Ten: The Books that Will Be 2013

This weekend, I went to the Alberta Library Conference and, among other things, had a chance to read about (and sometimes preview!) some of the books that will be coming out this year. This week’s Ten highlights titles that I’m most excited to read and, hopefully, share with you later this year.

Dream Boats coverDream Boats written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Kirsti Anne Wakelin
Released June 2013
“Where do children go when they close their eyes to sleep?
They step onto their dreamboats and sail toward adventure.
From Maiqui in the Andes floating through the constellations, to Aljuu paddling along the shores of Haida Gwaii with Eagle, Orca and Black Bear, to Ivan sailing into St. Petersburg, then sneaking between the bony legs of Baba Yaga, stories and memories lead them on.
Dream Boats takes readers into the dreams of children around the world, dreams that are filled with family and legends, culture and love. Written in lyrical prose by Dan Bar-el with gorgeous art by Kirsti Anne Wakelin, this is a book to be treasured by generations of dreamers. (from simplyreadbooks.com) Continue reading


Ten: Rather a lot of Mice

There’s a fair amount of variation in the use of talking animals in stories. Sometimes they’re basically people in suits, going about everyday, human tasks like buying groceries or facing bullies. Some authors imagine what it might be like to be the animals they describe, and the story depends upon elements that are unique to the animal(s) involved. Sometimes the animals interact with human beings, and other times they’re given their own worlds in which to play out their stories. In each case, what the use of talking animals contributes is a sense of “otherness,” though even this otherness is used in different ways, most commonly to offer an alternate perspective or to introduce new opportunities for humour. This week’s Ten explores some of the ways in which authors have explored the question: What if animals could talk?

Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye
The first in Hoeye’s Hermux Tantamoq series, Time Stops for No Mouse draws the reader into a world in which animals (mostly various types of rodents) live as humans — exploring the world, fighting injustice and, in Hermux’s case, solving mysteries. The writing is lovely and the story quite engaging. In fact, the books are likely to be at least as interesting to older teens and adults as to children, since the stories take place in a mostly-adult society. Continue reading