Monday, April 4, 2016

Congratulations to Groundwood Books!

The children's book publishing world is a wonderful place, filled with warm, supportive people who are mutually appreciative of one another's work.

One of the best groups of such people is found with my publisher, Groundwood Books. And, today, they were recognized as the "Best Children's Publisher in North America" at the Bologna Book Fair.

The Bologna Children's Book Fair (held each year in Italy) is regarded as the world's biggest and most important children's book fair in the world. Receiving an honour here is highly prestigious!

Congratulations to Groundwood, and to publisher, Sheila Barry, and to all the talented, hard-working people in this organization who collaborate to create such beautiful books for children!

What a marvellous honour!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Blossoms

Just outside my living room window is a beautiful magnolia tree in full bloom. It is one of my favourite sights of spring. In fact, my whole neighbourhood is in blossom — shimmering pink and white trees on every street, bursting with colour and life. It is a magical time in the city!

I like to take a long walk every day to energize my writing brain, and there is rarely a more inspirational sight than these gorgeous trees.

Happy Spring to you all!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Happy Spring Break!

In my corner of the world, Spring Break has arrived, and the children and teachers have two weeks of well-deserved holidays.

At the wonderful schools I've been visiting recently, there's been evidence of much learning and hard work going on — by enthusiastic students and educators alike. Congratulations to all of you!

Have a lovely holiday! Enjoy the sunshine!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thank you, Berkshire Park Elementary!

I was visiting a school last week and enjoyed speaking with the students so much. Hello Berkshire Park Elementary! Thank you for inviting me. 

The students had many great questions about books and writing, and it was a real treat to talk with them. Some of the questions that stood out were:

When you write a manuscript and it doesn’t get published, are you devastated?

(Yes! — although this happens to every writer, and we know it is part of the job. We trust our editors and publishers to know when a manuscript is working or if it is right for them. And then we put that manuscript away in a drawer. We might go back to it later to see if we can improve it. But usually we start writing something new.)

Did you always know you wanted to become a writer?

(No, but I always knew I loved books. When my mother was expecting me to clean my bedroom or do other chores, she often found me reading instead. Later in life, I discovered that kids who love to read as much as I did, often become writers.)

What about kids who love to draw?

(They often become artists or book illustrators.)

Which book of yours is your favourite?

(This is always a hard question to answer. Every book is a favourite for some reason. But my current favourite is a book that will be published next September. It’s called Bear’s Winter Party and is the story of a lonely bear who wants to make friends.)

Do you make a lot of money?

(About 5 cents on every book.)

Whaaat??? You should make $50,000 on every book!

(That would be nice but it doesn’t happen for most writers. Usually we have to work at other jobs to earn our living. We write because we love to do it, not for the money we might be paid.)

Can someone who is 10 years old publish a book?

(There aren’t many places to do that, but you can have your stories or poems published at a website started by my friend and author, Margriet Ruurs. It is called KidsWWwrite and you can email your stories to:

Good luck to all the budding authors and illustrators at Berkshire Park School, and everywhere else. There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a piece of writing or art that you are proud of.

By the way, I loved seeing your stories in the display case just outside the library. Well done!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Family Day!

Here in beautiful British Columbia, we are celebrating Family Day — we know the rest of the country celebrates next Monday. But that's the way we are on the west coast: nonconformists!

It is a gorgeous, warm, sunny day (apologies to all of you with snow) and it feels like spring. I was out on a walk this morning and came across a marvellous field of purple crocuses. I've posted this photo not to gloat — but to marvel at the flowers blooming so early in the season.

A lovely sight on Family Day!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Thank you, Crofton House!

I just spent a lovely morning at Crofton House School and wanted to say a sincere thank you to the teachers and students!

It was wonderful to meet you all and to hear about the alphabet books that the Grade 6 students are creating. It was fun to talk about my own experience writing an alphabet book — and to say that they aren't as easy to write as they look. (Some of the students are also finding this out.) :-)

I wish you the best of luck with your books and hope to see some of them when they are done.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reading Lights Program!

If you happened to visit a library today, you will know it is Family Literacy Day. Hooray for families and books everywhere!

I attended a kick-off event this morning to celebrate a wonderful new program, Reading Lights, that highlights the work of BC children's authors and illustrators. Lamp posts around the city now feature plaques displaying the works of local creators. Beautifully designed images can be found in 20 locations near parks, playgrounds, schools and libraries throughout Vancouver.

Imagine my thrill to have a lamp post featuring one of my books! The plaque for Watch Me Grow! A Down to Earth Look at Growing Food in the City is at the northwest corner of Sunrise Park (near Rupert and 1st Ave.). It looks sensational! The talented Brian Harris is the co-creator of this book, which features local urban gardens. He shot amazing colourful photographs of children and adults engaged in growing food right where they live.

After the ceremony at the library, I zipped over to Sunrise Park to see the plaque and take a photo. It was a grey, rainy day in Vancouver so my friend and fellow author, Tanya Lloyd Kyi, took this photo on a sunnier day. Thank you, Tanya!

Thank you to the Vancouver Public Library and Cwill BC for such a lovely honour! 

If you'd like to see the plaques, please check out the Reading Lights website to find the locations. Then take a tour!