Winter Thoughts

Winter is officially here and even though the weather is colder (and very rainy on our west coast!), it is a time of year I enjoy. In fact, I love every season of the year and am always grateful we live in a place where we experience four distinct seasons.

We are deeply into the festive time of year and I am thinking about the many wonderful titles there are to choose from when selecting gifts for family and friends. What better way to shop than to visit your favourite bookstore!

And, as schools are now closed for the winter break, I think of the children living in our city who need a warm, safe and happy space to spend their time over the holidays. That’s why I am always glad to support our local KidSafe organization. I know that children will be provided with fun, food and caring staff.

This snowman card was created by one of the children at KidSafe. I love their cards! If you’d like to support the important work of this group, please see their website for more information. Happy holidays!

Back to School Wishes

books by Deborah HodgeToday is the first day of school in my part of the world — a very exciting day, indeed!

I’m thinking about all the kids and teachers who are back in the classroom and hoping that everyone feels refreshed and rejuvenated after their summer break, ready to embrace the challenges of a new year.

Before I began writing, I was a primary teacher (I enjoyed my job so much!).  I remember with fondness the first day of school, seeing the children eager and full of enthusiasm, glad to be reunited with their friends and keen to embark on a new year.

I wish all the teachers and students a happy school year, with much learning, oodles of fun, and many good books to read!

(The photo is from a school I visited a few years ago. The children are enjoying some of my wildlife books.)

West Coast Summer

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to visit the west coast of Vancouver Island (an annual holiday trek) and spent a lot of time walking the beautiful beaches, peering into tidepools and watching the ebb and flow of the ocean.

It was both an inspiring and restful trip — a wonderful place for a writer to unwind.

I’m back home with a notebook full of ideas, hoping to turn some of them into books one of these days (perhaps when the sunny weather disappears and the west coast rain returns).

The photos show the little cove at Mackenzie Beach where we stayed and a rocky shoreline full of tidepools.

I discovered many fascinating creatures in the tidepools: hermit crabs, giant green anemones, orange and purple sea stars, blue mussels, barnacles of every size and more. These lovely marine animals may soon find their way into upcoming book. It was fun to do the research!

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.