Young Authors’ Conference, Sault Ste. Marie 2018

I had a fantastic time in Ontario’s northern cities near Sault Ste. Marie including at the Young Authors’ Conference last week. It was hosted by the Algoma District School Board.

The conference was inspirational and exciting, with hundreds of grade 7 & 8 students attending on behalf of their schools. They will take the information back to their schools to share with the other students there.

I was proud to present the keynote speech, “How to Avoid Fake News” and two journalism workshops. There were additional workshops on technology, music and storytelling–all designed to expand students’ expertise and literacy.

Well organized, enthusiastic students and engaged teachers made for a top-notch conference.

I also visited four schools in the north, including Mountain View–which really did have a spectacular view.

Thank you to the organizers, the school board, the teachers and of course, the wonderful students, who made the conference such a success.

Please follow and share:

Some wonderful Gabby “fan fiction”

Fan fiction from Grade 3 students at RH McGregor.

Fan fiction from Grade 3 students at RH McGregor.

I just love it when kids write their own stories using Gabby and her friends as the main characters. Recently, a class of Grade 2 students at Davisville Public School wrote and illustrated some phenomenal stories. I was presented with a big binder of them, which I will cherish.

And today, a class of Grade 3 students at R.H. McGregor School each read out their Gabby stories. And what great stories they were! In one, Gabby got hit by a truck (she’s fine). In another, she was burglarized and in another she was framed for a bank robbery! She lost her magic word book a few times, and she lost her dog — only to find that Mrs. Oldham had dog-napped it! She lost her glasses, went to Africa, went missing, ended up stuck inside her magic word book, won first place in a reality-based music show, had to hunt down her neighbour, went to a baseball game, asked Roy to the prom, went to the hospital, went to the zoo — and so much more!

Fan fiction by the Grade 2s at Davisville PS.

Fan fiction by the Grade 2s at Davisville PS.

The kids’ writing was thoughtful and evocative and really exciting. I learned that lots of kids like “big adventures” for Gabby — hit by a car?! — and aren’t afraid of a little espionage in their picture books.

As an author, especially one who’s working on the next Gabby book, I learned a lot about the kinds of stories kids want to hear, and the ways in which Gabby can be part of them.

Thanks to all of the wonderful writers at Davisville and R.H. McGregor!

Please follow and share:

Three things you can do to get your kid reading

49th shelf logoIf you’re not familiar with 49th Shelf, get yerself on over there and check it out. It’s a terrific website that promotes Canadian literature.

They were kind enough to let me publish a guest post this week. Please take a look at my article, which talks about three things – just three – you can do to help instill a love of reading in your child.

Here’s the article on 49th Shelf.

Please follow and share:

NaNoWriMo means “write a novel in November”

NaNoWriMo logoYes, you heard that right. Write a novel in November.

NaNoWriMo is: National (presumably it refers to the U.S. but they welcome everyone) Novel Writing Month.

Starting Nov. 1, you write and write and write every day… until you’ve reached 50,000 words by Nov. 30. Simple! Well…

To help you in your endeavour, the NaNoWriMo website offers forums, blogs, tips, ideas and a word counter. (You scramble your writing and upload it to the website where it is counted and promptly deleted.) Your word count then goes into the pool for your city. Or just for yourself.

Obviously, this is something we can “just do ourselves, anyway,” right?

But… do we? No. If life was that simple, there wouldn’t be Weight Watchers. Or spin classes.

Or Chocoholics Anonymous. (Note to self: Start Chocoholics Anonymous.)
See? The ideas are flowing already and it’s not even November yet!

Sign up for NaNoWriMo and get inspired. Do it now. Before November. Because in November you’ll be, like, “Oh, it’s already started — I’m behind… I can’t possibly catch up… I’ll do it next year.”

Just like you said when you were trying to kick your chocolate habit. Uh-huh. Here’s the link again: NaNoWriMo.

"This tall" sign

By the way, there’s a kids’ forum as well so no excuses if you’re not “this tall.”

Please follow and share:

Stuffed letters–great for literacy

Letters for Gabby

These fabric letters will be used during my book readings. Tactile letters of any kind are great for young readers to help them connect with words.

Just finished sewing some stuffed fabric letters that I’ll use as props when I do book readings for Gabby.

A local wedding dress designer donated some fabric (including some raw silk – check out the J!) and my friend Jane is helping me stuff the letters; I still need a few more.

They’ll be fun for kids to throw around and put together into words, just like Gabby does.

Playing with letters–whether they’re Scrabble tiles, letter dice like the ones in Jr. Boggle or these stuffed letters–gets kids interacting with words and is a great first step in the literacy process.

Please follow and share: