Stella, one of the country’s most popular children’s characters, is the subject of the second issue in Canada Post’s series paying tribute to children’s literature. Stella, a creation of author and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay, is featured in many books and a television series based on those stories. The series is published by Groundwood Books and the TV program airs on Disney Junior Canada. Together with her little brother, Sam, and pet dog, Fred, Stella makes new discoveries on her imagination-filled adventures.
The latest book in the series – titled Read Me a Story, Stella – is scheduled for release in August. Gay, who lives in Montreal, has received the 2005 Vicky Metcalf Award for written work inspirational to Canadian youth, and multiple Governor General’s Awards. Her Stella and Sam books have been published in more than 12 languages around the world. “Children’s literacy is a fundamental part of our future,” said Jim Phillips, Canada Post’s director of Stamps Services. “The exciting adventures of a character like Stella spur the imaginations of our kids. These stamps are just one way to highlight the positive influence these great stories have on our children.”
“It’s a great honour that my art has been chosen to appear on stamps,” Gay said. “I think it’s a sign that the art created for children’s books is recognized as an important medium that leads to visual literacy and changes one’s vision of the world.” The stamps are based on original watercolour artwork from the Stella books and depict the character playing in a tree and sitting with her brother and dog reading a story.
The permanent-rate domestic stamps are printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper using seven-colour lithography. The stamps are self-adhesive and have simulated perforations. In a continuation of punning postmarks, the official-first day cover features a cancel from Stella, Ont. Four million stamps featuring Stella were produced and are sold in 10-stamp booklets. There is also a souvenir sheet, and a group of postcards featuring the images from the stamps.