Interview with Rick Wilks of Annick Press

Wednesday, July 11, 2007.

Rick WilksThis episode is part of our Publishers Showcase, a special series of interviews with children’s book publishers, which we are running during the weeks of July 2 and July 9 2007.

A publisher was once asked how someone could start a small children’s book publishing company in Canada. The response ‘start a big one and wait’.

On this edition of Just One More Book, Mark speaks with Rick Wilks about the thirty-two year evolution of his independent children’s book publishing company, Annick Press, from two books per year by kids for kids to thirty amazing titles each year. You can learn more about Annick Press by visiting their website, annickpress.com.

Photo: Annick Press

Selected chapter books we’ve read in the last year

Wednesday, December 1, 2010.

After a 14-month hiatus, we dust off Just One More Book to participate in the Canadian National Day of Podcasting, a virtual event intended to bring stale shows out of retirement for one-day in a festival-like reunion of online content creators.

In this episode, we highlight some of the chapter books we’ve read since parking JOMB last year.

Andrea’s picks

Mark’s picks

Soup du Jour: Unwavering Self-Worth Inside and Outside the Box

Friday, October 2, 2009.

Today we look at a clump of four books about independent thinkers who, without fanfare or animosity, disregard the judgements of others and are simply happy being who they are.

Ingredients (books discussed):

Jump into Today’s Soup (feedback):

Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.

Second Helpings (transcript of podcast):

In a society where the media, schools and, sadly, even parents often expect us to conform to prescribed,cookie-cutter ways of being, a common challenge for adults and children alike is to understand and appreciate out-of-the-box thinking or behavior in ourselves and others. With so much emphasis on conforming, being or even befriending a person who is viewed as different can be a scary and isolating experience.It’s not surprising, then, that we sometimes go to great lengths to reject or hide our unique selves — and to avoid those who don’t.

Many children’s books and, to a greater extent, movies attempt to reduce the social stigma against being different through boisterous victory-of-the-underdog themed stories in which the independent thinker saves the day and, to the rousing cheers of once-distant peers, instantly becomes the poster child of popularity. There is no denying that such victories feel great but I believe stories which present quiet appreciation, improved understanding or simply congenial co-existence go further to help children deal with different ways of being.

Before looking at the books, let me explain that I like to read to my two daughters in clumps. That is, I like to read in one sitting several books that are completely parallel in certain ways — offering similar characters, situations, or themes — but are different enough to make the clumped reading interesting. I clump by activity (riding a bike, say), by storyline (several variations on the Frog Prince story, for example) or, as in the case today, by explorations of a similar type of character (a girl that is viewed as being different). There are many books that deal with differences in, what I believe are, very constructive ways. Today we look at a clump of four books about independent thinkers who, without fanfare or animosity, disregard the judgements of others and are simply happy being who they are.

Odd VelvetOdd Velvet (Mary Whitcomb Illustrated by Tara Calahan King; 1998 Chronicle Books) tells the story of a happily independent school girl who has bypassed the consumer mentality of her peers and finds beauty and entertainment in the world around her. What I love about this story is that Violet’s unimposing enjoyment of life remains steadfast throughout… her self esteem easily withstands the taunts of her classmates and she remains true to her nature as she gradually gains the respect of her peers. Violet’s self worth is clearly not tied to her judgment by others.
The Recess Queen The Recess Queen (Alexis O’Neill Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith; 2002 Scholastic Press) relays, in snappy, what is it? Hip hop beat? the story of a school yard bully effortlessly felled by the teeny tiny independently minded Katie Sue, a kid you might scare with a jump and a boo!. Here again, the beauty of the story — for me — is in Katie Sue’s unwavering sense of self worth regardless of her noticeably different approach to life and in the fact that she takes in stride both the bullying and her offhanded deflation of the bully.
Suki's Kimono Suki’s Kimono (Chieri Uegaki Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch; 2003 Kids Can Press) is a refreshing celebration of individuality and joie de vivre. This first-day-of-school story contrasts the uninhibited and happily independent six year old Suki with her self-conscious, stiff and validation-seeking sisters — and their complete embarrassment that their little sister is wearing a kimono to school. Although I think Suki could do without the applause of her classmates, Suki’s sunny self-assurance remains constant throughout and she gains no satisfaction from the fact that her sisters’ preparation and preening brought them nothing but exasperation.
Annie Bizzanni Annie Bizzanni (Frances Halle Illustrated by Fil et Julie; 2006 Bayard Canada Books) introduces us to a creative, multi-tasking and impulsive free-spirit who lives life in large slices which she feels no pressure to complete. Although her friends are obviously amused, inconvenienced and, sometimes, scared by Annie’s quirky behavior what I love about this book is that Annie’s way of being is simply portrayed as being different — not better or worse — than that of her peers, that her friends love her for who she is and that she is very happy being herself.

Although society may expect it, we’re not cookie cutouts and we all fall inside and outside various different boxes. We might as well enjoy ourselves!

Thanks for listening. I’m Andrea Ross from the Just One More Book!! Podcast and we’ve been Swimming in Literary Soup.

