Playing with Fonts and School Visits

I’ve been having so much fun working on a picture book I’m doing for Camp Triumph, which is on Prince Edward Island – a nurturing community for kids who have a sibling or parent with a serious chronic illness or disability. Started by the Sheriko family, formerly of Wolfville, almost 20 years ago, this is a dream project for me. The Sherikos ran Wolfville Minor Basketball for many years, and the dad, Tom, lived for almost 20 years with a brain tumor while Kathi and Tom’s three sons, Jordan, Jeffrey and Matthew, were growing up.

As part of the process of creating the book, I’ve been playing around with fonts. Fonts I like include: “Unkempt,” “Aprilia,” “Delius,” and “Lucida Bright.” I wanted to show them to you here, but apparently Word Press doesn’t recognize them. Oh well – each has things I like and things I’m not a big fan of, so we shall see…

It’s amazing how many thousands/millions of fonts there are out there!

Love this poster, spotted at Coldbrook School during a November school visit.

I did a few school visits in January and February, one of them in Stephanie Carver’s grade 6 class at Rockingham Elementary – she’s the daughter of Peter Carver, the now-retired editor of my Red Deer Press books. Her students were completely engaged and had a ton of great questions for me. And I could see her dad in Stephanie’s smile😊 I also spent two snowy mornings at Falmouth & District School with grades P-2 students – always fun to spend time with little ones (in 30-minute increments😊)

My morning with grades 3 and 5 students at Wolfville School was an easy visit – I walked down the hill! The resource teacher, Jenny Collishaw, was my warmly-welcoming host. The grade 3 students were excited to share the bulletin board they’d created with projects they’d done based on some of my picture books. Most of the pictures taken had kids in them, which is a no-no, but here’s their bulletin board, proof that teachers continue to do amazing work in our schools, despite snow days and everything else heaped on their plates. Kids really are the best, and it’s such a treat to spend time with people who have read my books!

And Jenny made me this lovely gift as a memento of my visit. So nice, all of it!

Huge thanks to Linda Hudson of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia who organizes the Writers in the Schools program. And thanks to you for stopping by. I hope sunshine and warm spring breezes will soon arrive in your corner of the world!

Musings on School Author Visits (and a wedding)…


I’ve been doing a few school author visits this month, as well as mentoring some young writers, and I’ve been musing…

  1. Small rural schools are a lovely thing; with fewer than 200 students, every adult in the building knows the kids, and that makes it an easier environment in which to be a kid, I’m pretty sure. Class sizes are typically smaller, and it just feels more like family than the bigger schools. It’s sad that as a cost-saving thing, school boards are amalgamating such small schools, leading to longer bus rides for kids and what must be overwhelming crowds for a lot of kids who value their personal space.
  2. Kids are aware of the scary, addictive nature of the internet. While visiting one middle school, a  girl approached me after my presentation, seeking my advice on how to avoid being sucked into the Google vortex while trying to write a story. On the spot, the only advice I could give was to use Google as a reward – say, after you’ve written a couple of pages, allow yourself a few minutes of internet time. Amazing that she’s so self-aware at age 12.
  3. Kids want to be good and want to learn. At that same school, three students approached me as they were leaving (on their own initiative) and apologized for their misbehavior (which I hadn’t even noticed since it was a large group), explaining that they’ve been diagnosed with ADHD.
  4. Calling out students who are inattentive, by mentioning they’ve made themselves outstanding by being the only one in the room without a “listening face” as I call it, is effective. Probably makes me some enemies, but maybe they’ll learn something about being polite, rather than trying to drag others off-task with them. I’m always happy to put on my teacher hat when required:)
  5. The absence of school librarians is noticeable. The middle school above (500 students) does have a librarian, and the library is so well-used, especially at lunchtime, partially as a quieter refuge from the noisy cafeteria. One school I visited has a parent volunteer to supplement the few allotted librarian hours, which is awesome. The good thing is, most kids do have a public library card (and hopefully have somebody to take them to the library occasionally…)
  6. Couldn’t resist adding this gem from today: A student told me about a friend of hers who keeps a list of lines for picking up girls (they’re 12). The one that made me laugh out loud: Getting out a pocket mirror, showing the to-be-wooed girl her face in it, and asking: “Does your father know you stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes?” You can’t make that stuff up!
  7. Kids are the best, and I’m so happy I get to write books for young readers. Sharing in their enthusiasm and energy for life is a real treat.
  8. Shout-out to Linda Hudson of the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia who makes these school visits possible through their Writers in the Schools (WITS) program, and to all the adults who make the time to arrange for authors to visit. But mostly, thank you to the students who show up (for the most part) with their “listening faces.”

And I couldn’t resist putting in a few wedding pics from Shannon and Peter’s October 20th country wedding at Peter’s home. Such a wonderful day; my heart was/is full!

Our new, LARGE extended family in Tyrone, ON

The bride making her bouquet in this DIY country wedding.

Proud and happy parents – a new son!

Our four kids – two by birth, two by marriage – love them!

Lots of musicians (and dancers) in the crowd.

Mr. and Mrs. Vooys!