A Spring Launch

I recently attended a launch of new spring books published by Groundwood. It was a great evening at Kidsbooks hearing about a variety of fun and interesting titles, and catching up with my writer friends.

The books included The Snuggly by my friend, Glen Huser, and is the charming story of a little boy who thinks a snuggly is a great place to carry all manner of things — until it’s not!

Children’s poet and my friend, Robert Heidbreder, introduced his book Rooster Summer, a nostalgic and poetic look back at his childhood growing up on a mid-western farm in Illinois.

And finally, I met Nancy Vo, the author and illustrator of her first book for kids, The Outlaw, a story of a mysterious stranger who rides into town.

Much great spring reading from talented people!

West Coast Spring

After a very long fall and winter of rain, we west coasters are happy to see the sunshine! Along with the sunny days comes warmer temperatures and, best of all, trees in full blossom. My magnolia tree is blooming brightly and the ornamental cherry trees are decorating the streets of our fair city.

In the spirit of new beginnings, I’m happy to report I have two spring manuscripts in the works. One of them is on its way to becoming a book titled Cooking with Bear to be released by Groundwood next spring. And the other is a west coast nature manuscript, recently submitted to my publisher for consideration. (My fingers are tightly crossed.)

If spring has not sprung for you yet, I trust it will happen soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the blossoms via this post. Cheers!

Spring Break Fun

The great thing about having young children in the family is that I get to spend time with them and see the world through their eyes — much fun for me and also excellent professional development for my day job as a writer of books for kids.

Over spring break, I had the pleasure of visiting Science World (to see the Ripley’s Believe or Not exhibition) and the Vancouver Aquarium with my young family members. On each occasion, we had an interesting and amazing time, checking out the awe-inspiring marine creatures (such as these jellyfish) at the aquarium and learning many weird and wonderful facts at Science World.

I made mental notes of the experiences the kids enjoyed most and will save these memories for some possible upcoming books. It’s always a treat to spend time with the kids, who taught me a lot this holiday break.

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.