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Picture Books That Inspire Empathy

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  • 1
    catalogue cover
    Sometimes a Wall… Dianne White, Barroux
    9781771473736 Hardcover JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes Age (years) from 4 - 8, Grade (CAN) from P - 4, Grade (US) from P - 4 Publication Date:October 15, 2020
    $19.95 CAD 8 x 10.5 x 0.38 in | 431 gr | 32 pages Carton Quantity:20 Canadian Rights: Y Owlkids
    • Marketing Copy

      An afternoon in the playground introduces different kinds of walls: a brick wall to draw on with chalk, a water wall, and a climbing wall. What follows is a playful yet profound exploration of the many ways walls can divide us or bring us together. When one child is excluded from a game, another builds a castle to leave him out. When the builder declares the castle MINE, other kids feel alienated—but the builder becomes lonely, too, when the others have fun without him. The book ends with the optimism of a new start: friendship, forgiveness, and imagination give the wall new meaning.

      Told with short, simple lines of playful, rhyming text and loose line illustrations by internationally known artist Barroux, this book sparks questions with empathy, insight, and charm. It’s a timely tool for inquiry-based and social-emotional learning, sharing the important message that walls can unite or divide, depending on the choices we make.
      Previously an elementary school teacher, DIANNE WHITE has a master’s degree in Language and Literacy, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She now writes full time, and lives with her family in Gilbert, Arizona.

      BARROUX lives in Paris, France, and has studied photography, art, sculpture, and architecture. His work has been published in The New York Times and The Washington Post. He believes that the world needs fewer walls and more trees.
      Marketing & Promotion
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    • Awards & Reviews

      "Rhyme, rhythm, and simple art—all including references to walls—show children expressing different emotions and behaviors... Mending walls for the nursery crowd."
      "Hopeful and compassionate, this story uses simple language to create concrete connections, and may inspire children to choose a more inclusive way."
      "This is a book that will make readers of all ages think... This would make a phenomenal classroom text and would be great for critical thinking and discussions."
      "A sweet picture book that helps build emotional intelligence, humility and compassion."
      "Sometimes a Wall... is a picture book with so many layers. It is a story that teaches us about friendship, conflict, empathy, and forgiveness, in a way that kids of all ages can understand."
      "The story is touching, using few words, but they are words that wield power, especially when paired with Barroux’s colorful artwork."
      "Teachers looking for a book to aide in SEL [Social-Emotional Learning] need look no further than this lovely picture book."
      "We've read Sometimes a Wall... a number of times now, and each time it gets richer and more meaningful."
      "Dianne White has written a book with few words that embrace a big idea."
  • 2
    catalogue cover
    9781771473811 Hardcover JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes Age (years) from 4 - 8, Grade (CAN) from K - 5, Grade (US) from K - 5 Publication Date:April 15, 2020
    $19.95 CAD 7.5 x 11 x 0.38 in | 399 gr | 32 pages Carton Quantity:20 Canadian Rights: Y Owlkids
    • Marketing Copy

      New from Sophie Gilmore, whose debut picture book, Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast, was named a Publishers Weekly "Flying Start"

      ·   New from the critically acclaimed author of Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast

      ·   Features a strong female character making her voice heard

      ·   Themes of empathy, social-emotional learning, and justice

      Freda lives in a town where people are always telling her to be more careful. But Freda loves to explore—which is how, one day, she discovers an injured beetle. She names him Ernest, feeds him, and befriends him. They become inseparable as Ernest grows ever bigger and stronger.

      Noticing Ernest’s now-enormous size, the townspeople put him to work. But Ernest is strange, and has a strong appetite, and when a prize ewe goes missing, people start to talk. Freda listens to their appeals and sends her beloved friend away. But when a terrible storm puts the villagers in real danger, Freda knows who can help—and she stands up and says so. After Ernest uses his unique strength to save the day, everyone wants him to stay. But maybe this time, Freda and Ernest choose to listen to their hearts.  

      Illustrated in watercolor and gouache, this is a fantastical modern fable about the value of listening to your heart, not always listening to others, and making your own voice heard.

      SOPHIE GILMORE is a writer and illustrator living in Italy. She works with watercolour and pen and illustrates friend, foe, and ordinary girls quietly doing extraordinary things. Sometimes all in one book.

