Well, the OLA Forest of Reading adventure is over for another year. My 6th book, Myles and the Monster Outside, was nominated for the Silver Birch Express award, and WON HONOUR BOOK!
A thousand, thousand thanks to the OLA for running such a spectacular reading program for tens of thousands of young Ontario readers. Thanks also to the super-hero librarians, teachers and educators who bring Canadian books into Canadian schools and libraries, and to publisher Dundurn Press for letting me tell such a weird little story. SUPER thanks to Shawna Daigle, the wonderful series illustrator.
|Thank you to the school who posted this!|
The Forest of Reading is always a major event in the life of any writer, and here are my top 5 memories from this year:
1. FOREST FRIDAYS. This year, the OLA ran a pilot project, called Forest Fridays, which was entirely online. Each week, one nominated author presented in the Friday lunch time slot, using Adobe Connect, talking to kids across the province, and across the country, in lunchrooms, gyms, libraries and classrooms, for 45 minutes. My Forest Friday was March 24: here's the link to find out more. We had @ 100 schools and close to 1000 kids listen in.
Best FOREST FRIDAY Question: What would you say to an aspiring writer?
A: Keep writing, write what you're passionate about because your readers will feel that passion and enjoy your story, don't let anyone tell you you can't be a writer.
|Myles WINS the London Regional Award!|
Best London Festival of Trees Moment: a young boy came up to me after my presentation, to tell me that Myles and the Monster Outside, "blew him away." When I asked why, he considered very carefully, then said, "It's the care you put into it." Awww. Thanks young man, that's a keeper.
|Rock Star Moment on stage with Shawna (L) in Toronto|
Photo courtesy Riley Murray
Best Toronto Festival of Trees Moment: Standing on stage with Shawna at Harbourfront, and holding up our favourite books: Charlotte's Web and Animalia. I said, "Books unite us, inspire us, and stay with us, our whole lives." Thanks Toronto!!
Second Best Moment: telling Kevin Sands (The Blackthorne Key) about my Star Trek: TNG script from 1987, and apologizing for it being so weird. His response? "We're writers, nothing is weird."
|Thanks Maggie Ewert for the pic; Chi-Cheemaun, Toronto|
4. SAULT STE. MARIE Festival of Trees:
Part of the excitement of being a nominee for the Forest of Reading, is travelling and talking to kids and librarians in other cities you've never been to before. This year, I joined the Festival in Sault Ste. Marie. Yep, I'd never visited. It was so fun to fly in over the lake, to talk to the hosts, other authors, and the local librarians at a party the night before.
|Me with my sign holder and presenter, in Sault Ste. Marie!|
And ... Myles won the Algoma Regional Silver Birch Express Award, THANK YOU!
Best Sault Ste. Marie Festival Moment: talking to my sign holder, Matteo, who was SO EXCITED about talking to me, because he loved my book. It's just so inspiring to meet a young reader like him.
At left: What authors do after the Festival of Trees!
L to R: Vikki VanSickle (If I had a Gryphon), Joel Sutherland (Haunted Canada 6), Me, Helaine Becker rocking her pink bag, (Worms for Breakfast), Rob Laidlaw (Elephant Journey), Shane Peacock (The Artist and me)
5. Winning Silver Birch Express Honour Book.
Yes, I can honestly say, that winning Silver Birch Express Honour Book 2017, was one of the thrills of the year. Congrats to all the nominees this year, and to Jess Keating for her Honour book win (Pink is for Blobfish) and to Andree Poulin who won the Silver Birch Express top spot for The Biggest Poutine in the World. We chatted afterward, I congratulated her, and she said (because she is totally cool) ... but we all win right?
|View from the stage, Toronto Festival of Trees Ceremony|
And that's pretty much the whole idea.
We do all win, the nominees, the libraries, the schools, the publishers and mostly, the kids. Thanks to all for another fantastic Forest of Reading year! Keep reading, everyone.
Forest of Reading Posts from Previous Years:
Red Maple, 2015: The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden
Silver Birch Express, 2014: The Gargoyle at the Gates
Silver Birch Express, 2012: The Gargoyle Overhead
All Forest of Reading Posts