Notes From the Road


TD Canadian Children’s Book Week started with a bit of a jolt when I arrived at my first presentation in beautiful Elora, Ontario to find my audience waiting! A  communication mix up between two librarians resulted in two grade three classes arriving half an hour early for my talk. Luckily, they were happy to wait while I set up and it meant I had more time to get to my second presentation in Guelph later that day.

I’m in Waterloo today where I’m talking to grades five and six students at two local libraries. This morning’s talk is about writing Hot New Thing. This afternoon, I’ll focus on Lesia’s Dream.

I’m off to present in New Hamburg and then Stratford tomorrow before driving to Woodstock where I’ll spend the night. Friday, I’ll speak to students in that community before driving back to Waterloo where I’ll drop the rental car and catch a bus to Toronto.

Highlights from the road so far: when talking about how story ideas often come from real life events, one grade three student told us how his father had been shot in the knee with a rifle. A neighbor did it, the student said. By accident, of course. But there was tons of blood and everybody was scared, except the family dog didn’t mind because he actually finds the smell of blood appealing. It was just the opportunity I needed to talk about how conflict – in this case, a shooting  – can impact everybody (even dogs) differently.  After the session ended, the teacher quietly informed me that the ‘real life’ rifle shooting incident the student spoke about was all fiction. She knows the family. It never happened. Given the range of details in the student’s ‘real life’ event, I suspect I was listening to a future writer.

It’s a real honor to be picked to tour. I must thank the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for coordinating the week, as well as all the teachers and librarians who have greeted me so warmly in every community. I’ve really enjoyed the chance to get out from behind my desk and talk about books and writing to so many excited students.

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