2018 will be an exciting year.
In June, my biography of Roméo LeBlanc will be released by Bouton d'or
Acadie in New Brunswick. Just an Acadian Boy: the Journey of Roméo
LeBlanc to Become Governor General of Canada will be published
in both French and English and will be a cross-over book appealing to
readers from ten to adult.
Just an Acadian Boy tells the story of a poor Acadian
boy whose sister works as a maid to make it possible for her brother
to attend high school. Education opens the door for Roméo to go out
into the world. After a distinguished career as a politician in Ottawa,
Roméo is appointed to represent the Queen in Canada becoming the first
Acadian governor general. Like my book Charlie: a Home Child's
Life in Canada, this is the story of an ordinary Canadian who
grows up to make a valuable contribution to his country. This non-fiction
biography will have photographs and sidebars to supplement the story.
In October, Heritage House of Victoria, B.C. will release my middle
grade novel Miles to Go. Based on a true event, the book
tells the story of a friendship between two twelve-year-old girls in
a small Saskatchewan town. In the spring of 1948, each girl faces a
deep loss with the death of a family member. Anna makes a promise on
her mother's deathbed to look after the newborn baby. Maggie, struggling
with fears that she is adopted, loses her family ally, her beloved grandmother.
Through the hard few months ahead the girls face new challenges that
threaten their friendship. Together they learn the meaning of loyalty
and the value of keeping a promise.
Look for Just an Acadian Boy and Miles to Go.
Follow the Elephant and Charlie: a Home Child’s
Life in Canada are being turned into audio books to be available
Look under Would Someone Please
Answer the Parrot! to see the two new award nominations it has
Read about my first picture book Would Someone Please Answer
the Parrot! on this website. Launches are being planned for
Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg this fall.
Here is a picture of me accepting the Chocolate Lily award for the best
novel in B.C. in 2011-12. The award is for Follow the Elephant
and the statue is beautiful carved glass in the shape of B.C. On my
right is Ron Hatch, the publisher of the book and on my left in Karen
Erenholz, the founder of the award. Very exciting.
I've been invited to speak to 500 descendants
of Home Children on September 28, 2012 at Upper Canada Village in Ontario.
I look forward to hearing the stories told my others whose relatives
came to Canada at a young age like my father.
I've just heard that Charlie: a Home Child's
Life in Canada has been nominated for a B.C. Red Cedar 2011-12
award. Such an honour to be recognized in your own province. Students
will read the book all next year and vote for a favourite in the spring
I had a great trip to Calgary this month (complete with
snow) speaking to over 250 students about both Charlie and the Elephant
books. At the end of the week I was part of a day-long Calgary Young
Writer's Conference with over 1200 students who broke into small groups
to learn about writing with over 40 authors. I don't usually teach writing
to students, but had fun with the workshops I'd prepared and I hope
inspired some students in their writing.
I just returned from a visit to Halifax which was a
big success in spite of torrential rain and wind every day. I stayed
in a charming old converted home from the 1860's right downtown where
I could walk to Pier 21 and some schools.
I had three school visits (about 160 students in total)
and they all went well - seems that Charlie's story moved the teachers
to tears at one event (tears are music to a writer's ears). And I can
report that I did not take it personally when a Grade 5 boy vomited
in the middle of another talk!
The Hackmatack award ceremony was exhilarating - you
can imagine 300 students stomping and cheering as the authors walked
to the stage led by a student with our names on a big banner along with
a BC flag in my case. I was the only nominee from BC. Charlie
didn't win the non-fiction award but it didn't matter. Later after another
marathon book and paper signing I had a chance to talk to Philip Roy
about how we liked being with Ronsdale Press.
Recently I've spoken at the Galiano Writer's Festival
and at a Tapestry 2011 teacher's conference in Victoria and this month
I'm off to Calgary to speak to schools and at a Young Writer's Conference.
In May I'll spend a week in Halifax speaking to schools
and attending the Hackmatack awards. The Red Maple award ceremony is
held the same month in Toronto.
Since Key Porter and H.B.Fenn declared bankruptcy in
January, Charlie: a Home Child's Life in Canada has been
without a home. A new publisher has been found and will be announced
Reader's Digest International has bought the rights
to publish the condensed version of Charlie internationally.
Chinese readers will be among the first to read about Charlie's journey
Wishing Star Summer is now out of print
and copies will be available through the author (see Contact).
Follow the Elephant has received a Silver
Medal for Pre-teen fiction at the 2010 Moonbeam Awards (US).
I'm just back from Ottawa where I had the wonderful
experience of presenting a copy of Charlie: a Home Child's Life
in Canada to the Parliamentary Library in the parliament buildings.
It's such an honour to think of the story of my father's life being
part of their collection.
While there I attended a reception with 250 people in
honour of The Year of the British Home Child given by the Minister of
Citizenship and Immigration. The next day I gave a presentation at a
conference of the Ottawa branch of the British Isles Family History
The other big news is that Reader's Digest Canada have
chosen Charlie as their Reader's Choice book for October.
They published 28 pages of the story with eleven photographs starting
on p.136. I'm happy that the story of Home Children will reach more
I just received an invitation to present Charlie:
a Home Child's Life in Canada to the Parliamentary Library when
I'm in Ottawa on September 10th. I'll be met at the front door of the
Centre Block of the Parliament buildings and taken to the newly renovated
library to present my book to the Chief Librarian.
It feels good to think that Charlie's story will be
in their permanent collection.
Charlie: a Home Child's Life in Canada
appears in Canadian Children's Book Centre BEST BOOKS for 2010 with
a starred "exceptional calibre" recommendation.
This last year has been a busy and exciting one
for me. With two new books within six months, Charlie: a Home
Child's Life in Canada (2009) and Follow the Elephant,
(2010) I've held eight book launches across the country from Cape Breton,
Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver to Victoria.
I've spoken to over one thousand school students
and to reunions with the descendants of hundreds of British Home children.
All very exciting.
The big news now is that Charlie
has been nominated for three awards and good reviews are coming in for
Follow the Elephant.
The best news of all is that the Canadian parliament has voted unanimously
to declare 2010 the Year of the British Home Child. I'm not too sure
what this will mean, but I'm hoping schools across the country will
learn about Home Children as part of their curriculum.
I have just been invited to speak at a plenary session of a large national
conference of the British Isles Family History Society in Ottawa, September
9-12. This is very exciting for me, not just as the daughter of a Home
Child, but as a chance to speak to people about how I discovered and
researched my father's story. There will be a reception the night before
at Library and Archives Canada put on by Citizenship and Immigration
In October, Canada Post will launch a stamp honouring British Home