A week in Toronto: from book signing to visiting my son

A week in Toronto: from book signing to visiting my son

Just wrapped up a week in Toronto, Ontario, where at the Ontario Librarians Association Super Conference, I autographed copies of my middle-grade novel Bungee Jump for Orca Books, met Dundurn Press publicist Jaclyn Hodsdon and marketing coordinator Kyle Gray, and...
Who reads what? Male vs female tastes

Who reads what? Male vs female tastes

Nonfiction books checked out at primary school libraries: 75% cent to boys, 25% to girls. Book readers overall: men, 46%; women 54%. Literary readers: men, 37%; women, 63%. Heavy readers: men, 29%; women, 71%. Readers of science fiction and horror: men, 17%; women,...
Writing toolbox for kids

Writing toolbox for kids

Tools such as storyboards, writing frames, scaffolds, and templates allow kids to use their analytical skills. For instance, if your child can remember the acronym POWER, it will help get him started: P is for plan, O is for organize, W is for write, E is for edit,...
Happy new year 2017 (polar bear swim)

Happy new year 2017 (polar bear swim)

I wanted to prove that turning 60 hasn’t made me into an unadventurous bore. So I took on a dare to do the New Year’s Day 2017 polar bear swim. It was hovering below zero  but my young friend Bella and I took the plunge anyway. (No, I didn’t get my...
Coming to Toronto and southern California!

Coming to Toronto and southern California!

Hey, Toronto schools and libraries: last chance to book me for a presentation February 1, 2 or 3. Or, if you’re attending the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2017, come say hi at the Orca Book Publishers booth (Nos. 410/412) at noon on Thursday,...
Celebrating good news on literacy

Celebrating good news on literacy

News worth celebrating: In 1800, almost nine of 10 people in the world were illiterate. Today, 90% of people can read. “Within a decade and a half, all girls and boys can complete primary and secondary education for free.” (a U.N. Sustainable Development...
Getting boys to write

Getting boys to write

Smart parents write lots of notes to their kids, and set things up so their children need to reply in writing. At school, notes often take the form of criticism. Parents can counter this association by leaving him notes to compliment him on a job well done; notes are...
Best metaphors ever

Best metaphors ever

It’s tough coming up with good metaphors. Really tough. So I appreciate it when I come across an author particularly good at them. Some of the best metaphors I’ve seen recently are in Tim Wynne-Jones’ entertaining and thoughtful young-adult novel,...
My new favorite library: Nenana, Alaska

My new favorite library: Nenana, Alaska

Last week I nervously phoned the public library of Nenana, Alaska (population 378). Would the library like dozens of photos my father took in Nenana and nearby Minto when he lived there 65 years ago? The photos had emerged from an album I never knew existed till...