Darlene Foster launching new book in her series

Darlene Foster is excited to announce the release of her new book, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.

About the book

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico. She shares a room with Cleo, an anxious classmate who insists she sees ghosts. Determined to prove there is no such thing, Amanda can’t seem to shake the feeling that something or someone is watching her.

Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit a rugged and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere she goes?

Launch details

Darlene Foster returns to Canada to launch the sixth book in her Amanda Travels series at these locations and dates:

1-3 pm, September 2, 2017
Albany Books
1240 56 Street
Delta, BC

12-3 pm, September 9, 2017
Chapters (Granville & Broadway)
2505 Granville Street

Drop in to greet Darlene and meet this author, CWILL member, and intrepid traveller—an, of course, to pick up your copy of the latest Amanda Travels book.


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Inspiring young imaginations in Korea

Myself and two other CWILL authors recently returned from Korea, where we taught a creative writing camp for kids and presented at the Canadian Embassy in Seoul.

The event at the embassy was an award ceremony for a creative writing competition that was held in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. The contest was sponsored by The Korea Herald, Air Canada, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and CWC (the Creative Writing for Children Society of Vancouver).

Contest judged by Canadian authors

Over 200 students from elementary, middle, and high schools across Korea entered the contest and were reviewed and judged by three Canadian authors: myself, Stacey Matson, and Kallie George.

It was a great honour to be a judge and to read through all the diverse entries. The theme was a difficult one; in some way, the entrants had to incorporate the idea of “150.” It was quite entertaining to see how the kids wove this theme into their short stories!

A ceremony at the Canadian embassy

The award winners were announced on July 1 (Canada Day) and the ceremony was held on July 22nd at the Canadian embassy in Seoul. Joon Park, who is the CWC co-founder, Stacey Matson, Marcie Nestman, and I attended the ceremony on behalf of CWC. Unfortunately, Kallie George could not accompany us, but she was there in spirit.

During the ceremony, we were privleged to meet the contestants and award them their prizes. There were 30 winners in various categories, with the top winner receiving a free round-trip ticket on Air Canada to travel to anywhere in Canada.

After the ceremony, Stacey and I held a Q&A session with the young writers. We were so impressed by their thoughtful and in-depth questions. I’m so proud of all the kids who entered and of their beautiful words that they dared to share.

All contest winners will have their stories published in an anthology.

For more information, check out the article on The Korea Herald website.

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Tracker’s Canyon book launch – July 27th, 2017

You are cordially invited to a book launch party to celebrate the publication of Pam Withers’ 17th novel, Tracker’s Canyon (Dundurn Press):

WHEN: Thursday, July 27, 12-2 pm
WHERE: Indigo Bookstore, 2505 Granville (Granville & Broadway)

“When Tristan’s dad disappears, he puts his tracking skills to the test to find him — but will Tristan’s talents save him if it turns out to be a trap?

Thanks to his dad’s coaching, sixteen-year-old Tristan is one of the best climbers and trackers in his small town. He can read footprints and bushes like they’re security-camera footage, and fearlessly descend rock faces and waterfalls. But when his father disappears, leaving his mother too grief-stricken to function, the young canyoneer’s life goes into freefall.

Left in the hands of a well-meaning but incompetent uncle and a space-cadet housekeeper, Tristan finds life a struggle no matter how hard he works. When he nears the end of his rope at home, the teen decides to set off into Swallow Canyon in search of his father—only to realize that someone may be out to get him. Now the question is who’s stalking whom, and are Tristan’s skills up to the dangerous game playing out in the deep, shadowy canyon?”

— Pam Withers

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How a new children’s book series reminded me about the magic of world-building

Between the Cracks of Here and There

Author (and friend!) Kallie George recently wrote a guest post on my blog in which she described her world-building process for her brand new children’s book series, The Heartwood Hotel. 

Since that post, Kallie officially launched the series with a fun and engaging event at Kidsbooks, our local bookstore that specializes in catering to young readers.

heartwoodhotellaunch-kalliegeorgeThe launch was a stupendous success. Families were lined up down to block as they waited for the doors to open, clamoring to hear Kallie share her new world. For Kallie, that mean not only mesmerizing the kids with a reading of the first book in the series, but also providing amazing and tangible pieces that were completely interactive.

I was reminded, once again, about the magic that can happen when you really put the “build” into world-building.


In the earlier post on my blog, Kallie talked about using mapping as a…

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Oy Vey! We have a winner!

The Oy Vey! Committee is thrilled to announce that the Joan Betty Stuchner Oy Vey! Funniest Children’s Book Award for 2015-2016 goes to Rolli for his charming and hilarious book about a cave girl who lives in a cave on Main Street, Kabungo. Funnily enough, we announced the prize on Main Street last night, to a full house at the Cottage Bistro.

Thanks to all who came, to those who entertained us, and to especially Rolli, who flew out to accept the award and his prize of $1000, and to read a bit of Kabungo to us, in a gorilla suit, no less. And thanks again to all who helped make it happen.

Written by Rolli
Illustrated by Milan Pavlović
Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2016

Ten-year-old Beverly is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary best friend. Her name is Kabungo, and she lives in a cave on Main Street. No one knows where she comes from or who she really is, but life is never dull when Kabungo is around.


— Cindy Heinrichs, Silvana Goldemberg, Caroline Adderson, and Kathie Shoemaker

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16th Annual Chocolate Lily Award nominees

Congratulations to all authors, illustrators, and publishers whose submissions were shortlisted for the 16th Annual Chocolate Lily Book Awards!

The lists for all categories – Novels, Chapter Books and Picture Books – are posted on the Chocolate Lily website: http://www.chocolatelilyawards.com/

Picture Book Nominees

  • Bear’s Winter Party by Deborah Hodge and Lisa Cinar – Groundwood Books
  • Dojo Surprise by Chris Tougas – Owl Kids
  • Good Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters & Dean Griffins illus. – Pajama Press
  • If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle and Cale Atkinson –Tundra Books
  • The Lost Gift by Kallie George and Stephanie Graegin – Penguin Random House Canada
  • Spare Dog Parts by Alison Hughes and Ashley Spires – Orca Books Pub

Chapter Book Nominees (Grades 2 – 4)

  • Blackberry Juice by Sara Cassidy – Orca Books
  • Fluffy Strikes Back by Ashley Spires – Kids Can Press
  • Jasper John Dooley: Public Library Enemy #1 by Caroline Adderson – Kids Can Press
  • The Missing Magic by Kallie George– Harper Collins Pub

Novel Category Nominees (Grades 4 – 7)

  • Adventure on Whalebone Island by M.A. Wilson – Rainy Bay Press
  • Duke’s Den by Becky Citra – Orca Books Pub
  • Everyday Hero by Kathleen Cherry – Orca Books Pub
  • Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast – Orca Book Pub
  • A Rare Gift by G. Rosemary Ludlow – Comwave Publishing House
  • Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green – Pajama Press
  • Seeking Refuge by Irene N. Watts – Tradewind Books
  • Shot in the Dark by Janet M. Whyte – James Lorimer & Co

— Harmina Jansen
Chocolate Lily Book Awards

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