Dianne Young is a children’s author with five books published (most recently Dear Flyary, Kids Can Press). She has been doing school and library readings since her first book came out in 1990.
I recently presented “Author Visits: Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Buck” at the Northern Library Conference in Prince Albert. I talked about all the usual things schools and libraries need to find out from the author – group size the author is willing to speak to, equipment needed, and so on, but in preparing the talk I realized there were things that the author needs to find out from the school as well. Here’s what I came up with:
- Language – This is one that I had never had to consider, until I did a reading tour of northern communities. There was one community in particular where the reading did not seem to go as well as usual. It was not until after the reading that I found out most kids there did not have much exposure to English until they started school. I was speaking to Grades 1 to 3. No wonder it did not go as well as usual! I realize now that had I known that English was an issue I could have changed my presentation somewhat to make it easier to understand. I certainly should have slowed down (I tend to talk really fast when I’m doing a reading). I could have made more use of visuals. But this is something that you need to know ahead of time, or at least that I need to know ahead of time, to consider how to make the reading more accessible. Now I ask if English is the first language of the community. Definitely an important question if you are speaking to remote communities in the north.
- Tragedies – Thankfully, this has never been as issue for me but only because I’ve been lucky, not because I was prepared. One of my books, The Abaleda Voluntary Firehouse Band, is a rhyming story about a group of animals that are volunteer firefighters and participate in a band. At the end of the story they rush off to save a little mouse’s house from a fire. Sounds fine, right? Not so fine if there had recently been a fire in the community, especially one involving children. So are there any events that relate to a story of yours that would make it uncomfortable/inappropriate for you to read it? Now maybe a story dealing with an issue is exactly what the school is looking for. In the case of my Firehouse Band story however, it would come across as (unintentionally) making light of a tragedy.
- Kids with special needs – When I arrive at a school, before the kids come for the reading, it’s important for me to know if the group will include a child with a vision or hearing problem, or if there if a child who may get up and wander (and that it’s okay), or if there is a child who will have a fidget toy in their hands (so I don’t take it away), or if there is any other special circumstance that I need to be aware of. I don’t need to know, nor do I want to know, everything – just the things that may impact the reading.
Those are the things that I would like to know before doing a reading. Are there other things that you have thought or discovered that would be good to know?
Welcome to the first Sask. CANSCAIP chapter online discussion! This month’s topic is the Discussion itself. Here is what it’s all about:
Purpose: to provide a community for children’s authors, illustrators and performers from Saskatchewan. To give us a chance to interact, get to know each other and our writing, and discuss topics of mutual interest.
Format: a monthly discussion hosted by a guest blogger. The guest blogger will post a question and moderate the discussion. The discussion will be open for one week, after which time comments will be closed, unless the guest blogger wants to keep on monitoring the comments that come in after that time.
Topics: anything you would like to talk about that is of interest to Sask CANSCAIP members. Topics should have some relevance to being a children’s creator.
- Who can participate? Sask CANSCAIP chapter members. If you have joined CANSCAIP as either a either a Friend or Member and live in Saskatchewan, you are automatically a member of the Saskatchewan local chapter. If you are not a CANSCAIP member but are interested in the topic, you are also welcome to participate in the discussion anyway. We hope you will be inspired to join the group.
- How do I join the discussion? By posting comments at the bottom of the discussion post. Comments will be moderated to make sure they aren’t spam, so your comment might not show up right away. After you have one comment approved by a moderator, your future comments will be automatically approved.
- How often will there be a discussion question posted? Once a month from September to June, as long as someone volunteers to post a question and moderate the discussion.
- How do I volunteer? Email canscaip < at>gmail <dot> com or post a comment on the Online Discussion Moderators page. You will be given access as a guest moderator and emailed instructions about signing in and making your post. You then follow the discussion comments and make your own comments to keep the conversation moving.
- How will people know when a question has been posted? Once the discussion topic is on the website, all current Sask CANSCAIP members will be sent an email with a link to the question post. They should appear on or around the 15th of the month, so you can also keep checking skcanscaip.wordpress.com.
October 2013 Discussion Topic:
The Online Discussion came about because we wanted to find a forum to allow Sask CANSCAIP members to connect with each other to share encouragement, friendship, experiences, writing tips, and anything else that will help us do what we love: creating stories, pictures, and performances for children. Some CANSCAIP chapters hold regular meetings in members’ homes, but since our members are spread out all over the province, it makes more sense for us to meet in a way that doesn’t require us to travel. So, what do you think of the idea? Will you participate? What kinds of topics would interest you? Do you have any questions about how it works? Could it be done better? Can you think of a more catchy name for the discussion? What other kinds of useful things (online courses, writing workshops etc.) could our local chapter be doing? And anything else you might want to say.
SK CANSCAIP Horizons held their bi-annual meeting after the Prairie Horizons 2013 Conference on September 22, 2013, at St. Michael’s Retreat in Lumsden.
The major result of this meeting was to create a monthly discussion blog on this website, to allow all of our chapter members to meet regularly and discuss issues related to writing, illustrating, and performing for children. The first discussion topic will be posted on October 15, 2013, right here.
For complete meeting minutes, download 2013 Meeting at PH (pdf).
We currently have five rooms left at St. Michael’s Retreat. If you are interested in attending the conference, please register before August 31st to get the Early Bird rate AND a chance to compete in Canadian Idol: the YA/Middle Grade Edition. Call 306-487-7512 for more information.
We currently have less than ten rooms still available at St. Michael’s for our conference on September 20th-22nd. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
We are now at 26 full registrations, which means our conference is over half full. Marie Campbell’s Mentorship Q and A is full, and Maureen Ulrich’s Breakout Session on YA Fiction is nearly full.
Registrations have been coming in steadily for the past two weeks.
Although participants for Canadian Idol: The Middle Grade/YA Edition will be determined after registration closes (August 31, 2013), there are other reasons to submit your registration and payment as soon as possible.
Mentorship Q and A with either Eric, Marie, Sean, or Pat is First Come/First Served, as are the Breakout Sessions on Saturday.
Also, once the rooms at St. Michael’s are full, participants will have to look elsewhere for accommodation (and why would you want to? St. Michael’s is idyllic!).
For conference updates, be sure to follow us at twitter.com/SKCanscaip and http://www.facebook.com/groups/prairiehorizons!
Registration for the 2013 Prairie Horizons Conference is now open!
To register for the conference, first download a 2013 Prairie Horizons Registration Form . Then, either
- print it out and mail or fax it to the address on the form, OR
- type your information into an email and send it to email@example.com.
To pay, either mail a cheque to the address on the form, or pay online through PayPal (below). There are three options.
1. Full Conference with Room at St. Michael’s. This includes all sessions, accommodations for Friday and Saturday nights, Friday wine and cheese reception, Saturday meals and 3 snacks, and Sunday breakfast. $220.
2. Full conference with no accommodations. This includes all sessions, Friday wine and cheese reception, Saturday meals and 3 snacks, and Sunday breakfast. $150.
3. Saturday only. This includes all sessions from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday, lunch and 2 snacks.$100. (Note that you can also come to the public presentations at 4:15 (Shawn Cassidy) and 6:30 (Eric Walters) if you choose this option, but you will have to find your own supper in Lumsden.)
LATE FEE: If you are registering after August 31, 2013, add $25 to your fee. To avoid this fee, register before the end of August. Two other great reasons to register early:
- The breakout sessions are first-come, first-served.
- The Canadian Idol lottery will be held September 1. Those who get in will compete for a chance to have an agent look at their Young Adult manuscript.
Oops…Missed the deadline? Add $25 to your registration: