Frederic Gauthier to speak at Serendipity 2018

Born in Abitibi, Frédéric Gauthier studied film production at Concordia University in Montreal. While doing so he was working in a specialised bookstore aimed at graphic novels called La Mouette Rieuse. In 1998 he co-created La Pastèque with Martin Brault. Publishing books for nearly 20 years, La Pastèque has won many prestigious awards and some of their books are translated in over 20 different countries. They now publish graphic novels and picture books for kids, with a catalog of over 250 titles.

La Pastèque has been a hugely influential publisher of bandes dessinées (comic books, or literal translation, drawn strips). Gaining significant recognition in 2010, La Pastèque won the Joe Shuster Outstanding Comic Book Publisher Award. According to a Quill & Quire article, “Frédéric Gauthier believes the availability of international titles has encouraged young Montrealers’ dreams of pursuing artistic careers. ‘When young kids see European and French books and comic books, the possibilities seem that you can work in Quebec, or in the U.S., or in France,’ he says.” Read more about Gauthier, Isabelle Arsenault and the Montreal scene in Quill and Quire.

Kyo Maclear is speaking at Serendipity 2018!

Kyo is a self-professed spork — her father is British (a foreign correspondent and documentary filmmaker) and her mother is Japanese (a painter and art dealer).  She was born in London England, where she enjoyed a brief theatrical career in London’s West End. Little did she know when she appeared in The King and I that her one line — “I believe in snow” — would be prophetic. At age four, in the midst of a very snowy winter, she and her parents moved to Toronto.

Later Kyo attended university, where she did not study dentistry or architecture (much to the great vexation and sorrow of her parents), but instead pursued a degree in Art History. She followed this degree with another vexing degree in Cultural Studies (her poor parents). Alas, though she acquired several useful skills as a longtime student (e.g., pencil sharpening, binder organization and laundry folding), neither degree led to particularly enriching employment. This is just as well because there is nothing like being hungry and bored and underemployed to fire up one’s imagination. (Kyo is now back in the university stream.  In addition to working in her busy writing life, she is now a doctoral candidate at York University where she holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.)

Spork, the story of a mixed kitchen utensil, was Kyo’s debut book for children and her first work with Isabelle Arsenault. The book was originally conceived with her husband to celebrate the birth of their first child.

Thanks to Kidscan, for information used here

Kyo Maclear’s Writing for Children   

Spork, and Virginia Wolf  (both illus. Isabelle Arsenault); Mr. Flux ( illus. Matte Stephens);   Julia Child  (illus. Julie Morstad);  The Wish Tree (illus. Chris Turnham; The Specific Ocean (illus. Katty Maurey), The Good Little Book (illus. Marion Arbona),  The Liszts (illus. Júlia Sardà); Yak and Dove (illus Esmé Shapiro); The Fog (illus. Kenard Pak) and — two new books for 2018 — Flo (illus. Jay Fleck) and  Bloom: A  Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli (illus. Julie Morstad).  For publishing details, see Kyo’s website.

Kyo Maclear’s Writing for Adults

Kyo Maclear comes to the Vancouver Chldren’s Literature Roundtable to talk about her books for children, but members will also want to know a little bit about what she writes for adults. She is the author of two novels: The Letter Opener (2007), which was shortlisted for the 2007 Amazon Books in Canada First Novel Award), and Stray Love (2012).

Her 2017 nonfiction book, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation, offers an account of a year-long, big city adventure chasing after birds, and along the way offers a luminous meditation on the nature of creativity and the quest for a good and meaningful life. The experience and memoir came from Maclear’s navigating the year following the discovery that her father had a brain aneurysm. Birds Art Life was a #1 National Bestseller and, as well, a finalist for the prestigious Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Her website provides links to many reviews.

Her short fiction, essays and art criticism have been published in Brick, Border Crossings, The Millions, LitHub, The Volta, Prefix Photo, Canadian Art, Resilience, The Guardian, Uppercase, Quill and Quire, Shambhala Sun, Toronto Life, Azure, Brain Child, Saturday Night, The Globe and Mail, among other publications and anthologies.

Kyo lives and works in Toronto, on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat. She shares a home with two sons, two cats, and a singer.

 Click here to register


Isabelle Arsenault is speaking at Serendipity!

Isabelle Arsenault is an internationally renowned children’s book illustrator whose work has won many awards and much praise from critics. Her books include the graphic novels Jane, the Fox and Me and Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt, Spork and Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, Once upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol, Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky (Bologna Ragazzi Award 2017) and Colette’s Lost Pet, which marks her debut as an author. She has won the prestigious Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature three times, and two of her picture books were named as New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. The poetry expressed through Isabelle Arsenault’s graphic universe, the gentle flow of her lines and the overall charm of her books have made her one of Quebec’s best-known and esteemed illustrators. For more about Isabelle and her work, see Artwork from Virginia Wolf.

