Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Grade One Book Giveaway Tour

At this very moment I'm travelling across the country with illustrator Dusan Petricic to celebrate the TD Grade One Book Giveaway program. Over 500,000 copies of "Mr. Zinger's Hat" are being distributed to every grade one student in the entire country. We've been to St. John's, Newfoundland and Halifax, Nova Scotia and we're on our way to Charlottetown, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. Thanks to everyone involved for making this happen.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Come say hi at the Toronto Word on the Street

In case you haven't heard, Word on the Street is going to be at the Harbourfront Centre this year--on Sunday, Sept. 27. It should be a lot of fun. I'm going to be at the TD Children's Literature Tent at 12:50 p.m. I'll be reading "Mr. Zinger's Hat" in celebration of the TD Grade One Book Giveway. (This fall every grade one student in the country will be given a copy of the book--that's 600,000 copies.) It's my understanding that there will be free copies of the book available, so come get one!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

'The Show to End All Shows' a finalist for the John Spray Mystery Award

Awfully nice to learn this morning that The Show to End all Shows is up for the John Spray Mystery Award, administered by the Canadian Children's Book Centre. The novel is the sequel and conclusion to "Master Melville's Medicine Show,"
the story that began with The Boy in the Box. The winner will be announced at the centre's big do on November 18, but in the meantime I look forward to digging into the books of some of the other finalists.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Three new e-books

Quite some time ago I started Big Wheel Books to publish e-books of some of my earlier titles. (You can read more about it on my site,, including a description of how I went about it.) Three new titles have just been added, and are available for Kindle, Kobo, other readers, and your laptop or tablet. Once again, I've priced them at only $4.99 each (or less) so you can read them over a glass of something nice. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

100 Best Canadian Children's Books of All Time

Today's Parent magazine has just published their list of the "100 Best Canadian Kids Books of All Time." I was pretty pleased to see my own Mr. Zinger's Hat on it. I'm going to read some of the books that I'm unfamiliar with.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hello, Saskatchewan!

I'm very excited to be heading to Saskatchewan tomorrow for a Children's Book Week tour of Saskatoon and surroundings. I'll by driving myself for the first few days and hope to get a better sense of the landscape which made such a striking impression on me when I drove through the province some thirty years ago. I'm especially looking forward to Prince Albert National Park, where I plan to go on Sunday before the tour begins. And then it's on to Prince Albert, Nipawin, Melfort, Lake Lenore, Saskatoon, Langham, North Battleford, and Meadow Lake. How great is that? It'll be a treat to meet all the kids, teachers, and librarians along the way.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Goodbye to Descant

Descant was one of the first literary journals I discovered when I was eighteen years old. I found it on the magazine rack in the old Yorkville Book Cellar and I marvelled at its handsome appearance and the exciting fiction and poetry inside. And when I was twenty it was the first journal to accept a story of mine; reading that acceptance letter was a thrilling experience. (My story was, not inappropriately, a satire on getting rejected, and I still remember the editor writing, "Yes, yes, yes, yes....") The journal has long been a great booster of new and young writers and it's a genuine loss to have its run end after 45 years. I'm going to drop in on the farewell celebration, tonight starting at 7 p.m. at Revival on College St. here in Toronto. I want to give editor Karen Mulhallen a hug and a thank-you. And a thanks to all the editors and staff who worked on the journal over the years.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New Stories

When my collection, My Life Among the Apes, came out in 1212 I was pretty well tapped-out story-wise. So I sat down to begin some new stories and wrote a handful of first drafts one after another. I've been slowly revising them and the first story to appear, "Westfalia," has been published in the latest Taddle Creek. (You can read it online at: I have finished a couple of others and in the next months they will appear in Geist and in Numero Cinq, an online journal edited by Douglas Glover. These stories seem to me in keeping with the earlier work, a step forward rather than a radical change of direction.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A chapbook in the making

Don Domanski is a marvellous poet in the true sense of the word, his work full of natural marvels. Years ago the "Globe and Mail" asked me to review the finalists for the Governor General's Award for Poetry, including Don Domanski's book, "Wolf-Ladder." I still remember (more or less) a line I wrote then: "Giving the Governor General's Award to Domanski would be like giving first prize at a dog show to a wolf." (In fact, it would be a few more years before he won.) Espresso Books is a limited-edition chapbook series edited by Rebecca Comay, Bernard Kelly, and me. We all act as editors while Bernard does the design and typesetting, Rebecca and I choose the cover stock, and I sew the books and bind them in paper wrappers with pasted-on labels. I am in the middle of binding a series of poems by Don Domanski called "Fetishes of the Floating World." The cover paper is a heavy Japanese linen. In the first photo several copies are being glued into their covers. The second photo is our logo (from the previous chapbook) and the third is our series to date, which I keep out in my work room. They always sell out, although there are a few copies left of the previous one, Sandra Alland's "Naturally Speaking." You can read about (and order it) here: