Saturday, May 7, 2011

TD Book Week : Day 4 and 5 and after....

It's the end of an exciting but exhausting week and I'm back in my little cave in the basement, happy to be home with still shaking with an adrenalin rush!

Thursday, May 5th started extra early as I headed to Yellowquill School in Portage while chatting with Jackie Thornton, wife of the principal, about books and movies and Meg Ryan. Linda Szumilak awaited me with a huge smile and a well set-up gym where I presented to students of grades 7 and 8. With a carrot muffin to tide me along the way, I was driven to Portage Library to meet LaDenna Stanley. After answering the interesting and unusual (do you have an accent and why are you here?) from a bunch of curious fifth and sixth graders, I left for Brandon.

At Robin's Nest this human cargo exchanged hands and the librarian of Brandon Library, Shelley Mortenson, drove me the rest of the way. This was the first time I had an all-adult audience and had a great time sharing lots of information about the process of writing.

And then it was onward to the Greyhound Station to catch the Winnipeg Express back to the hotel. Passed the flooded banks of the river and saw tons of sandbags along the way. Quite a sight.

Friday May 6th

Started with a presentation to over a hundred students of grades 4, 5 and 6 of King Edward School and met with librarian Georgia Wells who was so committed to reading and stocking up the library. The students were all ready to start reading at the end of the presebtation and asked some super questions.

Finally ended TD Book Week with the awesome grades 4, 5 and 6 students of Principal Sparling School. Many had read The Third Eye and were very keen to start with The Silver Anklet as soon as they saw the trailer. It was a thumbs-up all the way and I received great feedback from one of the teachers, Kevin Roberts;

"Here are a few things from my kids... Taken directly off of our feedback wall when we got back to the school.

As a teacher, I was happy that you talked about, how many times it took to write and write and write. I also enjoyed the parts.
Things we liked:
The trailers
The video of you reading the book
She talked about the mythology
She gave out high fives
I liked that at the end of the meeting the people who haven't read the books, all really wanted to read them!
We liked the pictures.
Thank you very much!"

And thank you, Kevin, for this lovely feedback and for making the last of my presentations so special!.

And finally I ended the evening by having dinner with Martha Brooks, her husband Brian and her adorable labradoodle, Myra. She signed two of my favourite books from her repertoire, Mistik Lake and True Confessions of a Heartless Girl.

Students of King Edward School

With Georgia Wells

Students of Principal Sparling.

A fab group of students!

With Martha Brooks, she is even lovelier than her writing!

Some of the gifts I received, including my favourite; fruit and nut chocolate from the students of Queenston School

A pin from the Town of Morris, Manitoba.

What a ride, TD Book week has been and I am so appreciative of having had the opportunity to tour Manitoba. Thank you TD Bank and CCBC!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

TD Book Week: Day 3

Today was an exciting day. I was headed for Morris, Manitoba where the floods were supposed to be in full swing. My camera was charged, and I was all ready for the adventure.

First stop of the day was Queenston School and meeting the Ellen Donogh's students was a treat! I was once again reminded how great it is for authors to step into a school so charged with electricity and excitement about an author visit.

Large book covers of The Silver Anklet and The Deadly Conch awaited me.The students were familiar with the books and thoroughly enjoyed the book trailers and the reading of The Deadly Conch. There was a draw at the end with my book give-aways. All in all, with the brilliant introduction and closing speeches by the students, I had the time of my life!

And then it was on to Valley Regional Library in Morris, Manitoba. Praying that I would not have to swim part of the way, I got into the car with my baton handler, Claudia Schmidt. She was a wonderful retired school teacher who expertly zipped toward Morris, slowing down to let this newbie from Ontario click pictures of the floods along the way (many will be on Facebook shortly). Arrived in Morris with plenty of time to spare and had a quick lunch with Claudia and other members of the library, Ruth and Anne.

