Children’s science writer Shar Levine gets U of A Honour Award

shar-levine-webCWILL author, Shar Levine, will receive an Alumni Honour Award for her contributions to children’s literature and science education. This accomplished CWILL author, a ’74 BA, is an award-winning writer and designer of science books for children. Her commitment to encouraging science literacy and her ability to make science fun for kids is evident in the more than 60 titles that bear her name and that of her writing partner, Leslie Johnstone. Levine owned a toy store in Vancouver called Einstein’s the Science Center, and there she taught hands-on science to kids. She also spent time as a columnist and TV consumer expert until 2006, when her children’s books became her main focus. Often described by friends and colleagues as a woman with infectious energy and creativity, Levine also connects with people through public appearances and her website, She currently sits on local and national literary and literacy boards. She cocreated Celebrate Science, the first Canadian science writer’s festival. Her ability to share her passion for science education and engage students in everything from the biochemistry of fermentation to the science of sensory perception makes her books a favourite on the shelves of public libraries and kids’ cubbies.

The University of Alberta Alumni Association event will celebrate this outstanding alumna’s accomplishments and those of 27 other award recipients at the 2015 Alumni Awards.

Free ceremony with reception to follow
7 pm, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium (11455 87 Ave), Edmonton, Alberta.

More info and tickets

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Teatime with author Tiffany Stone!

You’re invited to a Fairy Tea at Christianne’s Lyceum in Vancouver  to celebrate the launch of Tiffany Stone’s new picture book, Teatime: Saturday, July 18, 6 – 7:30 pm.

The evening will include craft time and reading performance by author Tiffany Stone and illustrator Jori Van der Linde.

The Lyceum is located at 3696 W 8th Avenue (@ Alma) in Vancouver. For more information, visit

Come one, come all!

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Announcing Reading Lights – 2015 selected books

Reading Lights_logo


Here they are – the books selected for the first installation of the Reading Lights – a collaborative project by the Vancouver Public Library and the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of BC Society (CWILL BC).

These wonderful books for young children will soon be featured on lamp posts around the city.

The books have gone to the designers at the library who will  create plaques featuring excerpts from the books. The author and illustrator will be highlighted with links to the library for further reading.

These plaques will provide spontaneous encounters with BC books for children and their caregivers near parks, playgrounds, schools and libraries. They are intended to spark an interest in stories and reading, while celebrating the work of BC authors and illustrators.

Installation of the plaques and ‘reading under the  lamp posts’ will be launched this winter.


Norman, Speak
Written by Caroline Adderson 
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Groundwood Books

Stanley At Sea
Written by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?
Written by Dan Bar-el
Illustrated by Rae Mate
Simply Read Books

Crocodiles Play!
Written by Robert Heidbreider
Illustrated by Rae Mate
Tradewind  Books

Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Genevieve Cote
Simply Read Books

Watch me Grow!: A Down-to-Earth Look at Growing Food in the City.
Written by Deborah Hodge
Photographed by Brian Harris
Kids Can Press

I Heard My Mother Call My Name
Written by Nancy Hundal
Illustrated by Laura Hernandez
Harper Collins

The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle.
Written by Jude Isabella
Illustrated by Simone Shin
Kids Can Press

Emma And The Silk Train
Written by Julie Lawson
Illustrated by Paul Mombourquette
Kids Can Press

Ankylosaur Attack
Written by Daniel Loxton
Illustated by Daniel Loxton and Jim W.W. Smith
Kids Can Press

School Days Around the World
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Alice Feagan
Kids Can Press

Abby’s Birds
Written by Ellen Schwartz
Illustrated by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin
Tradewind Books

If … A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
Written by David Smith
Illustrated by Steve Adams
Kids Can Press

Binky The Space Cat
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press

Written by Tiffany Stone
Illustrated by Jori van der Linde
Simply Read Books

Grumpy Bird 
Written and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard

Suki’s Kimono
Written by Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
Kids Can Press

Little You
Written by Richard Van Camp
Illlustrated by Julie Flett
Orca Books

How To Build Your Own Country
Written by Valerie Wyatt
Illustrated by Fred Rix
Kids Can Press



To get an idea of what Reading Lights will be like, check out this similar project, Literary Landmarks.

