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Best Books for Kids & Teens

Last week we highlighted new fall kids’ books that will be releasing in the next couple of months. We are clearly excited, hence all the exclamation points, BOLD italicized type and effusive praise. But, we missed a couple of gems that deserve your attention. So, go grab your mid-afternoon chocolate, we mean coffee, and let your inner child or (or your actual child) ogle over these amazing books. 



Kate O’Hearn. HODDER CHILDREN'S, $9.99 (9781444907551)

VALKYRIE by Canadian author Kate O'Hearn, is the first book in the series about a strong female character challenging the rules to find the family of a fallen solider. It has also been selected by The Canadian Children's Book Centre for the fall 2013 edition of Best Books for Kids & Teens.

Here's the book blurb from Kate O'Hearn's website: Freya is dreading turning fourteen – that marks the official end of her childhood and she must now take up the full duties of a Valkyrie – a collector of souls from humanity’s battlefields.  But Freya is unlike any other Valkyrie. She doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of the legends before her. As she observes Earth from Asgard, she tries to understand what it is to be human: to make friends with girls her own age and laugh with boys, without the fear of causing their death with one touch.  Little does she know that her dreams will soon be realized: on her first battlefield mission, Freya reaps the soul of a soldier with unfinished business that will send her to the human world on a deadly quest.  Freya must do battle with both ordinary and extraordinary enemies to create a new VALKYRIE LEGEND.




Christopher Franceschelli. ABRAMS BOOKS, $18.95 (9781419709364)

The next book we are super excited about is ALPHABLOCK by Christopher Franceschelli. With thick pages cut into the shape of each letter, children and parents will enjoy this peek-through guessing game around the letter form itself. Sprinkles, hot fudge, and cherries hint at I’s ice cream sundae, while aquarium accessories hint at F’s fish. As readers interact with the pages, they will familiarize themselves not only with the 26 letters and associated words, but also with each letter’s physicality—angles, holes, and curves, both front and back. With Peskimo’s animated, stylish visuals, this fresh ABC book encourages readers to manipulate the alphabet in a whole new way. See more at Abrams Books:

Praise for Alphablock "The straightforward vocabulary, cheery vintage-style graphics, and neat incorporation of cut-out letters make for a sharply designed package." —Publishers Weekly

"With a pleasing, retro feel, Peskimo’s art uses bold colors in a slightly muted hue and the weathered look of woodblock prints… A visually captivating delight for careful little ones." —Kirkus Reviews



Arlos ARTrageous Adventure

David LaRochelle. STERLING PUBLISHING, $15.95 (9781402792267)

David LaRochelle's ARLOS ARTAGEOUS ADVENTURE is a fun, lift the flap art adventure book that kids will love reading aloud.

Here's the official Book Summary: Arlo's not thrilled when his grandmother says they're going to the museum WHETHER HE LIKES IT OR NOT. But when the paintings start coming hilariously to life, Arlo's in for a big surprise. With 50 fabulously funny flaps to flip, children will discover how cool art can be . . . if you let your imagination run wild.



Lockwood & Co The Screaming Staircase

Jonathan Stroud. DISNEY HYPERION, $17.99 (9781423164913)

An in house favourite, Jonathan Stroud's  LOCKWOOD & CO THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE is a superb, middle grade supernatural thriller that has been described as "Sherlock Holmes meets Ghost Hunter." 

Here's the synopsis: A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall's legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud's internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.


Clement Clarke Moore
Clement Clarke Moore

Night Before Christmas

Poem by Clement Clarke Moore. Illustrations by Holly Hobbie. LITTLE, BROWN FOR YOUNG READERS, $20.00 (9780316070188)

Lastly, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a beautiful, hardcover, picture book of a classic Christmas story, reinterpreted by the acclaimed watercolourist Holly Hobbie.

In her fresh imagining of Clement C. Moore's timeless classic, acclaimed watercolorist Holly Hobbie introduces an entirely new character to capture the magic and heighten the wonder of this exciting, mysterious time. Her inimitable illustrations glow with warmth and feeling and will transport you to a place where anything can happen.  See more at:

Hot Pink Apron Features Sterling Author Terry Walters

Earlier this week, contributor Michelle Shipley of the new and sassy online food mag Hot Pink Apron sat down with Clean Eating guru and notable Sterling author, Terry Walters to talk “chop." * Walters' excellent additions to Sterling's impressive culinary roster, Clean Food (9781454900108) and Clean Start (9781402779053), are among our favourite cookbooks here in the Manda offices,  so we’re excited to share this story with you.

As summer now officially grips us in its unrelenting hot and sticky bear hug, this article couldn’t have come at a better time since the movement focuses on fresh and and locally-grown and as-unprocessed-as-possible ingredients, and how Clean Eating can be tailored to what is reasonable and practical to each reader.

If you've heard about Clean Eating and are interested in learning more, summer presents a perfect opportunity to experiment since gardens and farmers markets are abundant with delicious options.  If you haven’t, this piece is a great introduction on what clean eating is all about.

As a bonus, two mouth-watering recipes are included. Check it out here!

Um, when's lunch?

*Sorry, I can't resist food puns.

Everyone's A Photographer Now

Everybody has a camera phone these days, The most notable of which is the iPhone. Not only can you take a goofy picture of your friends, but you can also process it through a number of apps before posting it for the world to see before they know what's what! ISBN: 9781600599231 Publisher: Sterling CAD $23.95

The Art of iPhoneography will teach you everything you need to make the most of your iPhone photography! You will learn to build your photo crafting arsenal with anything from Photoshop Express to tweak your pictures, to adding your own personal touch with Photo FX.  But the list doesn't end there! If you're interested in expanding your mobile creativity then you'll definitely want to check out the rest.

Whether you're trying to embarass your friends, or you find yourself in the perfect moment, The Art of iPhoneography will help you make it better.


ISBN: 9780600623359 Publisher: Sterling CAD $29.95

Are you constantly searching for the best of the best? Well look no further! The Top 10 of Everything 2012 is the masterlist for all that is awesome. It includes everything from the top ten largest asteroids, to the top ten reality tv shows, and even the top ten longest passes in the superbowl! Not only does it include a wide variety of top ten lists, but it also has some interesting facts and figures about a few items on each list. Did you know the Mother Goose nursery rhymes have been published since the 18th centruy? I didn't.

"The Top 10 of Everything is simply bursting with facts that will intrigue, fascinate and amaze you."

The Perfect Cake for Book Lovers!

SprinkleBakes (ISBN 9781402786365) is an amazing new book coming in May from Sterling Publishing.The book arose from author Heather Baird's blog of the same name, in which she shares recipes with easy to follow instructions for desserts that aren't just tasty, but come out looking like pieces of art! For example, check out these spring flower lollipops!

Now that your mouth is watering and you're ready to do some creative cooking, feast your eyes on this incredible cake that any book lover would die for: This cake is just one of many amazing recipes found in the pages of SprinkeBakes, but it's one that caught my eye and I couldn't resist sharing. With step-by-step instructions provided, you'll be feasting on this delicious work of art in no time!



 Well folks, it’s that time of year again.  People are flocking to the gym and filling their fridges with rabbit food in an earnest effort to lose the holiday pounds and get fit.  Unfortunately, new year’s resolutions are tough to keep when you attempt to completely overhaul your lifestyle overnight. 

Now, imagine a weight loss program that was guaranteed.  You read a book, follow the instructions therein, and if you aren’t 100% satisfied with the weight loss results you achieve, the publisher will send you your money back.  Sound too good to be true?  According to millions who have changed their lives following Paul McKenna’s programs – the program does work and you can change your life.  With a money back guarantee, what have you got to lose?










I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna, ISBN: 9781402775543, $14.95 CAN, Paperback

Money-back Guarantee Rules & Regulations


Coming Soon. . .

I was a personality before I became a person - I am simple, complex, generous, selfish, unattractive, beautiful, lazy and driven. - Barbra Streisand Learning about upcoming titles during our bi-annual sales conference is always exciting, and something I look forward to at the beginning of each season.

One title that stood out to me, soon to be released in February 2012, is this stunning tribute to one of the world’s most beloved and enduring stars, Barbra Streisand.

Streisand is a record-breaking global phenomenon who has won virtually every award the entertainment industry has to bestow: Oscars®, Emmys®, Grammys®, Tonys®, a Peabody, and more. This fully illustrated book celebrates her uniquely brilliant career with hundreds of rarely published photographs, album artwork, memorabilia, annotated lists, and special in-depth features on everything from her trend-setting style to her transcendent voice.

Streisand's millions of fans will delight in the treasures they'll discover inside, as they follow Barbra from her Brooklyn childhood to her nightclub appearances, emergence as a Broadway star, rise to Hollywood legend…and beyond.

'Tis The Season: Holiday Gift Guide Coverage

Joy to the world!  Holiday round-ups featuring the top coffee-table books of 2011 are hitting newspapers across the country and MANDA titles are on fire!  I love this time of year, not only is it satisfying as a publicist to see books I've laboured over all season get star treatment in all their glossy glory, but it is a reminder to all of us in the business that the beauty and craftsmanship of printed, illustrated books is still appreciated and celebrated.  Who wouldn't covet an oversized gorgeous tome on their coffee-table?  If you're looking for gift ideas for near and dears, search no further.  Click on the links below for full listings of the best gift books of the year from The Globe and Mail the Winnipeg Free Press, and the National Post.

The Globe and Mail - BOOKS Section

The Globe and Mail - STYLE Section

Winnipeg Free Press - BOOKS Section

 National Post - BOOKS Section




Brewed Awakening is a must have book for anyone interested in the craft beer movement (we know you're out there) or for those beer geek's who follow every trend in cutting-edge craft brewing today--beers that are super-bitter, cask conditioned, organic, gluten free, and extreme (extra flavour, extra alcohol, extra everything).  The craft beer movement is growing and the innovation taking place within the community is really quite astonishing. It's what one might call, a liquid revolution!

I imagine author Joshua M. Bernstein had a pretty killer time writing this book.  He chronicles his pint-by-pint sampling with photos, labels, and info on the latest techniques.  Exploring everywhere beer is being made, he travels from Nebraska to Norway, New Zealand to Montreal and dishes about his experiences at pint-sized breweries popping up in basements and garages while explaining how hops, grain and yeast can cause beers to take on radically different tastes.

Nothin' like poppin' a cold one.  Enjoy!

Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World's Craft Brewing Revolution by Joshua M. Bernstein / Sterling Publishing, $29.95 CAN, ISBN:9781402778643



Books for November

Here are a few books that you should add to your shelf this month: Who hasn't missed their daily Oprah fix since her show ended in May? The Oprah Winfrey Show: Reflections on an American Legacy is a beautiful book, available 11/15 from Abrams Books. Featuring never before printed photos and plenty of celebrity contributions, this book will be a great addition to your coffee table.

Another beautiful find: this book will appeal to artists, tattoo enthusiasts, and even the scientifically inclined! Science Ink, from Sterling Publishing has over 250 photographs of science inspired tattoos. Pick this one up not only for the beautiful images, but for the accompanying text which reflects on and explains each image.

Cult of Lego from No Starch Press (distributed by IPS) is also available this month. Flipping through this book will make you want to get out your old bucket of Lego blocks and start building! Chapters delve into the history of Lego, its various uses in art and technology, and the minifig phenomenon.

Click here for some recommended YA books for November!


For readers who just can't get enough of Scandinavian crime fiction, this book should definitely be on your fall reading list.  The cast is superb, the story full of vivid suspense, and the writing immaculate.  The supernatural is present here, but it works harmoniously with the plot rather than taking the lead role. A fabulous read for chilly fall nights. You won't be able to put it down, I promise!

“Stunning . . . As doom-filled as Larsson’s leitmotif of ravens (in old Scandinavia the messengers of Odin, the god of poetry and berserker fury), this remarkable tale of twisted love and vengeance and redemptive nonjudgmental devotion resounds, like its epitaph from the Book of Job, with all the pain of human existence.”    Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

“Larrson’s best book so far. The supernatural elements are worked seamlessly into a complex and engaging mystery, resulting in a thoroughly compelling reading experience.” Booklist (Starred Review)

Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Asa Larsson ($29.95; Sterling Publishing / ISBN: 9781402787164)

Books for October

Books to fall for this month!
Sea This book is the perfect addition to your coffee table. Just make sure no one touches those glossy black pages after dessert! Available now from Abrams Books (ISBN 9781419700873)


Marilyn: Intimate Exposures This book has never before published photographs of the blond bombshell. Great for lovers of the lovely Monroe, or for photography fans. Available now from Sterling Publishing (ISBN 9781402780011)

Recipes Remembered For history buffs and foodies alike! This book is packed with delicious recipes that anyone can enjoy, accompanied by personal stories of Holocaust survivors. Available now from the Musem of Jewish Heritage (ISBN 9780983486305)

An Unexpected Life by Debra Chwast

An Unexpected Life

A Mother and Son’s Story of Love, Determination, Autism, and Art

By Debra Chwast Paintings by Seth Chwast

Diagnosed with severe autism as a toddler, Seth Chwast seemed trapped in his own insular universe. Despite his difficulties learning language and other social skills, he was remarkable. His raw musical ability astonished professional musicians. He delighted in roller-coasters and haunted houses. Yet even with the efforts of his parents, teachers, doctors, and therapists, the promise of this extraordinary boy was unfulfilled. Written by Seth's mother, Debra Chwast, An Unexpected Life: A Mother and Son’s Story of Love, Determination, Autism, and Art (Sterling / 9781402774034 / Hardcover / $33.95) tells the story of their long difficult path, and of her stubborn determination to help her son.

An Unexpected Life will strike a chord with anyone who knows the daily struggles—and triumphs—of a life with special needs, whether personally or through family or friends. More than simply a memoir, this visually breathtaking book is infused with hope, inspiration, and art. It shows how the power of love can challenge expectations and change lives—no matter what the odds.


Books for September

Need some distraction from the back-to-school bustle and the cooling weather? Cuddle up with these beautiful books in September:

Harper’s Bazaar: Greatest Hits by Glenda Bailey For those looking for a new coffee-table book, look no further! This book contains over 300 photographs from America’s longest-running fashion magazine and was created by the magazine’s editor-in-chief.  Available from Abrams September 1 2011 (ISBN 9781419700705)

The New Sonoma Cookbook by Connie Guttersen RD, PhD This California-inspired cookbook is an updated edition, which includes new family meals, weight loss menus, food and wine pairings, “Cook Once, Eat Twice” recipes, and much more! Available from Sterling Publishingon September 6 2011 (ISBN 9781402781193)

The Orchard by Therea Weir This is a mesmerising read which you won’t want to put down. This book covers many subjects; love, family, abandonment, farm life, environmentalism, the list goes on. Knowing that it is a memoir makes it even more captivating. Available from Grand Central Publishing on September 21 2011 (ISBN 9780446584692)

You Thought You Had Problems With Your Ex?

If you haven’t heard of Hilary Winston and don’t yet follow her hilarious Twitter feed, don’t fret!

People don’t usually know who the writers of their favourite TV shows are, but Hilary was a writer for My Name is Earl and currently writes for Community, and you should definitely  get to know her. That’s exactly what this book allows you to do; in it, Hilary tells hilarious stories about her relationships with her two cats and her various romantic interests with a shameless self-awareness and wit.

For anyone who has ever had their heart broken and needed to know that others have similar experiences — here is your proof. Hilary reveals herself through her past relationships and manages to tell heartbreaking stories with a grain of salt and a sense of irony.

Available in hardcover (ISBN 9781402779794) from Sterling May 3rd 2011

MANDAtory Reading 04.05.11

The always insightful and ever charming Dan Abrams was interviewed by Robert Cribb for his column in the Toronto Star. The article teaches you all kinds of interesting things about men and women and how women are better than men at pretty much everything. For example did you know that women are better competitive eaters and have better muscular endurance? Yessiree Bob.

The EXCELLENT Windsor Peak Press titles Baby 411 and Expecting 411 were excerpted by two stand-out Canadian parenting outlets. Today’s Parent explains the fascinatingly complex method of swaddling a baby, while Edmonton’s Child  sets you straight on some old wives tales.

For example: True or False? Avoiding peanuts during pregnancy will keep a child from developing a food allergy. The answer is....false. A recent definitive study in the New England Journal of Medicine put this myth to rest once and for all. It's okay to eat known allergens while you're pregnant. PB&J for everyone!

Dr. Ari Brown, co-author of the series was also interviewed in an article that ran in the Toronto Sun recently, check it out here.

Canadian House and Home featured Bunny Williams’ Scrapbook for Living and At Home with Town and Country in their roundup of what to read in April. Check out the gorgeous spread. I’ll take one of each please.

Culinary superstar Sanjeev Kapoor filmed a cooking segment on the national morning show Canada AM on Monday, April 4th. An excerpt of the butter chicken recipe he prepared has been posted on the CTV website should you decide to have a go. He also gave several interviews, including the Toronto Star, and signed books for a crowd of fans at the COSTCO East location in Markham. Much more to come for this drool-worthy book I assure you. We’re big, big fans.

Portraits of the Mind will be featured in the May issue of Chatelaine magazine along with an interview with the author, Carl Schoonover. It was also mentioned in the National Post which covered the Brainwave event celebrating Canada’s very first National Brain Awareness month at which Schoonover was a keynote speaker.

Never Mind the Bollards was briefly reviewed by Alan Cross on his website

“Yeah, he talks about the crosswalk the Beatles used for Abbey Road, but he also describes where the Verve shot the video for “Bittersweet Symphony” in London’s East End, the private boys school where everyone in Radiohead met and the town were Muse grew up. It’s pretty comprehensive.”

ISBN: 9780810984653; $25.95 CAN; Available Now

Kraken by Wendy Williams is scheduled to be reviewed on the popular blog Deep Sea News later this month.

John Edward Mini Media Tour and Tickets

John Edward: Infinite QuestInternationally acclaimed psychic medium and New York Times bestselling author John Edward will be promoting Infinite Quest (Sterling Ethos, ISBN 9781402778933) on a Canadian mini media tour in late March, which will include stops on The Marilyn Denis Show and George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. In addition, he'll be doing a series of group readings across Canada in late April and early May. Click on a city below for more information on times, locations and tickets.

Vancouver | Winnipeg | Edmonton | Calgary | Montreal | Saskatoon | Toronto


Three Seconds Trailer and Microsite

If you've read all the glowing reviews and want a more in-depth look at Sterling blockbuster Three Seconds, check out Version 1 of the trailer below, and if you've already read the book, visit the microsite to discuss the title on the Three Seconds public forum. Are Roslund & Hellström the true heirs to Larsson? Make your opinion heard!