Case Covers

A few weeks back, we featured an interview between the founders of the newly minted Undies award – Carter Higgins and Travis Jonker. Now, we’re excited to share our eligible titles for the inaugural Undies:

If I Had a Gryphon_Undies

Picture Book: If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle, illustrated by Cale Atkinson

Miss Moon_undies

Picture Book: Miss Moon, Wise Words from a Dog Governess by Janet Hill

Counting with Barefoot Critters

Picture Book: Counting with Barefoot Critters by Teagan White

The Darkest Dark_Undies

Picture Book: The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield, illustrated by the Fan Brothers

We also dipped into our back list titles to share some of the great jacket and case designs from the past few years:

This Is Sadie

Picture Book: This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Adventures with Barefoot Critters

Picture Book: Adventures with Barefoot Critters by Teagan White

Mos Mustache

Picture Book: Mo’s Mustache by Ben Clanton

Miss Petitfour.JPG

Middle Grade Novel: The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block

Which ones are your favorite?

Interview with The Undies founders

Undie-Awards-Logo_605TundiesHey it’s the Tundies (the most adorable nickname bestowed on us by Carter) here after the glorious long weekend. Ever since we found out about The Undies, there has been a buzz of excitement in the office. We submitted our 2016 case cover contenders and even searched through our back list to share some older case designs online. Our joy that such an award has surfaced made us reach out to the founders themselves – Carter from Design of the Picture Book and Travis from 100 Scope Notes – for an interview. These two creative librarians sat down, took off their jackets, and gave us a closer look at what The Undies are all about:

Carter HigginsCarter: Travis! The fine folks at Tundra are abuzz with Undies fever. We did it! We made people talk about underthings on the internet in a clean kind of way. This thing can only get more fun.

Was there a moment that inspired The Undies? Do you remember its origin story?

Travis JonkerTravis: I’m glad you asked because, in the words of Big Boi “I can remember that damn thang like it was yesterday.”

Way back in 2015 there was some good Twitter conversation going on about endpapers in picture books – as happens on Twitter – when author Julie Falatko came up with the idea of an award just for endpapers. Author/illustrator Greg Pizzoli named it: The Endies.

Julie tweeted out her nominees for the award. Then illustrator Carolyn Fisher joined the discussion and another idea was born.

This was all fun, but when I see a blog idea I grab on and death-grip that sucker until it becomes real. So a few months later, I sent you an email to turn The Undies into a thing.

Is this how you remember it? Do you remember our first email exchange about it?

Carter HigginsCarter: Oh wow, Twitter is some time capsule, huh? Leave it to Pizzoli to be so perfectly quippy. No wonder he won a Geisel.

I had forgotten about The Endies, though – so, what’s your 2017 looking like?

When you emailed a few months ago (subject line: Case Cover Awards), I was on board before I even opened the message. You threw out some ideas for names (The Casies! The Undies!), and I will quote my own email back to you:

“If it’s not called The Undies I quit everything about books.”

Although I’m pretty grateful that you said to limit how much searching on Twitter I did with that kind of hashtag. ALT+J, people. Always listen to Jonker.

What’s your history with case covers? Do you remember the first time you peeked under the jacket?

Travis JonkerTravis: Don’t search “The Undies”, people. Just don’t.

I’ve always loved case covers, but I didn’t become obsessive until 2013. That was the year I was on the Caldecott committee. It was also a year with some great case covers. My favorite from that year was Bob Staake’s Bluebird. With its excellent use of perspective and sense of story, that one was unforgettable. Let’s see – almost all the books our committee chose that year had cases that deviated from the cover image: Journey, Mr Wuffles!, and our winner, Locomotive.


I feel like you can do a better job than I on explaining what exactly is appealing about a unique case cover. You’re good at that.

Carter HigginsCarter: You guys did a really great job in 2013. That’s a solid Caldecott legacy.

Locomotive is such a great example of why case covers are so appealing. That is one beefy book, and the illustration of the bison underneath the jacket added another smack of story that the pages themselves couldn’t hold. Using every square inch of surface area for storytelling is something that is so dazzling and magical and feels like you’ve stumbled on a secret. It’s a great experience as a reader, one that only holds up in print.

