Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable Eventu

Future Writers

I haven’t done a ton of school visits lately; just too busy with house renovations, grandchildren and recouping from a knee injury. But, today I enjoyed a lovely visit to Willows, the elementary school that is a few short blocks from home. I had a fabulous time with Ms. Kremler and Ms. Dennison’s grade four students. They had some great ‘what if’ ideas, came up with some pretty amazing metaphors and similes, and had more than a few very astute questions.

Yep, I may just have met a future writer or two today.


I believe that reconciliation is one of the important issues of our times. When they were in school, my children learned of potlatches, but not that potlatches had been banned by our government. Neither they, nor I were aware that their Indigenous counterparts might be forcibly removed from their homes to attend residential schools far from their homes. Our country’s shameful treatment of Indigenous people was simply not common knowledge and most of us were unaware that residential schools were still operating until as recently as 1996. Fortunately, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work, recent curriculum changes, and a wealth of wonderful new titles will change that for my grandchildren’s generation.

Last night, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and the Victoria Public Library hosted Métis writer and storyteller, Monique Gray Smith, who spoke of her own journey of reconciliation. Hers is a powerful voice and I urge everyone, especially educators, caregivers and parents to buy her book.

One of the take-aways from the conversation about reconciliation between broadcaster, Shelagh Rogers and Monique Gray Smith last night was, the author’s advise to “share the medicine of love“. The other came from the Lieutenant Governor of BC, who attended. The Honourable Judith Guichon, who has been active in promoting both literacy and reconciliation, charged listeners with helping to make Canada a better place for all of it’s citizens through actions or what she called “reconciliation.” This may be a painful journey for many of us. Not all of canada’s past is pretty. But, as a country, it is a journey we must make if we are to heal.

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation

I’m looking forward to hearing Monique Gray Smith speak tonight at the Native Friendship Centre. Here is the Victoria Public Library and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre’s write up of the event. I understand that the event is full, but the book is available.

Canada’s relationship with its Indigenous people has suffered as a result of the residential school system and the lack of understanding of the impact of those schools. Through readings and personal stories, author Monique Gray Smith will share her journey toward truth and reconciliation and how that journey led her to write three new books. Her inspiring and thought-provoking words will explore the role each of us can play in healing and repairing the relationship between Canada and Indigenous people, how each of us can be medicine as we lead our nation toward Truth and Reconciliation. Monique Gray Smith is an award-winning author, international speaker and consultant based in Victoria. A mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota and Scottish descent, she is well-known for her storytelling, her spirit of generosity and her ability to fill a room with love. Her book Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation will be released in the fall of 2017. November 7, 6:30-8:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm Victoria Native Friendship Centre, 231 Regina Ave. Parking is limited so please consider carpooling or using public transit.

Book sales provided by Munro’s Books.

The Victoria Native Friendship Centre and GVPL proudly present the final event in our four-part series Reconciliation: Opening the Door to Conversations to inspire community conversations around revitalizing relationships with Indigenous peoples and Canadian society.

This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Victoria Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast. Victoria Native Friendship Centre, 231 Regina Ave.

Immigrant Stories

Do you know an immigrant with a story to share? This sounds like a fabulous project, so please pass it on to Vancouver of near Vancouver friends or colleagues who might be interested.

Book Launch

If you happen to be in downtown Victoria on Sunday November 26th, drop into Munro’s to find out about Julie Lawson’s latest book.

Psst…I hear there will be 🍰

Island in the Salish Sea

Just got the word that the copy editing for Island in the Salish Sea is complete. It’s my next picture book with Orca Book Publishers, and it’s due to be released in September of next year. Can’t wait to see the illustrations by the talented Leslie Redhead. Island in the Salish Sea will be her first, and my 16th book.

Happy Hallowe’en

Word History

If you’re a word nerd like me, you’ll love Merriam-Webster’s word history site. I found out all sorts of interesting things like, words that came into use the year I was born…hallucinogen, double helix, and solar battery, words from the year I graduated high school…slam dunk, slo-mo, and sound-bite.

And, if you’re an historical fiction writer, this site will help you from using historically inappropriate words.

Thanks to Laurie Wallmark for the heads up. This was just too good not to pass on.

writing workshop on a budget

A wonderful morning spent at Kelset School…

I was invited to offer a writing workshop for grades 4 & 5 at Kelset School in Saanich. What a lovely and creative group of students.  The premise was that I would work with a small group of students who were keen writers. After the workshop, these same students would share their experiences and learning with other students who had not attended. What a great idea, and a good way to stretch presentation dollars. And, the students who participated consolidate writing skills by passing on what they learned to others. The wonderful teacher-librarian, Julie McManus, her tech extraordinare, and the Sidney and Peninsula Literary Festival who generously sponsored this event.

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