Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas starts early for me...

It's December and I'm done my fall tour...

I have been on the road for three full months. My calendar shows what has likely been the busiest fall since I began touring twelve years ago. I've been everywhere but home. However, I'm now home for a month, home to catch up on my writing and home to make time for family and loved ones.

I wanted to post one picture that best describes the past few months and I think this is it. Canada has become a wonderful tapestry of colours and cultures. We are a stronger and better country than we once were. We are brighter and more caring...more tolerant and more interesting.

I have spent the past three months talking to parents, educators, trustees and the public at large. However, the greatest influence I've had has been on students. Primary children have heard me say that stories are better for them than television. They have heard me say that the best stories come from... 1. their Grandparents 2. their teachers and 3. from the library. Intermediate and Secondary students have heard me say that reading is a humanity and not a science...that anyone can become a reader and through reading, access anything their heart desires. All it takes is one book.

I'm home to write that one book...the one that might open the door to one person. That is my task over the next few weeks...that and to sit with my old dad as he prepares to go meet mom who died a year ago tomorrow, December 10th.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Almost December and...

It's almost December and I'm still on the road.

I have traveled tens of thousands of miles in the last month alone. Treaty 7. Treaty 8. Cree8 Success, Conferences focusing on Aboriginal issues, literacy, reading...parenting... I've been back and forth from coast to coast to coast. It's almost Christmas and I have but two more weeks on the road then home.

I love my work...it's the travel that can be harsh. You'd think that being Canadians, a little snow wouldn't set us back and put us off track but does. A simple snow fall can (and often does) shut Calgary's airport down and the rippling effect of that is crazy. My flights have been cancelled, delayed, re-routed and almost always late. Travel...that's the hard part of touring.

The best part? ...This is it right here.. and in the picture shown here, my good friend Jason Jones from Red Gut in Ontario...Jason and the Junior Ojibway class. This is why I do what I do... This is what keeps me out there...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holly Claus - the Harry Potter of Christmas

Hundreds of thousands, through my conference work, have heard me say that Holly Claus is my favourite Christmas book ever.

Hundreds of thousands have heard me say that Holly Claus is the Harry Potter of Christmas - a book that every family should have read...should have in their library to read and re-read at this time of the year.

If you have not experienced the magic of Brittney Ryan's New York Times best selling Holly Claus, consider this my gift to you.

Imagine a place in time where Santa would receive a letter from a boy asking what he, Santa, would like for Christmas. What if that letter contained the magic that would allow Santa and his wife Vivianna to finally have the child they have dreamed about for centuries. What would they name their child and how would the Christmas Princess deal with the curse that followed her into the land of the Immortals...the land of Forever...???

Canada... Holly Claus is a book for young and old alike. I first shared it with our daughter Victoria when she was six. I last shared it with her...last night... My 14 year old will tell you that her childhood was highlighted by two books - Harry Potter and Holly Claus.

When I asked if she had not outgrown these two classics, she simply answered;

"Dad, I haven't outgrown Harry and Holly. I grew up with them."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A quick November check in...

Early November and I'm home...for my dad's 95th on Tuesday, the 6th.

I've been on the road since...???...September. I've had a couple pit stops, one including son Etienne's wedding in San Fran. but I've been out there and everywhere. Other than conference work and schools, I was a part of an amazing book launch. Our Rainbow Crow was launched at Toronto's Arts and Letters Club . At the event, David Jean, my partner, sold the original drums from our book. Magical evening...

I have a month left before I'm home for Christmas...a favourite time for my family and me.

There is much to say and share but I don't want to miss a single opportunity to share a great list that United Library Services has just released: https://www.uls.com/ULS/email/2012/10/first-nations-list.html?utm_source=ULS&utm_medium=email&utm_content=displaylink&utm_campaign=2012%20First%20Nations

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September Tour

I'm home packing and planning for my next tour...just having returned from two exciting weeks in Canada's far north.

I'm home from the NWT and Rainy River. I traveled thousands of miles and was just as many smiling faces.

In this picture, I am visiting my good friend Jason Jones and the intermediate Ojibway class in Fort Frances. This is one of a number of superb language programmes I'm witnessing from coast to coast to coast...small steps, but steps nonetheless!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Nations schools still shortchanged

Reading for the sheer pleasure of it. Metis author David Bouchard says it's not happening enough in aboriginal communities and he thinks it's a barrier to success. Hear his conversation with Trail's End host Allison Devereaux.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The News Tribune: Ivan the gorilla dies at Zoo Atlanta

When I speak to audiences about great reads/about MUST reads, The One and Only Ivan always comes up. Friends, if you've not read it, treat yourself and those you love:

The News Tribune: Ivan the gorilla dies at Zoo Atlanta: News, weather, traffic, events and photos from the City Desk at The Seattle Times.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer report

For a touring author, summer is...???...hot especially when you choose to go to Florida in the month of July! Our family spent the first part of the summer in Orlando,Florida at Harry Potter World.
Victoria turned 14 this summer and that was her request. It was a wonderful/memorable holiday. We came home to focus on my father who at 94 is having some up and downs. Mom passed away in December and it's been hard on dad. Nevertheless, he's been amazing and... Vicki and Victoria also planned my birthday a little early as I'll be in the NWTerritories on the 13th of September. Their gift was to fly our cousin and very close friend Garry Stockdill to Victoria.
Garry lives in Yorkshire and getting him here without my knowing it was a challenge. I was sitting in front of the Olympics texting Garry (I thought). I looked up and there he was, standing on my terrace looking in at me?!? I have to admit, the feeling was almost sinister? What? How? When and where? Having Garry here with me for ten days was simply the best! Now, it's back to work. I have two new releases to share: Beneath Raven Moon and Rainbow Crow. They are both spectacular pieces of work for which I owe thanks to so many! I am very anxious to share them. And I'm working on three other exciting titles: Dreamcatcher and the Seven Deceivers; The Great Peace and The First Flute. In the world of a writer, we strike when the iron is hot and hope to hit the mark.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reading will be top priority next year, George Abbott tells B.C. teachers

There is no magic nor is there a programme that will turn children into readers. It takes time (kids will read when they are ready, not when we tell them they are), a role model (a hero...every child needs a guide) and books (books that are accessible (that they CAN read) and books that are inclusive (that they can see themselves in). No magic...it's as simple as that!

Reading will be top priority next year, George Abbott tells B.C. teachers

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Elders are Watching

Over the past decade, The Elders are Watching has sold over 300,000 copies. About a decade ago, my friend/artist partner Roy Henry Vickers created a short promotional video. In it, he reads our book in the voice of Chief Dan George. Educators, please feel free to share our gifts with your communities - parents, staff, students. Technology has offered us the opportunity to learn and teach in a way that we had never thought possible ten years ago. Copy and paste the link shown below and... You'll know what to do... For this opportunity as well as for having been introduced to Roy and to my own dreamworld, I thank my Grandmothers. Miigwetch Nokums! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pQftknij8k

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hot...humid Ontario

I'm just home from two great weeks in hot, humid Ontario. Chatham at 41 degrees is too much for me. Chatham as 18 degrees is still challenging to me. It was so very humid, hot and...??? With that out of the way, I've just spent two great weeks sharing learnings and hope with Aboriginal students and communities. Non-Aboriginals have had a equal dose of who we are, what our challenges have been and where we see ourselves in the future. Miigwetch to both the Catholic and Public school boards for offering me the opportunity of sharing with your staff, students and parents. For many of our kids, pride, insight and a role model is a good beginning. Pictured here is my new friend Andrew at John McGregor Senior Secondary in Chatham Andrew just won our Drum Calls Softly (and a small piece of my heart) for being a devoted and passionate reader. I'm home packing for the Halton School District, Lindsay and Thunder Bay.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Canada in the spring....

What a perfect time to work in our massive country. I flew to Saskatoon and drove to Duck Lake. In Duck Lake's spectacular new community school, I worked with parents, staff and students. We spoke about past and future...pain and dreams for a better tomorrow. For those who have not driven into town off the highway, the historical town features several spectacular murals reminding us of the rich
history of the Cree and Metis people. I then drove to Kamsack. I stayed at Madge Lake in the beautiful Saulteaux Lodge and I worked with the entire community out at Gabriel Cote Reserve. There is no question that my message was heard. There is a crack in the door. Aboriginal people stand to read and to succeed. My drive through Yorkton to Regina was highlighted by a hundred thousand bugs splattered all across my windshield. I had forgotten the bugs and I had completely forgotten the wind. If You're not from the Prairie, you don't know the wind. From Regina...Montreal - To be able to present "dans ma langue" was nothing less than a thrill. And my audience... A conference on literature!?! My listeners were clapping and smiling and down with my every word. THAT is the kind of work every conference presenter relishes. I arrived home from Montreal last night and leave for Toronto tomorrow for wo magical weeks in south western Ontario.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Diversity in Grande Prairie

Equity, diversity and human rights in Grande Prairie... I see exciting things happening around me...almost daily. Most are from our youth. Kids have never been as smart and able as is this generation. They are living the things I grew up writing essays about: environmental well being, human
rights, acceptance not mere tolerance. My daughter calls me on running more water than I should be. She would never dream of doing some of the things I did as a youth to our environment. That being said, adults are cashing in on some creative and innovative actions. Barack Obama is President of the U.S.A. The Berlin wall is no more. Alberta has elected a woman premier. In B.C., teachers came out opposing standardized test. Shortly thereafter, educational administrators joined them in their condemnations. This year, the B.C. Trustees have joined rank. This past week, I worked with staff in Grande Prairie in gearing up for a new programme that will focus on Equity, Diversity and Human Rights. Amazing initiatve. Amazing people. Another reason to celebrate education. I spoke right after this young lady who had no issue with capturing the attention and then the hearts of our audience. ...oh, I should mention that the good sport's name is Darren.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

