Monday, March 17, 2014


I'm so excited - this project was a long time in development. The publisher is Dancing Cat Books and they've done a great job with it. Did I say I'm excited???? The book itself will be out next month.

Here's a short description of the story:

Secrets Destroy You.
The Truth Sets You Free.

What is the most dangerous secret of all? For fifteen-year-old Dany, is it the shame that his once-vital mother now suffers mutely from “the staring sickness?” Or is it that Count Pol, the corrupt absolute ruler of Western Gottika, may be scouting the city clandestinely for teenage girls to kidnap? Could the worst secret be the mystery behind why all the kids in the Estat are only children? Or could it be that Dany’s father possesses the secret knowledge of how to bring clay to life, and transform it into a terrifying weapon – an all-powerful Gol?

When Dany’s father is framed for the murder of Gottika’s Princess Avivia, Dany is forced to confront all of these secrets. But that won’t be enough. In order to save his father, he’ll have to uncover his own family’s secret, one even darker and more disturbing than the rest.

The worst lies, after all, are the ones we tell ourselves.

Gottika reimagines a powerful Jewish legend as a futuristic fantasy with a universal message.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Zoobots Has Arrived!

They're here....the Zoobots. These very creepy, very awesome animal-inspired robots are the subject of my latest nonfiction book from Kids Can Press.

The book has been selected by the Junior Library Guild, and is now available from your fave bookseller! If the incredible pics by Alex Ries don't give you nightmares...the fact that all of these critters are under development right now should!

You'll find that Zoobots is a great pick for:
> reluctant readers
> Common Core applications
>life science
>physical science
>recreational reading - it has the WOW! factor kids love
>critical thinking and problem solving

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Repost for Black History Month -SLJ Review of Juba This, Juba That

What a lovely holiday present - a nice review from SLJ! Here's what it says:

"This modern-day version of a traditional African chant imagines an adventure that happens one evening when a dark-skinned boy follows a yellow cat to the fair. They laugh at their reflections in the House of Mirrors, take a spooky fun-house ride, and generally have a wonderful time before returning home to bed. Becker’s simple rhyme plays with opposites and is just right for clapping and bouncing along. Lightburn’s lively illustrations perfectly capture the joy of the nighttime escapade and extend the story. The boy and cat are set against backgrounds of diagonal streaks of cool colors that aptly convey movement and a sense of fantasy. This is a good choice for reading aloud to an active group of youngsters."

Juba This, Juba That is available in the U.S from Random House.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Honors for Little Jack Horner !

Nice news for Little Jack this week - it has been named a BEST BET - Honorable Mention by the Ontario Library Association. AND received a Best of the Year citation in the Picture Book category from Resource Links.

Way to go, Jack!

Monday, February 3, 2014

What's Better Than Family Literacy? Not Much!

What's better than family literacy? Not much except for Family Literacy Day! This year, a fabulous event was held at the Ontario Science Center and featured such luminaries as Robert Munsch, Ruth Ohi, Patricia Storms, Kevin Sylvester and Ken Oppel. And moi. With my boyfriend Captain Underpants.

We'd been apart for so long...and oh the reunion was sweet.

The captain fell in love with me when he read The Ode to Underwear and realized we were a perfect pair.
That's Patricia Storms holding Ode to Underwear.
The cape says "Reading Gives You Superpowers!"

After our tearful reunion, we enjoyed hanging with Robert Munsch, Patrica Storms and Ruth Ohi too!

The event was sponsored by ABC Life Literacy, a great organization!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reading Olympics - Going for Gold with Kidlit Quiz!!!

International Literacy Competition Seeks Canada’s Best Readers

An international literacy competition, Kids’ Lit Quiz, will find Canada’s top readers in a tournament known as the ‘Sport of Reading’ next week. And guess who will be on the team of children's writers? You guessed it - Moi! Our team, Always Write, includes Jennifer Maruno, Susan Hughes, Adira Rotstein and me!

For two decades, Kids’ Lit Quiz has been inspiring youth to become lifelong readers by channeling knowledge of children’s books into a fun and challenging tournament.

Today, the competition continues to thrive despite distractions like video games, cell phones and computers. In fact, participation rates have continued to rise amongst girls and boys in recent years.

In the style of popular learning competitions like the Scripps Spelling Bee, Kids’ Lit Quiz is a highly spirited and intense team event for students around the world.
Are you a KLQ Quiz Whiz?
Who had two nasty aunts called Spiker and Sponge?[1]
Who owned a faithful dog named Snowy?[2]
A clip from the 2013 Canadian National Final can be seen here:
KLQ Canada 2013 Heats and Final
Event Details;
3 Regional Heats and National Final
Date: Monday February 3                            Date: Tuesday February 4
Time:  1pm                                                 Time: 9am  AND 1pm
Location 1:                                                          Location 2:
Our Lady of Fatima CS                                 Queen Victoria Public School
3176 St. Clair Ave. E                                    100 Close Ave
Scarborough On M1L 1V6                                      Toronto, On M6K 1V6

National Final
Date: Wednesday February 5
Time: 7pm            Location: Havergal College, Brenda Robson Hall
      1451 Avenue Road, Toronto, On M5N 2H9


Kids’ Lit QuizTM is an annual literature competition for children aged 10 to 13 (grades 5 to 8).   Over 1000 schools compete worldwide from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, the United States, to New Zealand and Australia.  The competition celebrates children’s literacy and the love of reading.  During the competition, known as “The Sport of Reading”, student teams are quizzed on a wide range of topics, in categories ranging from poetry to authors to settings or characters.  They learn the quiz categories only minutes before the quiz. Anything published in English from nursery rhymes to comic books to the Hunger Games is fair game.
This is the fourth year that Canada will field a team at the World Final of the International Kids’ Lit Quiz TM.
Teams of students from Public, Catholic and Independent schools from across Ontario are competing in the tournament. For the first time in Canada teams from BC will also compete. Southridge School from British Columbia will field two teams at the Canadian tournament being held in Toronto February 3, 4 and 5, 2014.
Eight teams will advance to the National Final where the winner will be asked to represent Canada in Cornwall England at the Kids’ Lit Quiz TM World Final.
Kids’ Lit Quiz Canada is a not for profit organization and is run by volunteers.
Nancy Davidson, Kids’ Lit Quiz Canada National Coordinator, at: 416 992-6903
Twitter: @kidslitquiz_ca
Facebook: Kids Lit Quiz Canada

[1] James (from James and the Giant Peach)
[2] Tintin

Friday, January 17, 2014

What Are YOU Doing on Family Day, Feb. 17?

What are you doing for family day? I'll be presenting two fun and informative workshops for kids about the legend of the Golem at The Jewish Literary Festival in Toronto.

The Golem is the subject of my upcoming Young Adult novel Gottika, which will be published by Dancing Cat Books this spring, and includes some dramatic illustrations by new talent Alexander Griggs-Burr.

In my workshop, we'll talk about the story and its influence on pop culture (you'd be surprised!), watch some funky videos and create comic strips based on the tale. So please come out and meet the Golem with us!
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