Puffin Classics: Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird by Jean Little

puffin-bird-75.jpgThis November, Penguin Canada will publish new editions of four classic Canadian books as part of the Puffin Classics Series. These four editions are introduced by other celebrated authors and will feature brand-new cover art from renowned Canadian illustrators. 

CBC Books is excited to team up with Penguin Canada to reveal these covers, one at a time, the week of April 22! We're also hosting an exciting contest in which you could win book prize packs, courtesy of Penguin Canada (more information below)!

Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird by Jean Little

mockingbird-285.jpgThe first cover we're revealing is this classic story by Jean Little, about a young boy and his sister coming to terms with their father's illness. It features an introduction by bestselling author Kelley Armstrong as well as a new cover illustration by award-winning artist Isabelle Arsenault. We got in touch with Arsenault and asked about her connection to this novel and what her approach was for the cover art.

"The story offers us a painful and sensitive topic but in subtleties and even evoking hope," she said. "I think that darker themes should not be kept out of reach of children — on the contrary. I believe that literature and art is a means of addressing sensitive topics with care, as is the case here.

The main challenge was to represent the main character's boredom and sadness, without ending up with a boring and sad image.

I hope that the potential reader will be intrigued and seek to know what the boy may be wondering about, to seem so sad being on that rowboat, on a lake. To trigger the interest of potential readers and make him want to open the book and read it is always the goal."

Classic Covers Contest!

As part of this special cover launch, we're also giving away Puffin Classics book sets, courtesy of Penguin Canada. To enter, all you need to do is to answer the following question in the comments section below: "What Canadian children's classic would you like to see re-released with a brand-new cover?" We will accept one entry for every user, although you can enter by commenting on any of the Puffin Classics cover reveal posts this week. We will be accepting entries until Monday, May 6, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On Tuesday, we'll select five winners in a random draw! CBC.ca contest rules apply.

Author/illustrator biographies:


jean-little-70.jpgBeloved and award-winning author Jean Little has garnered numerous accolades for her work over the course of a remarkable career. She has written more than 50 books, including novels, picture books, poetry, short stories and two autobiographical books. She has six honorary degrees and has taught children's literature as an adjunct professor in the department of English at the University of Guelph. She is a Member of the Order of Canada.

Introduced by:

kelleyarmstrong-70.jpgKelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. She's the author of the New York Times-bestselling Darkest Powers young adult urban fantasy trilogy, the Women of the Otherworld paranormal suspense series, and the Nadia Stafford crime series. She lives in southwestern Ontario, with her husband, kids and far too many pets.


isabelle_arsenault-70.jpgIsabelle Arsenault, a graduate of the Université du Québec à Montréal, has won two Governor General's Awards for her work and has received numerous other accolades. She was a finalist on two other occasions for the Governor General's Award, and her book Migrant was chosen as one of the 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2011 by the New York Times. Isabelle lives and works in Montreal.