Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hello Saskatoon!

Dear Saskatoon Students,

I am really looking forward to seeing you next week at the Literacy For Life Conference in your wonderful city!

I'm busy this week getting my presentations ready and can hardly wait to talk to you about books, reading, wild animals and lots more. (For a preview, check out the wild animal sounds on the Kids Page of my website.)

When I fly into Saskatchewan, I love looking down at the long stretches of flat land, and seeing your big, beautiful sky. Did you know I was born in Moose Jaw? It's always exciting to return to my home province.

See you all very soon!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

BC Book Prizes: Congratulations All!

Last night, authors and booklovers gathered in Victoria to celebrate the best BC books of the past year.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! In the children's categories, Dean Griffiths with Frieda Wishinsky, and Carrie Mac were the winners of the illustrated prize and the novel prize respectively. Their books are: Maggie Can't Wait and The Gryphon Project. The other nominees in those categories are to be commended also.

I was especially pleased to see that the winner of the nonfiction prize was Lorna Crozier for her book, Small Beneath the Sky: A Prairie Memoir. It was one of the best books I read this year, and being from Saskatchewan myself, one that really spoke to me. (See an earlier post on this book.)

If you'd like to read the Victoria Times Colonist article on the events of the evening and winners in other categories, please see here. For more information on all the nominated titles, go here.

I wish I'd been able to attend the Gala. It's one of my favourite book events of the year. There's something very magical about being in a huge room full of authors and people who love books. If you've never attended, consider it for next year. It's a wonderful event.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

To the small children playing in the parks,

feeling the warmth of the sun,

seeing the beauty of the blossoms,

and hearing the song of the birds,

Happy Earth Day!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Quick Hello

It may seem as though I have entirely forgotten that I have a blog, but the truth is I am working hard on two books at the moment. I am revising one and researching another. I am also keenly aware that I have a big presentation coming up in the near future that I need to prepare for.

So, the blog may seem quiet, but I haven't forgotten about it. Once I get the revision done (fingers crossed!), I will surface again.

To all of you who have been helping me in the research of my new book by sending me personal stories of your past, I am exceedingly grateful! Thank you so very much.

Back soon.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ethical Food Reading

I've written a couple of books recently that are about the weighty subjects of where our food comes and how to eat in an ethical and sustainable way, and it's been an interesting journey, both in a literary and culinary sense. Many of my food habits, so long taken for granted, have changed as a result of my research. So have some of my reading habits. I now stop off at Barbara Jo's Book to Cooks on a regular basis to find out what else I can consume (literarily) on the subject.

I just finished a fascinating book by Tara Austen Weaver titled, "The Butcher and the Vegetarian: One Woman's Romp Through a World of Men, Meat and Moral Crisis." Ms. Austen, who was raised as a strict vegetarian, is suffering from health problems and decides to try eating meat to see if her ailments can be cured. Her story is a first-person account of how she bridged the gap from vegetarian to carnivore. I won't give the ending away, or reveal what she concludes about her health, but I will tell you it is a rivetting read. Will you be eating meat by the end of it? That's for you to decide.

Highly recommended!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rural England

I took the weekend off from my research and went to visit family in the countryside, south of London. These are some photos from the area (East Sussex).

The buildings in the village I visited were made of brick and stone. Many of them were 200 or more years old. The fields that surrounded the village were serene and pastoral, and quite frankly, I felt as though I'd stepped back in time and into an episode of All Creatures Great and Small (the story of James Herriot, the vet).

A famous poet and novelist, Malcolm Lowry, spent his last days in this village, and the sign on the house shows his final home.

I loved the old church! We spent some time searching out family gravestones in the cemetery there.

It was most interesting to see England, the modern and historical, and the urban and rural. A rich experience, all in all.

Cheers! (Or should I say: Cheerio!)

London Photos

As promised, I'm posting a few photos from my recent trip. These London photos show the area around the South Bank, on the Thames, where my hotel was located. The day I arrived was sunny and spring-like, but the weather soon changed to rain and wind. (Note the light in the photos and guess which one was taken early in the trip.)

From my hotel room, I was able to look across the river and see the Parliament Buildings. I could hear the chimes of Big Ben every hour on the hour. And, one day, I took a boat ride along the Thames to Greenwich. Wonderful!

London is an amazing city to do research in. There are many museums and libraries full of historical information. My only regret is that these places are so far from home!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Magnolia!

I'm back from my whirlwind trip to London and am pleased to say I got much accomplished, both in my research and in reconnecting with UK family members.

The jet lag is fading, thank goodness, and I am ready to leap into my regular life here, revising a manuscript and beginning work on a new book.

But, for today, we celebrate the wonders of the magnolia tree, especially this beautiful one that is in full bloom in my front yard. Once a year, we are treated to the splendour of its glorious blossoms and I was sad believing I would miss seeing it while in London. Imagine my delight at arriving home and finding this lovely scene! We will enjoy the tree's beauty for a few more days before the blossoms fall and cover the lawn like petals of snow.

Back soon with London photos.

Happy Spring!