Posted in books/writing, CWILL BC news & events, getting published, illustration, picture books, poetry | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Celebrating the Kendra Kandlestar finale

Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for ArazeenIt’s been a long time in coming!

I recently celebrated the launch of the final book in my Kendra Kandlestar series—Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for Arazeen—with an “Eentastic” party.

Here are some favorite photos from the event . . .

My wife, Marcie, played the part of official greeter. She spent hours doing her “Een” hair:


But she wasn’t the only one wearing Een-style braids at the party. In fact, we had an official “braiding station.” Even the boys put braids in their hair. (That’s because everyone—boys included—wears braids in the Land of Een to honor their founder, Leemus Longbraids.)


In addition, all attendees were given a quick form and a name tag so that they could invent an “Een” name. This meant that everyone had his or her own alias for the entire evening.


Here’s the entire series on display, along with the museum of Een artifacts.


What’s a launch without great food? Check out this beautiful Kendra Kandlestar cake, designed and baked by Carrie Bercic.


It was almost a shame to have to cut it. (We ended up removing the Kendra decoration, first.)arazeenlaunch_cakecutting

Plenty of Eenberry beverages were on hand, too! arazeenlaunch_eenberryjuice

There were many activities at the party, including “Pin the braid on Kendra” and “solve a secret code,” but there’s no two ways about it—the most popular station was “Survive the Rumble Pit”, which was managed by my friend, author James McCann. It’s a card game played with Dungeons & Dragon dice. You pick a warrior and a weapon and then battle other contestants. Nothing is more fun that to watch a mouse with an onion try to fight a giant with a pickle. (But, hey, those are all things from the Kendra Kandlestar books!)


As part of the festivities, I did a short presentation on the background for Kendra Kandlestar series. This was a lot of fun because I got to show photos of some of the real-life places that inspired the book and talk about how they connected to Kendra’s overall journey.


We had a lot of great prizes at the launch, including T-shirts, buttons, and posters. But the grand prize was an original piece of artwork from the book. Here’s a photo of my emcee, Dona, and the winner, Joseph. (He’s looking pretty pleased with himself!)


Of course, the great thing about a launch is that you get things coming the other way. This is a card made by Sarah (or, as it says on her tag, Sarla Sunstar) and her brother. (Looking at this photo now, I see that I was really rocking the Tin-Tin hair that night!)


A big thanks to EVERYONE who helped make this a huge success. I called in all my author friends to help. James McCann ran the Rumble Pit, kc dyer took photos, and Kallie George (who is also the editor of the series) managed the braiding station. And a super big thanks to my actress wife Marcie Nestman who squeezed in all that extra time during a busy week of directing and acting to help with the launch.

Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for Arazeen is now available for purchase or order at your favorite bookstore (mine is Kidsbooks on West Broadway!). You can find out more at the official Kendra Kandlestar website.

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You’re Invited!

Bagels the Brave_Launch_Evite_05-01-15

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A Launch for Robert Heidbreder’s Latest Book – Tomorrow, May 13th!

song for a summer night

Publisher’s description:

As night falls on a soft summer evening, neighborhood children are drawn out of their houses by the sights and sounds of the world after dark. First the fireflies come sparkling past, followed by a host of domestic and wild animals, from cats and dogs to owls and skunks. Accomplished children’s poet Robert Heidbreder creates a world of enchantment, while Qin Leng’s illustrations conjure the harmonious interplay between our everyday domestic world and one that is just a little bit wilder. All the characters, both human and otherwise, have their moment on the nighttime stage, but eventually, the curtain falls, and sleepiness beckons.

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