Busy, busy, busy! It’s that time of year. Ninety percent of my holiday shopping takes place in bookstores. For children, adults, avid readers, reluctant readers, and people with myriad interests there is always something that resonates with every name on my list. I also like to promote and support Canadian authors, illustrators, and publishers. By reading Quill & Quire, listening to The Next Chapter on CBC Radio, and noodling around online, I can do some pre-shopping research that makes the actual trip to the bookstore much quicker. I often call my local bookstore and order the titles I know I want. I also love poking around bookstores, browsing the shelves and seeing what catches my eye.
Here are some book lists that can help you out:
Quill & Quire: Kidlit Books of the Year
If your local bookstore doesn’t have the book you are looking for, you can always place an order. Most books will arrive in 7 to 10 days, depending on the distributor, but your bookselling will advise you. If you have any children ages 9 to 13 on your list, check out The Women’s Hall of Fame Series. Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs and Dazzling Women Designers are my two most recent titles. A special thank you to my local independent bookstore, Novel Idea, in Kingston for stocking several copies of these book on the nonfiction shelf. Each book features ten profiles of ordinary women who do the extraordinary through their determination, passion, courage, and vision. I’d love to hear if any kids are your list are inspired by these stories of real people from today and yesterday, from Canada, the U.S., and beyond.
And lastly, I promise it won’t be so long until my next blog posting! It’s been an eventful fall and too many things are pulling me away from my writing desk. Happily, 2015 promises to bring me more time for writing. I’m excited about this and really looking forward to what lies ahead.
All the best for a very happy holiday. Celebrate great books!
P.S.: When you’re stumped on which book to buy for a child, ask a librarian–they are the best resources ever!Read More »
Spring and fall are the choice times to schedule school book talks. The weather is more predictable for longer commutes, which means fewer snow days and cancellations. By this time of the school year — June — students are longing for summer. Classes take on a more celebratory tone with outdoor poetry lessons, strolls around the neighbourhood, and large-scale art projects, such as painting murals for graduation ceremonies. Fall marks the start of the school year and is a-buzz with enthusiasm, planning, and bountiful ideas for an exciting year ahead. Whatever the season, you can bet an author in your region will be happy to accept a booking to speak to students about the writing process, the challenges and successes of the writing life, and how they got into this rewarding but tumultuous biz in the first place. Subsidies are available under various schemes, as are customized talks tailored to your needs, so don’t hesitate to inquire.
I had the great pleasure of presenting book talks to two eastern Ontario schools last week. Focusing on my book Dazzling Women Designers I showed kids how strong role models can help shake up stereotypes and open up a wide range of career choices for everyone, regardless of whether they are female or male. We have so much to learn from successful, kind-hearted, hard-working people who give back to their communities in admirable ways.
Some highlights of the talk included playing the “pink hat game” with the kids — a game that gave students a chance to examine designed objects and consider their qualities. We talked about what makes a winning design and the importance of function in design. Objects can’t just look good; they have to work well, too, to get the thumbs up. We focused on three designers: Jane Jacobs, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, and Ritu Kumar. Environment-friendly design characterized the first two, while the third is instrumental in helping rural communities achieve sustainability by restoring their livelihoods. (Oh, and yes, there are links to the Science & Technology curriculum.) Students in grades 3 to 8, or 4 to 7, were keen to participate, handle real designed objects, answer questions, and offer their own ideas. By the end of the presentation, students had a deeper understanding of how design impacts our world. The talks wrapped up with questions posed by the students and teachers, mainly dealing with the publishing process.
I’d like to extend my gratitude to the principals and teachers for inviting me to speak to their students. It was a wonderful opportunity. Children — with their positive attitude, joy, and exuberance — are a great inspiration to us adults in so many beautiful ways. I take my (pink) hat off to children, and say: Kids rule!!!!
Keep reading, keep writing, and keep celebrating the rich community of readers and writers all around.
Until next time,
PS: As noted in my last blog post, Second Story Press has set the pub date for Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs ($10.95) at September 16th. I expect to have a cover image to share with you soon. Also, the amazing Nicole Robertson, media specialist, will be issuing a press release detailing her involvement in this project as one of the ten entrepreneurs featured. The “2013 Kids’ Preview” article by Dory Cerny, Laura Godfrey, and Stuart Woods in the June issue of Quill & Quire includes a mention of Phenomenal Female Entrepreneurs in the Non-Fiction section, which was lovely to see. You can see it on the Quill blog by clicking here. (Note: Yikes! There is a cover image shown there, but it is not final!)
PPSS: Young Kingston’s June 15th event in Picton, Ontario at Books & Company has been cancelled; other plans are in the works.Read More »
Photo: “Flowers and Feet,” Eden Mills, Ontario
I’m excited (and slightly terrified) to share some great news! I’ve been invited to speak at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival on September 16th, 2012. The festival runs from noon until 6:00 p.m. If you live in southwestern Ontario, you might want to add this date to your calendar. Treat yourself to a relaxing and inspiring day in a bucolic village.
It is a huge honour to be asked to present at this festival. I’ll be presenting Backyard Circus, which means the clown garb, circus accoutrements, and a mega-dose of FUN. Other children’s authors will include Helaine Becker, Ben Caesar, Lizann Flatt, Susan Glickman, Susan Hughes, Monica Kulling, and Ted Staunton. Young adult authors include Karen Bass, Pat Bourke, Evan Munday, Allan Stratton, Mariko Tamaki, Teresa Toten, Janet Wilson, and Julie Wilson. I’m super excited about finally meeting some children’s book authors with whom I’ve corresponded but not met: Monica Kulling, Susan Hughes, Helaine Becker, and Lizann Flatt. And I’m excited about meeting many others, too.
Of course, there are awe-inspiring adult writers who will be there as well. Alistair MacLeod, Ami McKay, Donna Morrissey, and Michael Ondaatje are some of my faves. Festival founder, “unruly storyteller,” and author Leon Rooke will be there.
When I think of the cumulative stack of awards represented by this year’s festival participants, I feel dizzy! There are GG winners, Booker prize winners, a Charles Taylor Prize recipient, Top 100 National Post books, a Norma Fleck Award winner, and more. Are you feeling dizzy now, too?
I used to live in this village, so it holds MANY memories for me.
If you’re like me, after perusing the website, you’ll want to rush out to your nearest bookstore and library to stock up and GET READING!!!
Read More »
I was dazzled and delighted to find two copies of Dazzling Women Designers in my mail box yesterday. What an amazing surprise! These didn’t look anything like my other copies, though. They are Korean translations. The cover looks completely different, as does the inside — and I don’t just mean the text. Many of the photos are new and they have more photos showing the designers’ work. The cover features fabric designed by Senegal’s Aissa Dione and India’s Ritu Kumar. I spotted a photo of R2D2 in the profile about robot designer Cynthia Breazeal. No, she didn’t design it; she’s my age and would have been a kid when Star Wars came out. Breazeal was influenced by the robots in Star Wars and loved R2D2 and C-3P0.
The book’s dimensions are 6-6/8 x 8-1/4″, making it more square. It’s thick, too! Oooh, and it has French flaps.
Here’s one inside spread from interior designer Aissa Dione’s profile:
What a neat feeling it is to think of children in Korea reading my book. I will cherish my copies — absolutely!Read More »
Great news! You’ll never guess what I discovered in my email in-box last Friday (Jan. 27)! Dazzling Women Designers (Second Story Press, 2010) is on the Amelia Bloomer List 2012. This news totally made my day!
A little research unearthed more details about what this list is all about. I feel truly honoured. The Amelia Bloomer Project, which is part of the American Library Association’s (ALA’s) Social Responsibility Roundtable Feminist Task Force, annually selects the best feminist books for children and teens, published within the last 18 months. Librarians from public and university libraries across the U.S. make up the ten committee members who read many, many books and make the final selections. You can view the complete list of titles here. The Amelia Bloomer Project has a blog, too.
Here is the Amelia Bloomer entry for my book:
Bryant, Jill. Dazzling Women Designers. 2010. Second Story Press, $10.95 (978-1-897187-82-1). Gr.5-up.
In a field traditionally dominated by men, these women designers have pioneered techniques and pursued artistic visions in many areas including: urban planning, interior design, automotive design, landscape architecture, and robotics.
A member of the committee sent this email to Emma Rogers, the marketing genius at Second Story Press.
–Maureen McCoy, Co-chair