Erin Mercer: When Reference Doesn’t Come Easily

Welcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by and about great Canadian children’s book creators! Today’s guest: illustrator Erin Mercer. Take it away, Erin! Now and then illustrators get projects that aren’t straightforward, and not only challenge our technical skills but also our ability to research. I was thrilled when I signed my first illustration contract for a children’s poetry book titled “Recess in the Dark.” The poems follow the children’s perspectives on the playgrounds of…

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Pompeii: Ghosts, Curses, and Brains of Glass

Last fall, I was lucky enough to visit the ruins of Pompeii. October not withstanding, it was a hot, sunny day, even first thing in the morning when our tour group arrived. In the distance, the green slopes of Mount Vesuvius rose against the sky: lush, serene, and bearing absolutely no resemblance to the flaming monster that destroyed the city – and several others – in 79 AD. It’s a singularly eerie place.  At that…

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Research for Writers: How to Find Experts

Welcome to Teach Write! This column draws on my 20 years’ experience teaching writing to kids, university students, and adult learners. It includes ideas and exercises that teachers and students can use in the classroom, and creative writers can use to level up their process. Today we’re continuing our discussion of research, with a focus on a special type of primary source – the expert. First, what do I mean when I say “expert”? As…

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Women at War: The Female Heroes of World War I

It’s almost Remembrance Day in Canada, so it’s high time for a special edition of Cantastic Authorpalooza. Today, I’m welcoming my not-so-evil stepmother, Jaqueline Carmichael, who is celebrating the release of her newest book, Heard Amid the Guns: True Stories from the Western Front, 1914-1918. Heard Amid the Guns compiles lesser-known stories of World War I, including those of the women scientists, medics, and soldiers featured in this post. Rapid advances in transportation around the turn…

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An Interview With Karen Autio, Author of Kah-Lan and the Stink-Ink

Welcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by and about great Canadian children’s writers! Today’s guest: Karen Autio. Take it away, Karen! What inspired you to write your new sea otter chapter book Kah-Lan and the Stink-Ink? It all began at the Vancouver Aquarium where the instant I first saw sea otters, I was smitten! Cuteness overload! Especially when they linked paws! But it got even better. I was amazed to learn that in the wild,…

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The Boreal Forest of Reading!

YOU GUYS. The Boreal Forest has been nominated for a YELLOW CEDAR AWARD in the FOREST OF READING. Kermit GIF from Kermit GIFs If you’re not familiar, the Forest of Reading is the largest recreational reading program in Canada. Kids across the country can register to read the nominated books and vote for their favourites – last year, more than 270,000 kids took part. It’s a great way to get kids reading books, thinking about…

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Research for Writers: How to Find Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Welcome to Teach Write! This column draws on my 20 years’ experience teaching writing to kids, university students, and adult learners. It includes ideas and exercises that teachers and students can use in the classroom, and creative writers can use to level up their process. Last time we compared primary and secondary sources and talked about how to use them when researching writing assignments or creative projects. Today, we’re getting a bit more practical, with…

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Lydia Lukidis: How To Research Nonfiction

Welcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by and about great Canadian children’s writers! Today’s guest: Lydia Lukidis. Take it away, Lydia! Once upon a time, I had a dream: I wanted to write nonfiction. Keep in mind, this was many years ago, and I came from a poetry and fiction background. I had been writing poetry since I was six, and also composed fictional stories. When I began my journey in the world of kidlit,…

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Happy Science Literacy Week!

All these kids’ science books are autographed and ready to give away to young readers this week! Welcome to Mad Science Mondays, where we talk about depictions of science in movies, TV shows, books, and the media. We dissect the good, the bad, the comical and the outright irresponsible. Who says learning about science can’t be fun? It’s Science Literacy Week!  *Fires cannons full of biodegradable confetti* The brainchild of Jesse Hildebrand, Science Literacy Week…

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Research for Writers: Comparing Primary and Secondary Sources

Welcome to Teach Write! This column draws on my 20 years’ experience teaching writing to kids, university students, and adult learners. It includes ideas and exercises that teachers and students can use in the classroom, and creative writers can use to level up their process. It’s September, which means school, which means writing assignments, which (often) means research. Research is a key part of the preparation phase for many writing assignments, not to mention for…

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