One of the (increasingly) few memories I have from my pre-school life is of waiting for my fifth birthday so I could get my own library card. You had to be five, but you also had to be able to print your own name! The library in my hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia in 1965 was an old wooden structure, and the children’s department was at the very top of a very steep set of stairs – I remember the excitement of climbing those stairs, wondering what treasure I’d take home that day. Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of that library online, but this is my hometown (Wolfville, NS) library now, formerly the train station, back when we had trains! I’m a frequent visitor.
Last week, I finally got to see the new Halifax Central Library while I was there reading The King of Keji at The Word on the Street. It’s stunning, as you can see. So spacious and open inside with sweeping staircases, comfortable seating, very kid-friendly, there’s a coffee shop and you can even check out your books yourself by scanning your card and the book barcodes. Librarians are some of my favourite people (especially the fabulous women at the Wolfville Library!), and I feel like that social interaction is a huge part of the library experience for so many people; hopefully the scanning option won’t eliminate that for those who aren’t in a hurry.
And a shout-out to the MANY volunteers who organized and delivered an excellent Word on the Street experience for one and all at the Halifax Central Library last weekend. This was the first year WOTS was run entirely by volunteers, and it seemed very well thought-out and lots of people came out to show some love for local books, writers, booksellers (yay, Woozles!) and literacy. Thank you!
How’s your local library these days?
BOOK GIVE-AWAY (ENTER TODAY!)
Woozles Pink Day
The nicest people seem to hang out at book stores! Woozles had this wonderful window display for anti-bullying/pink day a couple of weeks ago – I was happy to see Harmony as part of that display. The Woozles women were also working hard at Word on the Street on Sunday, and they’re always so happy to see you!
http://www.slj.com/2013/09/books-media/collection-development/focus-on-collection-development/children-of-war-tales-of-child-refugees-and-safe-havens-focus-on/ Nice to see HARE included on this comprehensive list compiled in School Library Journal (SLJ) today.
I was part of a middle grade authors’ panel at WOTS, along with writer friends JoAnn Yhard and Jill MacLean – we had a great chat on the topic of “Food For Thought – the role of novels in encouraging empathy,” and we actually had a decent crowd there to listen to us. Thanks to all the volunteers, including our friend, Jackie Halsey, who agreed to moderate the panel at the last minute.
Wednesday night, I went down to the Irving Centre and met the people in the intro to writing for kids workshop I’ll be facilitating through Acadia’s Lifelong Learning (ALL) program for the next six weeks. They’re a dynamic group, with lots of writing/editing experience, and it’ll be interesting to hear what they bring to share each evening. I typed out the text of Kathy Stinson’s new picture book, THE MAN WITH THE VIOLIN (Annick), based on the Joshua Bell/subway story that went viral on the internet a year or two ago, and read it to the group. The 440-word text is a brilliant example of a picture book text standing perfectly on its own without the enhancement of illustrations – but they’re brilliant too (Dusan Petricic – I think he’s an editorial cartoonist as well as an illustrator).
We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our writing retreat to Port Joli last week. This was my fifth year retreating to PJ for a writing week, and we got lots of writing done, but managed to fit in some beach time every day, too, plus long chats about writing and a million other topics. Thanks Marcia and Jackie:)
- Port Joli, 2013
I had a chance to talk about The Power of Harmony at the Atlantic Booksellers Conference on the weekend. Rather than read from the book, I talked a bit about how I’ve spent most of my life writing the book (to steal a thought from Kathy Stinson), since it had its origins in the 1960s on my elementary school playground in Truro, NS. Besides three other authors, the group attending the breakfast meeting were all dedicated and friendly booksellers, either retail or wholesale, and it was great to meet Sonya Gillis, Fitzhenry & Whiteside’s Atlantic sales rep. I SO appreciate all the things these booksellers do which enable me (and everybody else) to continue being a writer!
This weekend, I’ll be one of three WordPlay authors reading and giving workshops at Read by the Sea in beautiful, charming River John, NS.
I’ll be doing a workshop on “Character Craft” for middle-grade readers; Jackie Halsey and Vicki Grant will lead workshops for younger and older readers. There’s also an adult component, and the adult authors this year include Vincent Lam, Martina Endicott, Phil Hall and Rebecca Silver Slayter. This annual festival is completely run by volunteers (with financial help from sponsors including Canada Council), and it’s a nice opportunity to get out and be part of the literary community – events include readings and picnics, and I’m looking forward to meeting some new people, staying at the lovely Tatamagouche Centre and maybe doing some beach strolling. The volunteers I’ve communicated with via email have been incredibly attentive and accommodating, and it’s so great when committed, dedicated people work together to make these festivals happen year after year. Cheers to them! Stop by if you’re in the area this weekend!