Posts Tagged ‘class visit’

My Week in Calgary – Part 1



Pajama Press, my publishers for Nix Minus One, flew me to Calgary last week. And what a week! So much went on, that there’ll be at least two instalments to this blog.

The major event was the Calgary Children’s Literature Round Table on the evening of the 22nd.

Supported by United Library Services, the event was billed as “Two Celebrated Canadian Authors.” I spoke first, followed by Ken Oppel – now he is a celebrated author.

I’d reread Silverwing before I left Halifax, and read Sunwing on the flight to Calgary – and enjoyed both so much. Imaginative, original, and exciting. So it was a real pleasure to meet Ken, listen to his talk, and exchange ideas on how we write.

Illustrating my talk with excerpts from Nix, I spoke about the power of experience and of imagination to shape our narratives.

Keep reading – we writers need you!










On the road again….



I had a wonderful morning in Bedford South School the week before last. The grade four students had each written a short book about an animal of their choice, all the way from a squid to a red-eyed tree frog.

The teacher – what a woman! – had arranged a group book launch, with parents and other classes invited. And I was invited, too. Such fun to see everyone’s wonderful writing and drawings, a very creative class. Thank you, grade fours!


Another good review for Nix Minus One, this one in the Calgary Herald.

You can find it on Nix’s home page on my website.


I’m in Calgary this week, so the timing of the review is great.

Monday, I’m at the Children’s Literary Roundtable, with Kenneth Oppel – very exciting.

On Tuesday we spend the day at bookstores in Calgary and Pixie Hollow, an hour or so south of Calgary.

On Wednesday and Thursday, library readings, with grades four, five, and six.

Home on Friday.

A busy week!

It’s supposed to snow while I’m there. So here – as an antidote – are the crocuses in my garden



Bedford South School Visit


On Friday of last week, I spent the morning at Bedford South School, Bedford, Nova Scotia. with two wonderful grade four classes. This is my fourth year in a row visiting grade fours in this school – and I always have a fine time.

The students in the first class had made a folding display for The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, colouring it a dull gray to look like the old fish shacks in Gulley Cove. They’d added their own comments and pictures, and cutouts of some of the characters – it was a work of art! I was very touched.

And what great questions they asked – challenging questions that made me think.

I always show as many versions of the book as I can, so this time I took along the Korean translation of Nine Lives, which I’d received earlier this year.

When I held it up, the teacher told me a new student from Korea, who spoke very little English, had just joined them and was sitting there right in front of me. So I was able to give him his own copy of the book, in a language he could read. The smile on his face brought tears to my eyes – and by the time recess came, he’d read the first two chapters.

So heartening – these cold, snowy winter days – to realize that the very first book I wrote for children is still such a big hit.

Thank you, grade fours!


Jill visiting South Bedford Grade 4's

Jill visiting South Bedford Grade 4’s

Summers Corners School Visit

I spend the day in Summers Corners, a beautiful part of Ontario. For the first time I have the students – who, as usual, are sitting on the floor – do some stretching partway through the hour. Better for them and for me.

I’m asked: “Am I really famous?”

Well, no.

Lunch with three teachers along with a great discussion on standardized testing, “persuasive writing”, and story-outlines.

My final session is with 90 grade 7 students and Home Truths. I’m really pleased with the way that book goes over. Good experience for me, for sure. Thank you to Jane Baldwin Brown, and to my driver.

To the bus station in London, take the Greyhound to Kitchener, and then to my hotel in Waterloo. I walk a fair distance for supper, and am rewarded with a lovely little bistro, and views of Waterloo University.

London School Visits

Today I’m in London itself, starting at Sir Arthur Carty Catholic School. The kids want to know my favourite kids’ books; and what is the hardest part of writing. My answer to the latter question? Being objective about my own writing. Seeing its strengths and its weaknesses.

Thank you, Debbie Popovic, for making the arrangements.

Then on to the gym at John Dearness Public School for two sessions, arranged by Beccy Adams – thanks! (The library was set up for book fair). In both sessions, I focus on bullying, and the final session, with grades 7 and 8, on Home Truths. In many ways, that book does the work for me.

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The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden
Jill MacLean's latest book The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden , published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside and is available in bookstores and on-line!

This book is the completion of the Newfoundland trilogy which started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, followed by The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.

Pick up your copy today!
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School Visits with Jill
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Nix Minus One

Jill MacLean's book Nix Minus One , published by Pajama Press and now available in bookstores!

Nix Minus One is geared for readers in Grade 7-8 and up.
Published February 15, 2013


Jill MacLean's books on Goodreads

Home Truths
Home Truths

reviews: 34

ratings: 143 (avg rating 4.20)

The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy
The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy

reviews: 14

ratings: 69 (avg rating 4.19)

The Nine Lives of Travis Keating
The Nine Lives of Travis Keating

reviews: 26

ratings: 91 (avg rating 4.16)

Nix Minus One
Nix Minus One

reviews: 6

ratings: 13 (avg rating 4.15)

Brevity of Red, The
Brevity of Red, The

ratings: 1 (avg rating 3.00)