Coach Coop in real life!

The other day, I bumped into the real-life Coach Coop at a baseball game at Bond Park in North York, Ontario.

My son is one of 10 young baseball players that Coop (and several other North York coaches) have coached over the years. A bunch of those kids happened to be playing, so he came by to see how his young proteges were faring.

As you’ll know if you’ve read Tagged Out, the real-life Coop let me use his name for the Coach of the fictional Toronto Blues. “Coop” will also feature in the upcoming Home Team (to be published in 2018).

In Tagged Out, I gave Coop a faux hawk but I think the real-life Coop was none-too-pleased about that. For Home Team, I’m thinking I’ll let him keep the beard. What do you think?

Rain, rain, go … into my new book!

This 2012 photo is from the Bridgewater Eagles website.

It’s raining.

The rain has cancelled my son’s two games today and all of the games at Christie Pits. But if you read Tagged Out, you know what “rain” means to the kids on The Blues — Mudball!

So, instead of writing the chapter about the Blues vs. the Pirates for my new book, Home Team, I’m instead writing the Mudball chapter.

I’m listening to the sounds the rain makes on my roof, and putting Miguel in that situation. And what it looks like on the window, and on the street, and in the trees. We all have memories of rain, but it’s great to have the rain dictate its characteristics, directly, in its own way. All I’m doing is listening, and writing it down. And calling it “Chapter 9.”

Rain, rain don’t go away — because it’s Mudball time.

Not it!

Thank you, Alberta!

Thank you, to all the students, teachers, librarians and other people I met in Alberta during TD Canadian Book Week.

I had an incredible time, touring 19 schools and libraries. I talked about Gabby and letters, about Tagged Out and inclusiveness, and TeachingKidsNews.com and how to spot “fake news.”

I saw deer, and prairie dogs and a moose and fiery oil wells and gorgeous freight elevators. I ventured down dusty country roads and stayed in the heart of big-city Edmonton. I met the most amazing people. And I loved all of it.

If your students write me, I will answer them. If they send me a drawing, I’ll post it in my online kids’ art gallery. If you want to book a Skype visit with your class, please let me know.

Thanks again, Alberta–it was a blast. Let’s do it again sometime soon!

Touring Alberta schools on #TDBookWeek Author Tour

This week (May 6-13, 2017), I’m visiting schools in Alberta: Edmonton, Red Deer, Camrose, Penhold, St. Albert, Calmar and Thorsby.

I’ll be talking to kids about writing, and picture books, and “critical thinking” about the media. My main goal, for all my presentations, is to inspire kids to write (or draw) and to read.

I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people, and seeing things I haven’t seen before. I took a two-day train ride here, so I could see the country and boy, did I! If you’ve never taken the train for a long trip, you definitely should. It’s much, much more than “transportation.” There was live music, and really interesting fellow passengers and even a stop-over to see Winnipeg. So good! Hey, I even saw my first, live-in-the-wild moose! Incredible!

If you’d like to follow my journey across Canada and around Alberta, please follow me on Twitter @JGCanada (even if you don’t have a Twitter account). Or, check out the hashtag #TDBookWeek.

There are 30 authors touring this week during TD Book Week. Check out who’s where: http://bookweek.ca/book-week-2017/whos-on-tour/

Thank you, to the sponsors including TD and the CCA  and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, as well as my awesome and super-supportive publishers, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, and Lorimer.

And, to my fellow touring authors — I hope you have an amazing trip!

CCBC author profile – with insider info!

Want to know more about the sequel to Tagged Out, and how Tagged Out came to be?

Or how I got out of gym and recess for a whole year in elementary school (not that it’s a good thing…)?

Check out this profile in the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s newsletter.

Yeah… probably not the principal’s best call, to let me out of gym and recess… but I do thank him for it!

Gabby as a “woolly doodle”

Woolly Doodle Gabby Cathy DisbrowThis is a gorgeous new felted pin that I commissioned from Woolly Doodle’s Cathy Disbrow.

She is an incredible felting artist, and she’s created a version of Gabby that is so, so perfect.

I’m going to enjoy wearing this Gabby during school visits–or heck, anywhere I want to feel kidliterally stylish!

If you’re an author and want to commission one of her lovely pins for your own book character — or, let’s say you’re a pet owner (she does pets as well!) — visit Cathy’s Woolly Doodles website here.