Finalists – Reading Lights 2018!

Reading Lights, a Vancouver Public Library and CWILL BC partnership project, celebrates the work of B.C. children’s book authors and illustrators and offers unexpected encounters with an array of stories for children and their families near parks, playgrounds, schools and libraries throughout Vancouver. Intended to spark an interest in stories and reading, the program features excerpts of books and illustrations on lamp posts across the city for all to enjoy. This is the final year of our project and we are delighted to announce the finalists:

Kah-Lan : the adventurous Sea Otter
Written by Karen Autio
Illustrated by Sheena Lott
Sono Nis Press

Underneath the sidewalk
Written by Claire Eamer
Illustrated by Thomas Gibault
North Winds Press (Scholastic)

Waiting for Sophie
Written by Sarah Ellis
Illustrated by Carmen Mok
Pajama Press

Magical Animal Journey Adoption Agency : Clover’s luck
Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Mae and the moon
Written and illustrated by Jami Gigot
Ripple Grove Press

Bear’s winter party
Written by Deborah Hodge
Illustrated by Lisa Cinar
Groundwood Books

West Coast Wild : a nature alphabet
Written by Deborah Hodge
Illustrated by Karen Reczuch
Groundwood Books

Once upon a bathtime
Written by Vi Hughes
Illustrated by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin
Tradewind Books

Le camion  21
Written by Nancy Hundal
Illustrated by Brian Deines
Presses de Bras- d’Apic

The Klondike Cat
Written by Julie Lawson
Illustrated by Paul Mombourquette
Kids Can Press

Noah and Great Bear : an adventure in the Yukon
Written by Danielle S. Marcotte
Illustrated by Francesca Da Sacco
Vidacom Publications

Kung Pow Chicken : Let’s get cracking!
Written Cyndi Marko

Big Blue forever
Written by Anita Miettunen
Red Deer Press

Stepping stones: a refugee family’s journey
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr
Orca Books

Dipnetting with Dad
Written by Willie Sellars
Illustrated by Kevin Easthope
Caitlin Press

The most magnificent thing
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press

Different? Same!
Written by Heather Tekavec
Illustrated by Pippa Curnick
Kids Can Press

The duck says
Written by Troy Wilson
Illustrated by Mike Boldt
North Winds Press (Scholastic)

Liam takes a stand
Written by Troy Wilson
Illustrated by Josh Holinaty
Owlkids Books

If I had a gryphon
Written by Vikki VanSickle
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
Tundra Books

Congratulations to our finalists and to the BC writers and illustrators whose books will be featured on Vancouver city lamp posts in the Reading Lights project in early 2018.

— Gillian Guilmant-Smith

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Word Vancouver festival – Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Inspiring Words. A free festival of reading and writing.

Between September 19 and 24 (six days!), a multitude of free reading and writing activities will take place at various locations and are all part of the Word Vancouver festival.

The big festival day happens on September 24 in and around the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library (350 W Georgia St.). From 11 am – 5 pm, take in free readings, panel discussions, writing workshops, site performers, family activities, an exhibitor marketplace, and more. Canadian authors, as well as book, magazine, comics, education, and literacy exhibitors will gather to celebrate our region’s thriving literature and literacy communities. Activities and fun for all ages!

CWILL BC will be there! Join our panel – Getting Started: Children’s Writers and Illustrators Discuss Getting Published with Linda DeMeulemeester, Rachelle Delaney, Anita Miettunen, Beryl Young, Lee Edward Fodi, and Lori Sherritt-Fleming – 11 am at The Quay. Don’t miss CWILL’s table at Imagination Island and readings by children’s authors Dan Bar-el and Mahtab Narsimhan!


This year, look forward to approximately 100 readings and presentations, 150 authors and panelists, 25 workshops, and 75 exhibitors. Festival day on Sunday will include 9 venues!

Sunday highlights include: Site activities such as an interactive Buddha Board installation; Circus Lab — roving characters unicycling or performing other acrobatic feats; a Fairy Tale Scavenger Hunt for families; and, much more!

Community Garden and Suspension Bridgefiction and non-fiction readings, includes: fiction authors Ahmad Danny Ramadan, Sheena Kamal, Janie Chang, Robyn Harding, Tim Bowling, Daniel Zomparelli, Dina Del Bucchia, and Bridget Canning (all the way from Newfoundland!); fitness/lifestyle presentations from Louise Green (author of Big Fit Girl) and Manda Aufochs Gillespie (author of Green Mama-to-Be); several books about Vancouver —  Blood, Sweat, and Fear by Eve Lazarus, The Last Gang in Town by Aaron Chapman, City on Edge by Kate Bird; All the World’s a Stage (about Bard on the Beach) by Jayne Seagrave; Dirty Windshields by Grant Lawrence, The Georgia Straight by Doug Sarti and Dan McLeod (Doug Sarti will appear), and The White Angel by John MacLachlan Gray (a fictional telling of the Janet Smith murder); and, comics presentations that include Katherine Collins and a panel on Vancouver Comics History presented by Cloudscape Comics.

Perpective Point, Port of View, and The Moatworkshops and panels, includes: “Playwriting Exploration” with Hiro Kanagawa and Ryon Holmedal; “Mini–Manuscript Consults” presented by SFU’s The Writer’s Studio and  Blue Pencil Sessions presented by Editors British Columbia; “Feeling a Little Mixed—or—Do I Have a Story to Tell You?” (workshop) with Jónína Kirton; “Local Authors, Local Settings—Mysteries Set in BC” panel; “Getting Started: Children’s Writers and Illustrators Discuss Getting Published” panel; and, “Embracing Change: The Evolution of Room Magazine” panel.

