Dragon boating for MS

Gorgeous day for dragon boat sprints.  Part of our team joined with another from our club that needed extras.  We didn’t have any on the water practice time, but we won one of our three races…not bad for the first race day of the season.  Here’s a picture taken by one of our team members.  The sun is shining, the sky and water are blue, and everyone was smiling.  A great day, especially considering that  we were fundraising for MS.  Don’t know what the total was, but every bit helps.

Dragon Boat Super Sprints…come watch

If you are in Victoria this weekend and you love dragon boat racing, come cheer us on at the Gorge Super Sprints.  We are the VCKC United Dragon Boat Team.  It’s  a fundraiser for the MS Society, so don’t forget your wallets!

Storyteller, Bernice Gei-Ying in Victoria for Children’s Bookweek

Canadian Children’s Book Week

Touring Storyteller Bernice Gei-Ying

Monday May 7th, 7:30 pm
at the Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable

Bernice Gei-Ying’s traditional Chinese tales are popular with children and adults alike. Bernice tells spellbinding stories by Canadian author Paul Yee, as well as stories created from her own imagination. Sponsored by Canada Council for the Arts.

For more information about Book Week, visit www.bookweek.ca/book-week/2012.

Please bring lightly used children’s picture books to donate to “1000X5” Children’s Book Recycling Project.

The VCLR is open to the public. Members free, drop-ins $5, students $4. Meetings are held at the Nellie McClung Branch Library, 3950 Cedar Hill Road. Come early and browse Cadboro Bay Books’ table, and bring a friend! Doors open at 7 pm.
For more information about the Roundtable, call 250-598-3694, find us on Facebook, or visit:

Kiva and micro loans

Sometimes I get tired of being inundated for donations.  I know you must feel the same way.  The problem is, I don’t really have a lot of spare cash to donate, and I suspect that you don’t either.  But, what about a loan?  In fact, what about a micro loan?  You may not have heard of micro loans, but they are a way that you and I can make a difference.  

Kiva is an organization that believes in people.  One of my daughters turned me onto them, and a writer friend reminded me how important micro loans are to so many. According to their website, Kiva is “a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.”  Yep, you read that right. $25 dollars.  Not only that, but once the $25 you loan gets repaid, you can reloan it.

It’s amazing how far your small loan can go to help hard-working people help themselves.

Kony 2012

I’ve talked to you, my readers before about making a difference. I’ve talked about the importance of reading to your children and of sharing books with strangers. I’ve talked to you about the importance of making your voice heard and of voting.  I’ve talked to you about brave kids who have shared their pain about being bullied and recently about a 17 year old girl who stared a petition against “R” rating a film about bullying which prevents kids from seeing it.  Now I want to talk to you about another way that you can make a difference.

Some of you may not know about the child soldiers of Uganda or the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Some of you may not be aware that a terrible man by the name of Joseph Kony has been abducting children for more than 20 years, turning the boys into his personal army, and making the girls into sex slaves.  Kony has no religious or political agenda other than personal power.  He’s number one of the Hague’s list of war criminals around the world.  Thus far he’s evaded capture.  But, with your help, 2012 is the year that Kony will be brought to justice.  One of the reason he’s evaded capture is that few (aside from those impacted) know about him, and those who do have little power. A group of storytellers began a group called Invisible Children  to change that.  You can help.

Watch this film “Kony 2012” and you will see how your peaceful participation can make the biggest difference of all. Every child deserves to feel safe, no matter where in the world they were born.

Watch ‘Bully’ Trailer and Sign the Petition

Watch ‘Bully’ Trailer and Sign the Petition.  This is really important.  A film about bullying has been given an R restriction meaning no one under seventeen can see it without an adult. That means it can’t be shown in schools where it is  most needed.  Ludicrous!  And it’s all because of some language in the film, language that we know kids are familiar with anyways!

Pay it Forward – Global Book Reading Flash Mob

On March 28, 2012 at 4pm in your timezone, pay it forward. Join the Pay it Forward – Global Book Reading Flash Mob 2012. It doesn’t matter where you are on the planet, share a book that made a difference in your life.

Join us on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/events/209813335773322/to find out your nearest location.
Have you ever read a book that inspired you?
Read a book that brought tears to your eyes?
Read a book that got you to take action
Read a book that turned your life inside out?
Have you ever given someone a gift?
Someone you don’t know?
For no reason but to inspire them?
And just to PAY IT FORWARD?
Well. Here’s your chance.
Join us on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/events/209813335773322/

Writing Contest

Heads up to all you wanna be kid’s book writers.

Here’s an Island writing contest aimed at producing a book of illustrated stories for 9-12 year olds while benefiting The Old School House Arts Centre (T.O.S.H.) in Qualicum Beach, British Columbia.

Stories should be unpublished and in the 1500 word range.  The entrance fee is $10 with the best story taking home a $200 prize. The top ten stories will be published and illustrated by artists-in-residence of T.O.S.H. The profits from the sale of the book will go to support the non-profit arts centre.

Thanks to my colleague Jocelyn Shipley for passing this on. Do be sure to check out her site and her work.


Laptops for Liberians

There are lots of great projects that need funding, but one that I really support is CODE Canada’s work to encourage and assist the publication of books in third world countries.  Imagine a child living in a third world country trying to make sense of books about kids living in New York, or Iowa, or Whitehorse. Now imagine that you have to learn another language to even read them!  That’s what it’s like for a child living in Kenya or Tanzania or Ethiopia or Liberia.  Now imagine being able to read a book by a writer from your own country, a book in your own language, a book about your world. This is  what CODE is trying to achieve…and it can, with your help.  

I know, I know. If you’re anything like me, your donation dollars are already stretched to the max.  But wait. There is another way to help. And it doesn’t involve your pocketbook, or even much of your time!

If you have an old laptop in the closet collecting dust, please consider donating it to assist a Liberian writer.  Yep, it’s that easy.

Contact Kathy Stinson.  She will be working with CODE to get your old laptops into the hands of writers and illustrators who need them most.

So, if have an old laptop in the closet collecting dust,  here’s your chance to give it to someone who will put it to good use.

Don’t delay.  Contact Kathy today.

Tell American Television Networks That They’re Wrong

Shame on American television networks who don’t believe that the winners of the most prestigious children’s book awards in the U.S. are newsworthy.  This is the second year that the major networks have declined to carry segments with the Caldecott or Newbery Award winners despite ALA’s media staff’s outreach efforts.  No wonder reading is on the decline.  Kids are being told in all sorts of subtle and not so subtle ways that books, even award-winning books, don’t have value.

Now if every one of you who does value kid’s books and reading were to write to the major television networks to tell them otherwise, there is no telling what might happen…

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