Why is that Cat in the Window and Other Things You Might Ask About Asian Heritage Month

Asian Heritage Month 2018 at Children's World Acacemy

See the statue of the cat that I’m holding? You may recognize it if you frequent Asian establishments. It’s usually near the cash register or in the window of the store. I discovered the meaning of why the cat has one paw raised while I was doing a presentation for Asian Heritage Month at Children’s World Academy last Friday. My friend and co-presenter, Walter, explained that the cat is beckoning people to enter the store. The cat is holding a coin in its other paw, a sign that people should enter and spend money. It was as much a revelation to me as to the kids.  Continue reading

Good Pirates and Bad Pirates

I was parked outside the Arrivals section at Trudeau Airport this morning looking up and down the waiting area for someone. I have been picking up strangers at the airport once a year for the past few years. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. The occasion is TD Canadian Children’s Book Week when I volunteer to pick up visiting authors and drive them to their hotel or to a school or bookstore for a reading. This time, I was Continue reading

Q&A with Suana Verelst, Illustrator of Razia’s Ray of Hope

Montreal has a terrific writing community and there is no doubt that its members have helped me grow as a writer. I met Suana Verelst, an award winning illustrator, several years ago at a get-together for writers and illustrators of children’s and young adult books.  (She also makes great home-made soup which I tasted at our last Christmas pot luck.) Her latest, Razia’s Ray of Hope, is an award winning book based on the true story of a girl in Afghanistan who desperately wants an education Continue reading

Dear Tomato

Dear Veggie, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Would you write a valentine to a potato? Wax poetic over beans? Write free verse about free range chickens?

Thirty-four writers from seven countries did just that, and you can read their work in the anthology Dear Tomato: an International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems edited by my friend and fellow writer, Carol-Ann Hoyte. Continue reading