Jessie’s Island; news

After more than 20 years of being in print, Jessie’s Island will be released in hard cover. It’s been on the BC best seller’s list since it was released in 1992, but this is it’s first appearance in hard cover. Hurray for me. Hurray or Sheena Lott whose art is simply gorgeous. Hurray for Ann Featherstone, editor extraordinaire, who helped to make this a special book. And, hurray to Orca Book Publishers for supporting their backlist. I’m so fortunate to have worked with all of you.


Earring books by Andrea Spalding

Lucky me!

Friends, Andrea and David Spalding dropped by today for a delightful, although short visit. Here is the wonderful little present Andrea made for me.  ThanIMG_0326k you Andy!

As you can see, Andrea has numerous creative talents aside from writing wonderful books.  I will treasure these beautiful little earring books.  They depict the covers of my first two picture books; both of which are still in print.

Short Story Contest


Nightlight Reading is requesting submissions for their 2014 Nightlight Readings Short Story Writers Contest. It’s geared to at-risk boys in the 10-12 year age group who often stop reading for pleasure. Their goal is to fund and promote literature that appeals to boys and keeps them engaged and reading.


The 2014 contest entries will be pre-screened and read by a jury panel who may be scholars, librarians, teachers, and special guests who will decide on 10 semi-finalists. Then, a jury of young readers selected from our target readers will read all 10 entries and vote on the winners.


First Prize: $1,000 award plus certificate and publication of the story.
Second Prize: $500 award plus certificate and publication of the story.
Third Prize: $300 award plus certificate and publication of the story.
All award winners will be publicized nationally by Nightlight Reading.

Open to anyone who loves to write stories for boys, and may be a professional writer, student or budding writer.

Submissions must not have been previously published or won any other writing contest. Simultaneous submissions to other contests are acceptable.

Deadline for submission for the 2014 contest is December 31, 2014 so get writing!


Good luck!


Hurray! My trip to the Northwest Territories is back on track. I’ll be heading out Feb. 8 and returning home Feb. 17. Yellowknife, Gameti, and Inuvik are the three communities on my itinerary. I’ve borrowed a warm coat and am ready to go!

Anywhere is a good place to read…

In a box...

In a box…

Review: Gottika by Helaine Becker

 I’ve always been a fan of Helaine Becker’s nonfiction and her picture books, but I was intrigued when I heard she had a new fantasy novel in the works.

Incorporating graphic novel elements illustrated by Alexander Griggs-Burr,  and set in an alternate dystopian world, Becker hinges the turning point of Gottika on a character straight out of a Jewish legend, a Gol.  These are magical creatures made from clay and earth and brought to life by powerful charms are charged with protecting against oppression. These incongruent elements come together to create a fabulous read enhanced by Griggs-Burrs visuals.

The story begins with fifteen year old Dany yearning for relief from the oppression of Count Pol’s reign. But, he is too young to know how to bring it about. As a Stoon, he, his family, and his friends are nothing more than second class citizens subject to the brutality of Gottika City’s Guards. Dany can’t understand why his father, a respected elder, doesn’t  do more to stop the tyranny. Instead of acting, his father hides behind closed doors with the few books the officials have allowed him to keep.

Dany seethes with frustration that is further fueled by a father who treats him like a child and a mother whose secret past  haunts her. Pol’s increasingly brutal actions force Dany’s father to take a stand, but not in a way that Dany had ever imagined.  His father creates and breathes life into a Gol. The Gol is charged with protecting their people, but when his father is imprisoned and slated for execution, even the Gol can’t help, Dany must act to stop Count Pol.

Gottika is the perfect mashup that results in a great read; one that kept me awake until I turned the last page.

2014 GG short list

The Governor Generals’ 2014 shortlist for Children’s Literature has been announced. Congratulations everyone. Find the full short list here.

Children text:

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (Puffin)
Jeremy Stone by Lesley Choyce (Red Deer Press)
Skraelings by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (Inhabit Media Inc.)
When Everything Feels like the Movies by Raziel Reid (Arsenal Pulp Press)
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press)
Children illustrated:

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, illustrated by Qin Leng, text by Chieri Uegaki (Kids Can Press)
Once Upon a Memory, illustrated by Renata Liwska, text by Nina Laden (Little, Brown and Company)
Julia, Child, illustrated by Julie Morstad, text by Kyo Maclear (Tundra Books)
This One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, text by Mariko Tamaki (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press)

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