...a magical week in Wild Rose

Thank you to friend/colleague Brian Celli for allowing me to work with students, staff and parents in beautiful NW Alberta's Wild Rose School Division.
I have just returned from a week of working with the best of Canadians, Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, newly arrived from all over the world...and of course our very best and our future: our children/students. I've shared Metis/Aboriginal culture. I've shared my flutes and our music. I've told stories...heard stories and most of all, I've imparted what I wanted to leave them with: I don't want to make choices for anyone, including my own daughter Victoria. I would only like to share my life's learnings that will help individuals make qualitative decisions. Reading is so very important in a person's life. It opens doors. It allows us the freedom of information and travel. It enriches our lives on so many fronts. And the best thing is that reading is accessible to every person...it's as simple as finding one book...the right book...and allowing yourself to get hooked. Thank you Brian. Thank you Skychild. Thank you O'Chiese. Thank you Drayton Valley, Rocky, Condor and Breton... Miigwetch Wild Rose.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A close up look at Chris Patrick - agent/friend

Chris Patrick has been my agent and close friend for almost as long as I've been married.

An accountant by trade, Chris has run countless public events and has been responsible for raising millions of dollars for charities and needy people; victims of cancer, aides, abuse... Chris has also been the key figure in allowing me to reach over a million people over the past 13 years. Nothing I have done would have been possible without Chris: being named to the Order of Canada, tours around the globe and to every remote corner of Canada,having more than 60 books published...

A few years ago, Chris became directly involved in my work as a writer. Through More Than Words Book Publishers, he helped publish I am Raven and the Seven Sacred Teachings. Both books quickly became Canadian Best Sellers. Since that time, MTW Books has published several other books, all works of art in a league of their own within the Canadian Publishing Industry.

Chris sometimes joins me at a conferences where he sells a few books and meets my public. His time in the field always pays huge dividends. Last weekend in Regina was such an occasion. Chris flew in to attend the 13th annual Treaty Four Educational Conference. He sold books, made new contacts and rose to the occasion when asked if he would introduce me.

I'm proud to introduce Chris to any and all who only know him as a warm, compassionate, friendly voice at the end of a long telephone line. Here is my partner, agent and extremely good friend Chris Patrick...doing what God meant him to do...doing what he does best...talking!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Paris book festival...le Salon du Livre 2012

Five years ago, Vicki, Victoria and I were blown away by an offer to spend a week in Paris at the Salon du Livre...the largest French book fair in the world. We were incredibly well received and invited back the following year.

2012 marks the fifth year in a row that our family celebrates books, literacy and family in Paris...and every year gets better - better contacts, persentations, etc...

Merci beaucoup Les Editions des Plaines, our French publisher and wonderful friends. Huguette, Joanne and the Plaines team in Winnipeg shine their light all across western Canada as well as in the heart of la belle ville de Paris.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Literacy and Learning Day

Day 10 of registration is almost over and already at 45% Capacity :) Yay!!! I cannot wait to hear David Bouchard again! AND Let's not forget Barbara Coloroso :) Both amazing speakers coming back to help us celebrate 10 years!!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Aboriginal Focus on the Prairie

Early March found me on the Blood and Peigan Reserves in Alberta working with the Blackfoot people. From there I traveled to Saskatchewan where I spoke to the SUNTEP programme (picture attached) SUNTEP: Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Programme at the University of Regina and onto the First Nations University of Canada. My focus is clear: reading is the one weapon needed to succeed in education. Aboriginal people do not read because they have not been included in books and because the books that are age appropriate are not accessible to them. That is changing and now, reading has to become a focus in our Aboriginal communities.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Touring in Northern Ontario

Manitoulin Island and Sudbury:


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February and back on tour

It's Feb. 1 and I'm headed back out on the road. I'll be in Alberta this week, then in Ontario for the next two weeks. My calendar gives a feel for my next two months...on the road making new friends and catching up with old ones.

It's been crazy since early December. Our mom died on Dec. 10th. Dad (94) broke his hip on Nov. 22nd...so he was in the hospital at the time. Since then...since then, we've celebrated our Mother's long, happy life. We've sold mom and dad's condo and helped dad move into a new, exciting suite.

This month has been one of honours. The Metis Nation of Canada named me as their first Prime Minister while READ Victoria named me their champion for 2012.

And this is an active time for my writing. Raven's Greatest Creation is a proving to be a hit. Beneath Raven Moon (les Editions des Plaines) is ready to go to press as is Rainbow Crow (Red Deer Press). I'm ready for a long tour and geared up for our annual trip to Paris for the Salon du Livre (in March).

2012 is the Year of the Dragon. I am a Dragon and ready to be carried by the tide of an exciting year.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gong Hei Fat Choi 2012

Gong Hei Fat Choi 2012 - the Year of the Dragon!

Thanks to my friend, designer Arifin Graham, for sending me this picture. He didn't say where he took it but I suspect it was the public library in Oak Bay.

One of the highlights of my life as a writer was to do five books with Zhong-Yang Huang, the Master Professor at the University of Guangzhou. Yang taught me about his culture. He guided me through our books and at the end of the journey, I was a better writer and a better human being. Yang taught me how lucky I was to be born in the year of the Dragon. He was very clear in telling me that I should marry a Goat (Sheep) and that I did in the person of my Vicki.

To one and all - Gong Hei Fat Choi!