Friday, January 15, 2021

February 17 is I Read Canadian Day

February 17, 2021, is the second annual I Read Canadian Day, a chance to celebrate Canadian literature - especially reading aimed at kids.

Haven't heard of it? It was the brainchild of Eric Walters, one of the busiest kidlit authors in Canada, and was quickly picked up by organizations including CANSCAIP, The Canadian Children's Book Centre, Ontario Library Association, Canadian School Libraries, and Communication Jeunesse. Here's the call to action on the I Read Canadian website:

We challenge the nation to “Read Canadian” for 15 minutes and to share their experience at their library, in their school, with their families and friends, or on social media. Young people are encouraged to read, or have read to them, a Canadian book of their choice.

I can assure you that Canadian kidlit authors are all on board for this one. One initiative is to have celebrities dig into our books and share their photos on social media, like this one featuring my book Skating Over Thin Ice in the hands of Hockey Night In Canada broadcaster Chris Cuthbert.

Watch for my Canadian kidlit writing colleagues to post their photos, events, invitations and more in the coming weeks. And you can do your part by reading, sharing, following, promoting and just overall celebrating the many great Canadian books, authors and illustrators we have in this country.

On social media, you can tag @IReadCanadian and use the hashtags #IReadCanadian and #NowMoreThanEver

February 17 - I'll be there. So will this penguin. Will you?


Monday, January 4, 2021

Tangled branches and writing

I’m a big believer in this Mary Heaton Vorse quotation: The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.

I have to confess, my chair has not seen a lot of action lately, for all sorts of reasons, mostly the effect of distractions big and small, including a fraught holiday season during a pandemic. My creative brain has been pretty much a void for weeks. Maybe months.

But now that the new year is here and I’m looking ahead to what will or what might or what might not happen in 2021, I find myself starting to twitch a bit. Standing at the kitchen door looking out at my backyard – cardinals and chickadees sparring for safflower at the feeder; a pine bough, heavy with snow, touching the ground to form an arch; the snowy branches of a honeysuckle tangled against the sky – I’m starting to hear the voices of as-yet-unwritten characters talking among themselves. Nothing clear. Nothing important. Just voices – characters – starting to tangle up together in my creative brain. 

Sort of like the branches of my honeysuckle.

So, I’m not worried. I’ll just stand here for a while, sip my tea, watch the birds, listen to the voices, try to see through the tangled branches, and know that as long as I’m listening, I’m also writing.