Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer's Here!

We made it! Summer is here and the schools are on hiatus until the fall. Children and teachers everywhere have earned a well-deserved holiday.

As for me, now that school visits have wound down for the year, I hope to find a little quiet writing time and finish a manuscript that's been patiently waiting. 

Also in the plans, is a short family holiday by the ocean. I hope to see a lovely flock of sandpipers like these as I walk along the beach. 

Thank you to Karen Reczuch for this wonderful illustration from our book, West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet. 

Have a safe and happy summer! See you in September.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Finding Time...

Lately I've been feeling the elusiveness of time. Where does it go and how does it move so quickly? It's always easy to let a busy schedule take over.

Thank goodness for the sage advice of both my father (also a writer) and poet, Jane Kenyon, who remind me that a writer must always (and sometimes ruthlessly) set aside time to write.

In the words of Jane Kenyon, "Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours."

And for a little while now, that is what I will strive to do.

Thank you to Jane and my dad for a great reminder!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Celebrating Literacy with Vancouver Schools

It was a wonderful event yesterday at Shaughnessy Elementary, celebrating books with a big group of enthusiastic students from Vancouver schools.

The Vancouver Elementary Principals and Vice Principals Assocation (VEPVPA) chooses a book by a local author each year to donate to all Vancouver Schools. What an amazing show of support for literacy! And then students from every school, along with their teacher-librarians and school administrators, are invited to a celebration afternoon where they receive their book and get a chance to meet the author.

Karen Reczuch and I were fortunate to have our book, West Coast Wild, chosen this year. It is a such an honour and we are thrilled.

In addition to receiving a book, the children each get a chocolate gift and this year, it was in the shape of an orca whale (to match the ocean theme of our book). What fun!

Thank you so much to the VEPVPA for an amazing day and for their support of books for children in the schools!

Here are the student greeters handing out books as each child entered the library.

After the presentation, almost every student had a photograph taken with me. I loved meeting them all!

Here's me holding my chocolate orca.

And here's the book that the VEPVPA kindly selected this year as their choice for all the Vancouver schools. Thank you so much to everyone involved!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Week!

It's a big week here in Canada for booklovers. It's Canadian Children's Book Week!

Authors will tour every province and territory and share their new books with children in libraries and schools across the nation. It is a grand celebration of the amazing books that are created in our country. 

From BC, my friend, Sarah Ellis, is touring southern Saskatchewan (including Moose Jaw, place of my birth!) and another friend, Margriet Ruurs, is visiting children in Ontario. A third colleague, Maureen Fergus, from Manitoba, has gone all the way to Newfoundland! (Lucky her! I've always wanted to go there.) Each of these authors will delight kids with their inspiring and entertaining books.

And me? I'm happily staying home and looking forward to speaking to students and their teachers at Shaughnessy Elementary School tomorrow. I am thrilled that my book West Coast Wild has been chosen by the Vancouver Elementary Principals and Vice Principals Association as the book they will donate to all Vancouver schools this year. It is a wonderful honour and I am very grateful! You can read the announcement here

I hope you get a chance to read a Canadian children's book this week. They are some of the best in the world. Hooray for Book Week! (If you follow the link to Book Week, you can scroll down the page to read interviews from some of the touring authors.)

A big thank you to TD Canada and the Canadian Children's Book Centre for hosting this marvellous celebration of books and their creators. If you'd like to see the full list of authors and where they are touring, please go here.

And another big thank you to the Vancouver Elementary Principals and Vice Principals Association for their marvellous support of literacy in the schools.

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Questions, Questions...

I have been busy visiting schools over the last couple of months and have greatly enjoyed speaking to the students I've met.

Even though the schools varied from one another in size, tone, composition, and geographical location, there has been a striking similarity in their enthusiasm for books and stories. The students were keen readers and writers, and eager creators of their own work. And there were many amazing librarians who had done a sensational job of directing students to excellent reading material.

It has been heartening to see the high-spirited literacy in action.

I love question time with the children because I never know what they will ask.

At a recent school, one young student asked me how old I was when I started writing books. I told him. Then a second student asked how many years I had been a writer. I gave that answer too. Then someone burst out: "I know how old you are!" and announced my age.

"You don't look that old," another student said. I smiled and said thank you. And we quickly moved on to the next question. :-)

A virtual bouquet of flowers, and warm and sincere thanks to all the wonderful schools and teacher-librarians who invited me to visit this spring.

It's been a privilege to meet you all!

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!