Saturday, February 25, 2017

Forest of Reading

Karen Reczuch and I are thrilled that West Coast Wild is nominated on the Silver Birch Express list in the children's choice awards (Forest of Reading) being held in Ontario this spring. I have been receiving lots of Twitter posts from schools in the region and it is so much fun to see them!

Here are just a few:

You can find out more about the Forest of Reading here and the Silver Birch Express nominations here. Thank you to the Ontario Library Association for this wonderful initiative! It's great that kids and teachers have the opportunity to read and vote on so many books.

In May, Karen and I will travel to Toronto to take part in the festivities. We can hardly wait!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thank you, Roundtable!

On Tuesday night, the Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada presented Karen Reczuch (illustrator) and I with the Information Book Award — honouring the year's "most outstanding" nonfiction book for children in Canada. It was given to us for West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet.

We couldn't be more thrilled or grateful! Thank you to the Roundtable for this award and for establishing it all those years ago, highlighting the importance and value of nonfiction books for children. Thank you also to Kay Weisman, Chair of the award and to the jury who worked hard and read many books.

There was an amazing shortlist this year — books that ranged in style, topic, diversity, art, design and age-group. Any one of the books was deserving of this special award! Karen and I were honoured to see our book in such exceptional company.

We are also thankful to our publisher, Groundwood Books, who took a chance on what I thought was a regional manuscript, with limited appeal, and who allowed Karen and I to work together — something that is unusual in publishing these days. (Authors and illustrators are generally expected to communicate via their editor and art director, and not speak directly to one another.)

The presentation of our award at a celebration evening was lovely! Many of our friends in the children's writing and illustrating community were there.

Thank you to everyone involved. We are so appreciative!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

Here on the west coast, we are leaping into the New Year with snow and ice. It is unusual for us to have such a cold winter (we are accustomed to balmier temperatures) and we are muddling our way through it.

The big old trees in my neighbourhood are beautiful in their coats of white, but some have come tumbling down with a bang under the weight of the heavy snow. Watch out!

The side streets have not been cleared of ice and snow in a month, nor salted or sanded, and so driving (and walking!) remain somewhat treacherous — like navigating an ice rink in ballet slippers.

But we brave west-coasters carry on, and look forward to the beginning of a fresh and shiny New Year. We have high hopes that there will be many bright spots in the days ahead.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and productive 2017 — with many good books to read!


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Warm Winter Greetings!

On this snowy Vancouver day, it seems fitting to check in with Bear and his friends. What are they doing? Having a wonderful winter party in Bear's den!

Bear is serving his homemade honey-ginger cookies and huckleberry tarts. Chickadee is leading the singing and Fox is playing his harmonica. Soon all the happy forest animals are dancing round and round the den. What a fun way to welcome winter!

Bear and his friends hope you are having a lovely start to winter. Stay warm and dry! And enjoy your celebrations with family and friends.


And to learn more about Bear and his friends, please go here.

Monday, November 7, 2016

On the West Coast...

Thank you to the Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada for choosing West Coast Wild as the winner of the Information Book Award for 2016! I am thrilled and very grateful!

This honour is shared with my marvellous co-creator, Karen Reczuch, whose gorgeous illustrations bring the book to life. 

Karen and I were delighted to be in the company of so many wonderful books on this year’s shortlist, and we send congratulations to all! We also thank our publisher, Groundwood Books.

We are so pleased to also be on the shortlist for both the Silver Birch Express Award and the Chocolate Lily Award, both children's choice awards. Thank you to everyone involved in these award programs!

And now for something fun: Here's a photo of West Coast Wild, open to a page that shows the exact location and replica of the little cove on Mackenzie Beach that was the reference for the illustration. Thanks to Crystal Cove, Tofino, BC for this wonderful image! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beautiful Fall!

Like many writers, I love to walk!

I take a long stroll through my neighbourhood every day — to keep both body and mind in good working order. I often find that solutions to writing problems present themselves while I'm on foot in the fresh air.

And today? An extra gift! The sun was shining brightly against the backdrop of a clear blue sky and the trees overhead were spectacular in their glorious autumn colours. Here is a sample of what I saw.

It's fall on the west coast. What a wonderful time to be here!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thank you, Eden Mills!

Thank you to the wonderful town of Eden Mills, Ontario, for a marvellous weekend!

I'm just back from the Writer's Festival hosted in that glorious spot and it couldn't have been a better time. The setting is idyllic, under the sweeping trees and alongside the Eramosa River, with dozens of authors and poets reading their works to a most gracious and receptive crowd.

A few times over the weekend, I had to pinch myself to believe it was real.

The community (of about 350 people) pitch in to provide warm hospitality to the festival visitors and authors. A team of volunteers cooks and serves dinner to a great crowd of people on each of two nights, and serves up homemade pies for dessert. Not only that, but homemade champagne is poured!

What were the highlights? There are almost too many to count:

- delicious food
- friendly volunteers
- a gorgeous natural setting
- sitting in the sunshine, listening to the authors and poets read their works
- the making of new friends in the Canadian literary scene
- catching up with old friends living across our vast country
- the amazing young student, Samantha, who introduced me at my reading — the best introduction I've ever had! Thank you so much, Samantha!
- the careful and competent organization of travel details, hotels and flights
- the kindness and generosity of everyone I met

I could go on... but suffice it to say, it was a weekend I will always remember.

My sincere thanks to everyone involved in putting on the festival. I feel enormously privileged to have been invited! One day, I hope to return.