December 14, 2018

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein

Well, here's a post that's well overdue . . .

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein, published by Tundra Books and illustrated by the amazing Júlia Sardà, has been out in the world for a few months now . . . and is getting a wonderful reception. Here are some of the ways the book has been honoured:

* Starred reviews in Publishers' Weekly and Booklist
* Best Books of 2018, Publishers' Weekly
* Best Books of 2018, New York Public Library
* Best Books of 2018, Globe & Mail
* Top of the List Picture Book of 2018, Booklist
* Betsy Bird's 2018 Calde-notts, Fuse 8, School Library Journal
* Best Canadian YA & Children's Literature of 2018, CBC Broadcasting
* Best Non-Fiction Picture Books of 2018, The Children's Book Review

I'm thrilled beyond words.

Just a bit of back story. Like most of my books, this one had a long gestation. It started in 2009 with a reading of Frankenstein, during which I found myself gripped and amazed by Mary Shelley's Author's Introduction. Two things stood out for me — Mary's daydreamy nature during her childhood, and her self-described writing process during the creation of Frankenstein. I was interested in Mary-the-writer . . . and her childhood habit of building "castles in the air" seemed to be key to her creative process as an adult.

I began to learn more about Mary and her life. Wonderful bios for adults have been written in recent years, and reading them, I started to wonder about writing Mary's story for kids. I poked along slowly, loving the research and process, and it was years before I handed a complete manuscript to my editor at Tundra Books — Tara Walker. It was Tara who brought Júlia Sardà in to illustrate, and who, with the help of John Martz's fine design, brought my words and Júlia's stunning art together to create the final book. As a timely coincidence, 2018 happened to be the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein a perfect year to publish Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein.

I'm as delighted as I could possible be with the final book. It's beautiful!

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August 20, 2018

TINY HERO is a Nominee!

I'm delighted to announce that The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library has become an award nominee — several times over, and in both Canada and the U.S.!

It's currently nominated for the following fantastic children's choice reading awards:

•  The 2019 Sequoyah Book Award of Oklahoma (Oklahoma Library Association)
•  The 2018-19 B.C. Red Cedar Award (British Columbia)
•  The 2019 Rocky Mountain Book Awards (Alberta)

All three lists are filled with wonderful middle-grade novels. Happy reading to all the lucky kids who will participate!

P.S.  The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library is also a 2018 Canada-wide TD Summer Reading Club  Choice.

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April 18, 2018

Hot on the Trail in Ancient Egypt!

I am wildly happy to announce the return of the Binkerton kids!

A few years back, Bill Slavin and I and Kids Can Press created an innovative book series about three time-traveling siblings that was . . . well, maybe . . . before its time? We called the books comic-book histories — but only because the term "graphic novel" was not then in general use. The books combined a humorous adventure story with non-fiction info, and kids who found them loved them! But filed away on separate history shelves, they weren't always easy to find . . .

Fast-forward to 2018! I'm delighted to announce the Binkertons' return in a new, kid-friendly, soft-cover, graphic-novel format — updated, improved and expanded! Here's what they look like inside. Fiction on top, non-fiction below:

And here's some of the all-new, extra material at the back. (So much fun for me to revisit this ancient world.)

So welcome back to Josh, Emma and Libby Binkerton! I MISSED YOU GUYS! Thanks, Kids Can Press!

P.S. Coming soon — Stowing Away with the Vikings and On the Run in Ancient China.

January 19, 2018

The Perogy Party!

What could possibly be more amazingly, comfortingly, cheesily delicious  than a few hundred hand-made perogies?

The photo above shows me and my sisters — Debbie (centre) and Wendy (right), just a few weeks ago in Vancouver. My year-end holidays this year were extra-exciting — with a wedding! My daughter Tess got married on New Year's eve to Lucas. It was a brilliant wedding, and everyone was thrilled!!!

Not least, if I do say so myself, by the bowls of home-made perogies. My family had gathered, and as part of the celebrations, we decided to go back to our Polish-Ukrainian prairie immigrant origins — and make perogies. Lots of them. From scratch. With our hands.

So one rainy Saturday in Vancouver, my sisters, my daughters, my nieces, my grand-niece and I — and one very brave niece's boyfriend — gathered around a giant bowl of dough and an even more gigantic bowl of cheesy-potatoes, and proceeded with the extreeeemely labour-intensive job of making perogies.

Our efforts were hampered at first by the fact that most of our labour force were rank amateurs. Luckily, they were quick learners. It only took an hour or two — okay, three — to hand-make all the perogies you see in the top photo. And since you ask . . . YES, they were amazing! And YES, they were the hit of the wedding. 

Why am I reporting all this on my blog? Because there could be a book in it. Hasn't been done, right? I don't know a single book anywhere about a perogy party.

Okay then. It's January. Less eating. More writing. Enough said.

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