General talks about writer's
Between the Covers: real life into real books
Unlike J. K. Rowling, I can't write about
magic and fantasy. The books I write are based on real life. Both
fiction and non-fiction, my stories are about ordinary kids who have
extraordinary adventures and challenges in their lives.
I talk about the process of writing a
book from the exciting first idea to research, editing, artwork
and publication to the satisfaction of bringing real stories to readers.
2. Telling my Father's Story (when he didn't
want me to)
I talk about discovering that my father had
been a Barnardo's Home Child and how I made the hard decision to write
a book about his life, when, like so many Home Children, he felt ashamed
of his background.
With a Power Point presentation, I show slides
and archival material taken from my book Charlie's Story: a Home
Child's Life in Canada. This heart warming story encourages classroom
research into personal family histories for teachers as well as students.
2010 was named the Year of the British Home Child.
Talks on individual
3. Follow the Elephant: an adventure quest to
The story of 13 year old Ben taken to India by his
grandmother brings the richness of Indian geography and culture to
life. I talk about my own life-long passion for India and encourage
students to talk about their own experiences as a starting point to
write their own stories.
Classroom projects involve discussion of how different
faiths view the afterlife, as well exploring the many Hindu gods,
including the Indian elephant boy/god, Ganesh.
Indo-Canadian students will welcome the opportunity
to relate their own family experiences.
4. Would Someone Please Answer the Parrot!
This book is suitable for students up to Grade 4.
I talk about how I met Guapo, a very clever talking African Grey parrot,
and if possible bring a parrot with me to the classroom.
Children have fun as I read the story and act out
the parrot’s noises. As well, they learn about African Grey Parrots
in the wild, where they’re from, what they like to eat and how long-lived
here to read a blog posting by a teacher about my presentation
to a group of grade 2-4 students.
5. Home Children - a forgotten piece of our Canadian
My father was one of the 100,000 young
British children sent to Canada between 1840 and 1940. Charlie: a
Home Child's Life in Canada inspires students to uncover their own
family heritage using interview and research techniques.
In line with the Grade 5-7 Social Studies curriculum
on immigration and citizenship, student projects contrast how Canadians
become citizens, then and now, and what it means to be a Canadian.
Debates about the ethics of sending unsupervised young children to
Canada will fascinate students. 2010 was named the Year of the British
Lesson plans, activity sheets
and marking rubrics are available for citizenship week, Canadian history
and social geography for Grades 5 - 8.
Wishing Star Summer
This book is based on a real life experience
of my granddaughter and her family who hosted a child from Belarus
for a summer visit. The story is set in Vancouver and shows how the
ten-year-old girls must find a way to reach across cultural barriers.
I describe how I used the 1986 nuclear explosion
at Chernobyl as a background to write my story and invite students
to think of contemporary current events they could use to write their
own stories. 2011 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl
explosion which holds the record as the world's biggest nuclear accident.
Look for media articles about the anniversary of an event that has
had long-term effects on us all.