Monday, 5 December 2016

Free Classroom Activity Guide for Everton Miles is Stranger than Me

Pick a friend for the End of the World...

Draw like a 15th Century Creative Visionary (or just draw something)...

Villains have all the fun, who is yours? ...

Just some of the intriguing questions for kids in grades 6-9 from the new Classroom Activity Guide for my latest YA title, Everton Miles is Stranger than Me. This new book is the sequel to The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden, which was shortlisted for the OLA Red Maple Award in 2015. The series is called The Night Flyer's Handbook.

The Classroom Activity Guide is free on the publisher's site, thanks to Dundurn Press for putting it together and making it available.

Take a look at the guide now:  Everton Miles is Stranger than Me, Classroom Activity Guide.

Themes: loneliness, bullying, loss, family, friendship, community, volunteerism, teenage years, high school, parents, death, wisdom, bravery, self-esteem.

Reviews of Everton Miles is Stranger than Me:

Kirkus Reviews
Canlit For Little Canadians
Fab Book Reviews
Resource Links, (E for Excellent)

Friday, 25 November 2016

The Costumer is Always Right

I've been to a few funerals lately. It's the time of life, I guess (middle-age kind of sucks). This month my family said goodbye to the costume designer in our lives. My sister-in-law, special Aunt to my kids, she was full of life, hilarious, generous, creative, successful. Every year at one regular family event we went go-carting, and she was always a notorious speed demon. She didn't care whose life she endangered, child or adult, or how fast she took the corners. An apt metaphor for her life.

And like the Bad Auntie in the poem below, she always won. Rather than remember her with a lament, I share the sweet children's poem she inspired me to write a few years ago, a tribute to our favourite Bad Aunties, everywhere...

My Bad Auntie

My favourite aunt is very bad!
We creep downstairs so Mom and Dad,
"The Costumer is Always Right"
A sign that has hung for years in my
sister-in-law's costume shop in Toronto
Won’t see us sneak cookies and cake,
Or march the dog around on skates.

We dance the hoola in our socks,
We spin tall glasses and change the clocks.
My auntie likes to startle crows,
And make a mess wherever she goes.

She plays the drums in a rock’n’roll band,
And chases donkeys along the sand,
She’s a go-cart fiend and always wins,
She plays in leaves, and spins (and spins).

My auntie blows bubbles in shapes like cats,
And bowling balls and baseball bats.
When she’s a magician I never know,
How she does it, or where she goes.

My auntie plays the flute sometimes,
And writes me poems (they always rhyme).
She climbs the trees, hangs upside down,
And chases dogs ‘round and ‘round.

We go to plays and symphonies,
And both try hard not to sneeze.
At the county fair she swan dives,
From the tippy-top of the scariest ride!

At the swimming pool, she’s a shark,
And a dinosaur at the park.
When we walk by she always stops,
For rainbow fudge at the ice cream shop.

When she’s tired she cuddles with ted,
And falls asleep in my bed.
If I asked right then I think she could,
Change for me, from bad … to good!

Here's another POEM about loss on this Blog: PATIENCE