School Visits in Shanghai

After 3 weeks of author presentations to international schools in Shanghai, I am home again. It was wonderful to see so many keen readers in China. The children and teachers were fabulous.
Now I'm looking forward to Christmas on Salt Spring.
Best wishes to you all! May 2011 be filled with good books!

Skype Author Visits

The current issue of Canadian Teacher magazine has an article in it which I wrote about author visits via Skype. If your school is interested in hosting such a visit, be sure to read it!
Go to:
Then scroll down to 'teaching with technology' and click on 'Using Skype to Bring Experts into the Classroom.

Eric Walters Creates Hope in Kenya

My colleague Eric Walters has been working very hard to build a place in Kenya for children to live and to learn. Check out his website: to see how your school can help.

Here some of the students are using my book, along with hundreds of other books in the brand new library Eric has built for them!

Japanese edition of My Librarian is a Camel!

Today I received a Japanese version of my book My Librarian is a Camel! It is fun to see the book in a language I can't read.
I hope children in Japan will have fun learning about these unique mobile libraries around the world.

Sharing Books in Mongolia

I just resurfaced after six weeks in Asia working at international schools. I spent 2 weeks in Mongolia. We had an amazing time with my friend and colleague Dashdondog - a renowned Mongolian children's writer. He took us on a trip into the Gobi Desert. We shared stories, poems and books with children in many schools, in very remote places. I got to milk and ride a camel! We visited nomad families and drank camel milk tea in gers.
I loved seeing how much people in Mongolia value poetry. All children were able to recite poems, especially the works of Dashdondog whose writing is known to all people across the country.

The power of reading

After a fun week of readings and writing workshops in school across Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia I am now in Singapore. Just had a lovely brunch with teacher/librarians in whose school I will be this coming week. Of course we talked about... books! Here's an inspiring article about the power of reading aloud, sharing books:

Hope you try it, too!

International Schools

After a week in schools in South Korea I am now doing author presentations, writing workshops and staff workshops in schools in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I love the heat and soak it all up. What a privilege to see wonderful places and work with great kids. The schools place great emphasize on their libraries. Teachers, by and large, work with books and read to the students.
International schools mostly have well stocked bookshelves. Many students speak more than one language. In fact, it's not called ESL (English as a Second Language) here but rather EAL (English as an Additional Language). The other day I asked students how many of them spoke a second language. Not many raised their hand even though I knew that spoke more than one language. Then I realized I should have asked "how many of you speak at least two language" and they all raised their hands.
I'm sure that brings its own challenges for teachers but books are valued and used throughout the schools and the curriculum.

Fan site!

Wow, I now have my own fan page on Facebook! Makes me feel just like the Academy Award winners I just watched. A big thank you to Nicole in Nashville, TN who created my very own fan page. You can join here: to stay informed.

Best Bets for 2009

I was thrilled to learn today that Ontario Library Asociation (OLA) lists my book My School in the Rain Forest (Boyds Mills Press) as one of the Best Bets, nonfiction, for 2009:

"My School in the Rain Forest: How Children Attend School Around the World. Boyd Mills Press School in a jungle, school on a ship and school by radio are just a few of the fascinating ways children go to school around the world. Lots of photos and personalized stories add interest and make this a book that will help foster an understanding of other cultures."

Maupin House books

Check out my blog on the Maupin House website. This is one mighty publisher: big ideas, big hearts and they accomplish so much. Maupin House reminds me of Vancouver Kidsbooks: determined, dedicated people who truly care for teachers, kids and education. Hurray for them!

Using Picture Books with Older Students

I am working on book for teachers of older students, ESL students and more. I'd love to get your feedback if you teach higher grades. Would you use a book showing how to use picture books effectively throughout the curriculum?
I believe that many picture books are not specifically for little children but can be effectively used with older students. Text is not intimidating, art is intriguing and topics are often of high interest.
My book will list the best of the best titles, give you lots of ideas for using these books in classroom discussions, writing activities, even math and science with older students, ESL students, etc. Topics will include environmental awareness, social issues etc.
Would love to hear your feedback.


My Highlight this week is the fact that Highlights for Children arrived in the mail with my short story in it. It's a silly joke about a chicken who asks a librarian for a "book-book-book!" Hope you will have a chance to read the current issue of this largest magazine for children in the world.

Listen to J.K. Rowling

Here is a link to J.K. Rowling's commencement address at Harvard, 2008.
It is great for anyone who is a writer, a reader, a parent or simply.. a person!
Enjoy listening to it:

Related Links

Here are some book related websites you might enjoy checking out and using.

Check out my favourite books here:

Check out Red Room, Where the Writers Are:

For Skype Author Visits, check out:

Reading Magic

Mem Fox, in her book Reading Magic says "If parents understood the huge educational benefits and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to their children, and if every parent - and every adult caring for a child - read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation."

Thanks goodness I understand the benefits and the happiness of reading aloud! I will be reading to my brand new grandson Nico, as will his parents. And not just when he's older but starting right now. I will share with him the fun of Pooh Bear, the excitement of Curious George, the silliness of Dr. Seuss. And of course my own stories of Emma and Henry, since we have chickens running around our farm.

Give a copy of Mem Fox's Reading Magic to every new parent you know and we can work toward sharing the happiness and benefits of reading aloud!

I'm a proud grandmother now!

On January 26 our first grandchild arrived into the world! Nico weighed in at 7.2 and is 52 cm long.He is, of course,a gorgeous looking baby. We can't wait to have parents and baby safely home again. Imagine all the books we'll be reading to him. On the day he was born I gave him ON THE DAY YOU WERE BORN by Debra Frasier, a very beautiful, touching picture book of how a new baby is welcomed by all of nature.

Meeting Greg Mortenson

Last night we listened to Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, as he shared his experiences of building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Did you know that the book is now mandatory reading for high ranking officials in the US army? It makes me feel hopeful to know that they might be listening to such a wise peacemaker. I felt honored to meet Greg and exchange books with him. His new title is called Stones Into Schools. If you are looking for a good cause to support with your students, check out his project
A huge thank you to Vancouver Kidsbooks for bringing him here.
If you missed the event you can still hear Babs Alink, also sponsored by Kidsbooks: "From her years living and working in Afghanistan, refusing to work with weapons, traveling to the most remote areas and building over 300 schools and clinics, Babs has a very different and in-depth view of the situation in Afghanistan.
She is an iconoclastic activist who worked between 2002 and 2008 for three and a half years in Afghanistan. In her presentations she shares tales of her adventures and her battles with Western officials in her efforts to involve local people in developing projects. She will present photos and share her stories with you on the 28th January at the Water Carriers Fundraiser.

22nd January at the Ten Thousand Villages, 2909 Broadway, 7-9pm
28th January at Cravings restaurant/lounge, 6pm starting with live music (Randy Morisson), presentation Babs, doorprices, delicious tapas and Argentinian wines. Fundraiser for the Water Carriers Afghanistan.