Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Celebrating BC Books and Magazines

I'm a bit late with this, but we're smack in the middle of BC Book and Magazine Week. If you go to their website you'll find a listing of events. Perhaps you'll find one near you? Or, why not check out a BC magazine you haven't cracked open before -- there sure are enough of them. According to BCAMP (the BC Association of Magazine Publishers) there are over 75 to choose from, including (ahem) KNOW and YES Mag of course, but also such diversity as Room of One's Own, The Block, Small Farm Canada, and Lusitania. Browse the full list at the BCAMP site.

Now, though, I'd like to mention the finalists for the BC Book Prizes in the two children's lit. categories:

Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize
(All blurbs from the BC Book Prize site.)

The Alchemist's Dream, by John Wilson

In the fall of 1669, the vessel Nonsuch returns to London with a load of furs from Hudson Bay. It brings something else, too—the lost journal from Henry Hudson’s tragic search for a passage to Cathay in 1611. In the hands of a greedy sailor, the journal is merely an object to sell. But for Robert Bylot—a once-great maritime explorer—the book is a painful reminder of a past he’d rather forget. As Bylot relives his memories of a plague-ridden city, of the mysterious alchemist John Dee and of mutiny in the frozen wastes of Hudson Bay, an age-old mystery is both revealed and solved. The Alchemist’s Dream was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. John Wilson is a prolific writer specializing in historical fiction for young adults, and this is the fourth time he has been shortlisted for the Sheila A. Egoff Prize. He lives in Lantzville on Vancouver Island.

Baboon: A Novel, by David Jones

Fourteen-year-old Gerry Copeland has mixed feelings about flying back to his parents’ research camp in the African savannah. While his biologist mom and dad study baboon behaviour, he’ll be thinking about the video arcade and restaurants back in the city. When their small plane goes down, Gerry wakes up thinking a baboon has broken his fall but is shocked to realize the furry arm is his own. Gerry’s only chance is to stay with the baboon troop but will his parents ever recognize him? Baboon has been shortlisted for several prizes, including Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children and has been listed in the Children’s Fiction Top 10 List by the Ontario Library Association and the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age. David Jones lives in Vancouver.

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane, by Polly Horvath

Like her National Book Award-winning The Canning Season, The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane is filled with plot twists and extraordinarily strange characters. It is also a moving meditation on loss and finding family in the most unlikely places. Following the death of their parents, two cousins are sent to live with their distant, scholarly uncle and his eccentric house staff. Told in four characters’ voices, the novel is a layered account of one bad year from multiple points of view linking humour and pain. Polly Horvath has written many award-winning books for children and young adults, including The Trolls and Everything on a Waffle, which won the Sheila Egoff Prize in 2002. She lives in Victoria.

For Now, by Gayle Friesen

In Friesen’s previous book, Losing Forever, Jes learned to accept the inevitability of change. But change is moving at a heartbreaking pace and her world shifts by the day. There’s lots of uncertainty in Jes’s life, but the biggest uncertainty of all is love. Everyone has a different opinion on it. Dell says love should be so intense that it makes you puke—this from a girl who’s swept off her feet as easily as a dust bunny. Jes’s teacher says that love is about reuniting what was once divided—this from a guy who’s going through a divorce. If anything’s for sure, it’s that love is never predictable, but, as Jes begins to see, no one ever gives up on it. Born and raised in Chilliwack, Gayle Friesen studied English literature at UBC before becoming a writer. Her first novel, Janey’s Girl, won the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award. She lives in Delta.

Porcupine, by Meg Tilly

When her father is killed in Afghanistan, twelve-year-old tomboy Jack Cooper (or Jacqueline, as her mother insists on calling her) watches helplessly as her mother crumbles. Before long, Jack moves with her younger siblings from her Newfoundland home to a rundown farm on the Prairies with a great-grandmother they didn’t know existed. In the process, she learns that families come in many different forms and that love, trust and faith can build a home anywhere. A moving and inspiring tale, Meg Tilly’s Porcupine is a novel about adaptation and new understandings. Formerly a film actress, Meg Tilly is the author of two adult novels, Singing Songs and Gemma, and is currently at work on her second novel for young adults. She lives in Vancouver.

Congratulations, all.

This is getting long, so I'll post the finalists for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize in another post.

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