The Wall–Revisited

A few winters back while driving through Aylesford I stopped at The Wall and snapped some photos. I posted them here.

As you well know snapping photos along side a Nova Scotia road in winter doesn’t make for such wonderful photos, not when there are dirty snow banks in the way. But I promised myself I’d return one day and get some better shots. Today seemed like a good day to share the photos what with the weather we’re experiencing. I hope everyone on the East Coast is staying safe and warm today.

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How’s that for taking a dull ordinary wall and turning into a thing of beauty? I think artist Larry Lee deserves a huge big thank you!

And since it’s January 27th I want to give a shout out for Family Literacy Day here in Canada. We all know how important literacy is! The experts say even 15 minutes a day can improve a child’s literacy skills dramatically and help parents improve their skills as well. So, with the weather being what it is, today seems like a great day to start flexing those literacy muscles.

What are your plans for Family Literacy Day other than staying in out of the storm?

Gratitude

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” ~Cynthia Ozick

Today, the key word seems to be gratitude, gratitude for all the good things that are, that were, or will be. I’m sure every day we can find something to be grateful for, but do we always take the time to be aware of the good things in our lives? I hope so..

A lovely thank you card from the Homeschoolers group I read to last Friday arrived in the mail today. What a lovely added bonus to my day! It made me smile.

Today I’m over at Reading Recommendation. If you haven’t checked out Susan Toy’s site before you might want to give it a try. Hey, and you’ll even see yours truly. Find out how we connected years ago without my even knowing. Cool!

Earlier this week I had coffee with Jan Coates. We had some catching up to do as it had been awhile since we’d chatted. Jan’s new picture book “The King of Keji” is scheduled for release this spring. It’s in the spring Nimbus catalogue already! You can check it out HERE.I know some of you from Facebook have already seen it.

I also want to mention that Family Literacy Day is on January 27th. For those of you who need a gentle reminder:

Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

I don’t have to mention how important literacy is to us all, especially to the new generation growing up.

Lastly, since I began this post with gratitude, I want to give a shout out to those of you who follow my blog. I appreciate you signing up! I wrote a blog post back in December about Supporting Your Author Friend and things went a little crazy here for a day or so. So, thank you! Also, a big thank you to those of you who recently joined my Facebook page. Well, not just those who recently joined. Whether you joined in the beginning or just recently, I appreciate all of you. Oh, you know what I mean! Saying thank you is something that often gets overlooked and something we kind of take for granted. I don’t want to take any of you for granted. I happen to think thank you are two words that should be said every day. Gratitude should not only thought about but expressed.

So, since I’m ending on a note of gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life, maybe you’d like to share something that you’re grateful for with the rest of us.

Dear Life—It’s Family Literacy day

Today is Family Literacy Day in Canada.   This year, ABC Life Literacy Canada   is encouraging families to take time each day to have “15 Minutes of Fun”.   “Time spent following a new recipe, playing a game, or reading a story together can focus on learning in a fun way. These teachable moments at home help children learn listening skills and language skills, and develop their imaginations and creativity — and are also opportunities for adults to practice their skills to keep them sharp.”  Now that doesn’t sound too hard.  It actually sounds like a lot of fun!  If you’d like to find out more click on the Family Literacy Day link above.

13530981Today, I started reading Dear Life by Alice Munro. It was a Christmas gift from my mum. I received two books for Christmas this year and have already  read the first one. I sometimes forget that once upon a time I wrote fiction for adults, so receiving these books  was a good reminder for me.

In the beginning, I started out by writing short stories, something that I absolutely loved. Along the way, my writing seemed to fit a younger audience (although there are some adults who would disagree with that statement as they seem to enjoy my stories.) But I’m not ready to turn my back on my adult fiction writing. The truth is, I hate categorizing my writing. I know, that’s a bit impractical. I much prefer thinking of myself as a writer of stories. Sometimes those stories will have kids as  a main character, and sometimes they won’t. *sigh*

But writers aren’t just writers, we’re also readers. ( That’s why things like Family Literacy day make us almost giddy. ) Most of us tend to read in the genre we write and, if we don’t, we should. I can’t stress how important that is. I’ve had people ask me how I have time to read so much, but the truth is writers have to make the time.  You can’t have one without the other. I promise. My time reading is not wasted. 🙂

I’ve made a commitment, to myself, to read more adult fiction in 2014 as I seem to have been focusing on books for young people. Truthfully, I like both. But at the moment it’s important for me to balance my reading a bit better than I have in the past.

