On Tour Blog
May 03, 2013
I can’t believe the BC Book Prizes tour is now over! This past week has simply flown by and was an experience I will always treasure.
I am thankful for the wonderful kids at Courtenay Elementary and their exceptional staff. In fact, I am thankful for all the kids I met on this tour. Each and every one of them gave me hope for a better world ahead.
Thank you to my friends who came over to the island to show their support, as well as to all the people who attended our events throughout the week, especially the folks at last night’s public reading at Courtenay Library. There were a few people who wanted to go out afterwards to continue the festivities, so we had an impromptu after party with our new friends!
Thank you to all the sponsors, Coho Books, Laughing Oyster Books, and Mulberry Bush Books. Thanks to Kids Can Press for not only publishing my book, but also for supplying me with bookmarks to give out at all the events - the kids loved them! Thank you to Monica for taking such good care of us. Thank you to Anne for being an amazing road trip buddy - I can’t imagine having gone with anybody else!
Finally, thank you so much to BC Book Prizes for short listing Maggie’s Chopsticks and for taking me on this magical tour! All the best to each and every one of the other finalists! You are all superstars!
May 03, 2013
Today is the final day of this year’s BC Book Prizes On Tour, and what a tour it has been! I’ve been on the road with Evelyn Lau and Stefan Czernecki visiting communities throughout the BC interior for the last week. Here are some photos from our adventures so far:
Stefan with students at Glenmerry Elementary in Trail
Evelyn with students at Sparwood Secondary
During Stefan’s presentation at the Fernie Heritage Library
Evelyn at Fernie Secondary
After visiting schools in Princeton this morning, we will head back home to Vancouver. Thank you to everyone who has made this year’s tour such a success! I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow at the 29th Annual Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala in Victoria!
May 02, 2013
Should I make it public knowledge I stayed in the Rita Hayworth Suite at the fabulous Crown Mansion in Qualicum Beach, where Hayworth was once a guest? It has a giant claw-foot tub (with bubble jets) right smack in the middle of the big bay window and no one to look in at you as you bubble in the tubble. In my case, discretion prevailed and I drew the curtains anyway. Earlier in the evening, Alan Woo cottoned me on to Rita Hayworth is Staying Alive on youtube — worth a watch — while we snacked on apples and brie from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks.
Campbell River treated us grandly, as noted by Alan in the previous post. Grade twelve English and Psychology students sitting in the back row at Timberline Secondary tipped their chairs back on cue at the same time as the character in the story I was reading tipped his back. No one was hurt. I continue to be inspired by the teachers and students I’m getting to meet. At Timberline, we talked about revision and collaboration with a poet, a screenwriter/filmmaker, and a rapper, amongst other students who didn’t declare their writerly tendencies, along with musing on boredom, creativity, agents and ten percent royalties.
Today brought us to Courtenay and Comox, where western grebes mad-scooted away from a swooping bald eagle in between the two towns, and a mule deer held us up en route to Highland Secondary. I got to visit a Creative Writing class and loved that in the confusion ensuing from trying to pass papers from one person to the next in a round of Exquisite Corpse (the Surrealist game wherein you write an article and adjective, fold the paper and pass, then a noun, fold and pass, then a verb, fold and pass, another article and adjective, fold and pass to the last person, who writes another noun, and then you read sentences like “The freaky shark buffed the diffident donkey”), teacher Jill Peacocke interrupted to say, “We can have these desks in a circle in no time flat.” So we did, and there we were in that beautiful creative writing circle, passing words around. So great.
Tonight it’s a reading at the Courtenay Public Library, 6.30 pm, with book sales by the superlative Laughing Oyster Books, where we poked our noses in to say hello this afternoon to a warm welcome.
May 02, 2013
Day 3 was a busy day! I first visited Winchelsea Elementary in Parksville, where I was greeted at the front door by two of their student leaders. They led me down the hall to the classroom where I would be presenting, offered me water, and were super helpful with getting me all settled in! The reading went well with tons of great questions from the kids! I even got some random hugs out of nowhere! So adorable!
Then it was time to make the trek down to Campbell River. It took about an hour but luckily we had some fine entertainment in the car! Anne Fleming on her ukulele! This helped the journey fly by as she strummed those strings and led us all in a road trip sing-a-long!
My next stop was at Penfield Elementary in Campbell River, where I had the good fortune to meet more awesome kids, like the ones in Mr Jarvis’ class, also known as The GummyBears! They had studied up on Chinese culture, made special welcoming signs for me, practiced their chopstick moves, and were enthusiastic and prepared with intelligent questions. Then they made me prove my chopstick skills by making me eat gummy bears with them! It was such a great experience and I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality, kind words, and genuineness.
The day still wasn’t over as we had a public reading to do at Coho Books! One student from Mr Jarvis’ class made her dad bring her down for it, even though she just saw me earlier that day! That’s super sweet! We talked about her own aspirations of one day writing a story of her own. Even Mr Jarvis showed up for the event. What an awesome teacher and you can tell that by his amazing students as well!