Sunrise Suite and the CUPE Stagepoetry, includes readings and performances by: Chelene Knight, Heidi Greco, Emma Field and Spillious (Vancouver Poetry House), Sheri-D Wilson, Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Shaun Robinson, Stephen Collis, and many more!

Imagination Island and The Quay Readings by Nicola I. Campbell, Dan Bar-el, and Mahtab Narsimhan; and, a photo wall and bubble station, bookmark making and a book coin toss!

From Tuesday to Saturday, experience free author readings, events, and professional development workshops at venues around Vancouver, such as “An Evening of Japanese Poetic Forms: From the Tokaido Road to the World Stage” at Historic Joy Kogawa House. (detailed listings below)

In 2017, Word Vancouver features Read Local events programmed by the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia; these include Poetry in Transit, readings by poets whose work will be featured on transit buses in the coming year, as well as readings by several BC-published children’s authors.

WORD VANCOUVER — September 19-24, 2017, Various locations

Tuesday, September 19:
6:30 pm: Banyen Books & Sound (3608 W 4th Ave.) — Decade of Discovery — with authors Shahla & Peter Nygaard
6:30 pm: VPL Brittania Branch, Gallery Room (1661 Napier St.) — Pandora’s Collective & VPL Brittania Branch present Poetic Pairings — with Jónína Kirton and Sho Wiley, Elee Kraljii Gardiner and RC Weslowski, Bonnie Nish and Angela Rebrec, Cynthia Sharp and Timothy Shay, Chelsea Comeau and Lara Varesi

Wednesday, September 20:
6:30 pm: Banyen Books & Sound (3608 W 4th Ave.) — Meet Me In Hard-to-Love Places — with author Eric Bowers
7:00 pm: The Cottage Bistro (4468 Main St.) — Pandora’s Collective presents Twisted Poets Literary Salon — with Theresa Kishkan, Dan MacIsaac, and Arleen Paré

Thursday, September 21:
7:00 pm: Banyen Books & Sound (3608 W 4th Ave.) — The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth — with contributors Azmina Kassam and Meharoona Ghani
7:00 pm: VPL nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch (730 East Hastings St.) — “Finding, Hiring, and Working with a Freelance Editor” (workshop)

Friday, September 22:
6:30 pm: Christianne’s Lyceum (3696 West 8th Ave.) — “Heroics and Heart” (readings & craft activity)
7:30 pm: Historic Joy Kogawa House (1450 West 64th Ave.) — “An Evening of Japanese Poetic Forms: From the Tokaido Road to the World Stage” (readings, discussion & workshop)

Saturday, September 23:
9:00 am: PNE Forum (2901 East Hastings St.) — INSPIRED Senior Living Magazine presents “55+ Lifestyle Show” (entertainment and seminars)
11:00 am: ArtStarts Gallery (808 Richards St.) — A fun workshop to explore the idea of written, spoken, and gestured words through creative art forms! (workshop)
11:00 am: Carnegie Centre (401 Main St.) — “Write a Book and Get Published” (workshop)
12:00 pm: Carnegie Centre (401 Main St.) — “Type Up!” — Volunteers will be on hand to type up written work
2:30 pm: Carnegie Centre (401 Main St.) — “Note to Self: Therapeutic Writing for Writers” (workshop)

Sunday Sept. 24, 11 am-5 pm: Library Square (in and around VPL Central Branch, 350 W Georgia St.): Festival day! Readings, panel discussions, workshops, entertainment, a marketplace, and more!


Full program details via issuu:

Admission: Free

— Karen Green, Rebus Creative

Posted in activites for teens, activities for kids, books/writing, CWILL BC news & events, festivals, latest news, literary events, presentations, readings | Tagged | Leave a comment

Reading: Big Blue Forever – September 16th, 2017

Anita Miettunen will be at UBC Bookstore reading from her new kids book, Big Blue Forever: The Story of Canada’s Largest Blue Whale Skeleton:

Date & Time:  Saturday, September 16 from 1:00 to 1:30 pm
Location:  UBC Bookstore, 6200 University Blvd. (New Releases section)

This FREE family-friendly event is part of the UBC Homecoming/Alumni weekend celebrations. Books will be available for signing. Q&A interaction is most welcome.

While you’re at UBC, you can visit Big Blue at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Vancouver’s natural history museum, 2212 Main Mall.

A portion of the royalties from sales of this book will be donated to support biodiversity-related education, research, and conservation initiatives.

— Anita Miettunen

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Fields of Gold Beneath Prairie Skies – September 13th, 2017

Come join Suzanne de Montigny and friends for an evening of reading and music (and a gift) at the launch of her latest teen novel, Fields of Gold Beneath Prairie Skies — based on a true story.

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
7:00 – 10:00 pm

Cottage Bistro
4468 Main Street, Vancouver, BC

To register for this free event, please visit:

“French-Canadian soldier, Napoleon, proposes to Lea during WWI, promising golden fields of wheat as far as the eye can see. After the armistice, he sends money for her passage, and she journeys far from her family and the conveniences of a modern country to join him on a homestead in Saskatchewan. There, she works hard to build their dream of a prospering farm, clearing fields alongside her husband through several pregnancies and even after suffering a terrible loss. When the stock market crashes in ’29, the prairies are stricken by a long and abysmal drought. Thrown into poverty, she struggles to survive in a world where work is scarce, death is abundant, and hope dwindles. Will she and her family survive the Great Depression?”

— Suzanne de Montigny

Posted in activites for teens, book launches, CWILL BC news & events, latest news, literary events, new publications, young adult literature | Tagged | 1 Comment

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.


Posted in activities for kids, book launches, CWILL BC news & events, literary events | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in contests, CWILL BC news & events, literacy | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments