Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best dog name of the year!

Yes, it's official. 'School Library Journal''s blog, called, has named "Danny Who Fell in the Hole" as the kid's book of 2013 with the best name for a dog. As the blog says, "How can you not like a dog named Thwack?" Thanks, SLJ!

Monday, November 25, 2013

'A Bird's Eye' is an Amazon Best Book of 2013 has named 'A Bird's Eye' a best book of 2013. Nice! *** I want to congratulate Colin MacAdam for winning the Rogers Trust Fiction Prize for his compelling novel, 'A Beautiful Truth.' I highly recommend it. By the way, the Writers Trust awards night last week was great fun and, yes, a little nerve-wracking. It was great to see hundreds of people come out to the Glenn Gould Studio. ***The Writers Trust produced a very nice short video about 'A Bird's Eye.' I can't seem to embed it here but if you paste the following link in your browser, you can see it on Youtube:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mr. Zinger's Hat wins the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award

I was honoured to hear that Dusan and I have been awarded this year's Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. As I am at the Vancouver Writer's Festival (and having a terrific time, by the way--surely this isn't work) I couldn't attend the ceremony on Tuesday but my wife Rebecca graciously stepped in for me. Here follows the words she read for me.****This is an overwhelming honour. And if I was actually standing before you, I’d probably have a hard time getting the words out. Although I’m happy to be at the Vancouver Writers’ Festival, I am very sorry not to be with you in person. Not just because I want to be made a fuss over—although my wife Rebecca well knows how much I enjoy that—but because I feel, with all sincerity, such great pride at being part of this community of people who care so deeply about children’s books. When I started writing “Mr. Zinger’s Hat” I didn’t know that it was going to be a story about stories. In truth, I was as surprised by what came out of that hat as Leo, the boy in the story, is. And when it was done, it just felt to me as if needed the amazing gifts of Dusan Petricic to make it complete. Thank goodness he agreed to make it his story, too. I want to thank everyone at Tundra books. I want especially to thank Katherine Cole who was our editor. I want to express my gratitude to the Baillie family and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. And finally, to my family. Thank you all so much.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

'A Bird's Eye' is a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

'A Bird's Eye has been named one of five finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Finalists receive $2,500, and the winner (announced at a gala on November 20) receives $25,000. ***The other nominees are: Krista Bridge, 'The Eliot Girls'; Lynn Coady, 'Hellgoing'; Colin McAdam, 'A Beautiful Truth'; Lisa Moore, 'Caught.' *** My congratulations to the other finalists. I look forward to meeting you all.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Early reviews of "A Bird's Eye"

"Fabulous...pure and utter magic." National Post.*** "A captivating coming-of-age story. Perhaps his finest book yet." Canadian Jewish News.*** "A slim volume of great beauty, memorable and filled with truth." Gary Shteyngart.*** "Captivating." Quill & Quire.***"Lyrical. 'A Bird's Eye' is written exactly to the scale it should be." Montreal Gazette.*** Amazon "Best Books of September."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

'A Bird's Eye' book launch this Tuesday, August 27, at the Free Times Cafe

Well, the headline says it all, or almost all. Everyone is invited to the launch of my new novel. The launch starts at 7 p.m., there is music and refreshments, and the address is 320 College Street. So come on by. I'd love to see you.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A new novel, a new publisher

I'm a long-time admirer of House of Anansi and to say that I'm pleased they have become my new adult publisher is an understatement. On August 31, Anansi will publish my new novel, 'A Bird's Eye.' (The cover is designed by Brian Morgan.)
This small book took me about eight years to write, as I would work on it for several months and then put it down for a stretch before taking it up again. As I wrote in a recent issue of 'Quill & Quire' in an article about being an adult and a kids' author, the novel is "set in Toronto in the 1930s and concerns a 14-year-old boy who moves through a world of European immigrants, market vendors, African-Americans, rich entrepreneurs, vaudeville, gambling, sex, conjuring, mechanical toys, hermits, libraries, and broken dreams."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Season of School Visits

I've been having a great time visiting schools this spring--in Toronto, Brampton, Burlington, Oakville, Stouffville and even Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Lately I've been talking about where stories begin and some schools have used the visit to get the kids writing. Here are a couple of photos from a recent visit to Sunnybrook in Toronto. The first shows off the 'Banjo of Destiny.' The second is a great example of a teacher and students using my visit as the starting point for their own creativity. Fantastic!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oy, it's a new picture book!

After I finished writing "Oy, Feh, So" I just knew that Gary Clement had to be the illustrator. I've known Gary for nearly twenty-five years and I figured that it was about time he did something worthwhile. Other than the previous book we did, that is. Gary agreed--after all, what else did he have to do other than his daily cartoon for 'The National Post,' the art for his next show at Loop Gallery, his freelance work, etc. etc. And he did such a wonderful job that the pictures alone make me laugh. * The story is a homage to my aunts and uncles, and great aunts and uncles, and their visits to our house when I was a kid. * Here are some early reviews: "Very funny."-- Publisher's Weekly. "You don't have to be Jewish to find this one funny." -- Booklist. "Fagan has hit on a universal theme and pulls off a charming read. A great book for reading aloud."--CM Magazine. "Priceless"--Canlit for Little Canadians.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

'Mr. Zinger's Hat' wins the Jean Throop Award

'Mr. Zinger's Hat' received the Jean Throop Award at a ceremony in Toronto last night. Cary Fagan and illustrator Dusan Petricic shared the $2,000 award, given out by the Municipal Chapter of Toronto IODE. Previous winners include Barbara Reid,Ken Oppal, and Dennis Lee. Meant to encourage the publication of books for children between the ages of six and twelve, the award is given annually to authors and/or illustrators who are judged to contribute to children's reading. Dwight Throop, husband of the late Jean Throop, presented the award.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Life...from the bottom of a hole

Danny is the practical one in his family, the kid who--or so everyone says--lacks the creative talent of his parents and brothers. One day he comes home to discover that his parents have sold the house, given away the dog, and are planning to fulfill their dreams by living in different places (his father to become an opera singer in New York City, his mother to bake cheesecakes in Banff). His response? To run. Angry Danny runs out of the house, down the block, and keeps going until he crosses a construction site and falls into a very deep hole. Waiting to be rescued, Danny discovers his survival skills and makes a very unlikely friend...." Danny, Who Fell in a Hole," the new novel, will be published in April. Here are some early reviews: "[A] funny and sweet tale about learning to embrace change and appreciating what one has." --Publishers' Weekly. "A quirky existential adventure for thoughtful readers." --Kirkus Reviews. **** [four stars] "A thoroughly engrossing short tale, this book is typical Fagan: fantastical yet familiar, timeless, and with just the right touch of sentiment and seriousness. A great read-aloud tale." --CM Magazine.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Profile in 'Canadian Children's Book News'

Thought I'd mention that there's a profile of me in the new edition of the 'Canadian Children's Book News.' Thanks to CCBN for considering me a worthy subject. And no, that handsome gentleman on the cover isn't me. Oh yes, I might also mention that 'Mr. Zinger's Hat' has just been named an Ontario Library Association Best Bets 2012, a selection of the year's 'top Canadian' books for kids. A tip of my own hat to the OLA!