Thank you everybody for making this day such a terrific one! I will remember it for always!
May 01, 2013
The Vancouver island leg of the BC book tour has been amazing. I get to visit communities I’ve never been to before like Nanaimo and Port Alberni.
The people here have been so nice and the scenery has been beautiful. Check out some shots below!
(Bastion in Nanaimo)
(Sunset in Qualicum)
On Day One I read to about 40 kids at Park Avenue Community School who were delightful and full of rambunctious energy.
Day Two had me in front of a gym full of just over 100 kids who were simply thrilled to have an author visit them at their school, Alberni Elementary. One little girl asked me for a hug on the way out - it was super cute!
I’m looking forward to the rest of the week. Traveling with fellow author Anne Fleming has been inspiring and I love attending her presentations as I am always learning something new! A huge shout out to Monica Miller for driving us around everywhere and being such the organizer. And after two days, I think we finally figured out how to use the GPS, whom we have named Jackie, obviously.
For now, I’m heading to bed with the sound of frogs outside my window, their evening symphony lulling me to sleep.
April 30, 2013
What a spectacular day in Port Alberni! Mount Arrowsmith is there up the street like you could walk up the hill, step off the street and straight onto the mountain. Down on the quay I spotted a seal in the harbour next to a big freighter docked there while tugboats picturesquely pulled log booms up the inlet.
Three Grade Eight classes crowded the library at Ecole E.J. Dunn Middle School, where they asked smart, snappy questions for half an hour (“Have you ever been on The Ellen Show?”), laughed at all the right points in “Puke Diary” (phew!) and were good sports about reading “Thirty-One One Word Stories” out loud. They were an absolute treat. I have a feeling the next generation of BC writers is going to include a whack from Port Alberni.
At Alberni Elementary, about a hundred kindergarteners, grade ones, twos and threes trooped into the gym with their “petits tapis gris” (if you’re the parent of a French Immersion kid, you know I’m talking about carpets and also a song about carpets) to sit on to watch and listen to Alan work the magic of Maggie’s Chopsticks. They had this cool projector, so Alan could lay the book on the table in front of him, and it was projected onto a giant screen up on the stage so everyone could see the pictures. Best question of the morning? “I like your book!”
View more Photos from the Vancouver Island Leg on Flickr
April 28, 2013
I’m very excited to be leaving tomorrow and driving the Vancouver Island leg of the BC Book Prizes On Tour 2013. I worked in-office at the BC Book Prizes from 2008 to 2011 and know the planning side of the tour well. However, I haven’t been on the road before, so this is going to be a fantastic new experience for me. I met authors Anne Fleming and Alan Woo at the Soirée earlier this month and we were chatting about our upcoming adventure. Alan is happy to not be driving, and Anne may bring her knitting or ukelele.
So, seat belts buckled, sunglasses on, and away we go! We’ll be stopping at schools, libraries, and bookstores in the communities of Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Parksville, Campbell River, Courtenay, Comox, and Ladysmith. Anne and Alan will be doing four public events, so come on out and say hello if we’re in your neck of the woods!
April 27, 2013
Thank you Terrace, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Prince George, Fort St. James and Burns Lake for being so welcoming.
And if that guy who wrote The Book of Awesome is still adding to his list, I think he should put Bryan Pike and Jackson Davies on it. Right at the tippy top. They are a couple of “champeens” and never once asked when lugging my luggage how many pairs of shoes I packed (4). I feel privileged to have swapped stories with these two fine and funny fellows (yup, finally got that advance!). ☺
Time to turn the page. A new leg of the tour, with all new author-bloggers, begins on Monday.
April 27, 2013
Funny ha ha
Posted by Victoria Miles
April 27, 2013 (morning)
All great books come to an end and so do all great trips. I finished Bruno and the Beach yesterday and we head for the airport and home this evening. But not before a stop at Misty River Books in Terrace.
On the first day of the tour I called dibs on the back seat. It’s a short girl thing, and besides, I really liked the idea of being chauffered around. Very Diva-for-a-Week. Jackson is more than a foot taller than me and he is no diva. I say to Bryan I think I was picked for this tour because of my short legs. “Why yes”, said Bryan. “We keep all the authors’ leg measurements on file. Sure…” he says, sounding a bit like a Marx brother, “Sure that’s how it’s done.”
We have been a funny combination touring this stretch of the Province. Especially Jackson and Bryan, they are very funny ha ha—my favourite kind of funny. Jackson is recognized everywhere he goes. People come up to him and ask “How’s it goin’? How’s Jesse?” like they’ve known him forever. He’s nice to everyone and he wakes up the friendliness in other people.
I do a double-take seeing my name next to Jackson’s on the town marquee in Fort St. James. If you’d told me when I was a girl, sitting in my beanbag chair eating creamed tuna on toast with my family and watching The Beachcombers that I’d one day write for children and go on a book tour with Constable Constable, I never would have believed it. You can’t make this stuff up.
April 26, 2013
April 26, 2013
This is one of my favourite photos from the whole tour.
They look like readers.
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