Category Archive: Children’s literature

Apr 11

Robert J. Sawyer — Quantum Night

Robert J. Sawyer book launch

Book Launch There was such a snowstorm March first for the Toronto launch of Quantum Night, that some feared attendance would be sparse, but Canadians are hardy. Returning home afterward I saw one cyclist on the road, riding through blowing snow.   Despite the blanket of flurries, Lansdowne Brewery was packed, even before the advertised start time. …

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Jan 18

Richard Scrimger Interview

I was lucky enough to interview the witty, award-winning Canadian author, Richard Scrimger. Versatile, he writes for small children, middle grade, young adult, and adult categories. My current favorite is his YA novel Zomboy, in which a new student turns out to be undead, and unwanted, by unenlightened members of his community. Zomboy provokes thought but still …

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Dec 29

Shared Writing and the Classroom Novel

The popularity of fantasy adventure novels hasn’t dwindled since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Teachers capitalizing on this popularity can inspire student writing, without marking more pages than Lord of the Rings. Today, I’m going to talk about shared-world ‘novel’ writing. This is something I did with a class of gifted grade four students, …

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Sep 06

Ideamancy – Ideas for Back-To-School Magic

The first week of school is over. Routines are starting to gel, kids are on their best behaviour and starting to make friends. Teachers are breathing a sigh of relief. It’s the honeymoon period for elementary teachers. This glistening doorway of opportunity, lit by September magic, will not stay open long. Invite all the kids in, …

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Aug 20

Cursed Dishes by Jennifer Lott

I recently enjoyed interviewing Jennifer Lott about her first chapter book. As an early childhood educator, she had insights into writing for children and teaching as well. Cursed Dishes is based on a ‘revenge’ story Lott wrote when she was sixteen about her uncooperative younger sisters. Ten years later this completely reworked version is volume one in the Family Magic series, …

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Feb 16

Lena Coakley’s Witchlanders & WCDR Contest update

Witchlanders I attended the WCDR breakfast meeting this morning. Speaker Lena Coakley was excellent, laying out the seven things she wished she had known about story, before she published her first novel. Lena is the author of Witchlanders, a high fantasy YA novel. Some of her tips were: Learn about plot from screenwriters Know what …

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Jan 14

Books are magical

I’m really enjoying running the Silver Birch Awards and Red Maple Awards programs this year as a librarian. It gives me a chance to read all the award-nominated books! I think this video captures a little bit of that magic feeling of discovery. More about the books and the club to follow. Happy reading…

Apr 18

Bully for me — Bully for you

Today I broke the 155 page wall on my Y.A. novel-in-progress. It’s a good thing too. A working editor has promised to read it when it’s finished so I’d be a fool not to finish it, before he reconsiders. The Geek Chronicles: Dear God, Help!!! Love, EarlI recently read Barbara Parks revenge fantasy about an …

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Apr 17

Three by Jon Scieszka

Since his post-modern picture books: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolfe and The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales, I have looked forward reading more by Jon Scieszka. Today, I refer to three short novels in his Time Warp Trio series. I have read: Knights of the Kitchen …

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Dec 04

Pobby and Dingan

Pobby and Dingan, by Ben Rice, is a unique young adult novel. It is set in an Australian opal mining town where ratting (stealing opals from another person’s claim) is as bad as murder. The point of view character, Ashmol, has a lonely, sensitive sister named Kellyanne. She treats her imaginary friends, Pobby and Dingan, …

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