Friday, October 28, 2011

ARRRR!!!! Discover Your Inner Pirate


Gosh I love my job. Today's project is to come up with the list of quizzes that I'll be including in next Fall's Quiz  Book for BFFs (Scholastic Canada). While going through my files, I came across this piratey quiz I wrote last year for another project. It didn't make it into that book, but it still makes me laugh, maties! Maybe it will make you laugh too!

1. You have stumbled across a treasure chest in your grandma’s attic. You:

a. Shout: Mine!!!!!

b. Bury it in the graveyard in the dead of night

c. Make your granny walk the plank and then run off with the treasure.

2. Which do you fear most?

a. Crocodiles

b. Drowning

c. Being bored

3. Your pirate flag would be:

a. Made from the tanned skin of your enemies

b. A skull and cross bones, what else?

c. A happy face

4. What does your parrot say?

a. Aaaaar!!!!

b. Please don’t kill me, kind pirate sir!

c. Grog and Ale! Grog and Ale!

5. Where’s the best place for pirate gold?

a. Under your mattress

b. In a bank

c. Buried under the x of course, on a desert island.

6. You have captured a British frigate. You:

a. Make everyone walk the plank

b. Drop everyone off on a remote island with just 1 jug of water.

c. Put them all to work, styling your hair and curling your moustache

7. What body part are you missing?

a. Your eye

b. Your hand

c. Your left leg

8. What would you name your ship?

a. Wastin’ Time

b. Maid of the Mist

c. Terror

9. Which is your favorite piratey island?

a. Newfoundland – lots of puffins to amuse my parrot

b. Bermuda – you get to wear plaid shorts with your pirate hat

c. As if I’d tell you, landlubber!

10. What is your favorite pirate meal?

a. Grog and biscuit

b. Barbecued red snapper and iced tea

c. A head on a stake!


11. A 1 b 2 c 3

12. A 5 b 2 c 1

13. A 5 b 1 c 3

14. A 1 b 5 c3

15. A 1 b 2 c3

16. A 3 b 5 c 7

17. A 2 b 5 c 1

18. A3 b2 c 4

19. A 2 b 4 c3

20. A2 b4 c 5

15-20 Cap’n Crunch. You don’t really think of pirating as anything other than a good time. A chance to hang out with pals, see new places, lop off a few heads when you get bored. You’d be just as happy as a hockey defenseman.

21-30 Jack Sparrow. Why is everything so difficult? All you want is a peaceful place to relax in the sun. But those soldiers keep getting you out of your nice comfy hammock. But watch out! Once you’ve been roused to action, you are the terror of the seas!

31-37 Captain Kidd Ah, pirating is the life for you! Nothing more enjoyable than boarding another ship, stealing their treats and sneaking back to port with your pockets full of cookies. But you have a terrible temper. Nobody crosses the Kidd and lives to tell the tale!

38-46 Blackbeard Guess who woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Make that every morning! You are the one everyone should fear because you are king of the cranky. Even your parrot fears your wrath – and your breath. You should stop eating that raw liver and onions on an empty stomach!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Power of Children's Literature

Last night, I had the great pleasure of hearing Art Slade speak at the Lillian Smith Library in Toronto. His talk was entitled From Hobbits to HTML, and focused on the ever-changing world of digital publishing.

Art began his talk by describing some of the books that had influenced him when he was a child. At the top of his list was Tolkien's The Hobbit, and the Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander. Art said he'd read both of these in fourth grade, and they changed his life.
 Now Art and I had very little in common during our childhoods. He was raised on a ranch in Saskatchewan. I'm a New York native. He was a boy; I was a girl. But we did share one thing.

I, like Art, read The Hobbit and the Chronicles of Prydain when I was in 4th grade. And the books made a huge impression on me too.

Thousands of miles apart in space, and worlds away in terms of experience, both young Art and young Helaine were moved, inspired and changed by reading those same books. What does this small fact tell you about the power of literature, and the importance of reading for children, then and now?

Me, the summer I read The Hobbit. I was so taken with the book that I faked sick
and read the book in the motel as
the rest of my family explored the Grand Canyon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trouble in the Hills Launch!

Trouble in the Hills Launch!

Time Sunday, November 6 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm


Location Playdium Mississauga, 99 Rathburn Rd.

Please join me for the launch of my first Young Adult Novel, Trouble in the Hills! The launch will be held at the fabulously fun video and game arcade, Playdium, so not only will you get an exciting book, you'll have a fun afternoon! Even better - if you buy a book you will receive a


How awesome is that! There will also be a special GIFT for all TEACHERS and LIBRARIANS!

And because this book is aimed at teenaged boys (girls will like it too - I promise) and we know boys around here, there will be a MAJOR EXPLOSION at some point during the event.

A snippet from the book:

The whomp! Whomp! Whomp! Of the choppers was deafening. They loomed overhead like giant man-eating insects, ready to pounce.

“You are surrounded. Surrender peacefully and you will not be harmed,” an amplified voice commanded. It seemed like it was coming from everywhere at once.

Cam instinctively held his breath so as not to betray his presence. Not that anyone could hear him amid the chaotic roar of the machines. He was nothing but a bug, after all.

He crouched low, trying to flatten himself into the meadow. There was almost nowhere left to go; their only chance was the creek. Once there, they could make their way along its sheltered banks, hidden by the willows that lined its edge. Then, maybe, they could get to safety.

Set in the Rocky Mountain borderlands, Trouble in the Hills is an action-packed adventure that pits an injured teen against the elements.  As he slowly makes his way back to town over cold, inhospitable terrain, he encounters a trio of kidnappers, the girl who escaped them, his former best friend, and a gang of drug runners. And that's just for starters. Can Cam and Samira survive in a situation where another teen lost his life just a few months earlier?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hey! I'm in the Movies!

I got a few messages today from friends who'd just seen the new movie, 50/50. My book, What's the Big Idea? is pictured in a few background scenes in the film.
Here's my imaginary Star Interview, as per ET (if they wanted to interview the author of the book used in the set design).
What's What's the Big Idea About?
Ideas. You know, those thingies some people think of to come up with movies.
Is it Funny?
As Funny as Seth Rogen?
Funnier. A lot funnier.
Did you get paid for having the book in the movie?
Should Seth Rogen star in your next book?
He can be in my trailer for Trouble in the Hills. And I'd like to invite him to my book launch Nov 6. There will be cookies. I can name the homicidal mutant bug in the horror story I'm writing now after him if he'd like. I won't pay him, though.

Is there any Cancer in What's the Big Idea?
No, but there are great facts about toilets, explosions, and toasters.

Because: Science!