Thank you, Eva Ibbotson

Sunday, October 24, 2010.

We were saddened to learn about the death of incredible author Eva Ibbotson. We are dedicated fans of her books. In fact, her name comes up in our home almost daily.

As a result of Just One More Book!!, we had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Ibboton on her 83rd birthday on January 21, 2008. It was an early morning affair (5amET) in order to account for the time change and turned out to be the kind of interview that refused to be edited. So, it was released as it was later that day.

We had the good fortune of corresponding with Ms. Ibbotson a few times since the interview, and she left a voice mail message for Andrea wishing her a quick return to good health following her breast cancer diagnosis last year.

In honour of Ms. Ibbotson, we have decided to republish her interview. We’ve also made a transcript of the interview available.

Thank you for a library of fantastic books. We will always enjoy them.

Interview with Rukhsana Khan

Tuesday, September 29, 2009.

Rukhsana KhanIt’s no mystery that books are powerful. They teach us skills and history, and take us to places we’ve never been or that never existed.  Many of the best books take us to a place inside of ourselves where we can connect with other stories and escape our own realities.

The Roses in my Carpets tells the story of a young boy, his mother and sister, living in a refugee camp.  The camp serves merely as a setting for this family as we experience the common reality of feeling out of place while dealing with life around us.

Author Rukhsana Khan joins Mark to talk about how books saved her, writing politics out of children’s books and her thoughts on life as a marathon and books as sprints.

Photo provided by Rukhsana Khan.

Interview with Shauntay Grant

Monday, September 21, 2009.

Photo of Shauntay Grant (by Raul Rincon)While her book Up Home may be set in the one of Canada’s most important black communities, author Shauntay Grant‘s story is universal. As noted in the jacket flap, the book celebrates growing up and remembering our roots.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, Mark speaks with Shauntay Grant about turning a spoken word performance piece into a children’s book, the role of verse in children’s literature and sharing the experience of growing up.

Photo of Shauntay Grant by Raul Rincon.

Love of Reading Gallery – Aaron Zenz

Monday, September 14, 2009.

As part of the second anniversary celebrations of the Just One More Book!! children’s book podcast, we invited illustrators to submit artwork that promotes a love of reading. Now, well into our fourth year, we’re still conducting short interviews with contributors to our Love of Reading Gallery.

On this edition, Mark speaks with author/artist Aaron Zenz (on JOMB) about The Big One (his contribution to our Love of Reading Gallery), reading with his children and pencil technique.

Be sure to enjoy all of the amazing artwork in our Love of Reading Gallery.

Interview with Crystal Beshara

Monday, August 17, 2009.

There’s a cosmic connection between farm animals and children.  So, as long as there are farms, we’ll have ample inspiration for children’s books.

On this edition, Mark visits the Central Experimental Farm with Ottawa author and illustrator, Crystal Beshara, to talk about growing up on a hobby farm, personification of our animal friends and her new book, When I Visit the Farm.

Other farm selections featured on Just One More Book!!

Interview with Hugh Brewster

Monday, August 10, 2009.

There are parts of being in this world that many parents want to shield their children from.  War, with its toll on lives, communities and countries is one of those controversial topics for children’s books that’s either hotly debated or blatantly dismissed.

For Canadians, August 19, 1942 carries even more significance because many were led to believe the British organized battle at Dieppe was an important victory, not a bloody defeat.  As we honour the 67th anniversary of Dieppe later this month, a new children’s book will be published that explores the reasons, strategy, horror and incredible survival that are part of this Canadian tale.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, Mark speaks with author and historian Hugh Brewster about his new book Dieppe: Canada’s Darkest Day of World War II, and the importance of sharing the stories of the events and the people in war and remembrance.

Other books by Hugh Brewster:

More about war and remembrance on Just One More Book:

You can hear more of Mark’s chat with Hugh Brewster on the Electric Sky podcast.

Photo of Hugh Brewster from

Interview with Francesca Simon

Monday, July 27, 2009.

Here’s something unusual… there’s a series of books, 17 strong, that have been growing in popularity in more than 24 countries since the first book came out in 1994.  And, would you believe, these books are just now becoming available in the United States.  The biggest market in the world is one of the last major markets to get on board.

Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry books, joins Mark for what may be one of the most important interviews we’ve ever done on Just One More Book!! as they talk about books with universal themes, the penalty of growing old enough to read by yourself and Storybook Dads — breaking the cycle of crime through a literacy and family connection program for convicts in a high-security prison.

