The Word on the Street 2016

Hello friends! The Word on the Street is back in Toronto on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at Harbourfront Centre. Come on down for a day of fun and to meet our authors and illustrators. We will be selling books at the Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers tent on Kidstreet (KS11).

yitzi-and-the-giant-menorahYitzi and the Giant Menorah
By Richard Ungar
For ages 5 to 9
Kindergarten to grade 4
1:00 PM to 1:30 PM – Richard will be at the First Book Canada tent to sign copies of Yitzi and the Giant Menorah.


who-broke-the-teapotWho Broke the Teapot?!
By Bill Slavin
For ages 3 to 7
Preschool to grade 2
3:00 PM to 3:20 PM – Bill will be at the TD Children’s Literature Stage for a reading and drawing demonstration.


Once in a Town Called MothOnce, in a Town Called Moth
By Trilby Kent
For ages 12 and up
Grades 7 and up
3:30 PM to 4:15 PM – Trilby will be at the Teen Spirit Stage for a panel on New Starts for Outcasts.


Noni Speaks UpNoni Speaks Up
By Heather Hartt-Sussman
Illustrated by Geneviève Côté
For ages 3 to 7
Preschool to grade 2
3:40 PM to 4:00 PM – Heather will be at the TD Children’s Literature Stage for a reading.


Solutions for Cold FeetSolutions for Cold Feet and Other Little Problems
By Carey Sookocheff
For ages 4 to 8
Preschool to grade 3
4:15 PM to 5:00 PM – Carey will be at the Sago Mini Children’s Activity Tent making sock puppies with everyone!


downside-upDownside Up
By Richard Scrimger
For ages 10 and up
Grades 5 and up
4:15 PM to 5:00 PM – Richard will be at the Teen Spirit Stage for a panel on Ordinary Teens, Extraordinary Stories.

You’re Invited to the Launch of Another Me

another-mePlease join Eva Wiseman in celebrating the launch of Another Me.

When: Monday, September 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: McNally Robinson
Address: 1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3M 2A6

Another Me
Written by Eva Wiseman
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Hardcover | 240 Pages | Ages 12 and up
ISBN 978-1-77049-716-0
“Wiseman tells her tragic tale alternating the voices of Natan and Elena. It is a heart-rending tale based on actual events…. Readers will need the Kleenex for this one.” – Kirkus Reviews

2016 Telling Tales: A Festival of Stories

tellingtalesIt’s another busy fall, but the great thing is you have many options for literary festivals and events. For instance, the 8th annual Telling Tales is happening on Sunday, September 18, 2016 in Rockton, Ontario.

The Dark Missions of Edgar BrimThe Dark Missions of Edgar Brim
By Shane Peacock
Not for the faint of heart. Listen to author Shane Peacock discuss his first Gothic horror novel The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim.
For ages 9 and up
12:00 PM – Teen Zone (Summer Stage)
2:15 PM – Bandstand

If I Had a GryphonIf I Had a Gryphon
By Vikki VanSickle
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
Vikki VanSickle is an award-winning author of novels and picture books for children. If I Had a Gryphon is a laugh-out-loud pet story with a twist, featuring magical creatures in realistic situations. Vikki will have her magical pet care kit, with clues to some of the creatures in the book. Children are invited to play pet detective before delving into the story. Vikki is also the marketing and publicity manager at Penguin Random House Canada and will moderate our “Meet the Publishers” talk for ages 12 and up.
12:30 PM – Cathcart School House (for ages 3 to 7)
2:45 PM – Mountsberg Church (for ages 12 and up)

who-broke-the-teapotWho Broke the Teapot?!
By Bill Slavin
If you love illustration, don’t miss Bill Slavin. Bill has illustrated over 100 books for kids, including the award-winning Stanley series, graphic novel trilogy Elephants Never Forget, and best-selling Transformed: How Everyday Things are Made. Join Bill for a fun session that includes a collaborative reading of his new picture book Who Broke the Teapot?!, plus a drawing demo where one lucky child will take home an original drawing!
2:15 PM – Telling Tales: Jerseyville Railway Station

StoryMob Secret Location Revealed!


StoryMob Title
If I Had a GryphonIf I Had a Gryphon
Written by Vikki VanSickle
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN: 9781770498099
“VanSickle’s rhymes are unflaggingly exuberant as the girl puts up with noisy harpies, biting chupacabras, and mischievous fairies, and Atkinson fills the pages with visual comedy. In one of the funniest scenes, a dopey-looking kraken grins innocently as its tentacles snag an ocean liner and a rather perturbed whale.” – Publishers Weekly

Secret Location Details
For tomorrow’s StoryMob, the meeting place is at The Children’s Book Bank on 350 Berkeley Street. Participants will be in the Book Bank courtyard until 1:30 pm, then parade north up Berkeley Street to Cartlon Street to our StoryMob location, in the heart of the kids area of the Cabbagetown Festival!!!

Sign up for a reader’s part by clicking here and check out costume and prop ideas here.

12:00pm – Volunteers, photographers, and keeners who need extra time to organize their props and costumes will meet at The Children’s Book Bank, 350 Berkeley Street
12:30pm (sharp!) – Official Mustering (we meet, greet, and practice for the StoryMob).
1:30pm – Parade – we will parade from the Book Bank with call and response play to our StoryMob location at Berkeley and Carlton.
1:45pm (approx) – StoryMob performance (lasts 15 minutes).
2:00pm – StoryMob disperses. Participants can enjoy all the Cabbagetown Festival has to offer!

Please call or text if you are delayed or need our help. It is especially important that we hear from Readers and Volunteers if you are not able to make it, as we will need to make quick alternative arrangements … plus, we’ll worry about you if you don’t show up! Roxanne: 416-670-6074

Go early, we can’t have Vikki eating all the candy corn!

You’re Invited to the Launch of Once, in a Town Called Moth

MothLaunchPlease join Trilby Kent in celebrating the launch of Once, in a Town Called Moth. Please RSVP to

When: Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: Type Books
Address: 883 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON

Once in a Town Called MothOnce, in a Town Called Moth
Written by Trilby Kent
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Hardcover | 224 Pages | Ages 12 and up
ISBN 978-1-10191-811-1

“Kent writes with refreshing emotional sophistication.… As literary as it is smart, Kent’s novel reflects life beautifully in its rigorous denial of pat, easy answers.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

“Lyrical writing imbues simple scenes with complex emotional undercurrents…. The motions feel almost casually violent, slyly suggesting untrustworthiness. It’s these descriptions that truly develop the novel’s mystery-laden tension. Truly outstanding literary moments distinguish this quiet search for identity…” – Kirkus Reviews

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!