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    • Awards & Reviews


      Praise for Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast, also by Sophie Gilmore:

      Named a Publishers Weekly "Flying Start" of Spring 2019

      "With its softly detailed, virtuoso art and a perfectly wrought story full of heart and respect for the imaginative rules of children’s play, this debut shines."
      The New York Times

      "An enthralling demonstration of kindness in action, helmed by a confident, brown-skinned girl in a doctor’s coat."
      Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

      "A rousing, toothy adventure."
      Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

      "Gilmore’s breezy tone keeps scariness at bay... and her illustrations are at once dreamy and believable. The conceit of a primary school–aged child who is already a seasoned medical professional provides charm from the outset, and Little Doctor’s bravery comes from wisdom and
      Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

  • 3
    catalogue cover
    You Are Never Alone Elin Kelsey Canada, Soyeon Kim Canada
    9781771473156 Hardcover JUVENILE NONFICTION / Science & Nature Age (years) from 4 - 12 Publication Date:April 15, 2019
    $19.95 CAD 8.25 x 10.25 x 0.38 in | 398 gr | 32 pages Carton Quantity:40 Canadian Rights: Y Owlkids
    • Marketing Copy

      From the creators of You Are Stardust and Wild Ideas comes a new picture book that explores how humans are inextricably connected to nature. This book draws examples from the clouds and the cosmos, the seafloor and the surface of our skin, to show how we are never alone: we are always surrounded and supported by nature. Whether it’s gravity holding us tight; our lungs breathing oxygen synthesized by plants; the countless microorganisms that build our immunity; or the whales whose waste fertilizes the plankton that feed the fish we eat: nature touches every aspect of how we live.

      Using lyrical text grounded in current science alongside detailed diorama art, this informational picture book presents the idea that we thrive through connections to the land and sea and sky, and togetherness is key to nature. It encourages inquiry-based learning, inviting readers to wonder, ask questions, observe the natural world, and engage with big ideas. An author’s note at the end offers more insight into the research behind the text.
      Elin Kelsey, PhD, is an award-winning author and a leading spokesperson for hope and the environment. In 2014, she co-created #OceanOptimism, a twitter campaign to crowd-source and share ocean conservation successes which has reached 90 million users to date. She frequently works on projects with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Stanford University and the University of Victoria and is passionate about engaging kids in hopeful, science-based, environmental solutions. See more at www.elinkelseyandcompany.com.

      Soyeon Kim is a Toronto-based, Korean-born artist who specializes in fine sketching and painting techniques to create three-dimensional dioramas. She is a graduate of the Visual Arts and Education programs at York University.
      Marketing & Promotion
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    • Awards & Reviews

      Top 10 picture books of the year 2019, Commended
      100 books that shaped 2019 2019, Commended
      Best Books for Kids and Teens 2019, Commended
      Best Spiritual Books of the Year 2019, Commended
      "it is all elegantly presented in soaring, vivid language...breathtakingly beautiful."
      “[This] book could serve as a springboard for further scientific investigation.”
      “A captivating array of mixed-media artwork illustrates the often intangible emotional and physical bonds that exist throughout nature.”
      "This book is as reassuring as it is gorgeous."
      "The connections that are part of all life on this planet are carefully explained and presented, allowing young readers a chance to think on the way life works and how nature impacts every single thing we do."
      "You Are Never Alone would make a good addition to a primary unit on ecology or an Earth Day storytime."
      "[You Are Never Alone] celebrates the beauty of the world and reminds young readers that not only are they protected by a 'generous world of green' but that they can make a difference by how they interact with that world."
      "Leads readers down a gentle path of reminders that we are not alone — from the clouds in the sky, to the beetles in the ground, to the whales in the ocean."
  • 4
    catalogue cover
    Series: Ira Crumb
    Ira Crumb Feels the Feelings Naseem Hrab Canada, Josh Holinaty Canada
    9781771472982 Hardcover JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes Age (years) from 5 - 8, Grade (CAN) from 1 - 4, Grade (US) from 1 - 4 Publication Date:October 15, 2018
    $19.95 CAD 8.5 x 11 x 0.38 in | 479 gr | 32 pages Carton Quantity:18 Canadian Rights: Y Owlkids Books
    • Marketing Copy

      In the funniest book about being sad, a disagreement with Malcolm sends Ira into a slump

      Ira and Malcolm are best friends: they always make each other laugh, always eat lunch together, and always play together. But one day, a disagreement about whether to play tag or hide-and-seek sees the suddenly über-popular Malcolm run off with a crowd of tag-loving kids—and Ira all alone.

      Ira’s tummy hurts, his chin is wibbling, and his eyes are leaking. What’s happening?! Any efforts to cheer him up fall flat. When Malcolm finally returns and asks what’s wrong, Ira tells him: “I had all these feelings…and I didn’t have you.”

      The second Ira Crumb book marks the return of an endearing character full of personality, humor, and heart. With lots of laughs and comics-style storytelling, it’s a funny, touching look at how feelings can be confusing, and how processing emotions can take time—and a bit of help from a pretty good friend.

      NASEEM HRAB is a writer and storyteller. Her comedy writing has appeared
      on McSweeney's Internet Tendency and The Rumpus. Naseem worked as a
      librarian for a time and now works in children's publishing. She's a fan
      of improv comedy and cheddar cheese. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

      JOSH HOLINATY is an illustrator whose work has been found in books,
      magazines, mobile apps, and even on coffee cups. His previous books
      include Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend, Norma Fleck Award finalist
      A Beginner's Guide to Immortality, and Innovation Nation. Josh lives in
      Toronto, Ontatio with his wife Genevieve and their dog Jack, a
      connoisseur of socks.