In celebration of Family Literacy Day  I hope you’ll find that “15 Minutes of Fun” with your family. Remember, it’s not just for one day.

I’m open to suggestions for great reads in 2014. Let me know what you’re reading. You are reading something, right? I mean, it is Family Literacy Day.

It’s That Time Again

“No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy.” 

– Los Angeles Times, “A Child Literacy Initiative for the Greater Los Angeles Area”

Family Literacy Day here in Canada is on January 27th.  It’s a day set aside to remind us all about the importance of literacy, and to help promote reading. It’s a time for family, and reading, and anything regarding the written word. You can find out more about Family Literacy Day by checking out the ABC Life Literacy  Canada Site.

In honour of Family Literacy Day I thought it would be fun to give a shout-out to some great Canadian books enjoyable to those of us who are young at heart.

51UHUD2iHkL._SL500_AA300_How To Tend A Grave. I’m currently reading Jocelyn’s book. Seriously enjoying this read. Here’s the backcover blurb.

When Liam’s mom dies, he thinks life can’t get any worse. He’s wrong. Forced to live with a grandfather he’s never known, in a small town where Youth and Crime are king and queen of a hick-town gang, Liam only wants to be left alone. Not easy, considering the gang’s favourite hangout is the cemetery where his mom is buried. A popular place, this cemetery, as there he meets Harmony, a gorgeous but unusual girl who records the names of all the babies buried there long ago. Like Liam, she has a secret. The very different stories of these two grieving fifteen-year-olds interweave brilliantly in this fast-paced, engaging and unforgettable book about family, love and healing.

Amanda in England: The Missing Novel– This book by blogging buddy, Darlene Foster, is one in a series of books aimed at kids from 8-12.  Amanda in Arab :The 31cqxPKolDL._AA160_Perfume Flask is the first in this charming series of books about Amanda and her best friend, Leah. Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting was published in 2011. There’s lots of travel in these books and plenty of adventure.  If you’re into series you might want to give this one a try.

 

Amanda Ross is visiting England and taking in all the sights. She gets lost in the maze at Hampton Court, does some shopping at Harrods, meets the ravens in the Tower of London, explores Windsor Castle, and rides the London Eye. When she discovers a vintage book is missing from a collection, she is determined to find out who stole it. Amanda befriends a pair of tough teenagers from the streets of London, an elderly bookshop owner, and a big, friendly, clever, Maine Coon cat named Rupert. Follow Amanda through cobblestone streets, medieval castles, and underground tunnels in her quest to find the missing novel!
41ErVLb6JgL._AA160_I met Sylvia Gunnery last spring at the Bridgewater Library when she launched her new YA book, Emily for Real. It’s always nice to give a shout out to a local author. Here’s the description from Amazon. ca . Seventeen-year-old Emily’s world crumbles when her boyfriend dumps her, and when she thinks her life can’t possibly get any worse, a series of secrets are revealed that threaten to tear her beloved family apart. Emily’s heart has been broken into a hundred pieces and she feels like there is no one to turn to, until an unexpected friendship blossoms with a troubled classmate named Leo.
Maxed Out is Daphne Greer’s first book is part of the Orca Currents series. Daphne and I met at the 51vp6OkWyWL._AA160_launch for A Maritime Christmas in 2008. Here’s a description for Maxed Out.
More than anything, twelve-year-old Max wants to play hockey like he used to. But since the death of his dad, his mom does more crying than mothering, and Max has to take his special-needs brother, Duncan, with him everywhere he goes. The team needs Max to win the upcoming game against the Red Eagles, but one practice with Duncan makes it evident that it’s not safe to leave him unattended on the sidelines. With only a week to figure out how he can play in the big game, Max is feeling the pressure. Will he find a way to be a good teammate, a good brother and a good son, or is it too much for one kid?
51ZlnwRkaVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_Last but not least, Stolen Child by  Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. I read this book a few years back and really enjoyed it.
Stolen from her family by the Nazis, Nadia is a young girl who tries to make sense of her confusing memories and haunting dreams. Bit by bit she starts to uncover the truth—that the German family she grew up with, the woman who calls herself Nadia’s mother, are not who they say they are.Beyond her privileged German childhood, Nadia unearths memories of a woman singing her a lullaby, while the taste of gingersnap cookies brings her back to a strangely familiar, yet unknown, past. Piece by piece, Nadia comes to realize who her real family was. But where are they now? What became of them? And what is her real name?
So there are five books for young adults I’m passing along, but really they can be read and enjoyed by any age. I hope you find a way to celebrate this important day. The written word is all around. Reading should be as natural as eating and breathing. For some of us it is. Hopefully there will come a time when  illiteracy will be a thing of the past.
Happy Family Literacy Day ! Now go read something.

