NOTES from 40th Anniversary September 2017 meeting; SPECIAL GUESTS Jean Little, Michael Martchenko

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 4:37 PM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

NOTES from September 13 meeting: 40th Anniversary

SPECIAL GUESTS: Michael Martchenko, Jean Little 


President Sharon Jennings welcomed attendees and those tuning in from across the country via our first-ever live-streamed meeting! Sharon is proud to be CANSCAIP’s president for the third time; she hung in for the 40th anniversary cake! 

Past presidents Nancy Hartry, Sylvia McNicoll, Bill Swan, Sonja Dunn and Kathleen Willing attended this special evening.

Eleven creators started CANSCAIP on July 1, 1977 in a conversation at a literary festival; they felt a group was needed for support, friendship, advice, and the sharing of professional information. Our CANSCAIP News editor Barbara Greenwood, also a past president, wrote a summary of our organization’s history for the Fall issue. 

Board members Holly Main, Michele Nidenoff, Patricia Storms, Bill Swan, Cathy Rondina and Recording Secretary Bev Katz Rosenbaum and Administrative Director Helena Aalto were acknowledged. Mireille Messier and Jennifer Mook-Sang were thanked for helping set up and bringing refreshments. In the midst of celebration, Sharon noted the recent losses of Members Janet Lunn and Jan Andrews. 

Sharon noted that we are trying to make the organization more inclusive for Members across the country. Now, people can attend PYI virtually, and we’re also holding webinars. And tonight is our first attempt at live-streaming a meeting!


Barbara Reid presented her new book Picture the Sky, published by Scholastic. 

Patricia Storms presented her new illustrated book If You’re Thankful and You Know It, published by Scholastic, with text by Chrissy Bozik. 

Lorna Poplak presented her adult book, Drop Dead: A Horrible History of Hanging in Canada, published by Dundurn Press. 

Jennifer Mook-Sang presented Captain Monty Takes the Plunge, published by Kids Can Press. Jennifer pointed out this book was a former winner of CANSCAIP’s Writing for Children competition. 

Heather Camlot presented Clutch, a middle-grade novel, published by Red Deer Press. Set in Montreal during the time Jackie Robinson played baseball there, the story features a boy trying to get out of his poor Plateau neighbourhood. This debut novel was also a winner in the CANSCAIP Writing for Children competition. 

Nadia Hohn first announced that her picture book Malaika’s Costume won an honorable mention at the Americas Awards and she will attend the ceremony in Washington at the Library of Congress. Next, Nadia presented the sequel to that book, Malaika’s Winter Carnival, in which Malaika joins her mother in Canada. 

Michelle Kadarusman presented The Theory of Hummingbirds (Pajama Press), a mid-grade novel about becoming your truest self. 

Kate Blair presented her second book, Tangled Planet, published by DCB, Cormorant’s young adult science fiction imprint. It features a young engineer on a starship planet not as uninhabited as previously thought. 

Mireille Messier presented Moi Aussi!, the story of two girls striking up a friendship. One gets so caught up in the spirit of things that she lies about something they have in common. 

Sylvia McNicoll presented The Artsy Mistake Mystery, the latest in her Great Mistake Mysteries series. It is based on an experience she had losing a painting of Michael Martchenko’s while in charge of a CANSCAIP art show! 

Sharon presented several books on behalf of Members not attending.  Charis Cotter’s The Painting, is a middle-grade novel published by Tundra, in which a girl going through a difficult time finds she can walk into a painting. Margriet Ruurs’ latest non-fiction picture book, Birthdays Around the World (Kids Can Press), illustrated by Ashley Barron, depicts the various ways birthdays are celebrated. Mine, by Natalie Hyde, is a mid-grade laugh-out-loud novel (Scholastic) in which a boy tries to thwart the long run of bad luck that has plagued his family. The launch for Mine is on November 4 at the Earth Sciences Museum at the University of Waterloo. Holly Hatam has illustrated a picture book Dear Girl (Harper Collins) which  encourages girls to love who they are, inside and out. 


Helena Aalto, CANSCAIP’s Administrative Director, announced that she and Debbie Ohi are looking for volunteers for CANSCAIP’s newly formed Social Media Committee. Also on the committee are Melanie Fishbane and Karen Krossing. Volunteers need only spend 15-30 minutes a week on this. They must be comfortable with social media. There is a sign-up form Debbie’s website. 

Our annual PYI conference will take place on Saturday, November 11th, at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. Andrea Beck, the author of this year’s grade one book giveaway, is our morning Keynote speaker; Ken Setterington will give the Claire Mackay Memorial Lecture. 


For our 40th anniversary, we celebrated some early Canadian children’s publishing success stories. The partnership of Michael Martchenko and Robert Munsch is certainly that. Their story began with the 1980 publication of The Paper Bag Princess, which is still in print! Jean Little was one of the eleven founding Members of CANSCAIP. On that memorable day, when planning this support group, Jean said, “This will never last.”  A very funny program of reminiscences and advice ensued. 

You can view the entire evening at the recording of our live-streamed meeting.