Mentioned in the interview:

Two of the Horrid Henry books are mentioned in our 500th episode, Chapter Book Chatter.  By the way, we’re 9 episodes away from 600, now (not including our 21 part Rock Stars of Reading series).

We encourage you to learn more about the Storybook Dads program.

Photo: Francesca Simon’s website

Exploring Jewish Books and Literacy Programs at AJL09

Monday, July 13, 2009.

The 44th annual convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries took place July 5-9, 2009 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel. I was honoured this year to be part of the speaking program having been invited to talk about the role of social media in promoting Jewish literature.

On this edition of Just One More Book!!, follow Mark as his audio recorder captures forgiveness, education and pop-culture, how Jewish books have evolved and become exciting for young readers.

Segment 1: April Halprin Wayland is the author New Year at the Pier, a book about forgiveness which is rooted in the the Tashlich ceremony of the Jewish New Year celebrations of Rosh Hashana.  This segment includes April reading the beginning and end of her book, New Year at the Pier.

Segment 2: Librarian Toby Rossner shares her approach to creating educational programs about universal values using picture books including Chicken Man, a book about someone who made the most out of any job he did.

Segment 3: Ann Abrams is a musical librarian who serenades us with her own songs and sings a musical parody using a popular song for which she rewrote the lyrics — both to help get children excited about Jewish children’s books.

This episode includes two brief excerpts of Mark’s session on using social media to raise awareness of great Jewish literature using social media, presented at AJL09.

Thanks to the Association of Jewish Libraries, Heidi Estrin and Cheryl Banks, Esme Raji Codell and our interview guests author April Halprin Wayland and librarians Toby Rossner and Ann Abrams.

Sheree Fitch on Awards, Writing and Movie Deals

Monday, May 25, 2009.

In one of our very early interviews on Just One More Book!!, Sheree Fitch shared her thoughts on writing for children, the Theology of Nonsense and the power of poetry (A Conversation with Sheree Fitch).  A few months ago she returned to talk about bringing back a classic children’s book that had been out of print for 5 years (Sheree Fitch: Reviving Sleeping Dragons).

On this edition, Sheree Fitch is a guest of our home to talk about being shortlisted for the highest honour in Canadian adult humour — The Stephen Leacock award, the differences between writing adult fiction and children’s books, and the movie deal for her YA novel The Gravesavers.

Other books by Sheree Fitch:

Rock Stars of Reading part 20: Advice for aspiring readers

Monday, May 11, 2009.

It’s customary for interviewers to ask authors and illustrators to share their advice for aspiring book creators. During the 19th Annual Children’s Illustration Show at the R. Michelson Gallery, Mark instead asked authors and illustrators to offer advice for aspiring readers. Everyone was willing to pitch in. This video features responses from Jeanne Birdsall, Diane de Groat, Tony DiTerlizzi, Jane Dyer, Paul Jacobs, Norton Juster, Jarrett Krosoczka, Jeff Mack, David Mazor, David Milgrim, Barry Moser, Lesléa Newman, Shelley Rotner, Ruth Sanderson, Heidi Stemple, Mo Willems and Jane Yolen.

Also included is an interview with David Mazor, Founder and Executive Director of Reader to Reader — a non-profit organization that distributes books to schools and libraries in need. Reader to Reader honoured author Norton Juster for his generosity and passion in promoting literacy.


Rock Stars of Reading part 19: Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple

Friday, May 8, 2009.

Authors Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple (Jane’s daughter) tell stories about the good writing genes in their family, growing up with Jane Yolen as a mother and how Jane and her late husband David Stemple inspired their three children (all now working in the children’s book world).

Books by Jane Yolen you may recognize…


Books by Heidi Stemple you may recognize…



  • Theme: Woolly Mammoth by Robert Farrell (from Sun House Fury, part 1)
  • Tractor Part by Zubot and Dawson (from Tractor Parts: Further Adventures in Strang)

Rock Stars of Reading part 18: Mordicai Gerstein

Thursday, May 7, 2009.

Listen to author/illustrator Mordicai Gerstein tell Mark about his turbulent career, imagination and his idea that children’s books as the perfect combination of film, theatre and drawing.

Books by Mordicai Gerstein that you may recognize…




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