Friday, April 30, 2010

The Announcement...

It's official! I'm very excited to announce that my new novel Mind Gap will be published by Dundurn Press in January 2011! Here's the blurb:

14 year-old Jake MacRae’s life is spinning out of control. The decisions he is making are destroying his life and the lives of those close to him. One night, he receives a mysterious text message inviting him to a flash party on a midnight subway train. As Jake leaves the platform, he has no idea he has boarded a train bound for his worst nightmare. And what’s more—he can’t get off.
And here's the cover!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Please take a moment...

As Autism Awarness month comes to an end, please take a moment and watch this video. It's often too difficult for me to talk about, so I'll let Five for Fighting do the talking for me. Awareness is everything. Our children may have great difficulty learning how to relate to you--but you can learn how to relate to them! It's really all about understanding their world--how they perceive things. And if you haven't already done so--check out these AMAZING books! They are both brilliantly written, great stories, and give readers a glimpse into the mysterious world of autism. Rules, by Cynthia Lord

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon

And, if you happen to be in the Toronto area on Sunday, June 20th, come join us at Nathan Phillip Square at 10am and Walk Now for Autism! You can't miss Team Justin with our purple t-shirts!

Friday, April 16, 2010

David Booth. Wow.

Last night I had the amazing experience of hearing Professor David Booth speak. Literacy-guru that he is (and me being a teacher and all), I was certainly familiar with his name and his work. But what a difference hearing him live. He is such a charismatic and humorous person--soft-spoken, yet his words hit you like a hammer.

I was particularly interested in what he had to say about reading, reluctant male readers, new (or not-so-new) forms of media (Kindles, iPod's, PC's, Blackberries, etc.) and simply this: asking the right questions to excite and engage all learners. You could have heard a pin drop (okay, maybe the odd baby cry--which, by the way, didn't bother him one bit, in fact, he asked the mother who was about to leave with her baby to stay!), in the packed school gymnasium. So many of his stories and anecdotes hit home, I wouldn't know where to begin. Here is me caught on camera looking all captivated.
As a Canadian children's writer, I was particularly thrilled with his promotion of Canadian authors! And I absolutely loved when he told the audience that he often travels on planes and trains reading picture books--out loud! Since most of what I read is children's/YA books it made me chuckle as I often find myself sitting among people engrossed in the latest, greatest in adult literature. They cast a sideways glance, raise their eyebrows then frown as I proudly read my latest, greatest middle-grade fantasy or adventure or graphic novel or YA thriller or early chapter book...

I only hope I get another opportunity to hear Mr. Booth speak!

**photographs courtesy of Jagdeep Singh**

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An interview, Creation of Hope and goat b-day presents...

Well, clearly it's taken me sometime to regroup after that frightening take-down experience with author, Deborah Kerbel, which is why my blog has remained sadly stagnant for some time...

Okay, I'm lying. I've just been lazy. But it's time to get unlazy (delazy?) and back to all this wonderful social networking!

First, the Markham Village Writers interviewed me! I was really excited to be asked. I mean I have sooooo many important things to say. You can read the interview here if you've got a moment:

Now way back, a month or two ago, I was honoured to be asked to present at an event with Eric Walters, Kenneth Oppel and Shane Peacock at Humberview P.S. As excited as those 600 students were to hear these amazing authors, I'm sure I was the most excited. They are all such fabulous writers and stellar speakers. I've heard them all before but could hear them a hundred times more and never get bored! Now, after Eric spoke about his organization, Creation of Hope, I was so moved that I had to do something, however small, to help out. I decided that since my own kids have way too much stuff, they would all get goats for their birthdays. (And since they are all about as stubborn as goats, I asked that they be named after my children!)

In case you haven't heard of it, Creation of Hope is an absolutely amazing organization where every single dollar goes directly to those in need. You can seriously change a child's life with just a few dollars! So the next time you don't know what to get for the guy(or girl or child) who has everything--buy them a chicken or a goat...or a bed, or mattress or books or socks or something--just tell them there is a child in Africa borrowing it for a while.