“Why would you write about bats?”

Bats, Early Reader, Chapter book, Orca Echoes, Author

  The following post is written by Pamela McDowell, author of Bats in Trouble, which will be coming out in Fall 2017.   “There are so many cute animals out there, why would you write about bats?” My mother wasn’t impressed. She has never forgotten her personal bat encounter, when she was nine years old and alone in an outhouse. Some memories are hard to shake. My mom isn’t the only person who asks this question when I mention my next book, Bats in Trouble. First, I have to say that bats are pretty amazing […]






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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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Author Feature: Jeff Szpirglas

Wild Cards by Jeff Szpirglas

Matt loves Monster Zap cards. No, no, Matt LOVES Monster Zap cards. He has Monster Zap toys, reads Monster Zap books and wears Monster Zap underwear. Matt and his friends like to trade the cards at school, as the schoolyard is so empty and dirty, there isn’t much else for them to do at recess. But when kids start fighting over Monster Zap and the cards are banned, Matt realizes that the school has big problems, maybe even bigger problems than the fights the cards caused. With the help of their teacher, and a superhero […]






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We’re Dreaming of Salamanders and Summer

Salamander Rescue by Pamela McDowell and illustrated by Kasia Charko

Winter seems to be sticking around–here on the West Coast we’re up to our ankles in snow (something we’re not used to!). So we’re turning to books about summer to remind us that the cold will end soon.   We’ve got Pamela McDowell‘s Salamander Rescue open right now, reading about Cricket McKay and her animal-saving, environmental-friendly initiatives. Cricket has lived in Waterton all her life, so she is surprised to discover an animal she hasn’t seen before: the long-toed salamander. She finds a band of them migrating from the pond to their hibernation grounds at […]






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Stories Change the World

Natasha Deen‘s books include Burned from Orca’s Retribution series, Sleight of Hand and Across the Floor. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her family. The following is a post written by her. Stories change the world. I’m proof of this. My family immigrated from Guyana, South America to Canada, inspired by stories of what could be accomplished for those who called this land home. And Canada welcomed us with open arms because the old stories—that minorities weren’t worth as much as Caucasians—were no longer valid. Everyone in Canada was of equal value, and all had a right to […]






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Illustrator Feature: Marcus Cutler

Lark Holds the Key by Natasha Deen

#TuesdayTalk with Marcus Cutler. His illustrations can be see in Lark Holds the Key—on shelves now! What are the challenges of illustrating a book that belongs to a series? It’s sooo important to get the main characters right. Lots of sketches and drafts are involved to get the character design just right. When you know they’re going to be drawn again, and again, and again, and again, you don’t want to be regretting a decision you made in the early stages. What was your favorite book as a child? Some of my favorite books were […]






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