On Red Is Best and A Pocket Can Have A Treasure In It
On The Dance with the Violin
If you’ve ever needed a second chance to achieve your dreams, you won’t want to miss Kids’ Lit favourite Kathy Stinson’s newest book. The Dance of the Violin (Annick Press), illustrated by Dušan Petricic, returns to Stinson’s last literary subject, violinist Joshua Bell who appeared in her award-winning book The Man with the Violin, but this time takes readers back to Bell’s childhood, where he enters a prestigious musical competition.
After a heartbreaking error ruins his shot at victory, Joshua gathers his courage and asks for a second chance. It’s a heartwarming book that will appeal to music lovers especially, but its lessons and story are universal.
On What Happened to Ivy
Kathy Stinson is best known for her iconic picture book, Red Is Best (illustrations by Robin Baird Lewis, Annick Press) which recently celebrated its thirtieth year in print. And while she’s written many picture books, Kathy has tackled a range of topics in her vast array of books for older children. Her award-winning short story collection, 101 Ways to Dance (Second Story Press) explores teen sexuality while her Our Canadian Girl Marie-Claire novels are historicals set in 1885 Montreal.
In her recent young adult novel, What Happened to Ivy (Second Story), Stinson steps into the shoes of David, the teen brother of a profoundly disabled sister who dies under questionable circumstances. Stinson accurately captures the conflicted emotions of David, who clearly loves his sister while at the same time being embarrassed by her and frustrated with the limitations that her existence has placed on the family. Stinson’s depiction of Ivy is nuanced and real, beautifully showing the young girl’s abilities and perceptions within her challenged life.
On Giving Back
On this, my last day as writer-in-residence of Open Book Toronto, I’d like to say thanks for checking in throughout the month to read my chats with many of the people who sparkle within the world of children’s publishing. It’s been a wonderful experience for me to be able to host them in this forum.
For my final post, I’d like to introduce you to KATHY STINSON, the well-respected Toronto-born writer who has published books in many genres, for example: RED IS BEST and BIG OR LITTLE?, the two first Canadian picture books for preschoolers; four CANADIAN GIRL novels about Marie-Claire; novels KING OF THE CASTLE and RUBY; and the non-fiction HIGHWAY OF HEROES.
On Becoming Ruby
Over the course of the summer of 1967, 15-year-old Ruby Nan Larkin is changing. It may have something to do with Daniel. Or is it her feelings about her mother? In Kathy Stinson’s novel Becoming Ruby we meet a girl struggling to come into her own — in body, mind and spirit. Read an exclusive interview with Kathy below…
Q: Nan’s relationship with her mother is highly charged. At times her mother appears cold and critical, while at other moments Nan and her mother share laughter and intimacy. Do you think the mother-daughter tension in Becoming Ruby is typical or is Nan’s mother especially troubled as a parent?
On TD Canadian Children’s Book Week 2008
It was November, 1983 – the seventh Canadian Children’s Book Week. Seventeen authors were touring the country. Among them was a young woman, with two picture books to her name, who had only once been outside of Ontario. Now she was travelling through the flat wide expanses of southern Manitoba – Winnipeg, Brandon, Boissevain, Deloraine and others. Kathy Stinson recalls, “Everywhere I went, I thought, I want to come back here.”
On 101 Ways to Dance
What inspired you to write these stories?
Teaching writing, I often suggested to students that they mine their own experiences for story ideas. One day I realized I wasn’t doing this myself, so I began remembering incidents from my own teen years and started to use them to create fiction.
Profile by Dave Jenkinson for Canadian Materials
It’s been more than 20 years since I interviewed Kathy Stinson for my “Portraits” column in Emergency Librarian [Vol. 14 (5), 52-56] while Kathy was on her first “Book Week” tour with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Since 2007 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Red Is Best, a picture book that has become a modern Canadian classic, I thought it an appropriate time to revisit Kathy.