Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Big Belated Book Week Thank You

I admit it: I mostly avoided my computer over the holidays. I think I needed the break. Either that or it was just so darned hard to find it on my desk, practically buried with papers and cluttered with miscellaneous office type crap, that really needed to be tidied before anything else happened. So it just didn't happen.

My first post of 2010 will look back on 2009 and give a big belated Thank You for the biggest thing to happen to me in my writing life: You know that has to be the TD Grade One Giveaway. I've been remiss in not doing up a roundup before now.

The whole experience was something not likely to be duplicated for me, ever again. It's hard to put it all into words (and isn't that a bit ironic?). It's not just that my book was given to so many Canadian kids...

It's not just that I got to tour southern Ontario with the book's illustrator, Scot Ritchie...

And it's not just that I got to see my book cover and name in huge type behind the TD bank president's head at a big publishing industry gala with free hors d'oeuvres and cocktails...

But all those things were excellent!

Writers mostly write alone, you know? I'm holed up in my little office (or really my supposed-to-be-a-dining-room writing space) trying to create something that fascinates me while hoping I'm not completely off my rocker and that someone else would also like to read it and in fact actually pay money to do that. Then I found out that the book's been chosen for this program that enabled it to reach EVERY grade one child in Canada. How do you wrap your head around that? The TD and the Canadian Children's Book Centre do an amazing job supporting Canadian book creators and literacy for Canadian kids. Thank you to them!

The schools and libraries Scot and I visited all Book Week were welcoming without exception, and the grade one audiences were always terrific, playing along with our action games and listening to the process of how I wrote the book and how Scot illustrated it.

Some public schools wore uniforms, some did not. Some schools were new and some were old. Some schools were small and some were, well, HUGE. (We went to the largest elementary school in North America and saw all approximately 240 grade one students. Yes, three groups of 80 kids back-to-back!) Quite a few of the schools had done a lot of work talking about the history of transportation and then displayed their work around the school. That was awesome to see!

As an unexpected bonus, we received some lovely hardware,

and some beautiful, er, software...?

Thank you to all who hosted us!

Scot and I got to and around the five cities by train and taxi. Given that the book is about transportation, it was quite appropriate to be using a couple different types of transportation while talking about that topic. I recorded some of the sights seen from the train each night during the tour here on the blog. They're filed under the Book Week 09 label.

Overall the opportunity to connect with all those kids made a big impression on me personally. And I think it was wonderful for those kids to see that an author and an illustrator are just regular people. We don't sit down and write or sketch something perfect the first time around. We work hard at revising our words and our pictures just the way they do when they write and draw.

To see the connections made between the book, the audience, the topic, the Thank you for Book Week, book publishers, book creators, book readers, book supporters, and books everywhere!

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