Monday, October 26, 2009

Starclimber and The King's Taster on the OLA Forest of Reading List!

This isn't actually me in the photo, but it's how I feel after learning that I've been nominated in, not one, but two categories of the Ontario Library Association's fabulous Forest of Reading Awards.

There are all sorts of literary awards for children's books, but possibly the most satisfying for a writer are the readers' choice awards -- the ones where the winners are actually chosen by your real audience -- young readers -- as opposed to adults who decree which books are worthy and important for kids.

The Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Awards give young readers in Ontario the chance to vote for their favourite books from a shortlist of ten titles. And it's always fascinating, surprising (and, for a writer, eye-opening) to see which book wins.

This year I've been fortunate to be nominated in two categories. First, Starclimber has been nominated for the Red Maple Award (decided on by grade 7-8 students across Ontario.) This is the fifth time I've been nominated (Airborn and Skybreaker won in 2005 and 2006 respectively).

As well, my picture book The King's Taster, illustrated by the wonderful team of Steve Fancher and Lou Johnson, has been nominated for the Blue Spruce Award (chosen by children from kindergarten to Grade Two).

Kids will be reading all through the fall and into the spring, voting at the end of April, with the winners announced in May.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Fabulous Poster

A big thank you to Jason Loo at the Mississauga Public Library for painting this wall-sized poster that formed the backdrop for my reading at their Literary Festival this past September. I think you'll agree it's fantastic!

One of the most gratifying things about my visits to schools and librairies is seeing how much effort and enthusiasm the hosts and students put into them, and how welcoming they are to me!

Over the years I've been the lucky recipient of many fabulous bats and airships and Yetis -- in all media imaginable!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Halloween

I am one of many contributors who wrote a creepy short story for a new anthology called HALF-MINUTE HORRORS. The book is published in partnership with First Book, a nonprofit organization that puts books in the hands of children in need. There are stories by Neil Gaiman and Lemony Snicket and Margaret Atwood, and spooky illustrations by the likes of Brian Selznick, Lisa Brown and Adam Rex.

So, how short is my short story? Well, you can read it in thirty seconds. Those were the instructions of the book's editor, Susan Rich, who, as Lemony Snicket's editor, has a great deal of experience with horrific stories. I couldn't help noticing that some people's stories were considerably longer than thirty seconds, so I can only assume they didn't follow instructions and were suitably punished.

My story is called "In Hiding," and it involves... well, if you really want to know, check out the book.

Or come to the Toronto launch, where I'll be reading it -- or maybe just some of it, if we're short on time.

The launch is sponsored by World Literacy Canada and takes place on Halloween at 2-4pm at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!