Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mark your calendars Nov. 8 Toronto Book Launch!

Party Alert! Party Alert!

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, AT 3 PM

If you are in the Toronto area, McNally & Robinson at the Don Mills Centre (see map below) will be hosting a little celebration of my two newest books from Mapletree Press: The Insecto-files and What’s the Big Idea. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, AT 3 PM. As a special lure for my favorite people of all, teachers and librarians, all teachers – and anyone who brings a teacher or librarian – will receive a FREE GIFT (you’ll like it! Can anyone say “chocolate?”) There will also be a draw for fab prizes.Kids are welcome too.




Please pass the message along to your friends, colleagues, and anyone else who you think might enjoy an afternoon of fun. Keep in mind since the event is being held in a bookstore, in November, it will also be a great opportunity to get the jump on your holiday shopping!

Hope to see you there!









The Don Mills Centre is located at Lawrence Ave. East at Don Mills Road.

View My Saved Places in a larger map

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Teachers, Librarians: Book aan author visit, get a chance to win a complete set of my non-fiction books - $129.95++ value

In March 2010, Mapletree Press will be publishing my tenth non-fiction title, Magic Up Your Sleeve. To celebrate this milestone, I’ve decided to give away ONE COMPLETE SET OF ALL TEN MAPLETREE/BECKER BOOKS – a $129.95+  value.

Here’s how to qualify:


BOOK an author visit from me BEFORE December 31, 2009.
HOLD the author visit BEFORE April 30, 2009.



For EACH author visit, your name will go into the draw barrel once. E.g., if I do one presentation, your name goes in once. Four presentations, you name goes in four times.


Additionally, if you RECOMMEND ME to another teacher that books and holds an author visit, your name will go in again for each presentation they hold.


One winner will be drawn from all the qualifying entries in May.


Good luck to everyone, and I look forward to seeing you soon!



The Complete Set of Mapletree titles will include:




Monday, September 14, 2009

What if Paper Were Invented Today?

I came across this hilarious blog post while wasting time, I mean, researching, on Twitter. In What's the Big Idea? there's a pretty important section having to do with the real invention of paper, so naturally, this topic caught my eye.

I'm reprinting it in its entirety from http://agnosticmaybe.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/what-if-paper-was-invented-today/, so here's a hearty shout-out to author Andy!

Boss: “So, Jim, I got your carving about this new invention of yours called [looks down at the heavy flat slate rock in his arms] pap-par?”




Jim: “It’s pronounced ‘pay-per’! And yes, I believe it will revolutionize how we keep information!”



Boss: [eyebrow arched] “Is that so?”



Jim: “Yeah! We wouldn’t have to keep things on slate or granite or rocks or walls!”



Boss: “Alrighty then, let’s see it!”



[Jim pulls out a sheet of paper and hands it to the Boss]



Jim: “Ta da!”



Boss: “Whoa! It’s so… thin! And light!”



Jim: “I know! With this, we won’t have to carry around heavy tablets! And check this out! [takes the sheet of paper from the Boss’s hand] We can use the same ink that we use to paint on it! [starts drawing lines and writing words] And once you are done, you can roll it or fold it for easy storage.” [folds it over and hands it back to the Boss]



Boss: “Amazing. Simply amazing.”



Jim: “I know!”



Boss: “This is great, Jim! This could change everythi- [the paper tears slightly] What the-”



Jim: “Oh, yeah, the paper is easy to tear. Be careful with that.”



Boss: “I see. We’ll have to mark that down on the label. ‘Use caution: May easily tear.’ [apprehensive pause] Is there anything else I should know about this?”



Jim: “There might be some other things that would turn off potential consumers.”



Boss: “Like?”



Jim: [sighs] “It’s flammable.”



Boss: “How flammable?”



Jim: “Quite.” [holds up a match to the cover of the page. It lights quickly.]



Boss: “Oh my-”



Jim: [patting out the flame] “Yeah… that will have to go on the label as well. ‘Caution: Flammable’”



Boss: [pulling the partially burned page from Jim’s hand] “Well, Jim, I think this still has potential. Marketing can handle those drawbacks and we can run that little text at the bottom of the screen for the television ads. So long as we put the warning labels on, we should be in the cl- Oww!” [drops the paper to the floor and pulls his hand to his face]



Jim: “What!”



Boss: “The edge of this pap-par! It- it… cut me! [starts sucking on the paper cut] That really stung!”



Jim: “Look, it’s only a scratch! And it goes away quickly!”



Boss: “Oh, so do you want to answer those lawsuits when people cut themselves worse on this? [grimaces at the sheet of paper lying on the floor] Next you’ll say is that it was made using chemicals.”



Jim: “Not exactly…”



Boss: “But?”



Jim: “It is made from wood pulp. [Boss cocks his head to the side looking at Jim] Which comes from grinding up trees.’”



Boss: “Are you KIDDING me? If the environmentalists get a hold of that fact, they’ll have a fit. They’ll want to know what kinds of tree are used and how many and where they are coming from and what they are displacing when you cut them down! This is a NIGHTMARE! It tears easily, it catches on fire from the tiniest of flames, the edge can cut you, and now you are telling me that THIS [picks up the torn burnt paper and starts shaking it in the air] is made from TREES? Are you F-ING kidding me? This thing will have a scariest warning label in the HISTORY of the INDUSTRY. There is NO way that ANYONE will BUY this. At least with stone tablets, we just tell people ‘Oh, mind your feet if you drop it’ and ‘Carrying it around is like another exercise workout’. There is a positive spin we can put on tablets. [waves his finger at the paper] There is NOTHING we can SAY about THIS, this, this pap-par that will overcome the inherent DANGER! Who wants to buy something that says ‘Warning: Flammable. Easily tears. Edges are sharp and may cut you.’ We might as well throw in a ‘Do not eat’ to round it out! I mean, HONESTLY, how in the HELL are WE supposed to SELL this as a REPLACEMENT to the stone tablet?!?” [Boss stands there a moment, nosily breathing in and out as his anger swells]



Jim: [meekly] “…I can work on it some more.”



Boss: [puts his arm around Jim] “Jim, it’s a good step. But, it’s not ready for prime time. There are just too many potential lawsuits and liabilities at this time. But, I know you’re on the right track. Someday, we’ll replace these heavy stone tablets. Maybe, you could work on a lighter stone tablet. Strong rock but lighter. Something that won’t break your toes when you drop it on your foot. Something that you could either chalk or chisel. That’s the future, my boy.”

The Wall Street Journal's 2009 Technology Innovation Awards

What's the Big Idea of the future? The Wall Street Journal has summed up their top ten contenders. For the full story, check out the WSJ webpage at http://om.ly/IsmX!

WIN ONE COMPLETE SET OF ALL TEN MAPLETREE/BECKER BOOKS – a $129.95 value.

Att: Teachers ! In March 2010, Mapletree Press will be publishing my tenth non-fiction title, Magic Up Your Sleeve. To celebrate this milestone, I’ve decided to give away  ONE COMPLETE SET OF ALL TEN of my  MAPLETREE BOOKS – a $129.95++ value.




Who will win this prize? It could be you! Here’s how to qualify:



BOOK an author visit from me BEFORE December 31, 2009.

HOLD the author visit BEFORE April 30, 2009.



For EACH author visit, your name will go into the draw barrel once. E.g., if I do one presentation, your name goes in once. Four presentations, you name goes in four times.



Additionally, if you RECOMMEND ME to another teacher that books and holds an author visit, your name will go in again for each presentation they hold.



One winner will be drawn from all the qualifying entries in May.



Good luck to everyone, and I look forward to seeing you soon!



The Complete Set of Mapletree titles will include:

Boredom Blasters

Funny Business

Like a Pro

Are You Psychic?

Mother Goose Unplucked

Secret Agent Y.O.U.

Science on the Loose

The Insecto-files

What’s the Big Idea?

Magic Up Your Sleeve

Sunday, September 13, 2009

If you can #read this, thank a #teacher! #parenting #teach #fb

What's the Big Idea Fun Fact of the Day

Roman Emperor Nero used emeralds as spyglasses to help him watch gladiator fights. #fb

Who knew connecting up could be so hard?

Twitter feed to blog? Blog feed to twitter? Connect to website? Facebook? Argh! This s/b easy, but nooooo...the computer programmers are running the show. What they all need is a competent WRITER to communicate for them.

From the Insecto-Files

The Insecto-files, my 8th non-fiction book for fab publishers Mapletree Press (now owned by Owlkids; ironically, Owlkids and Mapletree were once one company and they split a few years ago into a book group and a magazine group, with two different owners. Now the happy family is reunited!) came out in March. The reviews are just starting to come in now. CM Magazine, Canada's #1 on-line reviewer for kids' book, gave it four ladybugs, I mean stars. And the Quill gave it a starred review - woo hoo! 
I'll be "launching" the book at the upcoming Word on the Street kickoff party on September 22.
Other performers will include Cary Fagan, who's written a new Jacob Two-Two book, Paul Quarrington and his musical group Porkbelly Futures, kids' entertainer Little Fingers (he's so good-looking, kids' moms will enjoy him too!) and illustrator Kagan Mcleod will create gorgeous art right before your eyes.
Plus, you might win a Sony E-Reader worth $450 loonies!!!
Did you get your invite? Contact Word on the Street ASAP. See you there!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Off to the races

So first I'm dragooned into Twitter. Then a blog! Where will it all end? With a little luck, someplace tropical.

Because: Science!

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