Fear-free Flying: The Noisy Airplane Ride

Friday, September 26, 2008.

The Noisy Airplane RideAuthor: Mike Downs
Illustrator: David Gordon
Published: 2003 Tricycle Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1582461570

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Whirrrs, roars, thuds, clunks and dings are exposed as the expected soundtrack of a safe and exciting flight in this warm and reassuring, rhyming adventure.

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This episode is dedicated to our friends and fellow children’s literature authors, illustrators and enthusiasts all over North America who at this very moment are boarding planes, trains and automobiles en route to the Second Annual KidLit Conference in Portland, Oregon. Have a FABULOUS time!

Pop over to The Miss Rumphius Effect for today’s full menu of poetry offerings. Poetry Fridays are brought to us by Kelly Herold of Big A, Little A.

HOTLINE VOICES: Kristen Chase of Motherhood Uncensored and Cool Mom Picks in Atlanta, Georgia shares her thoughts on a Canadian Classic: The Paper Bag Princess (by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko). Thanks, Kristen!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave us a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

Bedbug Busters: But If They Do…

Friday, September 12, 2008.

But If They DoAuthor: Bill Richardson
Illustrator: Marc Mongeau (on JOMB)
Published: 2003 Annick Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1550377868

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Toasty tones, a hint of terror and boisterous, confident rhyme make this gleeful triumph over imagined dangers a rowdy and reassuring bedtime read.

Other books mentioned:

More bedtime and frights on JOMB:

Stay tuned at the end of this review for a special treat:
Author/Illustrator extraordinaire, Mo Willems, shares his thoughts on Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, a new book written and illustrated by Bob Shea.

Pop over to Biblio File for today’s full menu of poetry offerings. Poetry Fridays are brought to us by Kelly Herold of Big A, Little A.

Sizzling Rhythm: Dirty Dog Boogie

Friday, August 15, 2008.

Dirty Dog BoogieAuthor: Loris Lesynski (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Loris Lesynski
Published: 1999 Annick (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1550375725

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

If these thirty-two pages of flipping, flopping, bouncing, buzzing, twitching, itching, hissing, humming, fizzing, popping, whizzing, waltzing, shaking, leaping, rug-cutting rhyme don’t get your toes tapping, we’d like to hear about it.

Other books mentioned:

Listen to Mark’s interview with Loris.

Pop over to Big A, Little A for today’s full menu of poetry offerings. Poetry Fridays are brought to us by Kelly Herold of Big A, Little A.

Desert Zest: 52 Days By Camel (My Sahara Adventure)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008.

52 Days by CamelAuthor: Lawrie Raskin and Debora Pearson
Photographer: Lawrie Raskin
Published: 1998 Annick Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1554511364

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Passion sparked by childhood reading leads us through snow, salt, sandstorms, camel spit and souks in this eye opening introduction to the wonders of the Sahara and the sensational potential of curiosity and pluck.

More of the Arab World on JOMB:

If we sound slightly odd in this show, it’s because we recorded it during a live television appearance on Roger’s Daytime.

Superheroes, Sabayad and SUVs: My Friend Jamal

Wednesday, April 30, 2008.

My Friend JamalAuthor: Anna McQuinn
Illustrator: Anna McQuinn and Ben Frey
Published: 2008 Annick Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1554511224

Beaming boyhood bliss pops from zesty action-packed photography-and-paint collage as a spunky seven year old proudly presents the shared adventures and intriguing details of life with his very best bud, Jamal — who happens to be Somali.

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Constructing Community: Mattland

Wednesday, March 5, 2008.

MattlandAuthor: Hazel Hutchins & Gail Herbert
Illustrator: Dusan Petricic (on JOMB)
Published: 2008 Annick Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1554511208

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

A clever combination of first person illustration and third-person narrative sweep us from the bleak friendlessness of a half-built subdivision to the sunny satisfaction of a job well done in this wordless triumph of teamwork and imagination.

More imagination on JOMB:

Holding Hope for Humanity: Freedom Child of the Sea

Saturday, June 16, 2007.

Freedom Child of the SeaAuthor: Richardo Keens-Douglas
Illustrator: Julia Gukova
Published: Annick Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1550373730

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Absorbing artwork and intimate narrative relay a haunting yet delicately hopeful tale of cruelty, oppression and the promise of humanity.

Happy Being Me: Suki’s Kimono

Wednesday, January 3, 2007.

Suki's KimonoAuthor: Chieri Uegaki
Illustrator: Stephane Jorisch
Published: 2003 Kids Can Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1553377524
Chapters.ca Amazon.com

This effervescent story, with its vivid, carefree illustrations and its protaganist’s refreshing win-win attitude, is a rousing celebration of individuality and joie de vivre. We love Suki!!

3 Generations of Grouchiness: The Grandmother Doll

Wednesday, December 6, 2006.

The Grandmother DollAuthor: Alice L. Bartels
Illustrator: Duscan Petricic (on JOMB)
Published: 2001 Annick Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1550376667

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Finally, a little dysfunction!! With all the stomps, sneers and slams you would expect on the third day of influenza-induced confinement, the candor of this warm, magical story is a rare and welcome treat.

 
 

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