Annick Press

I attended an excellent webinar put on by CANSCAIP (Canadian Society for Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) last night. It was moderated by author Natasha Deen, who had wonderful questions for Katie Hearn, Editorial Director at Annick Press, and Gayna Theophilus, Rights and Sales Director for Annick. They had excellent, in-depth and thoughtful answers, and I know all 178 attendees from across the country, like me, were wishing they could work with these people on a book! I honestly came away from the meeting thinking this is a publisher with so much integrity, and the people there really want to help the world through their young readers.

What is Annick Looking for?

They spoke a lot about Annick’s new author mentorship program for historically underrepresented groups, but I’m going to summarize my quick notes on what Annick looks for in a manuscript. In point form:

  • issue books, stories that encourage deeper thought
  • nothing didactic; don’t talk down to kids (who are very sophisticated these days)
  • pacing that flows
  • what is the author’s approach?
  • is the voice (impossible to describe, but we all know it when we read it) authentic? Is there a spark?
  • show, don’t tell
  • is the story nuanced?
  • keep your adult voice out of a young person’s story.

What does the Art Director look for?

Katie shared some notes she had from Art Director Paul Cavello including:

  • does the art show confidence?
  • is it fun, appealing, expressive, unique?
  • does the artist have various styles?
  • would the artist likely have multiple and original ideas to suit a particular project?
  • does their work demonstrate dynamic possibilities?
  • could the artist collaborate well and be flexible?

Both editors said they look for illustrators on Instagram, so if you’re an artist, use #Canadianillustrators (or something like that), when posting art.

In the past year, I’ve submitted two projects to Annick, and I haven’t had a response, so I’m wondering if they’re a “no response means no thanks” publisher these days. They do produce beautiful books, and I’ll continue trying… Hope you’ve found this useful!

Happy I Read Canadian Day (February 17th)

And Happy I Read Canadian Day (February 17th) – I’ll be “visiting” students at Humber Park Elementary, and proudly wearing my IRC t-shirt:) Apparently, 2,000 schools participated last year, and it will be 4,000 this year – not bad for a volunteer-driven program!

  9 comments for “Annick Press

  1. February 11, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for the summary. Sounds like it was a great event. Enjoy your visit to Humber Park School. Will this be in person or virtually? I will be doing a virtual visit to a school in Birmingham England tomorrow. Looking forward to it. We have all had to adjust. Xo

    • February 12, 2021 at 1:41 pm

      We’re watching a Netflix show called Peaky Blinders, which is set in 1920s Birmingham – a bit gory, but well done. Enjoy! Yes, mine will be virtual, too.

  2. mirkabreen
    February 11, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you for featuring this press. I find that so many “issues” books are didactic, and it is a real artistic storyteller who can navigate this fine line. Kidlit in particular is driven by didactic instincts, so it must be the single most important aspect to guard against.

    • February 12, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      It is, but it’s funny to think how didactic reading material for kids used to be when we were kids. How times change, sometimes for the better. Hope you’re well – it’s a little frosty here in NS these days… I’ll miss our annual trip to Georgia.

  3. February 11, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    Sounds like you learned a lot. Thanks for taking notes ans passing this information along.

  4. February 11, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    I thought it was an excellent presentation, too! Thanks for summarizing it so well. (I can’t read my own scribbles these days, but I’m a fast typist!) 😀 I really liked Natasha’s line of questioning during the interview with Annick’s editors, since she tried to get an answer from them about how they would receive writing that incorporates more than one cultural background, and where would such stories fit into their publishing program, and how focused did they intend to be on publishing “own voices”, because she felt she had more than one voice herself. What Natasha said really resonated with me. My early childhood years were spent in growing up in Ontario, and I lived in Japan during my formative years (eight to eighteen). Coincidentally, I taught school in Guyana for a year and a half (where Natasha grew up) and again in Jamaica for six months. So like Natasha, I feel like I have an understanding of several cultures. Young people from Japan, Guyana, and Nova Scotia populate my first novel (three POVs), and characters who are Japanese Canadian are present in my second novel. They pop up in three of my picture book manuscripts, as well, but not as “token” characters placed there to fulfill a “diversity” requirement, but because they insisted on being there as part of my lived experience. But editors may not see it that way!

    • February 12, 2021 at 1:45 pm

      Best of luck with all that, Peggy – these are interesting times as authors and agents seek out diverse, authentic voices. I watched a good video by Linda Sue Park the other day, wherein she showed the American kid publishing stats – the majority of books are still being written by white people, although I would guess the majority of submissions are from the same. Hope you’re staying warm!

  5. February 14, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Thanks, Jan. Diverse, authentic voices are definitely needed in our multicultural society and everywhere in the world. I read an article with graphs showing the same stats you referenced, but I’ll look for the Linda Sue Park video to see if I missed anything. (I’ve been a “friend” of CANSCAIP for a few years, but it’s the first time I attended a Zoom meeting!)

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