Students’ and my take—make that double-take—on the doppelgänger

Author, teacher, school visit

  The following post is written by Melanie Jackson, author of Death Drop.   Everyone has one. That not-quite-double, that other self. A nicer other self, or a more sinister one. Possibly a deadly one. I’ve been exploring the idea of the doppelgänger with three classes of Grade 8 Creative Writing students at Vancouver’s Lord Byng Secondary. It’s part of a mystery unit I’m delighted to be teaching, with the help, advice, brilliant comments and unwavering cup-of-tea support of Byng teacher and English Department head Amy Hughes. We’re studying the doppelgänger as portrayed in a […]






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The Unnatural Selections Drawing Game

Unnatural Selections Blog Collage 2

Have you ever seen a Hawkodile? Or a Toraffe? What about a Cowaconda? All of these creatures (and more) can be found roaming through the imaginative universe of Unnatural Selections, a picture book by artist Wallace Edwards. To create this book, Professor I.B. Doodling, a traveling artist, took suggestions from schoolchildren to create fantastical hybrid animals. The result is a collection of magnificent beasts that are sure to inspire the imagination. Since your students or children will be full of creative energy after reading Unnatural Selections, here is a simple drawing activity that pairs perfectly […]






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5 books for Earth Day!

Footprints, Orca Footprints, Earth Day, Smart Reading, Environmentalism, Make a differece, what matters, nonfiction, fiction, picture book

Happy Earth Day, readers! Every little thing matters (as we learn in the playful picture book featured below). So let’s get into the green, planet-saving mode with some of our favorite earth-related books!   1. What Matters by Alison Hughes and Illustrated by Holly Hatam What happens when one small boy picks up one small piece of litter? He doesn’t know it, but his tiny act has big consequences. From the miniscule to the universal, What Matters sensitively explores nature’s connections and traces the ripple effects of one child’s good deed to show how we […]






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Why I Do Author Visits

Judith Graves 2

The following post is written by author Judith Graves. I love doing author visits to schools and public libraries. They are the highlight of my writing life. Usually, my writing days consist of hours sitting at my desk, typing on my laptop or reading through research materials. I may or may not still be in my flannel PJs. I might consume a few pots of coffee. And certainly I’d make time to hang out with my three crazy dogs. These are hard-working days. They’re fun at times and frustrating at others—especially if my characters aren’t […]






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We’re going on a word hunt

We’re going on a word hunt, (we’re going on a word hunt,) We’re going to find some big ones, (we’re going to find some big ones,) I’m not afraid! (I’m not afraid!) This song puts me in mind of summer nights around the campfire after the final s’more has been eaten, when it’s time for scary stories and songs. But we have a twist on it for you today, instead of a bear hunt, we’re going on a word hunt!! We hope this exercise gets kids reading, and gets them to have fun while they’re […]






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World Water Day

Every Last Drop by Michelle Mulder

      By 2040, as a result of climate change, one in four children will have extremely limited access to water. On World Water Day, it’s important to learn about water, the challenges we currently face with it and what we need to change for the future. Climate change is a big topic to cover with your kids. To help, we have some books to help introduce it, and to help you talk about it. Every Last Drop Michelle Mulder In the developed world, if you want a drink of water you just turn […]






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