Reading Lights Plaque

Hooray! Lisa Cinar and I went to see our Reading Lights plaque today, featuring our book, Bear’s Winter Party. It was exciting! We loved our plaque and hope that any Vancouverites in the area will drop by Jones Park (across from 5381 Commercial St.) to admire it. Lisa’s art looks amazing! We are thrilled!

A big thank you to the Vancouver Public Library and CWILL BC!

Reading Lights

The Vancouver Public Library, in conjunction with Cwill BC, has announced the locations of the new plaques for the Reading Lights program, and I am delighted to have two of my books featured on lampposts in the city.

If you are interested, you can see the lovely plaque for Bear’s Winter Party at Jones Park, across from 5381 Commercial St.

sea starsAnd the plaque for West Coast Wild is at Hinge Park, at 1st and Columbia.

I haven’t seen the plaques in person yet, but I plan to soon. And then I will post some photos. It’s very exciting!

A big thank you to Vi Hughes, who spearheaded the project and to the Vancouver Public Library for their enthusiastic support of it.

Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada

Isn’t this a wonderful illustration! It was created for our local children’s book organization by the talented artist and children’s book illustrator, Mary Jane Muir.

On that note, I attended a lovely literary event at UBC last week and wanted to say how grateful I am to the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable and to its counterparts across Canada. These are the groups that created the “Information Book Award of Canada” some twenty-five years ago, recognizing and stating how important nonfiction books are to children.

The winner of this year’s award was Jan Thornhill for her beautifully illustrated book, The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk. It was the third time Jan has won this prestigious award and it was a well-deserved honour. The evening was a chance to hear Jan speak about her books and also to celebrate the local Vancouver authors who had been nominated for or won other awards this year.

(I, too, have been fortunate enough to win the Information Book Award twice and consider it one of the highlights of my writing career.)

These days, nonfiction books for children span the age groups and tackle a wide diversity of topics. Most are creatively illustrated and designed, and are highly readable and engaging for the students who gobble them up.

Thanks so much to the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada for their work on behalf of this award, the authors who write the books and, especially, the children who read them.

Happy New Year!

I love this art so much! It was created by Ruth Ohi, a talented children’s book author and illustrator. It feels hopeful and peaceful to me. (Check out Ruth’s website to see much more of her lovely art and books.)

As we skate into the New Year, I wish you hope and happiness and many good books to read!

Tis the Season

It is holiday season, a time when many of us gather with friends and family in celebration.

Here is some wonderful art that captures the feeling of a snowy December in my neighbourhood. It was created by my friend and colleague Mary Jane Muir and it was the winner of the Unicef Christmas card competition a couple of years ago.

Kids and snow, and holiday fun. What could be better?

Happy Holidays! And warm winter wishes to you and yours.

Sheila Barry

It is with a heavy heart that I write about the loss of Sheila Barry, the wonderful, insightful publisher at Groundwood Books and a long-time editor and friend of mine. She made the world a better, brighter place — both in person and through the books she published. I will miss her dearly.

Groundwood Books said this about her today:

As she did her whole life, Sheila brought happiness and laughter and thoughtfulness and love to all of us here. She was such a valued colleague. And Sheila was a great publisher – influential in ways large and small. The legacy of books she leaves will run far into the future.

We hold Sheila in our minds as the most wonderful example of a truly good person, one who had such a positive effect on so many people. We will miss her terribly.

Reading Lights at the VPL

Bear's Winter Party
I was happy to hear the news that two of my recent books have been selected to be Reading Lights books by the Vancouver Public Library.

Bear’s Winter Party, illustrated by Lisa Cinar, and West Coast Wild, illustrated by Karen Reczuch (both published by Groundwood), will have illustrated plaques featuring them on lampposts around the city of Vancouver.

The purpose of Reading Lights is to highlight local books and to encourage children and families to take them out of the library. It is a lovely honour and both of the illustrators and I are thrilled!

The plaques will be installed sometime in early 2018 and I look forward to seeing them! For more information about the Reading Lights program, you can visit their website at the VPL.

(And if you check the Reading Lights map, you will see an earlier book of mine, Watch Me Grow!, with photos by Brian Harris, has a plaque at the northwest corner of Sunrise Park.)

A Writer’s Neighbourhood

I had planned to write about a memoir session I attended at the Vancouver Writers Festival last week — always an interesting and thought-provoking event — but then I took a walk down my street to look at the trees in their magnificent fall glory.

They are so striking that people are coming to my old Vancouver neighbourhood to take photos of themselves and their loved ones against this backdrop of colour. Here’s a photo I took this afternoon.

In other fall news, I’m greatly looking forward to being at Authorfest at UBC on the 30th. It’s always heartening to meet the wonderful students who are on their way to becoming teachers.


Vancouver Writers Festival

It is teeming rain outside and brightly coloured leaves are covering the streets and lawns. This is fall in Vancouver! As long as you don’t mind carrying an umbrella with you, it’s a great time to be in this city.

One of my favourite fall events is the Vancouver Writers Festival, now in its 30th year. This afternoon I heard some wonderful children’s authors speaking about their books on child refugees, past and present. The young students in the audience were mesmerized!

And in a couple of days, I will go to hear a panel of authors who have penned new memoirs, always a riveting session. More on that later.

If you are on the west coast, I hope you are staying warm and dry. It’s wet out there! And if you are somewhere else, I hope you are having a great fall, too.