I had a small cosy group of grades 5 and 6 students from Morris School who turned up for the presentation. It went well with the inevitable question always being asked; how old were you you when you wrote the books. For the record, I was 16 when I wrote them and now I'm 19! Is it any wonder that I love the fantasy/fiction genre :)

Diane Ali, the librarian, presented me with a lovely hand-painted spoon and Ruth gave me a pin from the Town of Morris. I was so honoured, I was speechless! Headed back out in the rain and checked out the dyke and the floods (brought lots of clay to the hotel, smuggled under my shoes) and headed back to Winnipeg, passing by waters with little whitecaps, rolling fields and fat dark rain clouds hanging low in the endless sky.

Looking forward to dinner with Gail and Larry Hamilton, Jennifer Cayley and Dave and Rhea Jenkinson.

 With the students of Queenston and those giant book covers which were gorgeous!

With Ellen Donogh and Gail Hamilton.
 With the principal and students of Queenston.
 The flooded Red!
 A warm welcome at the Valley Regional Library.

With the grades 5 and 6 students of Morris School.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 2:TD Book Week

The human baton continued on, not a drop or a slip in the relay. This morning I started with an enthusiastic crowd of 150 students in the gym of the St. Emile School. A large wolf smiled down on us from a gigantic wall banner. I was introduced by a shy yet excited young girl (and I hate that I've forgotten her name!).The students loved the book trailers and the reading and as always we ran out of time with the questions. I was presented with a lovely water bottle with the St Emile logo and lots of sweets to munch on, on my way to the next school.

Rosemary Hollett, the librarian drove me over to Niakwa School and a great group of 7th and 8th graders. Interesting questions as always and shock when I narrated the story of how Lord Ganesh got his elephant head. After a delicious lunch of cottage-cheese pie (scrumptious!) and a date square prepared by Harriet
Zaidman, she handed me off to the soft-spoken but bubbly Ellen Donogh.

And then the fun really started....!!!!

The banners were up, posters were displayed and I had about ten students drop in just during set up to introduce themselves as my "biggest fans!"

All 125 students were in the library along with a few teachers and I had a blast talking to them about the trilogy, the theme, where the ideas came from and of course showing them the book trailers. This was filmed for Shaw TV by Joanne Kelly and her crew. It was also covered by Dan Lemoal, staff reporter at the Winnipeg School Division.

The students were courteous, beautifully behaved and so excited about my being there. I have to say that I might have been a tad more excited and happier with their reactions, and because they believed reading was SERIOUSLY COOL!

Finished off with some excellent questions from the students who stood up, introduced themselves and then asked the questions. We had a draw for my books and a poster and I was presented with a lovely photo frame and card.

Thank you Ellen Donogh, Rita Trautmann, and the WONDERFUL students of Luxton who made my visit so special and made me a very happy author today!

Monday, May 2, 2011

TD Book Week: Day 1

I felt like a baton in a relay;a flawless one, I must add, as Barb Edwards drove me to William Patterson School for my first visit of the day/TD week. Received a warm welcome from the principal, Diane Brandson, and then attended the assembyl in the gym.

They have a neat program going called Pennies For Polly and I got a great shot of the students pouring their pennies into a huge (empty!) water jug. After songs and announcements, I presented to a wonderfully attentive students of grades 3-6 in the gym and as always we ran out of time for questions!

And then it was on to East Selkirk Middle School to meet the Vice-Principal Terry Skarban and librarian, Donna, who was so helpful. I started the afternoon with a workshop for the Grade 6 students. They were part of a Book Review Club and so clued into what makes a book "good". They did a fabulous job with the writing exercise and were really enthusiastic about the process of writing and the feedback they got on their exercises.

And finally ended the day with a presentation to the students of grade 5. They hadn't read the book but that did nothing to deter the tons of questions which came my way. The book trailers and reading worked like a charm and students were waiting to check the books out of the libraries as soon as the visit was over. Yayy!

Back at the hotel now and time to unwind before Day 2. Here are some wonderful memories of today's visit;

Collecting Pennies for Polly, Diane Brandson with a student

Students of William Patterson School

My workshop with the budding writers of East Selkirk Middle School