Interview with Isabelle Arsenault, as GG Winner in 2012.

From the Walrus (Nov. 2012), here is a condensed form of Farida Hussain’s interview with Isabelle Arsenault, when her artwork for Virginia Wolf, with text by Kyo Maclear, won her the Governor General’s Literary Award, for children’s literature (illustration) in English.

In 2004, Arsenault  won a GG for Le Coeur de Monsieur Gauguin, with text by Marie-Danielle Croteau, her first children’s book in French. In 2013, she won the GG again, for Jane, the Fox and Me, by Fanny Britt.

Arsenault studied Graphic Design at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She lives and works in Montreal.   [This interview is part of the Walrus’s Governor General’s Literary Awards interview series.]

Serendipity 2018
Beasts, birds, and words: The poetics of children’s books
with four Canadian artists/poets whose metaphors and images captivate and engage both the young and the young at heart. Join us to hear Isabelle Arsenault,  Robert Heidbreder, Kyo Maclear, Tiffany Stone, and Frédéric Gauthier of Les Éditions de la Pastèque talk about their works, their inspiration, and the Canadian children’s book publishing space.
Mar. 3, 2018 | 8am to 3:30 pm | UBC Robson Square
Early bird rates end February 14, 2018 | Final ticket sales close February 28, 2018
Includes: Coffee, snacks, lunch, book sales, and book signing. Register here.

Celebrate Award-Winning BC Children’s Authors and Illustrators 2018

You Are Invited To A Celebration of Award-Winning BC Children’s Authors and Illustrators

With special guest Jan Thornhill winner of the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada 2017 Information Book Award for her book The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk.

Be prepared to mingle and chat with over 20 of BC’s best writers and authors, and to participate in our fun silent auction.

Attending children’s writers and authors include: Jan Thornhill, Linda Bailey, Norma Charles, Sarah Ellis, Claire Eamer, Lee Fodi, Kallie George, Robert Heidbreder, Debbie Hodge, Glen Huser, Gay Ludlow, Anita Miettunen, Lori Sherritt, Kathryn Shoemaker, Tiffany Stone, Irene N. Watts, Pam Withers, Kay Weisman, Janet Whyte, and maybe a few more.

When: January 16, 2018, 7 – 9 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

Where: UBC Golf Club

What: Bubbly and appetizers | Silent Auction

Cost: Free to members and students.

Register now to confirm your seat and update your membership.

Announcing the 2017 Information Book Award Winner

Thank you to everyone who took the time and made the effort to participate in the voting process for the 2017 Information Book Award. The award will be presented at our celebration event on January 16, 2018.

The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk
By Jan Thornhill.
Published by Groundwood.







Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival
By Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho
Art by Brian Deines.
Published by Pajama Press.



Announcing our 2017-18 events list

What’s the most magnificent thing you can do on October 14th?
Join us for our Annual VCLR Illustrator’s Breakfast featuring Ashley Spires
October 14, 2017 | University Golf Course | 8:00 am -12:00 pm
Early Bird Rates end September 15, 2017

A Celebration of our Award Winning BC Authors and Illustrators
January 16, 2018, 7 – 9 pm | University Golf Course | Bubbly and Snacks | Silent Auction

Free to members and students.

Serendipity 2018
Beasts, birds, and words: The poetics of children’s books
with four Canadian artists/poets whose metaphors and images captivate and engage both the young and the young at heart. Join us to hear Isabelle Arsenault,  Robert Heidbreder, Kyo Maclear, Tiffany Stone, and Frédéric Gauthier of Les Éditions de la Pastèque talk about their works, their inspiration, and the Canadian children’s book publishing space.
Mar. 3, 2018 | 8am to 3:30 pm | UBC Robson Square
Early bird rates end February 14, 2018 | Final ticket sales close February 28, 2018
Includes: Coffee, snacks, lunch, book sales, and book signing.

Register online here or download a mail-in registration form here.

Don’t forget that except where noted, these are member-only events. Don’t miss out. Please make sure your membership is up-to-date. Renew your VCLR membership here.

2017 Information Book Award Shortlist

The jury for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada’s Information Book Award are pleased to announce the 2017 Shortlist, appended and attached below.

Voting, by members of the Children’s Literature Roundtables across Canada has begun and will continue through October 31, 2017.  The 2017 Information Book Award winner and honour titles will be announced in early November 2017, and the award will be presented in January 2018, in Vancouver.

Our thanks to all Canadian publishers of information books for children for participating in this award.

The Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Announce . . .

