Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Return to the Market

The Market Wedding (with art by Regolo Ricci) was my second picture book, an adaptation of Abraham Cahan's short story "The Ghetto Wedding." My version takes place in Toronto's Kensington Market and to celebrate the new edition from Groundwood Books we took a little walking tour of the market. Here you can see a photograph of the Kiever Synagogue, model for the one in the book. The tour can be found on Groundwood's blog at

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

'Show to End all Shows' on CTV News

Sean Wilson of the Ottawa Writer's Festival has named "The Show to End all Shows," book two of Master Melville's Medicine Show, as a Best Read of the Season. "Fantastic writing. His children's books are so engaging, so beautiful, so wonderful." *** You can watch it here:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vicky Metcalf Award

I was thrilled and honoured to be this year's recipient of the Vicky Metcalf Award for Young People. The event, at the Glenn Gould Theatre, was lovely and I had a chance to talk with some writers I hadn't before--especially Miriam Toews, Ken Babstock, and Tyler Keevel who came in all the way from Wales. Receiving the award is both a practical and an emotional lift and I am grateful to the Writers Trust, the Metcalf Foundation, the jurors, and everyone else involved. Pictured are (l to r) Joan Clark, Cary Fagan (also winner of the 'baggy pants award'), Miriam Toews, Ken Babstock, Susan Musgrave, and Tyler Keevel.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A new translation

I haven't posted a translation for some time, so here's "Mr. Zinger's Hat" in Korean. There's always something magical about seeing your words in another language.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wilfrid Laurier Common Reading Program chooses "My Life Among the Apes"

It is a great honour to have Wilfrid Laurier University choose my story collection, "My Life Among the Apes" for this year's Common Reading Program. Fifteen hundred copies are being distributed to incoming arts students who are invited to read and talk about the book and use it as a launch pad for all kinds of conversations. I'll be visiting the campus for two days in September to talk, read, give workshops, and meet with students. I'm sure it will be the highlight of the fall for me. So Laurier students, I look forward to meeting you. There's a Facebook page, "Laurier Arts Common Reading," that you can join and post on.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Words and pictures

Here, it is, folks, the book you've been waiting for (you just didn't know it). Enough with those 'talented' artists doing such beautiful artwork in picture books. It's time for the amateurs to step up. And admit it, don't you sometimes want to do something but feel maybe you're just not good enough? If so, it's time for you to read "I Wish I Could Draw." New from Groundwood Books. (Thanks to the website canlitforlittlecanadians for this image of the cover alongside a drawing from the book.)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"My Life Among the Apes" on the Globe and Mail Bestseller list

I was a little surprised to take a sip of coffee, open my Globe and Mail, and see that "My Life Among the Apes" was number 6 on the fiction bestseller list (right above Clive Cussler and a Robert Ludlum "Bourne" book). I was even more surprised to see it as number 1 on the Canadian Fiction list (in much better company--Joseph Boyden, Tom Rachman, Miriam Toews, etc.) And now back to my coffee.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Walk Kensington Market with me on Sunday, June 15 (and get discounted tickets!)

As part of the Luminato Festival, I'll be leading a personal literary walk of Kensington Market. I'll be talking about my own family beginnings in Toronto and the places in the neighbourhood that have appeared in and influenced my novels and children's books. The market is a great place to be on Sunday and I'd love you to join me. It should be a good time. ***With the day almost here, discount tickets are available. My understanding is that you quote the word "middlespace" online to get a $10 discount or you can phone and say the word. Here's the link for information and tickets:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hello Hackmatack

I was very pleased to hear today that 'Danny Who Fell in a Hole' is a nominee for the 2014-15 Hackmatack Award. That ceremony won't happen until next year; the Hackmatack people are just gearing up for the 2013-14 shindig. I know this year's authors (that includes you, Philippa Dowding!) are going to have a great time touring the Maritimes and attending the awards celebration.

Monday, April 28, 2014

I made a movie--sort of...

I was visiting the offices of Groundwood Books today, when Carolyn McNeillie, ace digital marketing manager asked me to draw something for the Groundwood blog to mark the publication of my new picture book, "I Wish I Could Draw." I immediately thought of the flip books I used to make in corners of my notebooks in school. And here is the result. Nicely put together, Carolyn! ***

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mr. Karp a finalist for the Premio Andersen in Italy

I was delighted to hear that the Italian translation of 'Mr. Karp's Last Glass," called 'L'incredible collezione di Mr. Karp,' is a finalist in its age category for the Premio Andersen, Italy's most prestigious children's award. From what I understand, the ceremony will take place in Genoa on May 24. Anyone want to send me?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

And now, to conclude our story: "The Show to End All Shows"

"The Boy in the Box," Book one of "Master Melville's Medicine Show," was published way back in 2012. At last the sequel and conclusion, "The Show to End All Shows," is being released. *** Here's what's going on: "Sullivan is still trapped with the Melville's Medicine Show, along with Esmeralda, Clarence, and Frederick, travelling around the country. But his family has not given up hope, and Jinny and Manny are soon back on the road, picking up the trail of the mysterious caravan..." *** To be released near the end of February, the novel is available for pre-order now. And for those who haven't read the first, the paperback is being released as well. (The last couple of pages of the paper back are a little different from the hardcover, by the way. I restored the end to my original version, which I prefer to the revision that was originally published. However, if you've read the hardcover, don't worry. The difference is more a matter of tone; the events are the same.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Danny Who Fell in a Hole" nominated for Japan's Sakura Medal

How did I find out that "Danny Who Fell in a Hole" was nominated for the Sakura Medal? By receiving an email from fifth and sixth graders at the Tathva International School in Tokyo. Kids enrolled in international schools in Japan (about 15,000 kids) are eligible to vote for the winner. I'm naturally very pleased to hear about it. Read away, international school students!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Picture Book course starts Monday evening, January 27

I'll be teaching my course in writing picture books for the continuing studies department at the University of Toronto again. The time is 6:30 to 9 p.m. and the place is the OISE building at Bloor and St. George.
I always look forward to the interest, enthusiasm, and talent of the participants. Why not join us? ***For more details see: