It was the perfect early summer morning. At the start of the path into one of my favourite little forests in the city, I met two people coming out.
“Don’t go in there!” the man said.
“Why not?” I feared the worst.
“You’ll fall in love!” he laughed. He was right. The light through the new leaves, the bird songs and the smell of the earth and growing things all made me feel as if I had stepped into enchanted fairytale forest.
Taking time out to walk in nature is something I try to do every day. There is always something interesting to see. It clears my mind of all the busy details and interruptions. More often than not, while I’m focused on the surroundings, ideas and solutions pop into my head.
Opening a new book can be like stepping into the woods. Something about entering another world sharpens the senses and makes us more open to new patterns of thinking.
So, I suggest: DO go into the woods, and Do open a book. It’s worth the risk of falling in love!
I had a great time meeting with readers at the Wilkinson School Library. An added treat was a visit to the Room 2 Art Gallery, where kindergarten students displayed their sketches and finished plasticine artwork. Gorgeous! Then it was a dash back to the library for an interview with a student for the Wilkinson Podcast. Eshal was well prepared and it was a pleasure to chat with her. You can listen to the podcast here. Photos thanks to the Wilkinson School Library, Room 2 photo thanks to Ms. Bartkin and Ms. Truong.
It has been a busy spring! I have been visiting schools in and around Toronto. Each school was unique, but what they all had in common was a bustling library with a passionate librarian at the centre. The libraries have been filled with Forest of Reading displays, projects, art galleries, green screen stations, technology of all sorts being explored, clubs, readers, readers, readers and more. The formula is simple: School library + Librarian=enthusiastic, curious and engaged learners. The library ceiling at Dr. Eric Jackman features this cheery little bird taking flight. I think it perfectly illustrates the spirit of freedom and possibility that is found in a school library. And the fun!
I’m thrilled to be included in the new Canadian Biographies series by Pebble Plus, a division of Capstone Press. The series for young readers features simple text and full-colour photos that describe the lives of inspiring Canadians. Others in the series include Robert Munsch, Hayley Wickenheiser, Chris Hadfield, Patrick Chan, Christine Sinclair and Terry Fox. You never know where plasticine may take you…
I recently had the pleasure of visiting grade seven and eight classes at Northlea Elementary and Middle School where art students are studying the Group of Seven painters of the Canadian landscape. Students will be re-creating paintings using plasticine. Plasticine shares many of the qualities of oil paint, and the style and subject matter of the Group of Seven are a great fit with this medium. Here are just a few of the first finished pieces. I think you will agree, these young artists have done an amazing job of capturing the colour, form and movement of the originals. I think the Group would be impressed!
In December, the Lillian Smith and Toronto Reference branches of the Toronto Public Library welcomed enthusiastic young readers and artists to plasticine workshops in celebration of the 50th birthday of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. After reading the book and sharing a few plasticine tips, I watched dozens of wonderful Wild Things take shape. Here are just a few samples. Like snow flakes, no two Wild Things are alike. Imagine the Rumpus!
I had a wonderful day visiting with readers at Kingsway College School last week. An added treat was the view from the library. I looked out at recess to see all the kids out on the snowy field and it looked just like a page from my book Perfect Snow. As the character Scott would say: Excellent!
First published in 2003, Read Me a Book was distributed to new borns in Ontario as part of the Ontario Early Learning Initiative. Since then it has been shared by reading programs across Canada, and it is my favourite read aloud at the start of presentations and workshops. For the new 2016 board book edition I had fun creating a new cover to go with the fresh design of the book.
I was in my early teens when I stumbled across this book about N. C. Wyeth. My head nearly exploded at the realization that this artist whose work I loved from books was a real person who made his living as an illustrator. It was very expensive, so I read as much of it as I could in the bookstore. On Christmas morning my head nearly exploded a second time when the book appeared under the tree. That was it: I decided to become a book illustrator. Thanks mum and dad!
Posted on December 10th, 2015 by Barbara in Blog, News
I am thrilled to be named the 2016 Family Literacy Day Honourary Chair. Through my work as an author and illustrator I encourage reading and literacy engagement. Families reading and playing together is an important theme that I often include in my books. I have been participating in Family Literacy Day events for many years now and I look forward to increasing my participation in this exciting new role.
January 27 is family Literacy Day, and ABC encourages Canadian families to have “15 Minutes of Fun” learning together this Family Literacy Day – and every day. Practicing literacy every day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents. Visit FamilyLiteracyDay.ca for fun ideas to get your family started and make family time learning time!