2017 Information Book Award Shortlist

(Ten Terrific Nonfiction titles published in 2016, listed alphabetically)

Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival. By Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho. Illustrations by Brian Deines. Published by Pajama Press.

Canada Year By Year. By Elizabeth MacLeod.  Illustrations by Sydney Smith. Published by Kids Can Press.

Half-Truths and Brazen Lies: An Honest Look at Lying. By Kira Vermond.  Illustrations by Clayton Hanmer. Published by Owl Kids.

I Am Not a Number. By Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer. Illustrations by Gillian Newland. Published by Second Story Press.

Level the Playing Field: The Past, Present, and Future of Women’s Pro Sports. By Kristina Rutherford. Published by Owl Kids.

My Book of Birds. By Geraldo Valério.  Published by Groundwood Books.

Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community. By Robin Stevenson. Published by Orca Books.

To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space.  By Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti. Published by Annick Press.

The Toad. By Elise Gravel. Published by Tundra Books.

The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk. By Jan Thornhill. Published by Groundwood Books.

Information Book Award Jury: Vicki Donoghue, Natalie Schembri, Sharlene Sharma, Taren Urquhart, Danielle Wing, and Michelle Yule. Chair: Kay Weisman





*Download the ballot form here.

Lois Brymer April 24, 1946 – March 27, 2017

Sad news for the MACL community: Lois Brymer, Master of Arts in Children’s Literature alumna, and former Chair of the Information Book Award, died on Monday, March 27th.

Lois was a gracious and vibrant member of the MACL and Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable communities. She was a journalist and member of the Pandora’s Vox choir. She studied in the MACL Program from 2000 to 2005. Her thesis, ”A Content Analysis of ‘What is Canadian’ in a Collection of Rare and Historical Canadian Children’s Books 1799-1939 in the University of British Columbia’s Rare and Special Collections Library” was supervised by Professor Ann Curry, with Professors Jane Flick and Judi Saltman as committee members, examined Canadian identity in historical children’s books.

After graduation, Lois worked tirelessly on behalf of Canadian children’s literature. She chaired the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada’s Information Book Award for many years.

A service will be held Tuesday afternoon, April 11, at West Vancouver Baptist Church at 450 Mathers Ave, West Vancouver.

Past VCLR speaker, Mem Fox, detained at border

Some VCLR folk will remember our Mem Fox event at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom quite a few years ago.  Mem was a fabulous and friendly guest for all. Vibrant and wonderful.Her website features her new book on multiculturalism in Australia– mentioned in the articles below.


Article from the Guardian

And this article — from an Australian paper-book editor from Australia

Accused of having an incorrect visa, Mem Fox detained by immigration officials at LA airport

DEBORAH BOGLE, Books Editor, The Advertiser February 22, 2017 7:33pm Subscriber only

AUSTRALIA’S best-loved children’s author, Mem Fox, was left sobbing and shaken after being detained for two hours and aggressively interrogated by immigration officials at Los Angeles airport.

Fox says she’s unlikely to ever travel to the United States again after being made to feel like “a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay”.

President Donald Trump had created the climate for this sort of behaviour, she said, adding: “This is what happens when extremists take power.”

En route to Milwaukee for a conference on February 9, where she was to deliver the opening keynote address at a literacy conference, Fox was ushered into an airport holding room and told she was travelling on the wrong visa. This was incorrect and the US Embassy in Canberra has since apologised. Fox, 70, said that by the time she checked in to her hotel she was shaking and sobbing.

“I am old and white, innocent and educated, and I speak English fluently,”she said. “Imagine what happened to the others in the room, including an old Iranian woman in her 80s, in a wheelchair.

“The way I was treated would have made any decent American shocked to the core, because that’s not America as a whole, it really isn’t. It’s just that people have been given permission to let rip in a fashion that is alarming.”

The irony that the two most popular of her more than 25 books published in the US,* Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes* and *Whoever You Are*, are both about diversity, was not lost on her. Nor was the fact that the theme of the conference she was attending was inclusivity and diversity.

Fox has visited the US more than 100 times since 1985, and is widely known there as an author and literacy educator.

After returning to Adelaide, she made a complaint to the US Embassy in Canberra, and received an emailed apology. An embassy spokeswoman told *The Advertiser *consular cases were not discussed with the media for privacy reasons.

Her experience has confirmed in Fox the importance of her new book, *I’m Australian Too*, about multiculturalism, illustrated by an Indian-born Australian, Ronojoy Ghosh. Fox wrote the book in late 2014 in response to what she saw as a rising tide of antagonism towards immigrants and refugees. “And it’s got worse since then,” she said. “I just feel that the hate speech that is going on is trying to change that aspect of our national character and it would be heartbreaking if that happened.