March Madness

Well, March break is done & it’s back our regular routine. It didn’t exactly get off to a smooth start though. I slept through my alarm & the youngest was not happy about going back to daycare. Monday’s are rough even when you’re wee.

I’m participating in the March Madness Poetry competition and submitted my entry for Round 1 this afternoon. If you’d like to see how I managed to use megalomaniacal in a poem for kids hop on over there sometime between 8 pm CDT Tuesday March 8 and noon Thursday. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite.

Here’s the latest in my sketchbook:

Revision Prompts & Think Kid Think

52. fireworks IIYesterday, I gave the grade 5 class I’m working with the task of revising their first drafts.

Here’s the prompts they were given:

1. Add a sound to your story (Onomatopoeia – anyone know when they actually learn that term?)

Some of the students already had lots of sounds in their stories, so they were encouraged to consider adding more or to move on to the next prompt:

2. Add an emotion to your story but Show don’t Tell.

We talked a bit about how emotions are evident – how your body physically reacts to the emotion or how you can tell someones emotions by their body language and actions.

I plan to save my other prompt ideas for a final revision:

3. Grammar checklist.

4. Add a sensation or describe how something feels.

5. Add a taste if appropriate to your story.

Some of them were keen to revise and improve their stories. But some of them were reluctant. One even refused (in a very sweet manner).

What prompts do you use for revising?

In other writing news…

I made the selection for the Think Kid Think March Madness Poetry Competition.

I have visions of this being like the time my softball team made it to the provincials. The other teams were filled with incredibly tall slim girls decked out in crisp white ball uniforms. We felt a bit drab in our sweatpants and t-shirts. I still wonder what they fed those girls.

I have a nice selection of kidlit poetry to browse through for prep.

A Special Project

I am very excited to be working on a special project with a class of grade 5 students at a local elementary school. The project is funded by a Fredericton Arts Alliance Grant that brings local artists into schools. I am guiding the students through the writing and illustrating process.  We’ve decided to work on the theme: Tales from the Playground.

The students are very enthusiastic. Last week I introduced myself and had them start thinking about their stories. This week we talked about planning and worked on character development. Their imaginations are very inspiring. I can’t wait to read the final stories.

What’s the Difference?

library.pngWhat’s the difference between an aspiring kidlit author/illustrator and all the other parents at the library?

An aspiring author/illustrator quietly studies new and classic picture books when one kid falls asleep while the other is enjoying Lego Club. (I was trying to keep my stack to sign out somewhat reasonable so the kids could choose a few too.)

I plopped the napping child in the middle of the floor, pretended I didn’t know her, and enjoyed watching the reaction of the other patrons to the random abandoned sleeping child.

Getting out into nature

Not the Burton Bridge – despite what I wrote in my sketch book.

I took the kids on a bike ride to the old train bridge and back today.  I wanted a chance to enjoy the fall leaves.  They wanted to get out into nature.  We packed binoculars, snacks, and of course my sketchbook.  My daughter & I took the stairs down the steep slope to the river. Of course my son said “I’m Steve Irwin, I’m going down the dangerous way.”  It wasn’t really dangerous thank goodness, although he’s much braver than me.

I sat down on a rock to sketch the car bridge.  The kids soon tired of throwing rocks into the river and decided to climb the boulders under the train bridge instead.  I was too busy sketching to cringe.  They assured me there was even more to sketch on the other side of the boulders.   On the climb back up to the train bridge, they found a marble amongst the boulders. They were so excited about their “rock climbing” adventure that we had to “high foot five” each other before heading home.


Today was day one of a watercolour class I signed up for.  Sitting downtown on the green painting the sights was so relaxing.  The time just flew by.

I just love this front porch…



I ended up painting the view to my right as well.



I’m looking forward to tomorrow – meeting up at a downtown garden.


I made two little clay models for reference when drawing. I think they are kind of cute, kind of creepy.



Sometimes rejection leaves you curled up in bed feeling sorry for yourself, eyes swollen and red. Full of endless seas of tears you can’t escape. You count your breaths and wondering if they will stop under the weight of your heavy chest.

But sometimes rejection is a cause for quiet celebration, putting spring in your step. Being rejected means you put yourself out there, made an effort, tried your best. You haven’t failed, merely tried. You can’t succeed without trying.

I just received my first rejection letter for the picture book manuscript I sent out. I’m continuing to work at improving my writing and illustration skills. So far I’m pleased with my progress. Until you try something you don’t even know what you’re capable of!