Saturday, January 29, 2011

SCBWI New York Conference blog link

Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York CityImage via Wikipedia
The SCBWI New York Conference is in full swing, and I'm soooo envious of anyone who had a chance to go.  Fortunately, there is some fantastic blogging going on if you want to stay in the loop.  Check out this link.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

BC Council of Families announces winners of Writing Contest

BC Council for Families has announced the winners to the writing contest in celebration of Family Literacy Day (yesterday).  I've pasted in the news release below.

Announcing the Family Writes Story Contest Winners

Celebrating National Family Literacy Day through Family Stories
Vancouver, BC – January 27, 2010 – Today the BC Council for Families is pleased to announce the winners of its first annual Family Writes Short Story Contest. Among the winning stories are tales of cherished family memories, comic misadventures, and heart-rending stories of the experiences of refugees.
The Family Writes contest challenged kids and grownups to write a story about a memorable moment in their family life, to highlight the importance of families – the love and support that families provide their members, the daily triumphs over challenges, and the fun and laughter that families bring into our lives. The stories were judged on originality, creativity and overall quality of writing.
“We were truly impressed with the stories that were submitted,” said Marilee Peters, Director of Communications. “I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this contest. All of us here at BC Council for Families have been moved and inspired by the heartfelt family stories. We’re pleased to be announcing our winners on Family Literacy Day, as a way to raise awareness of the benefits of adults and children engaging together in reading and writing activities.”
As Max Tell, one of the contest judges and a noted children’s entertainer and storyteller, commented, “Our family stories have more meaning to us than any others. They shape our values and our lives, whether we like it or not. They make us who we are. Family stories are gifts, heirlooms to be shared from one generation to another, to be remembered, cherished and passed on to those we love.”
Family Writes story contest winners will receive free copies of the Family Writes Storybook – a commemorative illustrated volume of the collected stories. 
And the winners are:
Sonny Don” by Sonny Don Van Netten. Category: Children’s Heartwarming
Trouble in Paradise” by Kale Blakely. Category: Children’s Humorous 

Heavenly Sounds” by Carolynne Scholfield. Category: Adult’s Humorous
Sands of Time” by Jasmin McKenzie. Category: Adult’s Inspirational
Daddy's Little Helper” by Gary Thandi. Category: Adult’s Heartwarming
Check out all the winning stories online at

About the BC Council for Families

The BC Council for Families is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that is a leader in family life education, advocacy and research. Committed to strengthening families and family-serving professionals in BC, the Council provides research and resources on family issues, including practical, affordably priced publications on diverse family topics. Through its training, support and professional development programs for family service workers the Council ensures that families throughout BC can continue to access award-winning parenting programs such as Nobody’s Perfect Parenting, My Tween and Me, and Parent-Child Mother Goose.
About the Contest Judges:
We are honoured to have had the participation of some of BC's best storytellers, children's writers, and children's literature experts on our Family Writes Contest judging panel. Our thanks go out to judges Max Tell, Sheryl MacFarlane, Nan Gregory and Phyllis Simon. 

For further information:

Marilee Peters

Director, Communications

BC Council for Families
604-678-8884, ext. 234 |

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Health Care Valentine

Happy Valentine's day! FLICKR BROTHERS ! 14 de...Image by SĂ©rgio Savaman Savarese via Flickr
Any of you BC'ers out there might want to send a valentine to the Health Minister of BC to ask him to do a better job of caring for our seniors...I've already sent mine.  It seems to me that if BC can host the Olympics, we should be able to afford to take care of senior citizens who've spent their working lives paying the health care system.
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Family Literacy Day

Family reading together.Image by San Jose Library via Flickr
Oops.  Today is Family Literacy Day.  I'm going to celebrate by packing up a box of books for donation to a group that supports families and reading, like the Single Parent Family Resource Centre.  You can support Family Literacy too, even if you don't have books to donate.  Check of ABC Life Literacy for ideas.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

A brief review of The Library of the Early Mind

On January 20th The University of Victoria had the honor of hosting the Canadian premiere of the "Library of the Early Mind," a documentary by Edward J. Delaney and Steven Withrow to a packed house. It was the most wonderful evening and a great way to celebrate my 58th began with a children's book donation to support local groups who support children.  The Dean of Education, Dr. Ted Riecken, welcomed the audience and introduced a children's literature panel. Dr. Sylvia Pantaleo introduced the film and gave a little background on it's creators. After the documentary was shown, the panelists, including myself, Kid's Can Press editor and non-fiction writer, Val Wyatt, Governor General short-listed illustrator, Kristi Bridgeman, and Victoria Public Library Children's and Youth Services Coordinator, Tracy Kendrick, were led in a lively discussion led by moderator, Dr. Pantaleo.  The film was so jammed packed full of the most interesting interviews and insights that the discussion could have gone on for hours. Creators like: Chris Van Allsburg, Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket), Lois Lowry, David Small, Mo Willems, Patrick Lane, and many others, offered inspirational insights and pearls of wisdom about the impact of children's literature on children and the adults they will become. Social responsibility, creativity, cultural impact, new media, the importance of literature, and the ability of literature to open doors were only some of the subjects touched on.  In addition to interviews with creators, critics such as Roger Sutton and Anita Silvey were interviewed.  Librarians such as Betsy Bird and editors like Arthur Levine also offered their insights.  There were three things disappointing about the film.  The first is that it didn't include any Canadian talent.  The second is that it was over far too soon.  And the third was that one could not stop the film repeatedly to take notes; there was just too much to take in. I can only hope that it will soon be available on DVD. Every school, library, and writer will want one.  Thank you to Edward and Steve for devoting the time and resources to the creation of this wonderful documentary.  Thank you to a fabulous panel for providing a Canadian perspective.  And thank you to Dr. Sylvia Pantaleo and The Department of Education of the University of Victoria for bringing it to Canada.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Mystery Award for kids' books

Great news...The Canadian Children's Book Centre has just announced a new mystery award for kid's books...

The John Spray Mystery Award will honor excellence in the children's mystery book format and comes with a $5000 cash prize.  The first John Spray Mystery Award will be given out in November of this year for a mystery (thriller, crime novel, or 'whodunit') aimed at readers ages 8-16.  That means another short-list folks, and I love short-lists.  For more info, visit the CCBC.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Day

3. Martin Luther King, Jr., a civil rights act...Image via Wikipedia
Happy Martin Luther King Day.  We don't celebrate it here in Canada, but Betsy Bird has provided at great list of books if you want to find out more about this amazing American who influenced so many.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Huck Finn controversy links posted on my other blogs

Illustration of Jim and Huckleberry Finn, by E...Image via Wikipedia
Check out my other blogs listed in the sidebar for links on the Huck Finn controversy.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Words to live by

Obama's Arizona speech moved me to tears. Here is the link, and here are a few of the words that all of us who want a better world for our children ought heed.

"We recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame -– but rather, how well we have loved -- and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better."   

Thank you Mr. President.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More ALA post on my other blogs

Check out the other my other blogs (links on the sidebar) for more ALA Award posts...Lots of good books so get reading.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Newbery and Caldecott Medals & 2011 Printz Award winners

Finally getting back to the blogging.  I promised the ALA youth media award winners, and here are the big three.

Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool and published by Delacorte Press

Newbery Honor Books

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm, published by Random House Children’s Books
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus and published by Amulet Books
Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen and published by Houghton 
Mifflin Books for Children
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia and published by Amistad

Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children

A Sick Day for Amos McGee illustrated by Erin E. Stead.  The book was written by Philip C. Stead, and is published by Roaring Brook Press

Caldecott Honor Books

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hilland and published by Little, Brown and Company
Interrupting Chicken written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein and 
published by Candlewick Press.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults

Ship Breaker written by Paolo Bacigalupi and published by Little, Brown and Company

Printz Honor Books 

Stolen by Lucy Christopher and published by Chicken House
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King and published by Alfred A. Knopf
Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick and published by Roaring Brook Press
Nothing by Janne Teller and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Just so you aren't totally overwhelmed, I'll list more of the ALA awards later.  For now, get out there and read some really fine books.  I know that's what I'll be doing.  Congratulations to all the winners including those who were honored.  High praise indeed.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Tweeting on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Yes, I've finally done it...I've joined the ranks of millions tweeting.  In fact, I think I might like it since the posts are short and sweet.  On the other hand, there are sooo many.   I'll have to be careful to keep my WIP in my sights and ignore twitter while I'm working. You can locate me by going to twitter and searching for "@sherylbooks" or follow the link on the sidebar.
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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Library of the Early Mind coming to Victoria

Mark your calendars for an exciting children's literature event.  Library of the Early Mind, a documentary that explores children's literature, is coming to Victoria on January 20th at UVIC at the David Lam Auditorium at 7pm.  This free documentary will be followed by a children's literature panel moderated by Professor Sylvia Pantaleo to discuss the film's themes from a Canadian perspective. The panel features, Valerie Wyatt, an editor with Kids Can Press and the author of the award-winning How to build Your Own Country, Kristi Bridgeman, illustrator of the Governor General's short-listed UirapurĂș written by the late P.K. Page, Tracy Kendrick, Coordinator of Children's and Teen Services for Victoria Public Library, and Sheryl McFarlane, author of Waiting for the Whales.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Happy 2011

Victoria contourImage by by Lorena via Flickr
Welcome back and happy 2011 to everyone.  I'll start  posting in a few days...I rang in the new year with a bit of a bad back, but watch for posts again in a few more days.