Getting Ready for Festival Day in Grenada

Our hosts told us to pack ear plugs. But, I find the night-time singing of the tree frogs relaxing. The repeated onslaught of rain that crashes down the hillside behind our little cottage, slams into the tin roof above my head, and then stops without warning is another story. And so now I am awake,…Continue Reading

Leaving for the Rainforest

I may have announced a couple of months ago how EXCITED I was–and still am–that Skink on the Brink has been chosen as one of the picture books to be included in the Rainforest of Reading in Grenada and Saint Lucia this year. OneWorld Schoolhouse is a fantastic not-for-profit organization working to promote childhood literacy…Continue Reading

One Confession. Two realizations.

I went to a conference this weekend as a total imposter. I’m supposed to be a writer — I was even receiving an award — but I haven’t written a new idea in over a year, or maybe longer (!) Is that “writers’ block?” I don’t know. I have been writing. But in the absence…Continue Reading

Inky Girl Interview

A year ago, Debbie Ohi interviewed Suzanne Del Rizzo and me for her Inky Girl blog. In her post, Debbie included all sorts of information and terrific visuals about the writing and illustrating process for Skink on the Brink, our road to publication and beyond… Book Café loves this kind of book chat. To read the interview, please visit Debbie’s…Continue Reading

On Breathing Fire & Happy Dancing

So I finished my first novel yesterday–well, the first novel I will actually confess to having written, the first novel I can actually envision maybe someday seeing the light of day.  I didn’t post anything about it because completing that final chapter did not leave me on a high. I didn’t pour a glass of…Continue Reading

Words on a Limb: Spotlight on Authors

Thank you, Lora and Mauricio of Words on a Limb for interviewing me for your Spotlight on Authors. Thank you also for your diligent research – an unexpected result of this interview being it finally nudged me into the world of Twitter! At the bottom of the Words on a Limb interview, I was surprised to find…Continue Reading

Stewie visits Tasmania and the St. Clair River

Before I had published my first book, I had this dream of publication that it meant my work would be out there for other people–strangers even–to stumble across, maybe pick up and read, perhaps even take home to share or revisit later. I had understood that my book would be printed in runs consisting of…Continue Reading

That One Spooky Night – Dan Bar-el, ill. David Huyck

That One Spooky Night – Dan Bar-el, ill. David Huyck

Grades 1-4 (Kids Can Press, 2012) That One Spooky Night is a collection of tales about a Halloween evening filled with haunted happenings and creepy characters. These linked stories are vibrant in their comic book style of illustration and scary in the way that thrills and delights young readers. Dan Bar-el is known for playing…Continue Reading

Larf – Ashley Spires

Larf – Ashley Spires

Preschool to Grade 2 (Kids Can Press, 2012) Larf enjoys his quiet life in the woods, alone but for his pet bunny, Eric. He jogs, observes nature and, on Wednesdays, he does laundry. If he were ever discovered, people would never leave him alone, for Larf is a sasquatch, you see. While he enjoys his…Continue Reading

Me and the Blondes – Teresa Toten

Me and the Blondes – Teresa Toten

Ages 18+; Young Adult  (Penguin, 2009) At the same time hysterically funny and deadpan serious, Me and the Blondes is an engaging read for girls aged 13-16. From Auntie Eva’s unforgettable life philosophies – “You got to inspire za boobies.  A beautiful too-big brassiere vill … encourage zem to fill up za cups” – to…Continue Reading

Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War – Marsha Skrypuch

Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War – Marsha Skrypuch

Grades 2-6  (Pajama Press, 2011) What I love about Marsha Skrypuch’s writing is how she explores stories often considered too complex, too controversial or too emotionally-charged for a book. Then she addresses these stories to children – delivering them openly with respect and candor and with their deepest humanity intact so that each reader, child…Continue Reading

Trouble in the Hills – Helaine Becker

Trouble in the Hills – Helaine Becker

Ages 12+  (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2011) Nailed it! Inside Helaine Becker, there must reside the soul of a 15-year-old boy. I know this because I just spent the afternoon pulled into into the world of Cam Stewart, the mountain-biking, adventurous and somewhat rebellious main character of Trouble in the Hills. Grounded by his father, Cam…Continue Reading

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been? – Dan Bar-el, ill. Rae Maté

Pussycat, Pussycat, Where Have You Been? – Dan Bar-el, ill. Rae Maté

Preschool to Grade 2  (Simply Read Books, 2011) Dan Bar-el’s creative extension of the Mother Goose rhyme is a lyrical journey perfectly accompanied by Rae Maté’s dreamy paintings. As the illustrations show, a young girl is asking Pussycat to recount tales of his travels which the pair re-enact by puppet show under the light of…Continue Reading