By Deb A.
By now you've heard that Agave Press will be launching its children's magazine, Prickly Pear Kids, in winter. That isn't the only exciting development in children's literature recently...
If you want your child to learn a lesson, those bunnies and bears just won't do. Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered that only stories that feature human beings can increase children's altruism.
Speaking of bears, A.A. Milne was desperate to escape his own creation, Winnie-the-Pooh.
This year's Klaus Flugge Prize for the most exciting and promising newcomer to children's picture book illustration has been awarded to Francesca Sanna for her book, The Journey, which tells the story of a mother and her two children fleeing war at home to find a new life in a foreign country.
You've read Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and you've probably seen at least one of the films, but what you never realised was that Charlie Bucket was originally black.
There are boy heroes, there are (significantly fewer) girl heroines. But chances are they aren't playing together. Amelia Hill takes a fascinating look at gender equality in children's books, and even offers a few titles for starting your non-sexist kids' library.
By Deb A.
If you're in need of some inspiration to begin your week, look no further:
Art is good for us: On Wednesday the British Parliament will announce the results of its two-year inquiry into arts, health and wellbeing. In anticipation of the report, Nicci Gerrard offers an eloquent account of the role of arts in helping people with dementia. (The Guardian)
Beware the selfie: A single snapshot was to blame for the domino effect that knocked over a row of plinths holding $200,000 worth of art. Too perfectly awkward to be true? (The New York Times)
Sketching the unknown: How artists and researchers teamed up to find and introduce new species to the rest of the world. (The Atlantic)
Illustrator, cartoonist, trailblazer: Canadian artist Jillian Tamaki's new book of graphic short stories marks her emergence as a "consummate storyteller". (The Walrus)
Visual activist: Photographer Zanele Muholi highlights racism, homophobia, and hate with Somnyama Ngopnyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, a series of self-portraits she took every day for a year. The Guardian dedicates two spaces to her work, and rightly so: a striking photo gallery and a compelling article.
When is a Modigliani not a Modigliani? Twenty-one artworks have been confiscated from a major exhibition in Genoa after several were confirmed as fakes. (The Telegraph)
The Commuter Pig Keeper? You still have time to vote for the Oddest Book Title of the Year. (The Bookseller)
Agave alumna: Agave Magazine contributor Karla K. Morton's twelfth book, Wooden Lions, is now available.
By Deb A.
The beaver, the loon, Céline Dion... all Canadian icons, all too expensive to commission as a six-storey inflatable landmark. And so, Canada will be celebrating its 150th birthday with a giant rubber duck.
It's not just any rubber duck. Rubber Duck was created by Florentijn Hofman, a Dutch artist known for enormous, playful outdoor installations (including the HippopoThames, which swam around in London in 2014). Various versions of the bird--which is visible from space--have turned up across Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States, but this will be its first visit to Canada. The world's largest rubber duck will float along the Ontario Waterfront as part of the Ontario 150 tour and the Redpath Waterfront Festival, which cannily encourages visitors to remember their selfie sticks.
So how does this very Instagrammable work speak to Canadian culture? In short, it doesn't. It fails to reference anything that is iconic to this nation of multiculturalism and maple syrup, and it wasn't even created by a Canadian. (Imagine, instead of a bright yellow duck lurking along the water, a hovering cloud of lightbulbs illuminating the evening, courtesy of Canadian artists Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett.)
The duck is family-friendly, eager to please, non-threatening, generally inoffensive... in essence, it's a yellow PVC-clad embodiment of the laziest Canuck stereotype. One can only hope it won't block the view of the compelling nine-metre inukshuk that already graces the shoreline.
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