      Marketing & Promotion

    • Awards & Reviews

      Reviews for Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend:

      "Packed with wry whimsy... A valuable lesson in friendship."
      — Kirkus

      "A fast-moving text that speaks to the fear children have about being the
      new kid anywhere in life, this title will be especially welcome on the
      shelves for back-to-school storytimes and shared readings."
      — School Library Journal

      "Hrab, a former librarian, knows what makes kids laugh... But
      amid the laughter are some very good lessons about making friends that
      will undoubtedly help soothe the anxieties of many children."
      — Quill & Quire
  • 5
    catalogue cover
    What Happens Next Susan Hughes Canada, Carey Sookocheff Canada
    9781771471657 Hardcover JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes Age (years) from 4 - 12, Grade (CAN) from K - 5, Grade (US) from K - 5 Publication Date:March 15, 2018
    $19.95 CAD 8.25 x 10.75 x 0.44 in | 456 gr | 40 pages Carton Quantity:14 Canadian Rights: Y Owlkids Books Inc.
    • Marketing Copy

      A spare and deeply-felt narrative about feeling like an outsider

      What Happens Next
      is a raw, realistic story told by an unnamed protagonist who feels different from everybody else, like she doesn’t quite fit in. Bullied by a girl at school, our narrator gives a terse script of the related facts (What Her Friends Do: Laugh. What Everyone Else Does: Nothing.) and emotions (How I Feel Sometimes: Bad. Really Bad.).

      She takes these hurt feelings home, where Mom listens and offers some ideas. At school the next day, the narrator confronts the bully by spinning her “weirdo” obsession with science into an opportunity to find common ground, and maybe help the bully see the world in a new way.

      Spare illustrations in a limited palette of blues and greens convey feeling alone even in the hustle and bustle of a crowded schoolyard. Graphic novel–style panels set a steady pace for the emotional impact of this important story that doesn’t simplify the realities of feeling like an outsider. It’s a powerful starting point for discussions of emotions, empathy, and how we relate to others.

      SUSAN HUGHES is the author of over 30 children’s books, including Up! How Families Around the World Carry their Little Ones, Off to Class, and Making Canada Home. She is a freelance editor and story coach. She lives with her family in Toronto, Ontario.

      CAREY SOOKOCHEFF is the illustrator of the critically acclaimed Buddy and Earl series, and the author/illustrator of Solutions for Cold Feet and Other Little Problems and Wet. She has worked with a wide range of editorial, design and corporate clients. She lives in Toronto with her husband, two kids, and their dog.

      Marketing & Promotion
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    • Awards & Reviews

      What Happens Next is the type of picture book that comes along every now and then and stops you in your tracks. I was really impressed with the whole package – the unique telling of the story, as well as the design of the book... A truly multi-levelled story that will resonate with anyone who has been bullied, belittled or felt like an outsider.”
      "What Happens Next provides a great opportunity to support children’s social and emotional development. Discussion of topics in the book allows teachers to support their students in learning to identify and respond to bullying, as well as build empathy skills and understand how others feel."
      “A simple, straightforward account of the way bullying takes place and an approach that puts the power in the children's hands. I think it will be a popular book and one that will give rise to lots of discussion.”
      “This book’s perfect, emotionally healthy message is expressed with enough precision that it might help a real child to be brave too; or, it might guide a parent’s successful intervention. I hope so. I’d encourage librarians to give their patrons the opportunity of reading this important book."
      "The way the story is told makes it really accessible to older kids and younger kids... The ending is true and not neatly 'tied up with a bow'. Like real life."
      "An innovative question-and-answer dialogue format and the subtle use of color to convey emotions impart a positive message perfect for children, teens, and families dealing with bullying who just might need a new way of looking that is hopeful, heartfelt, and honest."
      "A powerful reminder to children that even if we seem completely different, we have enormous commonalities that bind us."
      "This title is not a cure-all, but it offers a starting point for an important talk in either a family or a classroom setting."
      "Immediate and arresting."
      "What Happens Next is about empathy and courage and giving power to children and finding commonalities. The ending is not pat, but, instead, encourages healthy conversation for all ages about dealing with bullies."
      "Hughes’s suggestion that reaching out to bullies can be more effective than standing up to them is a brave and big-hearted one."
      "What Happens Next is a powerful book and can be used to help young readers discuss their own hard-to-talk-about situations."
      "What Happens Next is nothing short of a brilliant, must have book for all kids."
      "It's a powerful starting point for discussions of emotions, empathy, and how we relate to others. An impressively exceptional picture book for young children."

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