Happy Canadian Children’s Book Week

Happy Canadian Children’s book week! Watch for Canadian Children’s authors, illustrators and storytellers in your area this week. And, if your community isn’t fortunate enough to host a visiting Canadian creator, I’ll bet your local library and Indie bookseller will have a plentiful supply of books by Canadian creators, so be sure to check them out.

Authors for Indies

Authors for Indies is coming up on May 2.  I’ll be at Wendel’s Bookstore and Cafe in Fort Langley. I doubt my bookselling abilities will stack up to the staff’s, but I plan to do my best to convince you that my favorite authors and illustrators are worth bringing home, so please do drop by. See you there between 2-4pm.

32nd annual CYWC a huge success

Yesterday, I was in Calgary, not for the Flames frying the Canucks (sorry Canucks hockey fans), but for the Calgary Young Writers’ Conference.

Illustrator, Ian Wallace wowed kids with his stunning illustrations from Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot, before getting to hone their own skills under the tutelage of some of Canada’s finest writers and illustrators. And yes, the day’s success was toasted with some seriously delicious strawberry shortcake. Thanks for the invite Calgary.  Hope to see you again next year.


Calgary Young Writers’ Conference

My bags are packed and I’m ready to go!

The Calgary Young Writers’ Conference is about to begin!

Dozens of kids’ book authors and illustrators will be arriving in Calgary tomorrow, so get ready to write! Sponsored by the Calgary School Board and run by a group of dedicated volunteers, this conference has been wildly successful.  In fact, it’s turning 32 this year! 1500 keen young writers devoting a full Saturday to work with professional writers and illustrators is proof that kids love books and writing.

A keynote address by Ian Wallace, one of Canada’s finest author/illustrators will start the day off. Then, morning and afternoon  sessions will follow.  Sessions range from:

Write Like a Gorilla, with Jamie Bastedo, a biologist turned storyteller from the NWT, to

Who’s Driving the Story, with the infamous and superbly funny, Marty Chan, to

Read This Or Else, by one of my favorite children’s author’s, Hazel Huchins , to

my session, How To Turn Real Stuff Into Fiction.

The  only thing I don’t like about the conference is that they keep us so busy that we never get a chance to sit in on other sessions. But that’s a pretty minor complaint, and the freshly baked strawberry shortcake with real whipping cream served at lunch time almost makes up for it!

See you soon Calgary.

Help us show Independent Booksellers some love on May 2nd!

Yep, that’s right.  May 2nd  is Canadian Authors for Indies Day or Canadian Authors for Independent Book Sellers Day.

You can help celebrate by dropping into your local independent book store on May 2nd to see what ‘s cooking.  That’s the day that authors and illustrators will be visiting independent booksellers around the country to show our support for the support they give us.  After all, where would authors, illustrators or publishers be without independents!

So, come in and show your independent bookseller a little love.

Since Victoria is overflowing with some very fine authors (not to mention some fabulous independent bookstores), I’ve decided to show my support for Indies by visiting a bookstore a little farther afield.  I’ll be at Wendell’s in Fort Langley on Saturday May 2 from 2-4.

If you’re in the area, please drop by to say hi.  I’ll be happy to chat with any and all about my books; including the gorgeous new edition of Jessie’s Island, as well as some of my favorite authors and books. I’d love to hear what you’re reading too.  And who knows, you just might find a book that will mean the world to you or a loved one.  YA author, Denise Jaden will also be dropping by as well (check with the bookstore for times).

If that isn’t enough to tempt you, I hear Wendell’s have some pretty fabulous coffee and homemade goodies.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it on May 2nd.  Any day of the year is a good day to buy a book from your independent book seller.

Dean Griffiths, illustrator of an awesome new pirate book is coming to Victoria

I’m a big fan of Dean Griffiths illustrations and was fortunate enough to have had a sneak preview of some of his wonderfully expressive and quirky illustrations for his and Kari-Lynn Winters Bad Pirate.  You won’t want to miss his visit to the Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable on Monday, May 25, 2015.

Illustrator Dean Griffiths
Presents at Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable
Monday, May 25, 2015, 7:30 – 8:30 pm

Dean’s new book is Bad Pirate, written by Kari-Lynn Winters, will be published this Spring by Pajama Press. Dean has illustrated over thirty books for children, including Perfect Man (Troy Wilson), Ballerinas Don’t Wear Glasses (Ainslie Manson) and When Emily Carr Met Woo (Monica Kulling).
Join us at:
Saanich Centennial Branch, Greater Victoria Public Library
3110 Tillicum Road (by Pearkes Arena)
$5 drop-in / $4 students, Members free Doors open at 7:00 pm.
Browse Schoolhouse Teaching Supplies and Children’s Bookstore.

2015 Shakespeare Selfie Challenge for grades 7-9, and 10-12. Hurray CBC!

Kenneth Oppel is judging the 2015 “Shakespeare Selfie” youth writing challenge.  
Thanks Sheree Fitch for the heads up.
Shakespeare took selfies all the time—but instead of a camera, he used a quill. And instead of calling them “selfies,” they were called “soliloquies.”
Date: April 13-May 1, 2015
Note: Challenge opens at 10 am ET on Monday, April 13. Come to this page to enter the challenge at that time.
The challenge: Write a modern-day soliloquy or monologue by a Shakespearean character. Could be in iambic pentameter or modern syntax. (For examples, see our Shakespeare High literary series and the winning entry from 2014.)
Need to brush up on soliloquies vs. monologues? Here’s a handy guide.
2015 themes: Focus your entry on one of the following current affairs topics:
  • Online bullying (read more here)
  • The Kardashians—any member(s) of this modern-day royal family and their dramas
  • Race-related shootings and the Ferguson riots (read more here)
  • The reign of Taylor Swift—her huge album, her feud with Katy Perry, etc.
  • The rise of ISIS militants (read more here)
  • LeBron James leaves Miami and comes home to Cleveland (read more here)
  • “Lone wolf” attacks (read more here)
  • The Ebola outbreak (read more here)
…or choose another current affairs story (local, Canadian or international) from the past year that inspires you.
Wordcount: 200-400 words
Age categories: Grades 7-9 and grades 10-12
Prizes: One grand prize of an iPad mini for each age category, as well as a school prize for each grand prize winner.


Judge: Governor General’s Award-winning young-adult author Kenneth Oppel will be judging the 2015 Shakespeare Selfie. Kenneth’s Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide.
Earlybird incentive: Congratulations to Glenn Katz of St. Thomas High School in Pointe-Claire, QC! Glenn’s class will benefit from an online video writers’ workshop with Kenneth Oppel during the challenge period.
Read the Rules and Regulations for the Shakespeare Selfie Earlybird Draw here »

Print a poster for your school!

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