The same goes for endpapers that further the story, or even tell a different one. And have you noticed this – lately, I’m seeing a bunch of stories that start before the book’s title page, so that the title lands as text itself. These book openings are super resonant of films in that way, and I’m into it.

I don’t think it was until I worked in graphics that I understood the picture book as a physical piece of art itself, and now I’m making up for lots of lost time studying books and celebrating them on my blog.

As far as story time goes, I think I’ve ruined hundreds of kids who are bummed when the jacket and the case are the same. And it feels extra hidden and Easter-egg-y when you have to work around the book having already been processed and taped up. Kids love that. Instant scavenger hunt.

Are you surprised at the response we’ve gotten to The Undies? How do you think this thing will grow?

Travis JonkerTravis: I’m glad you mentioned story time, because a case cover reveal does make a great “Oh, you liked that book? Well here’s one more cool thing about it.” I still remember taking the jacket off Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown and seeing the delight on everyone’s face. That case cover, by the way, had the added bonus of having texture as well. Good work all around on that one.

Side note: Something we’ve tried in my library to keep the cases viewable (including that Locomotive case) is wrapping the jacket in mylar but not taping the jacket to the book. Not for the faint-hearted librarian, but so far so good in my school library.

The reaction to the award was really cool to see. To be honest, it was more enthusiastic than I expected. It will be fun to make the shortlists come November and get the vote going. I will let everyone know now: IF YOU ARE ONLY GOING TO VOTE IN ONE ELECTION COME NOVEMBER, MAKE IT THE UNDIES.

One thing that I see growing out of this process is an Undies Hall of Fame. Soon, I see us working with developers to break ground on a state of the art facility to properly honor and display the best case covers of all time. What city, though. What city?!

Wait, I glossed over the shortlist/voting thing – can you help me out with that?

Carter HigginsCarter: The great thing about starting an award is that you get to make up all the rules, right? Which we may or may not still be doing. But we are professionals with a plan, so here’s what the people can expect. Travis and I will do the really great homework of looking at all the submissions we’ve received over the year. Picture Randy, Paula, and Simon spreading out Polaroids of wannabe-Idol-faces and sending some to their glory.

We’ll create some categories for cool things we notice, and lump cases into shortlists. We might have a Best Use of Photography or Most Surprising Feature or Shiniest Foil or Hey, What Are the Caldecott Winners Up to Now?

Then: the people vote. And Wolf Blitzer can call it a win for the books.

Sound good, boss?

Travis JonkerTravis: I like to think I’m Simon, but I’m probably really more Randy. You’re (and I mean this with a lot of love and admiration) definitely Paula. Paula before season 5, when we all started to worry about her.

That’s how I envision things going down in the fall as well. And I like how everyone can get involved by voting for the final winners.

So keep sending in those case cover pics, people! But check the gallery first to see if your nomination has already been nominated – that could save you some time.

TundiesTundies: Thank you Carter and Travis for taking the time to chat Undies with us! Everyone else, stay tuned as we share our Undies contenders for 2016 and some from our backlist!

You’re Invited to the Launch of Ooko


Please join Esmé Shapiro in celebrating the launch of her debut book, Ooko. The party includes a story time, book signing, activities, and treats. We hope that every Debbie can attend!

When: Sunday, July 10, 2016
Time: 11:00 am
Where: Community Bookstore
Address: 143 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215, United States

Esmé Shapiro
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Hardcover | 40 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 978-1-10191-844-9

“Playful, joyous, and hip.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Stories about wanting a friend abound, but newcomer Shapiro’s unfolds in a gloriously distinctive world. Ooko, an orange fox shaped a bit like a beanbag, lives in a forest full of prehistoric-looking foliage and anemone-tentacled flowers.” – Publishers Weekly

Click HERE for your Ooko story time kit!

Western Canada Jewish Book Award Winner

Winners of the first-ever Western Canada Jewish Book Awards were announced on June 19, 2016. This initiative is designed to celebrate excellence in writing on Jewish themes / subject and showcase the achievements of authors who reside in Western Canada. The Awards aim to recognize the contribution to Jewish culture by these writers. Tundra would like to congratulate Glenda Leznoff for winning the Children & Youth category – the Jonathan & Heather Berkowitz Prize!

