Books + Libraries + Children = A Better World

But what a gift to give a child, this chance to discover that you can love a book and the characters in it, you can become their friend and share their adventures in your own imagination. This is a quote from children’s writer, Philip Pullman, part of a speech he gave recently regarding proposed library cuts in the UK. I spent three days this week with the students of New Minas Elementary School (all 300+ of them!), and it was wonderful to see that books do still matter to kids, despite all the competition from technology. The students were interested, helpful, friendly and attentive during my presentations. From Lacey who drew me a pig and told me that 50 isn’t old, to all the students who made me laugh, to the primary students who randomly hugged me in the halls, it was all good; the staff members of NMES work incredibly hard to provide a warm learning environment for their kids, and they’ve grown an excellent school as a result of their efforts. Huge thanks to Sheila, Jenn and everybody at New Minas Elementary for hosting my three-day visit!

R.E.A.L. Canadian Kids’ Magazine

Just discovered these cool illustrations, done by Khanh Nguyen http://khanhart.blogspot.com/to accompany my story, “A Library Cat”, in R.E.A.L. Magazine – the acronym stands for Read Everything And Learn, and the magazine is a literary magazine for young Canadian readers. Their site is here: http://www.realkidsmag.com/🙂  This talented illustrator really captured the Dickensian feel of the story – can’t wait to get my author copies in the mail! Creating things with people I’ve never met still makes me giggle:)

George Clooney and A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk

Jacob sent me a couple of pictures from Sudan – he’s there because of the independence vote taking place this week. Mr. Clooney specified the photo could only be used in relation to Wadeng Wings of Hope, Jacob’s non-profit foundation. It’s a strange situation because Wadeng is receiving 40% of online sales of the book, in addition to sharing my royalties, but Red Deer Press would not be considered a non-profit agency. Hmmm…

George Clooney, MY BOOK, Jacob Deng

Good work, Jacob!

We’ve always joked about the book going to “Hollywood”, so this is really funny. Mr. Clooney is in Southern Sudan as part of a team that has installed a satellite surveillance system to guard against any improprieties in the independence vote this week. I read today that 60% of the population of Southern Sudan has to vote in order for the vote to stand; hope that happens! I know the people have been pouring into Juba by the thousands. I’m pretty sure “impossible”, as a word, doesn’t exist in Jacob’s vocabulary, which is part of the reason he’s the strong person he is today. Wonder if he enlisted Clooney’s help for Wadeng Wings of Hope while chatting with him today? I was speculating that I’m probably about the age Jacob’s mother would be if she was still alive – I’m so proud of him, not only as a friend, but in a maternal way, too. Hope she’s able to see her little Jacob now. as he works to make his dream school come true!