Friday, September 28, 2012

Royal Style - Science Books for Kids

The Shortlist for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize is out! Here in Canada we adore all things British, so what's not to love on this list of superb science-y reads for kids?

The complete list and more about the prize can be found at

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Live Action Book Trailer Unveil!

Finally, it's done! The trailer for Trouble in the Hills. Live action. Featuring handsome leading men, one stunning leading lady, helicopters, explosions, and---

Oh, just watch it. :)


Monday, September 24, 2012

Attention Young Writers!

Do you know someone of tender years who already has the writing bug and is looking for a place to get their work published?

Check out this list, compiled by the fabulous Gillian O'Reilly,children’s book author and editor of Canadian Children’s Book News for the Telling Tales Festival in Hamilton, Ontario. Gillian has very kindly allowed me to reprint her listings here.


* Check for local papers and contests in your area.
* Canadian Aboriginal Writing Challenge
* Claremont Review - an international print magazine, based in British Columbia, that accepts manuscripts by writers 13-19.
* CNIB Braille Writing Contest  and click on Braille Creative Writing Contest.
* Cicada Magazine - an international print and online magazine that publishes writing by teens.
* Cricket Magazine - an international print magazine that holds monthly writing and artwork contests for young subscribers 9-14.
* The website accepts work for online publication.
* Hamilton Public Library annual Power of the Pen contest, poetry and short fiction, for ages 12-18. Look for it in the spring. Check the Teen Page at
* KIdsWWwrite - e-zine for young authors and readers, published by the Department of English at Okanagan College.
* New Moon: The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams - a print magazine edited by 8 to 14 year-old girls.
* Skipping Stones - an international print magazine that accepts manuscripts by writers 8-16.
* Stone Soup - a print magazine of writing by young people from 8-13.
* Toronto Public Library Young Voices Magazine and other venues for writing and art:
* Windscript, the Saskatchewan Writers Guild's e-zine of high school writing   (click on “publications” and then on “Windscript”)
* Check out summer writing camps for kids, including the Brantford Camp run by Kids Can Fly ( and the Burlington Book Camp (

Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't Judge This Book by Its Cover Revised Repost

In honor of Nonfiction Monday, I'm reposting my June post about book covers.

I'd love your feedback on how much a book's cover influences your decision  to read or not read, especially in an age of Good Reads reviews et al...

I recently received a lovely letter from Cheryl Chambers, a Teacher-Librarian in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The letter said, in part,

"I recently read and reviewed (as part of the CANLIT reviews for schools in Halifax) your book "The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea."

I thought it was fabulous and gave it a 5/5 for its content. I recommended that every elementary school have at least one copy of the book.

There is however, one problem: the cover. None of the students I showed the book to would even take the time to open the book because they were put off by the cover....You have done such a fantastic job making all of the difficult concepts you bring up accessible. I think that "The Big Green Book" is an invaluable resource for educating students about the real problems facing our oceans today. But as you know, people can't help but judge a book by its cover. I would love to see this book republished with a new bright, interesting cover, so that more people will turn to "The Big Green Book" and hopefully learn from it and try to help improve the fate of our oceans...I think my favourite experiment in "The Big Green Book" was the one on over fishing, students should be able to easily understand the crisis facing the world's fish population after performing that simple experiment."

Letters like this are both thrilling (she liked it!) and disheartening for an author. We work hard on a book, as part of a team, and trust the other members of the team to do a great job all around. And they do. But sometimes, well, maybe there's a misstep.

I don't know if that's the case with The Big Green Book. Is Cheryl's opinion of the cover what's blowing in the prevailing wind? Is it a Slam Dunk, or an SOS? What do you think?

I hope, either way, that people will read the book and discover what's inside.

"Hopefully," Cheryl added, "my glowing review to the school librarians in Halifax will encourage others to purchase your book. " Me too.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Q and the Tips Take the Mad Greenie Stage

You can now watch a mini episode of Dr.Greenie's Mad Lab on line. Right here! This is the submission to the upcoming MIP Junior Kids Jury Competition, for which it is a Finalist. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Comprehensive listing now on line!

I just updated my website with ALL of my current books. It's the best place to go to see all my in-print titles, read reviews, get ISBNs, and order!

Please take a peek!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's Out, Outer, Outest!

AlphaBest: The Zany, Zanier Zaniest Book about Comparatives and Superlatives is now available! It's already been reviewed by PW and Kirkus.

PW says, in part: "A pint-size superhero and a villain do battle through an amusement park in this alphabetical exploration of comparatives and superlatives. Both opponents suffer slapstick pratfalls as they race around the park: the hero gets covered in eggs, stuffed animal fluff, and green goo—demonstrating “eggy, eggier, eggiest,” “fuzzy, fuzzier, fuzziest,” and “slimy, slimier, slimiest.”...Closing notes offer grammatical tips for creating comparatives and superlatives".

And Kirkus says: "A bumbling klutz of a superhero chases a villain through an amusement park, the text consisting of 25 comparatives and superlatives describing their attacks on each other and the sights, sounds, textures and tastes of the park. ("Unique," appropriately, stands alone.) “Clever” is the superhero following a footprint trail. The villain is “cleverer,” slipping onto a Ferris-wheel–like ride. But the superhero is “cleverest,” setting the ride to “hyper drive,” which sends the dizzy villain flying....Whamond’s ink-and-watercolor cartoon illustrations are the true stars, his over-the-top scenes carrying the story with lots of humorous details that are sure to have kids chuckling. Expressive body language and facial expressions, especially pop-eyes, make the characters come to life."

AlphaBest not a comprehensive grammar guide, but rather a fun, funner, funnest introduction to adjective usage. I hope kids, parents and teachers will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed working on it with Dave Whamond !

Because: Science!