Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yes, there ARE nice people in the world

I'm sure you were as horrified as I was to hear the stories about Malala Yousoufzai's getting shot for supporting education for girls.

Journalist and author Kate Jaimet was. And she decided to do what she could to help Malala and the girls of Pakistan. So she got in touch with other members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in our region, Canada East, to see about sending a "Get Well Soon" box of kids books to Malala.

The response was overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that Kate quickly found herself faced with logistical and practical problems of sending boxes and boxes of books to Pakistan. In the end, Kate arranged to have a small box of books, written and donated by SCBWI members who had attended the recent SCBWI conference in Ottawa, to the girls' school in Pakistan that is named for Malala. Another book and get well card was mailed directly to Malala in hospital in Britain.

The selected book was Greener Grass by Caroline Pignat. The card, handmade by illustrator Peggy Collins, was signed by all the authors and illustrators who had contributed to the project.

My own contribution was The Quiz Book for Girls. I hope the girls in Pakistan enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Fun for Yanks!

I got a nice surprise in the mail today - a cheque for the sale of sub rights of The Haunted House That Jack Built to Scholastic US!

A very welcome Halloween treat indeed.

For those of you looking for more thrills and chills - and laughs - get the audio edition! It includes a copy of the book and a CD with ME! reading the story. I'm told I have a "very professional witch's laugh" - something my sons both agree is well-earned.

Friday, October 19, 2012

You GOTTA see this Awesome Trailer!

Illustrator Mike Boldt put together this fantastic trailer for our upcoming picture book, Live from the Corner, It's Little Jack Horner.

Check it out!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"The Action Begins with the First Sentence and Never Stops!"

School Library Journal reviewed Trouble in the Hills and gave it such a great review I'm jumping up and down in my seat!

Here's what they said:

"In this exciting adventure set in the Canadian Rockies, the action begins with the first sentence and never stops. After arguing with his father, high school student Cam Stewart jumps on his bike and pedals quickly up a trail. A reckless ride is his way of handling his anger at his father, whom he feels constantly badgers him. While on this ride, Cam falls over a cliff, landing on a rock jutting out from the mountain. Badly hurt, but still able to move, he tries to get to safer ground. After another error in judgement, he is thrown into a fast-moving waterfall but saved by a young woman who appears to be running away from someone. Becker keeps the plot moving as Cam and Samira struggle to survive the elements, and more. Drug running, human trafficking, and an innocent romance all factor into making this story a hit with teens. Including reluctant readers. Because of its graphic language, this one is meant for older readers who enjoy extreme sports, and survival stories."

Thanks, SLJ!

BTW, if you want to see a sneak preview of the book, check out the live-action trailer on youtube. It was produced by the folks who I work with on the TV Show, Planet Echo, and it really captures the heart-pounding chase scene on which the novel opens.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Great, Greater, Greatest Review for Alphabest!

CM Magazine reviewed Alphabest today! They gave it three stars, and had this to say:

"Gentle. Gentler. Gentlest.

Hot. Hotter. Hottest.

Icy. Icier. Iciest.

A bully at an amusement park makes other guests angry, angrier and angriest, until the brave, braver, bravest hero arrives on the scene. The chase that ensues involves increasing degrees of mayhem as the two move through the park and towards a surprise ending. Author Helaine Becker and illustrator Dave Whamond have teamed up to create an alphabet of comparative and superlative adjectives.

While Becker has carefully selected adjectives in alphabetical order, the nature of this book as an alphabet book is lost. Becker’s selections pair quite well with the illustrations and address the function of the book as an instructional tool for teaching standard comparatives and superlatives as well as some exceptions. Included at the end of the main story is a guide for teaching kids to form comparatives and superlatives with tips, rules, exceptions and examples.

The full-colour illustrations are the real gem of this book. Dave Whamond’s cartoon style is incorporated through the amusement park theme. This style is also perfect for the over-the-top examples needed to show superlatives, such as hottest, klutziest, slimiest and zaniest. Highly detailed pictures will have readers noticing something new upon each read through.

Helaine Becker and Dave Whamond are both Forest of Reading Award winners and have written a book that will teach and entertain. Definitely recommended for teachers.


Quiz Book for Spies - Great Review!

CM Magazine gave The Quiz Book for Spies 3 stars today! They also had this to say about the book :

"The amount of fun you will get out of this book is probably worth the modest price. The Quiz Book for Spies is full of word play, picture puzzles, secret codes, jokes and a couple of ‘choose your own adventure’ type stories. Everything is related to spying with some interesting trivia included. Maybe you knew that chef Julia Child was a spy, but did you also know that she invented a shark repellant?

My favourite activity was “Can You Decode Teacherspeak?”, funny ‘translations’ that rang surprisingly true. The young readers will probably recognize the ‘translations’ also, but I’m not sure they will see the humour like I did.

Because the answers to each activity are placed immediately after the activity, there is no extra step required to flip to the back of the book or turn the page upside down. Developing readers will probably have fun working their way through the pages or skipping about to do the activities in random order.

In addition to the reading and writing ‘spy’ activities, there is also one series of physical tests to determine “Are You Fit to be a Spy?” The activities test upper body strength, core strength, aerobic fitness and balance. A simple evaluation scale tells readers how close they are to being a “Super Spy”....RECOMMENDED."

Read the whole review here.

Because: Science!