Touring In: Ontario
Genre: Early Chapter Book, Middle Grade
Ideal Audience Size: 20 – 30
Maximum Audience Size: 100
Grades: For Isobel’s Stanley Cup – grades 2 through 4; For Winter Road – grades 5 through 8
Special Equipment: A computer hooked up to a projector, and a table.
Two Time Winner of the 2011 Chocolate Lily Award
Presentation Focusing on Isobel’s Stanley Cup (Grades 2-4)
The book Kristin is focusing on for younger audiences is an early chapter book titled Isobel’s Stanley Cup, about a 9-year-old girl in 1893 Ottawa, who is desperate to play hockey. She shares with listeners how she fell in love with books as a child and how that love of reading naturally developed into a love of writing. Then she explains how she became a professional writer and the important part the students she was teaching at that time played in her success. Audiences always want to know where she gets her ideas, so she refers to a couple of her books as examples.
Then she turns her talk to Isobel’s Stanley Cup. Using a series of photographs projected onto a screen, augmented by other visuals (eg.—hockey skates of the period), she explains how she came to write this particular story, pointing out how astounded she was to learn that girls have always played hockey. And because she also illustrated the story, (a first for her), she shows the audience the original drawings, to send home the idea that a person is never too young or too old to attempt something new. She then shares the basic story (without spoilers, of course), pointing out how living in a different time made something as ordinary as playing hockey an unsuitable activity for a little girl. She emphasizes how attitudes towards many things have changed over time, and that reading stories set in other times and places is a wonderful way to learn more about the world. Then she reads a snippet from the beginning of the novel to arouse children’s interest. Finally she allows the audience to ask questions about her books and writing experience or books and writing in general.
Presentation for Winter Road (Grades 5-8)
Winter Road is a hi-lo novel aimed at reluctant readers, though mainstream readers are also fans of the Orca Currents and Soundings books. As with her other presentation, Kristin provides listeners with a brief history of her love affair with books and how being a ravenous reader naturally led to writing.
Turning the focus onto Winter Road, she provides a brief synopsis of the story in which a 16-year-old girl, anxious to fix her broken relationship with her mother, stows away on her mother’s semi and ends up travelling the hazardous winter roads of Manitoba. She explains where the idea for the story came from, and why it was probably the craziest piece of writing she has ever attempted, because she had to tackle three subjects she knew absolutely nothing about (ie.—long distance trucking, Manitoba ice roads, and diabetes.) Then she explains how she overcame all the obstacles in her way and got the book written, and how she benefited as a result. Finally she reads an excerpt and opens the floor to questions.
Winter Road (Orca Book Publishers, 2018)
Isobel’s Stanley Cup (Crwth Press, 2018)
Girls Like Me (Orca Book Publishers, Fall 2019)
Truths I Learned From Sam (Dundurn Press, 2013)
In Search of Sam (Dundurn Press, 2015)
Zach & Zoe and the Bank Robber (James Lorimer & Company, 2008)
Zach & Zoe Bully and the Beagle (James Lorimer & Company, 2009)
Zach & Zoe and the River Rescue (James Lorimer & Company, 2011)
Pharaohs & Foot Soldiers: One Hundred Ancient Egyptian Jobs You May Have Desired or Dreaded, illustrated by Martha Newbigging (Annick Press, 2009)
Return to Bone Tree Hill (Thistledown Press, 2009)
Cheat (Orca Book Publishers, 2010)
Caching In (Orca Book Publishers, 2013)
Cabin Girl (Orca Book Publishers, 2014)
Alibi (Orca Book Publishers, 2014)
The Last Superhero (Napoleon Publishing/Dundurn Press, 2010)
Kristin Butcher was born in Winnipeg in 1951, but moved to Victoria when she was five. She took her parents, sister, and brother with her. They bought two acres of land on Blenkinsop Road with an apple orchard, a wooded mini-mountain, a huge oak tree, and two friendly horses in a nearby pasture. There were also some not-quite-so-friendly highland cattle with very long, very sharp horns, which will no doubt turn up in one of Kristin’s stories someday. Some of her favourite memories of that time include walking the rafters of the house her father was building (when her parents weren’t looking, of course) and eating apples straight off the trees whenever she wanted—even when they were hard and green and super-sour.
Kristin has always liked being on her own, so when she wasn’t playing with the neighbourhood children, she could be found designing houses (to scale!), drawing, doing crafts, reading, or just walking through the fields and woods—imagining.
Being a voracious reader naturally led to writing—poetry, stories, even magazines. When Kristin was in grade 7, studying ancient Greece, she wrote an entire newspaper featuring her classmates as citizens of long-ago Athens. That year her teacher gave her a notebook to keep her personal writing in. Kristin still has it, and in appreciation of her teacher’s encouragement, she dedicated one of her books to him.
After grade 12, Kristin wanted to study interior design, but at that time it wasn’t offered anywhere in B.C., so she became a teacher instead. She worked at that right up until she published her first book. She never lost her love for design though, and during her 48 years of marriage, she’s personally decorated every one of the fourteen homes she and her husband have lived in. (Note: Wallpapering with your spouse can lead to divorce.)
Kristin and her husband met and married in Victoria but moved to Winnipeg the day their daughter, Sara, was born. They just unloaded the furniture and went across the street to the hospital. They stayed there (in Winnipeg, not the hospital) for 22 years, returning to Victoria one month after their son, Dan, graduated from high school. When Kristin’s husband retired in 2006, they moved to beautiful Campbell River on Vancouver Island, where he fly-fishes and she writes books.
Truths I Learned From Sam
- Shortlisted for the 2014 Snow Willow Award
Return to Bone Tree Hill
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Sheila Egoff Award
- Shortlisted for the 2011 MYRCA Award
- Winner of the 2006 Chocolate Lily Award
- Shortlisted for the 2005 ALA Quick Pick Award
Zach & Zoe Bully and the Beagle
- Winner of the 2011 Chocolate Lily Award
- Shortlisted for the 2012 Hackmatack Award
Zach & Zoe and the Bank Robber
- Shortlisted for the 2011 Diamond Willow Award
- Shortlisted for the 2011 Red Cedar Award
Cairo Kelly and the Mann
- Shortlisted for the 2004 Chocolate Lily Award
- Shortlisted for the 2003 CLA Book of the Year Award
- Shortlisted for the 2004 MYRCA Award
The Gramma War
- Shortlisted for the 2002 CLA Book of the Year Award
- Shortlisted for the 2002 IODE Violet Downey Book for Children Award
- Shortlisted for the 2003 Chocolate Lily Award
- Shortlisted for the 2004 Red Cedar Award
- Shortlisted for the 1998 Silver Birch Award
Pharaohs & Foot Soldiers
- Shortlisted for the 2012 Red Cedar Award
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Children’s Literature Roundtable Information Book Award
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Silver Birch Award
“Kristin’s joy of writing comes through in her presentations. I believe budding writers are able to relate to her descriptions of why she loves to write and how that motivation has been with her since she was a youngster… I have no hesitation in saying that, when choosing a guest author to make a presentation to your group, Kristin Butcher is a wise choice, a strong presenter, and a speaker with a powerful message to share.”
— Brian Russell, Librarian at Royal Oak Middle School, Victoria, BC
“Kristin’s presentation was very well-received by teachers, library staff, and most of all, the children! It was a pleasure working with Kristin. I would highly recommend her to other organizations.”
— Christine Conroy, Events Specialist, Fraser Valley Regional Library Administrative Centre, BC
“Kristin’s visit to Queen Elizabeth School was a memorable one for students and staff. She kept the audience interested, amused, and engaged. She left the students motivated to read and write; the ultimate goal of any teacher. We would welcome her back to our school to share with our students with confidence that it would be a positive experience for everyone.”
—Kelly Sweet, Middle level literacy lead, Queen Elizabeth School, Moncton, NB
“…Kristin Butcher’s one hour presentation was the consummate children’s author event. She was a pleasure to work with in the organization of her tour, flexible and accommodating of changes and awkward situations. She communicated efficiently with all four schools she visited, which was appreciated by four busy Teacher-Librarians. A memorable event on many levels to be sure.”
—Pat Miller, teacher-librarian, Prospect Lake Elementary School, Victoria, BC
“It was a pleasure to work with Kristin right from the very beginning. She was professional, enthusiastic, and flexible. Her presentations were very entertaining, and she was engaging and energetic. She took the time to interact with the children, and it was obvious from their response, that they enjoyed her visit immensely.”
— Barbara Weston, Youth Services Coordinator, Coquitlam Public Library, BC