Family Literacy Day—January 27th

This coming Friday is Family Literacy Day in Canada.

So what is Family Literacy Day all about? Well, it was created back in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada and is held every year on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. The idea is for parents to take an active role in helping to strengthen the reading and writing skills of all family members. It’s a great idea!  I’m not sure if there is any such program in other countries, but we hear plenty about it here in Canada.

In celebration of Family Literacy Day, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in Toronto comprised a list a few weeks back consisting of 25 picture books and 25 works of fiction that “share in the joys (and struggles) of families of all sizes and combinations.” What was particularly nice about this, for me, was that Bitter, Sweet was included in this list. Feels kind of good to be a part of this especially since we’re talking about a subject that is near and dear to every writer’s heart.. Here’s the link if you’re interested in checking out all the great Canadian books on the list.

I think what’s important for us to understand about literacy is that creating a home environment where reading and writing is a priority doesn’t necessarily take oodles of time. I’m told that even fifteen minutes a day, reading, writing, playing a game, following a recipe or even singing a song will help to strengthen your family’s literacy skills. I know many of us are busy, especially those of us who work full time. One thing I found that worked well, when I was really busy after a day’s work, was to have my kids read to me while I prepared supper or did other chores in the kitchen. It was lots of fun when they were first learning to read. Reading was always an important part of our day, and while I can’t imagine a day going by without reading something, I know this isn’t the case in all families. So anything that helps raise awareness for this worthy cause if okay by me.

So even if you don’t celebrate Family Literacy Day where you live, perhaps you can help do something wherever you are to bring awareness to the importance of reading and writing in our every day lives.

Family Literacy Day: What Are You Going To Do About It?

When asked what the best way to encourage our kids to read, I recall one author’s response was to have lots of good books in the home.

While it’s certainly important to have books visible in the home, my answer would have also included the importance of reading to our kids at an early age. Not only do we need to start reading to them early on, they also need to see us reading.

How can we possible expect our kids to be reading it we aren’t?
Kids learn from example. We all know that!

January 27th is Family Literacy Day here in Canada. Family Literacy Day means that as parents we need to encourage the reading and writing skills of all the members in the family. That doesn’t just mean kids but ALL family members. Yup! That’s me and you!

How early is too early to start reading to our kids?

My daughter has been reading to Miss Charlotte for months now. At eight months she was already able to pick out the bunny on each page of her, “I Am A Bunny” book. When she came to visit in December there was no denying the delight she experienced the moment one of her baby books was opened.

While I’m as proud as the next grandma, I’m inclined to believe that this doesn’t simply show Miss Charlotte’s genius, but rather shows that starting early is the key. So young moms remember, it’s never too early to start. Make it something you do every day. Make reading as natural as eating and breathing. It’s something you’ll never regret.

The theme for 2011 is “Play for Literacy,” –that means board games, card games, word games—you get the picture. Find a fun activity. Make it enjoyable. Read a book, play a board game, but do something. And don’t just do it one day, make it an every day activity. Make it fun!

What are you going to do for Family Literacy Day?

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