Revisiting a Children’s Lit class – 35 years later…

I had a chance to visit a Canadian Children’s Literature class yesterday at Acadia University. I took a Kids’ Lit class at Acadia back in 1980; a specifically Canadian course didn’t exist then. As I told the students yesterday, we couldn’t have had an author in to visit the class because the people who wrote the books we studied were all long-dead:) I totally loved seeing so many copies of The Power of Harmony in one room, and I’m honoured that the professor thought my book worthy of inclusion in her course. Thank you, Andrea!

I had fun putting together a PPT I thought uni-age students would be interested in. Here are a few clips:

The title page of a picture book I did for Children’s Lit in 1980 – I think my drawing skills were at their peak on this project. The story is pretty bad, but I remember labouring over the project for hours on end. I had no aspirations of writing for kids at that time, so it’s funny I held onto the book for all these years.



Image used to demonstrate one advantage of being a writer – you can wear whatever you like. Usually for me, it’s PJs, but the fur coat and hat are always an option, I suppose. Especially with the snowy winter we’ve been enjoying in Nova Scotia this year:(


A pic from 1963, used to illustrate “killing off your darlings” (in the writerly sense) – my sister, Nance, didn’t make it into the final version of The Power of Harmony, but Cheeky (who I wish I’d kept so I could take him with me on school visits) has a cameo.


And a picture I keep on my bulletin board, given to me during a school visit a few years ago. I love it for so many reasons – because I’m a pig fan, because she wrote that I was her “favrit other,” and because she also mentions that everybody says she’s a great artist. My favorite part of yesterday’s class was when a quiet young woman at the back came up to me at the end and almost whispered to me, “I really liked the book.”


When I was a student, I was absolutely petrified when called upon to speak in class and avoided it when possible. Writing is such a solitary activity most of the time, but because of my writing, I’ve had to learn to speak in public. I still find it hard to articulate thoughtful answers to questions a lot of the time, but I’m better than I used to be at thinking on my feet, as they say. Happy last four weeks of winter!


13 thoughts on “Revisiting a Children’s Lit class – 35 years later…

  1. How wonderful you got to speak at the very same class after all these years and that the teacher had copies of your book on hand. Looks like a great PowerPoint as well.. I´m sitting on my deck typing this in the sun. Hope you are keeping warm. 🙂

    1. Hi, Darlene. I suppose the students had to buy copies since it’s on the reading list for the course – if only public schools could afford copies of a book for every student! Glad to hear you’re absorbing lots of Vitamin D. We’re heading for Georgia in a couple of weeks, getting a jump on spring.

  2. mirkabreen

    When I last visited Jerusalem, I walked by my old school. I realized that I couldn’t go home again. Time in such a dynamic country made my old school a memory, even if it is still physically there. How wonderful that you found so much of yourself in the old classroom.

    1. Hi, Mirka – that’s a nice way to put it. I did find some of my 20-year-old self in the classroom – and I sort of marvelled at how far I’ve come. I was the type of student who never uttered a word in class. Life in rural Nova Scotia doesn’t seem to change too much, although of course it does in fact.

  3. How wonderful it must be to know that you’re a child’s “favrit other”! The misspelling of “author” reminds me of a valentine my youngest son created in Grade 1, in which he printed the words: “Your smell makes me smell too.” It definitely brought a “smell”–I mean smile–to my face when I read it! Both posted illustrations are delightful.

  4. annastan

    What a great experience! By the way, I could have written that last paragraph, word for word. I used to be painfully shy, and even though I’ve gotten much better at my “confident author persona,” it’s still a work in progress. Glad I’m not alone. 🙂

    1. Hi, Anna – nice to see you! I think most writers start out dreading public speaking (probably why we’re writers). Hope you’re enjoying a taste of spring as we’re still getting buried by snow here in Nova Scotia!

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