Poetry. Young Adult. Honourable Mention for the 2018 Alcuin Design Book Award. Winner of the 2018 Manuela Dias Award for Best Book Design. The blue skies of childhood exist in the warmest of our memories, but what chases us all through the rest of our lives are the storm clouds. This is the premise of CHILDREN SHOULDN'T USE KNIVES, a harrowing but exhilarating examination of life before adolescence by Canadian poet Shirley Camia. In a series of razor-sharp sketches, Camia's piercing observations are offered as a perfectly balanced counter-weight to the sing-song melody of innocence. Camia and Vancouver illustrator Cindy Mochizuki offer an individual reckoning that unpacks for the reader the universal truth that fear and danger respect no age and ignore all boundaries. Shirley Camia has produced a gorgeously sculptured work of poetry that is as beautiful as it is devastating.
"CHILDREN SHOULDN'T USE KNIVES is like bittersweet chocolate, darkly evocative and tender-tough in its imaginings. Her scant, spare words interpretatively arrayed with Cindy Mochizuki's visual musings and prefaced with excerpts from well-known children's writers provide the reader with a truly rich reading experience."—Sally Ito
"If childhood was a room, Shirley Camia's CHILDREN SHOULDN'T USE KNIVES paces off the corners, fiddles with the light switch, and breaks the blinds. Camia writes 'the dawn has a skeleton rattle,' and we see all the moments of boredom and crisis, the lights and darks, all the joys and confusions of being young, of being alive."—Ariel Gordon
"Shirley Camia hangs her poems on the coat hooks of famous writers. The ones who respected children enough to show them the shortcut through the dark woods. Each poem, slight and vulnerable as a seven-year-old, examines the courage it takes to grow up. Illustrated by Cindy Mochizuki with evocative sketches, this book will haunt you with your own half-remembered past."—Janet Trull
"This is a work to be read slowly. One must absorb the words, the visuals, the sensations and sentiments—ones that touch our most tender selves. The book uses poetry to link childhood readings and intimacies with tales that reveal truths in the most poignant way."—Leanne Dunic
"Disturbing but delightful, Camia's sharp, stark poems unfold crumpled childhood memories and meditate on the beauty of their horror."—Winnipeg Free Press
Shirley Camia is a Winnipeg born, Toronto based poet and journalist. Shirley is the author of three works of poetry: CHILDREN SHOULDN'T USE KNIVES AND OTHER TALES (At Bay Press, 2017), The Significance of Moths (Turnstone Press, 2015) and Calliope (Libros Libertad, 2011).Cindy Mochizuki has created installation, performance, animation, drawings and collaborative works that consider spaces that embody both the fictional and documentary. Her works have exhibited nationally and internationally. Things on the Shoreline is her first illustrated, children's book published through Access Gallery. She has co- authoredperpetual with Rita Wong, a series of graphic essays on the politics and poetics of water and most recently contributed drawings for Asian Monsters (Fox Spirit Books, UK). She is the illustrator of the forthcoming At Bay Press release CHILDREN SHOULDN'T USE KNIVES AND OTHER TALES (2020). Cindy received her MFA in 2006, in Interdisciplinary Studies from the School For Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She lives and works in Vancouver.Author City: TORONTO, ON CAN