Friday, November 29, 2013

TD Canadian Children's Book Week 2014

Applications are now open for the 2014 TD Canadian Children's Book Week! This year, the theme is Read to Remember, and will commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. In May, 29 authors, illustrators and storytellers will tour the country. If you are a school, library, bookstore or community centre that would like to host, click here to apply. Tours include amazing interactive readings, writing workshops and contests for children from Kindergarten to Grade 12. This program has such an amazing outreach to aspiring readers and writers. Last year, over 400 readings were given, connecting with more than 25,000 children nation wide. How amazing is that? Book Week runs from May 3-May 10th, 2014. As I mentioned in a previous post, many fantastic authors, illustrators and storytellers are participating. Click here to see a list of tour participants and locations. Don't wait though...the application deadline is December 31, 2013!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Perv, by Jesse Bering on CBC Radio's Q

In his book, Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us, psychologist and writer Jesse Bering challenges the social and psychological biases when it comes to sexuality. Growing up gay in Washington, DC during the time of the AIDS crisis, society saw Bering as a sexual deviant. In his book, he uses his experiences and the emotional scars he has carried with him to suggest that society needs steer away from questions of what is natural and normal, and consider what is harmful instead. Bering was recently discussed his book on CBC Radio's Q, with guest interviewer Piya Chattopadhyay. To listen to the full interview, click here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

PW's Best Children's Fiction Books of 2013

Publishers Weekly released their list of Best Children's Fiction Books of 2013 and believe me, there are some really good picks! You might recognize some of the featured books from this blog, such as Eleanor & Park and Boxers and Saints. Other titles include the fantastic Far Far Away by Tom McNeal and Tony Cliff's stunning graphic novel, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant. To check out the full list, click here and you may find some great ideas for your young readers!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An inside look at STAINED by Cheryl Rainfield

Cheryl Rainfield writes the books she needed as a teen and couldn't find. In Stained, her fourth YA novel, Sarah, who has a port wine stain and some body image issues, is abducted and must find a way to rescue herself. Like Sarah, Cheryl had to rely on her own strength to survive many threatening situations. Earlier this fall, Cheryl spoke to a group of teenagers at Indigo Yorkdale. Cheryl spoke very passionately and strongly, and her personal story and reading were remarkably powerful. A self-defence seminar/demonstration was also part of this event.

Stained recently received a four-star review in CM Magazine. Cheryl is scheduled to make an appearance at OLA Super Conference at the Thomas Allen & Son booth. Follow Thomas Allen & Son on Twitter for more information.

Stained by Cheryl Rainfield
$20.99, hardcover
ISBN: 9780547942087
Publication date: October 1, 2013
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Distributed in Canada by Thomas Allen & Son

Lainey Lui Reviews Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park

The feelings are unanimous in our Ampersand office: Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park is our favourite young adult book of the year! Maybe its the amazing 80's pop culture references or the challenges of first-love romance that help us relate so well. Author Rainbow Rowell recently visited Toronto for a series of readings and was reviewed (and interviewed) by the one and only gossip entertainment blogger Lainey Lui! Her review is so fantastic I just had to share my favourite part:

"Here’s my only complaint about the book: since I read it on my iPad, I couldn’t properly hug it. Hugging an iPad isn’t the same as hugging a real book. And as corny as it sounds, it deserves to be hugged." - Lainey

To read Lainey's awesome review in full, click here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

DK Canada's Handful of Bricks 10 Minute Challenge!

Every office has their own way of motivating staff moral, but DK Canada's most recent efforts definitely take the cake! To celebrate the publication of the LEGO Play Book, they have issued a challenge to their co-workers with the Handful of Bricks 10 Minute Challenge. DK offices worldwide are challenged to design and build their best Lego creation in just 10 minutes using only a handful of pieces! The best part: it's a contest and the public is encouraged to vote for their favourite masterpiece! 

Not only can you vote for your favourite creation here, but you can also share your own. At Ampersand, we keep motivated with The 200 Squat Challenge. This contest seems much more enjoyable to me, so get building people!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Canada Reads 2014 Top 10!

It's back! CBC Books asked their yearly question: what is the one novel that could change Canada? Hundreds of recommendations from across the country and across many genres were submitted, and many trusted readers helped narrow it down to a Top 40 List. Now, the Top 10 List has been announced and it is up to the Canada Reads judge panel to decide! I'm glad I don't have to pick a favourite out of this amazing list! Some of the titles belong to authors Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden, and Cory Doctorow. The panelists are reading the Top 10 now, and will reveal themselves and their favourite book of choice in the popular debate on November 27th, hosted by my favourite, Jian Ghomeshi. To view the full Top 10 List, click here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vancouver Listed as Lonely Planet's Top 10 Cities to Travel 2014

Lonely Planet is known for their stunningly detailed travel sites and tour guides. Their most recent book, Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 was just released and has created quite the buzz here in Canada. Why, you ask? Because Vancouver, British Columbia was listed as #7 in the Top 10 Best Cities in the World to visit! Having visited Vancouver many times, I don't doubt this ranking for a second (and that's not just the Canadian pride in me!). The book highlights Vancouver's endless supply of adventure, from swimming in the Pacific to skiing down Whistler and everything in between and even declares "boredom is not permitted here!" 
To check out the rest of the Top 10 List, click here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Behind the Humans of New York

You might remember my previous post about the book, Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton. Since the book's October release, the media has flocked toward Stanton, photographer and creator of this blog-based phenomenon and I wanted to share it again. Stanton's goal is simple: ask someone if he can photograph them and then conduct a short interview. This approach has created over 300 stunning photographs and countless stories of human confessions, fears, hopes and sorrow now featured in print.

Stanton shared his most memorable moment with an 80-year-old woman, one that left him crying (and me tearful!) in the streets of New York City, on CBC Radio Q with Jian Ghomeshi. I highly recommend listening to this interview as Stanton shares more of his inspiration for Humans of New York.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Future and Libraries According to Neil Gaiman

"We have an obligation to imagine." - Neil Gaiman 
Neil Gaiman's latest, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of my favourite books this fall. With his book fresh in my mind, I read
his recent Reading Agency lecture in England and couldn't agree more with his top arguments defending children's literacy, the freedom to read and the importance of libraries.

When you consider the recent Banned Books Week last month, I think advocates like Neil Gaiman are beneficial to promoting the freedom for children to read what they want, when they want. Although he admits to allowing his 11-year-old to read Stephen King's Carrie probably too soon, Gaiman argues the more we shelter our children from books, the less appealing reading will become for them. He also makes a clever analogy that printed books are like sharks - who have existed before and outlived dinosaurs, because there's nothing like them. In the wise words of Neil Gaiman, real books are "good at being books and there will always be a place for them."

I couldn't have said it any better! To read more about Gaiman's lecture, click here

Friday, November 1, 2013

Win an Eyewitness Travel Prize Pack with DK Canada!

DK Canada, publisher of the great Eyewitness Travel books, is giving one lucky winner the chance to win an amazing Eyewitness Travel Prize Pack! I've taken these books along on some of my own trips and they are amazing! The contest runs until November 4th, 2013 at 6:00pm so hurry up and enter now!