This week, we are pretty excited to be putting a spotlight on one of Canada’s oldest publishing houses: Tundra Books! For one week, we will be reviewing children’s books that have been lovingly brought into the published world by Tundra! But first–
Tundra Books was founded in 1967 by Montreal-based writer May Cutler, who decided that unlike other publishing houses in Canada (and perhaps, most of North America), hers would focus on the books written for and consumed by children. But the children’s books they published were unique products that explored the meeting point of art and diversity, and how this intersection can appeal to readers young and old:
May Cutler loved all of the arts so much – drama, painting, and dance – she decided to introduce children to the talented artists in their own land. She wanted to create “children’s books as works of art.” Established artists William Kurelek, Ted Harrison, and Arthur Shilling welcomed May’s invitation to write books for children. She helped Chinese-born painter Song Nan Zhang tell his stories through his art, and discovered the incomparable Dayal Kaur Khalsa, who admired her publisher so much that she named the heroine of her books May.
Author Roch Carrier and filmmaker Sheldon Cohen teamed up to create one of Tundra’s perennial favorites, The Hockey Sweater. Tundra introduced Mohawk artist C. J. Taylor and the legends of the continent’s aboriginal peoples to children across the country. Bonnie Shemie’s series of books – The Native Dwellings series – explaining the creating of native North American houses is a favorite inside and outside of classrooms.
Today, Tundra Books lives in Toronto and is run by Tara Walker. While Tundra is no longer an independent publishing house, having been acquired by Penguin Random House in 2012, this has in no way compromised Tundra’s ability to publish children’s stories that are both enchanting and true, with a certain focus on Canada and Canadian stories. Tundra also has an imprint headed by Jordan Fenn — Fenn/Tundra– that will publish and feature sports books. In 2017, Tundra will have its 50th year anniversary.
We look forward to blogging about some of these releases over the week!
Happy Monday, book lovers! :)