Heartache and Other Natural ShocksHeartache and Other Natural Shocks
Written by Glenda Leznoff
Hardcover | 384 Pages | Ages 14+
ISBN 978-1-77049-836-5
eBook 978-1-77049-837-2
“Full of unexpected twists and turns, Heartache and Other Natural Shocks is a unique exploration of teen rivalry, marking an important new voice in young-adult fiction.” – Western Canada Jewish Book Awards Jury

Glenda attended the ceremony and sent us a few photos too!

We would like to thank the 2016 Western Canada Jewish Book Awards jury for all their hard work.

2016 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award Winner

We are very happy to announce that one of our titles has won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards! Congratulations to Susin Nielsen (who is also made of awesome molecules)!

Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category

We Are All Made of MoleculesWe Are All Made of Molecules
Written by Susin Nielsen
Hardcover | 256 Pages | Ages 12+
ISBN: 978-1-77049-779-5
eBook: 978-1-77049-781-8
“This book is funny, powerful and inspirational… The characters dealt with a lot of complicated issues in a believable way that we could relate to…. I can imagine myself reading this book a million more times. It has the best ending ever!” – Student jurors in grades 7 and 8

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Schwartz Children’s Book Awards – the only Canadian literary award where student juries work together to choose the winning books. The Ontario Arts Council and Ontario Arts Foundation took a look back at 40 years of winners with this online countdown.

This year’s winners were chosen by student juries from Toronto’s Scarborough Village Alternative Public School. Each student read the books individually and then worked together with their group to reach consensus and decide on a winner. The announcement took place during a school assembly on Wednesday, June 22.

2016 ALA Annual Conference

ALAMy how time flies! For those of you planning your ALA Annual schedule already, we wanted to let you know that Tundra Books will be exhibiting at the conference. Please visit Pamela and Vikki in the exhibit hall at booth #2331 to learn about our new and upcoming books – and to pick up notepads, dry-erase calendars, buttons, educators’ guides, posters, art cards, recipe cards, ARCs, and more!

Here are some events you should make note of to attend:

  • At the Book Buzz Theater on Saturday, June 25, 2016 from 12:30 – 1:15 pm, Ben Clanton will be presenting Narwhal.
  • Ben Clanton will be signing Narwhal on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm at booth 2331.
  • Vikki VanSickle will be signing If I Had a Gryphon on Sunday, June 26, 2016 at 11:30 am at booth 2331.

If I Had a GryphonFor the author and illustrator signings at our booth, we will be handing out complimentary copies of the books at a first come, first serve basis. So don’t forget, there’s a limited number of signed books.

NarwhalAnd if you picked up your 2016 Aisle-by-Aisle coupon book, make sure you drop off your entry to win a podtastic Narwhal gift package! The prize includes a copy of Narwhal, a tusk headband, a Narwhal button, a Jelly button, a Narwhal poster and activity guide, a “I don’t think you’re ready for this Jelly” T-shirt, and a “Narwhals: they’re real and they’re spectacular” T-shirt.

Or if you ever fancied yourself with a tusk, we’ll have a photo booth with lots of fun props. #PodGoals right?

Follow @TundraBooks, @Clantoons, and @VikkiVanSickle on twitter or instagram. You can also follow #alaac16 for the latest news and updates! We’ll be posting reminders using the ALA hashtag.

Burn Blog Tour: Day 5

Burn_BlogTour_600x300Is this really the end?

FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2016

  • “I can’t believe it’s over! I’m not ready to say goodbye to these characters. Not even Mya.😛 I’m pretty damn satisfied with this conclusion…with the answers we got, with how the memory loss happened and how it was resolved, with who the Rephaim are and what their purpose is. That said, I don’t often read spin-offs but I would SO read one set in this world.” – Jen at The Starry-Eyed Revue
  • “I’m completely new to this series. I wish I wasn’t so late to jumping onto The Rephaim fandom because I would have loved to gush about each book with readers as they released.… I loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED, the character growth/development with Gaby, Jude, and Rafe. Especially Gaby!” – Patty at Bookish Wanderlove

You can also follow @TundraBooks, @PaulaWeston, and the wonderful bloggers on twitter! We’re also on facebook: Tundra Books and Paula Weston. Need a refresher of the series? Click on the covers to check out our blog tour for Shadows, Haze, and Shimmer:

Shadows_Paperback Haze-paperback Shimmer