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Reviews are in!

Reviews are starting to come in for 'Look Where We Live!' and they're good! I specially liked Kirkus. You can see it here:
And the CBC has chosen 'Look Where We Live!' as one of their 15 'kids' books to watch out for' in 2015.
Another book I've just finished is called 'P'ésk'a and The First Salmon Ceremony'.  It's out in the fall. The original name was 'Qwuni and The First Salmon Ceremony' but I found out that Qwuni is the wrong dialect for where my story takes place so it had to be changed. It turned out to be a good thing because P'ésk'a means hummingbird. It's a perfect name for the little boy as he runs through the village, poking his nose into everything. I'm really grateful to the Chief of the Sto'lo nation who was kind enough to give his approval to the book - it means a lot to me. 
So that's the latest news - of course there are the usual possible, probable or potential projects that may (or may not) come through - all part of the ever exciting life of a freelancer!

Posted on 29 Jan 2015 08:17 -  Category: update
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Time flies

Time does fly by.  I'm back from a 2 month work visit to Hawaii which was, as you can imagine, pretty nice.  Although trying to convince people that life carries on, even in Hawaii, is a challenge.  Not that I'm complaining but there are still deadlines and ideas to come up with. But it is nice to be able to jump in the ocean at the end of the day.
Artwork was completed for 'Look Where We Live' (Kids Can Press), a book about what makes community. That's slated for fall of 2015.  You can take a look at it here:
I'm excited to be putting the finishing touches to 'Qwuni and the First Salmon Ceremony' with Groundwood Books.  This has been an rewarding project because I wrote it based on work my nephew has done in the interior of B.C studying the First Nations people there. The story is about life 1000 years ago in the village of Hiqelem.  I hope I've done it justice.  Thanks to the help of Morgan Ritchie and Chief Willie Charlie it will be coming out soon.
And finally, a third book in the works. called 'What's Behind the Walls' (OwlKids Books), is coming along nicely.  The writing is done and that was a bit of a challenge.  It's non-fiction so you need to get your facts straight but I enjoy the research. Next step is doing the artwork - even though it's mostly done on the computer it still has that feeling of throwing all the crayons on the carpet and diving in.
I had a whirlwind visit to my old home town of Toronto where I was able to see all my friends.  I'm always on the fence about whether I should be living in Toronto or staying in Vancouver. Toronto is clearly the middle of the universe for kids publishing but in Vancouver I can walk out my door and see an otter.  Tough choice!
 There's a great new award for young teen writers that will be starting soon too.  Amy Mathers is an inspiring young woman who is reading her way across Canada (metaphorically that is, she was inspired by Terry Fox).  Check out her website for more info.
I keep on forgetting to mention that I also do cartoons - kind of like what the New Yorker used to do…  I've put a bunch up here if you'd like to see them.
Ok, I think that's it for now.  Hope everyone is happy healthy and creating.

Posted on 24 Nov 2014 02:27 -  Category: update
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Berlin June 2014

The good news is I've been so busy I haven't been checking in here. Right now I'm working on 3 books which will be coming-out early next year (2015). These are tentative titles but keep an eye open for The Salmon Ceremony, What's Behind the Walls and Look Where We Live. 
 As for new projects I've come to Berlin to  write a story about a little girl who loves nature so much she wants to bring some home with her.  It's based on my dear friend's little girl so being in the same city has been a real inspiration. It could take place anywhere but I really feel being here has helped create a certain feel for the characters.  I'm being a bit elusive with the details right now until I find out if the story will be accepted by a publisher.  Hopefully next time I write I'll have good news on that front. 
Aside from that I'm having a great time here riding around town on my borrowed bike.  I tell anybody who wants to visit Berlin - get a bike! The transit system is great but so much of the city is bike friendly that it's a good way to get around. It's also mostly flat so not a big challenge. 
 A word of advice, Berliners are not shy on their bikes so you're going to be kept moving pretty fast.  I get the feeling everybody grew up riding. The other strange thing (for a visitor from Vancouver, where bike rules are a bit too strict) is seeing everybody without helmets.  I think it's a great way to go - sure it's a bit more dangerous but people actually ride everywhere. Let the debate begin!  

Posted on 25 Jun 2014 02:27 -  Category: update
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Judge and Peer and GG Awards

   The cat's out of the bag!  I can finally tell a secret that I've had to keep for the last 2 months.  The toughest time being while I was hanging out with publishing friends in Toronto.
    I was very honored to be asked to be a judge for the Governor General's awards in the category of children's illustration 2013.  The finalists have just been announced.
    The biggest reward for me was being sent over 100 children's books to review.  I got  such a great overview of the amazing talent we have in Canada.   And judging comes very naturally to me - being a virgo we're quite happy to criticize.
    The follow up to this is going to be interesting. As an illustrator I have mostly kept to myself - believing, as a creative person, it's best to keep your head down and focus on your own work rather than looking at too much else.  But I have to say this has been so enjoyable to see how other illustrators handle certain subjects or choose to fill up a page. I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up in my work.
    To see the wonderful finalists check out
    Having said how enjoyable it was I also have to say it was a tough gig - deciding which book is better than another is a very arbitrary thing when styles, subjects and moods vary so much. But it is the nature of awards and I am grateful to have been asked to take part. 

Posted on 03 Oct 2013 01:13 -  Category: update
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If you haven't been to Toronto, come visit!  The city is growing so fast and there is a great energy here.  I lived here for 20 years and it's so interesting to come back and see what's changed.
I had a secret mission before coming to Toronto which I can't talk about now but will be sure to ramble on about as soon as I'm able. It sure was fun and a real education.
It's been great catching up with a lot of publisher/friends here in Toronto.  Nothing like meeting for coffee or lunch - face to face.  When you can list 3 different moves that one publishers has made over the years you know you're an old timer.  
Word on the Street is coming up fast and I expect that will be a lot of fun seeing people I've not been able to meet with.
Ok, time to get back to drawing.   All the best,

Posted on 20 Sep 2013 10:07 -  Category: update
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