How did you get started in children’s books?
Kidlit/YAlit are my favourite kinds of books to read, I guess it was only natural that I’d start writing in those categories, too.
What (or who) inspires your writing or art?
Gosh, everyone and everything! Snatches of conversation, that sparkly look in someone’s eyes, the funny moment at the bus stop…stories are all around us, the trick is keeping your eyes and ears open, and always having a pen & paper handy!
What was your favourite book as a child? Why?
The Little Engine that Could – Watty Piper. It’s got all the elements of a great story—underdog main character (and a girl, too!) battling to do the right thing when all the odds seemed stacked against her. Add in that she saves the day, helps those around her—not through talent or a super power—but through persevering, and it all adds up to being my most favourite book in the entire world!
How can teachers use your books in the classroom?
Lark Holds the Key, Across the Floor, and Terminate all come with teacher guides. Each book can also be used to springboard discussion and activities including, but not limited to:
Lark Holds the Key:
- Sibling relationships (Lark and Connor are twins)
- Overcoming obstacles (Lark has dyslexia and Connor is shy)
- Seven Habits
- Diverse characters (Lark has dyslexia, and the twins have Korean and Kenyan heritage)
Across the Floor:
- Civil rights (how certain dancers defied Hitler, how dance was used as a form of social protest)
- Peer Pressure (Luc has to grapple with being a football player & a dancer)
- Family dynamics (Luc’s commitments conflict with his promise to his family to help out with their landscaping business)
- The story is told through the perspective of a male dancer
- Social justice (the power the individual has to affect change)
- Homelessness (Jo is a homeless kid)
- Interdependence/loyalty (Jo grapples with trusting the people around her & how her loyalty to some people will end up costing her more than she anticipated)
What are you looking forward to most during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week?
Everything! I’m excited to see new vistas, make new friends, and hear other people’s stories!