Monday, April 28, 2008

Checking in

So, back from Calgary, Vancouver, and Seattle having braved snow-storms, mechanical failures, close calls with nasty flu bugs, and way too much fun with my traveling companions, fellow authors Linda Bailey, Debbie Hodge, and Beryl Young. Traveling is exhausting, but I keep meeting such cool people that I'll probably be on the road until I'm a little old lady (likely the eccentric kind with mismatched socks and a garish pink fluorescent purse with flowers plastered all over it). While in Seattle, I met the infamous kids' book blogger, Betsy Bird (Elizabeth to me since I didn't really know her) of A Fuse #8 Production fame, who just happens to be one of my review heroes (check her blog out on School Library Journal's website) and Newbery winner, Susan Patron, who sat by me during a workshop. There were lots of other famous, but typically humble kids' authors and illustrators kicking around both in Calgary and in Seattle. Everyone in kids' books are so cool that meeting a prima donna is a rarity. And did I mention the dozen or so books that I couldn't resist...But, not much time for reading now since I'm heading for Kamloops and then Saskatoon. No matter, I'm hoping for warm weather this summer when life slows down, and I can toss a coin between the lawn-chair and a pile of books, or the weeds...And yes, of course the computer and that rewrite that I keep meaning to get to. Later, Sheryl

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

CCBC announces winners to kid's writing contest

Young Winners Announced in 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest

TORONTO: April 1, 2008 — The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest.

The contest is a much-anticipated part of TD Canadian Children's Book Week festivities, allowing hundreds of students from across Canada to share their stories while celebrating and participating in Book Week. The 2007 national tours ran from November 17 to 24, 2007. A total of 1785 entries arrived at the Canadian Children's Book Centre’s national office in time for the December 15, 2007 deadline.

In keeping with this year’s theme — The Magic of Books — young writers from across Canada, in grades two to six, were invited to enchant our judges with their own spellbinding tales of mysterious magicians, fanciful fairies, wily wizards, and dreadful dragons.

The WINNERS of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are:

Grade 2: Seanna Geary of Red Lake, Ontario (Age 7)
Magic and More

Judge's Comments: Magic and More was a delight to read. I loved Seanna’s characters Lots of Locks and Auntie Moo. I particularly enjoyed the suspense of the story and the nice twist with Auntie Moo being the White Witch. And the way magic was an important part of the story made it really work for me. Congratulations again and I hope Seanna will keep writing!!

Grade 3: Colton Van Gerwen of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Age 8)
The Invisible Book of Magic

Judge's Comments: I applaud Colton’s creation − a not very likeable hero who nevertheless gets our sympathy as he realizes that he has fallen into the witch's trap. The Kafka-esque transformation scene is the coolest moment in any of the stories I read.

Grade 4: Molly Dawson of Toronto, Ontario (Age 9)
Fairy Performance

Judge's Comments: Molly's story is imbued with magic in every sense of the word. Imagine witnessing the most marvelous performance one night; fairies dancing under moonlight by a stream. The magic of Molly's story is in descriptions so real that the reader can easily join in. Her language is rich in description and detail… In the hands of a less adept writer, the story might have been ended differently, but Molly shows her ability to pull a story together when her character insists that "But I KNEW that it wasn't a dream." Molly captures a moment of magic with more than a little magic of her own.

Grade 5: Emma McCallum of Edmonton, Alberta (Age 10)
Magical Friendship

Judge's Comments: This story gives readers an opportunity to think about the power of art. The joy of friendship is also clearly shown in the relationship between Trina and Athiea. Emma’s writing is very imaginative… I enjoyed the bright images of her descriptions. Most important of all I was easily caught up in the plot of her story.

Grade 6: Tamsyn Riddle of Peterborough, Ontario (Age 11)
The Caomhn├│ir

Judge's Comments: Using some “selkie” folk lore, Tamsyn wrote a captivating folk story of her own about a 12 year-old girl, Elizabeth, who escapes from a planned marriage by jumping into the sea. When she arrives at a magical island, she delays answering a question and cannot resist drinking from a special pond. Elizabeth then faces a different kind of trap.

The winner from each grade will receive a $200 gift certificate for the bookstore of his or her choice. The winning stories can be enjoyed on the Book Week website at .
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Due to the outstanding quality of writing submitted by the young writers this year, the Writing Contest judges have also selected two honourable mentions from each grade level.

The HONOURABLE MENTIONS of the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are:

Grade 2: Madison Wescott of Kingston, Ontario (Age 7)
Magic is…

Mayson Sonntag of Regina, Saskatchewan (Age 8)
Killer’s Adventures

Grade 3: Brianne Wheat of Vermilion, Alberta (Age 8)
The Spooky Halloween

Naomi Duska of Calgary, Alberta (Age 8)

Grade 4: Thomas Villeneuve of Gatineau, Quebec (Age 9)
The Alphabet Story

Luke Gagnon of Lloydminster, Alberta (Age 9)
A Secret Worth Keeping

Grade 5: Donovan Stagg of Calgary, Alberta (Age 10)
The Vampire Hunters

Moriam Ahmed of Toronto, Ontario (Age 10)
Electra’s Box

Grade 6: Lucas Bennett of Burnaby, British Columbia (Age 11)
A Boy, a Wolf and a Dragon

Elspeth Yates of Calgary, Alberta (Age 11)
You Never Can Tell With Magic…

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The judges for the 2007 Imperial Oil Foundation Writing Contest are talented authors of children’s and young adult books from across Canada:

Grade 2 judge: David Poulsen (Claresholm, Alberta), author of The Salt & Pepper Chronicles series

Grade 3 judge: Richard Scrimger (Cobourg, Ontario), author of the Norbert series and Into the Ravine

Grade 4 judge: Sheryl McFarlane (Victoria, BC), author of Waiting for the Whales and A Pod of Orcas, The Smell of Paint

Grade 5 judge: Sylvia Gunnery (LaHave, Nova Scotia), author of Out of Bounds and Personal Best

Grade 6 judge: Sylvia McNicoll (Burlington, Ontario), author of A Different Kind of Beauty and Last Chance for Paris

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The Imperial Oil Foundation has a long-standing commitment to supporting education and joins the Canadian Children's Book Centre in congratulating the winners and thanking all of the participants for entering the Writing Contest.

About the Imperial Oil Foundation:
Imperial Oil is committed to supporting community programs where its employees live and work. In 2007 the Imperial Oil Foundation contributed over $11 million to enhance the well-being of communities across Canada. For more information, please visit .

About the Canadian Children's Book Centre:
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976 to encourage the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. The CCBC is dedicated to promoting quality Canadian children’s literature through its services, publications and programs. For more information, please visit our website at