance of school librarians across the country. Here is one very typical response from all levels: “I cannot tell you how much these boxes are appreciated by all of us here.  We feel so privileged to have you include our schools in this promotion of Canadian publications.”
Stay tuned for spring 2016. They’ll be showcasing the wealth of diverse books published in Canada. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A favourite Dewey pick from Fall 2015 - If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz

Quill & Quire review:  "Starts out as a sad story about a disaffected teenager and slowly builds in to a hold-on-to-your-seat thriller."

If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz
ISBN 978-1-61620-463-1
Ages 14 +
Algonquin Young Readers
October 2015

Finding Winnie

We've all seen the fantastic Historica Canada video on the Canadian roots of the bear the world has come to know as Winnie the Pooh from the book series by A.A. Milne. I don't know about you, but I've always wondered how the soldier from the video, Captain Harry Colebourn, came in possession of Winnie in the first place. Well, after reading the lovely picture book FINDING WINNIE, now I know!

Author Lindsay Mattick is the great grand-daughter of Captain Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian who enlisted in 1914 to care for the animals that were sent to serve the troops overseas in WWI. At one of the train stops en route from Manitoba to the training camp in Quebec, Harry bought a bear cub from a trapper. He named the bear Winnipeg (Winnie for short) and she became the mascot for the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. Before deploying to France, Colebourn donated Winnie to the London Zoo for safekeeping. 


"That's the end of Harry and Winnie's story," I said. 
"But I don't want it to be over," said Cole.
"Sometimes", I said, "you have to let one story end so the next one can begin."
"How do you know when that will happen?"
"You don't," I said. "Which is why you should always carry on."

It was at the London Zoo that a young boy named Christopher Robin befriended the bear, a friendship that spawned the book series, and later, the Disney films we all know and love.

The book is plotted as a bedtime story that a mother is reading to her son, which she reveals at the end is not just a bedtime story, but rather to be a true family story. The last few pages of the book are set up like a family 'Album' featuring photos of Harry and Winnie and other ephemera.  

Lindsay stopped by the HarperCollins offices in Toronto on Wednesday November 11th between media interviews for a meet and greet with our staff. She gave a very interesting talk about her family history, the process of writing the book, and the reasons why she wanted to share the story with a new generation of children, including her son Cole, who was named after his great-great-grandfather.

Do check out this beautiful and educational new picture book! 

Want to read more? 
  • The fantastic blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast did a roundtable discussion back in September featuring the women behind FINDING WINNIE: Lindsay, illustrator Sophie Blackhall, Little, Brown (U.S. publisher) editor Susan Rich and Little, Brown art director Saho Fujii.  Check it out here if you haven't seen it, as it features lots of interesting information about the process of creating the book!
  • Lindsay worked with Ryerson University on an exhibit called Remembering the Real Winnie. Many of the family artifacts that are featured at the end of the book were on display at the exhibit. Don't worry if you missed it- Ryerson has made an online archive that you can still access. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Hot List title and Dewey Pick - The Indestructible Houseplant - more reviews!

Tovah Martin shares tips from The Indestructible Houseplant (9781604695014) in this month’s issue of Redbook (circ. 2.2 million). You can also listen to her recent interview on the Wisconsin Public Radio show, Garden Talk which will rebroadcast in December.


A Library Journal DIY Fave for 2015!

Color Concrete Garden Projects was chosen by Library Journal as one of their best DIY books for 2015.

People Magazine - takes a look at the new book, The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh

The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh (9781604695991) is featured in this week’s People magazine (circ. 3.5 million)! It is one of three highlighted nonfiction titles, and they call the book “A delightful exploration.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I Smile Back

Premiered at TIFF...

Major Motion Picture I Smile Back starring Sarah Silverman and Josh Charles.  Based on the book published by Two Dollar Radio and written by Amy Koppelman. 

I know Hallowe'en is over but...

How cool is this! The hotel that inspired The Shining is being made into a horror museum. Stephen King tells a great story about staying at the hotel when he was inspired to write the book. I would love/be terrified to go there...some day!