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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Launch of Book Café – Writing Process Blog Tour

While I know that I could never commit to maintaining a full blog – and kudos to all of those who do, while keeping up with their own writing, and while maintaining an actual life – I do wish I had somewhere to post relevant book news. I have decided to let this page simply…

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…

Up Cat / Up Dog – Hazel Hutchins, ill. Fanny

Up Cat / Up Dog – Hazel Hutchins, ill. Fanny

Preschool – Kindergarten (Annick Press, 2012) Charmingly appropriate is the idea that a board book, or in this case two, would be created around one of the first words that toddlers learn – up. Up Dog follows Dog through a straight-forward, yet eventful, kind of day. Hazel Hutchins uses 40 words to describe how Dog…

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…

The Tiffin – Mahtab Narsimhan

The Tiffin – Mahtab Narsimhan

Grades 4-8  (Dancing Cat Books, 2011) There is a reason why The Tiffin has been listed as one of Quill & Quire’s 15 “Books of the Year” for 2011. There is a reason why this book is receiving critical acclaim. And there is a reason why I absolutely loved it. Actually there are many reasons.…

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…

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…

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…

The Vole Brothers – Roslyn Schwartz

The Vole Brothers – Roslyn Schwartz

Preschool to Grade 1  (Owl Kids Books, 2011) When you’ve created a series as well-loved and successful as the Mole Sisters, it makes sense to keep doing what you’re doing. The Vole Brothers is related to Roslyn Schwartz’s earlier series in many ways but it also has much to offer that is fresh and unique.…

Saving Arm Pit – Natalie Hyde

Saving Arm Pit – Natalie Hyde

Grades 2-6  (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2011) The Harmony Point Terriers are having a rough season. They’ve lost their first 3 games, their old coach and – thanks to vandals changing the town sign to read Arm Pit – they’ve even lost their name. It’s understandable that, when they suspect the Harmony Point post office is…

The Last Loon – Rebecca Upjohn

The Last Loon – Rebecca Upjohn

Grades 2-4  (Orca Book Publishers, 2010) When his mom flies to England to care for Granny, Evan is left to spend Christmas break with “ex-con Aunt Mag.” Worse than that, Aunt Mag lives in the middle of the nowhere – probably to hide from the eyes of the law. It takes a while before Evan…