Friends, Food and Summer Fun!

Summer is in full swing! I hope you are enjoying it wherever you are.

I want to thank all the dedicated teachers and librarians who have worked so hard with the children in their care over the past year. You are inspiring!

And to all the students who are in the midst of summer holidays: I hope you are having a fun, happy, relaxing time with your family and friends. You deserve it!

The art on this page is from Cooking with Bear, my most recent book. I chose it for this post because it shows two friends having fun together, cooking and eating delicious seasonal food. I love the happy smile on Bear’s face. Thank you to Lisa Cinar for this very sweet image.

In the spirit of summer fun, Bear and I suggest you take some time over the holidays to cook and eat with friends. It is a wonderful way to spend time together!

Happy summer!

Happy New Year!

Here’s hoping you’re enjoying the holidays and looking forward to the start of a brand new year!

As is often the case, I plan to spend some time in 2019 on the beautiful west coast of Vancouver Island (see photo). It is the location of my most recent manuscript, now being illustrated by Karen Reczuch. The book is a sequel to our earlier collaboration, West Coast Wild. I can hardly wait to see her lovely art!

Wishing you the best in 2019, with happiness and health, and many good books to read!

Twas the Night…

I’ve had a lot of fun reading and re-reading a cache of seasonal books for kids and enjoying their delight at both the stories and the upcoming festivities. One of the most entertaining books for our youngest family member was Barbara Reid’s The Night Before Christmas with charming little mice as the characters. Jolly Old St. Nick also appears as a mouse.

This classic poem is illustrated with Barbara’s wonderful Plasticine art, the form she is so well-known for. I hope you enjoy her illustration of the stockings “hung with care.”

And I wish you the best of the season: Happy times with family and friends and many good books to read!

September Start

In my corner of the world, on the lovely west coast, today is the first day of school.

It is a bright sunny day, which bodes well for the students and teacher who are headed back into the classroom.

Wishing you all the best of luck as you start this new school year!

And many good books to read!

As the School Year Winds Down

West Coast WildThe sun is shining brightly and students everywhere are on field trips, camping adventures, picnics and many other fun end-of-year activities.

It’s been wonderful to be in schools this year and see the excitement and enthusiasm of students as they learn new things, and to admire the hard work of the dedicated teachers who guide them.

This year, I had the pleasure of participating in family reading at the school of my youngest family member. Parents and grandparents are invited into the classroom once a week to read and share books with their children. It’s encouraging to see both literacy and family love in action, and participating in the reading has been a highlight of my year.

On that note, I’m wishing all the students and teachers a well-deserved and happy summer holiday!

And I’m looking forward to spending some time on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I plan to wander the shoreline and poke into some tide pools and see what amazing nature I can find.

These lovely sandpipers on the surf line were painted by Karen Reczuch in our book West Coast Wild. With any luck, I’ll be seeing a flock of these little birds again soon.

Happy summer, all!

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.

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.

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.