Book Week 09


No, Thank YOU

My publisher sent me some wonderful thank you letters from a school in Kingston that Scot Ritchie and I visited during Canadian Children’s Book Week.

They’re awesome! What author doesn’t love to get letters like this?!

And I’ve got to say, having these letters to look through on cold winter days, or days when inspiration has dried up, or days when I’m sure no one will care what I write ever again,  makes me say:

No, thank *YOU*!

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Big Belated Book Week Thank You

I admit it: I mostly avoided my computer over the holidays. I think I needed the break. Either that or it was just so darned hard to find it on my desk, practically buried with papers and cluttered with miscellaneous office type crap, that really needed to be tidied before anything else happened. So it just didn’t happen.

My first post of 2010 will look back on 2009 and give a big belated Thank You for the biggest thing to happen to me in my writing life: You know that has to be the TD Grade One Giveaway. I’ve been remiss in not doing up a roundup before now.

The whole experience was something not likely to be duplicated for me, ever again. It’s hard to put it all into words (and isn’t that a bit ironic?). It’s not just that my book was given to so many Canadian kids…

It’s not just that I got to tour southern Ontario with the book’s illustrator, Scot Ritchie

And it’s not just that I got to see my book cover and name in huge type behind the TD bank president’s head at a big publishing industry gala with free hors d’oeuvres and cocktails…

But all those things were excellent!

Writers mostly write alone, you know? I’m holed up in my little office (or really my supposed-to-be-a-dining-room writing space) trying to create something that fascinates me while hoping I’m not completely off my rocker and that someone else would also like to read it and in fact actually pay money to do that. Then I found out that the book’s been chosen for this program that enabled it to reach EVERY grade one child in Canada. How do you wrap your head around that? The TD and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre do an amazing job supporting Canadian book creators and literacy for Canadian kids. Thank you to them!

The schools and libraries Scot and I visited all Book Week were welcoming without exception, and the grade one audiences were always terrific, playing along with our action games and listening to the process of how I wrote the book and how Scot illustrated it.

Some public schools wore uniforms, some did not. Some schools were new and some were old. Some schools were small and some were, well, HUGE. (We went to the largest elementary school in North America and saw all approximately 240 grade one students. Yes, three groups of 80 kids back-to-back!) Quite a few of the schools had done a lot of work talking about the history of transportation and then displayed their work around the school. That was awesome to see!

As an unexpected bonus, we received some lovely hardware,

and some beautiful, er, software…?

Thank you to all who hosted us!

Scot and I got to and around the five cities by train and taxi. Given that the book is about transportation, it was quite appropriate to be using a couple different types of transportation while talking about that topic. I recorded some of the sights seen from the train each night during the tour here on the blog. They’re filed under the Book Week 09 label.

Overall the opportunity to connect with all those kids made a big impression on me personally. And I think it was wonderful for those kids to see that an author and an illustrator are just regular people. We don’t sit down and write or sketch something perfect the first time around. We work hard at revising our words and our pictures just the way they do when they write and draw.

To see the connections made between the book, the audience, the topic, the teachers…wow. Thank you for Book Week, book publishers, book creators, book readers, book supporters, and books everywhere!

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Book Week Ending

It was the train back to T.O. Saturday morning, November 21. You’ve noticed the date of this post? You’re wondering what happened to me posting promptly? Answer: It took about 30 seconds for my regular life to swamp me and divest me of book touring “star” status, ha ha!

Sights Seen from a Train

  • the many marvelous and varied shades of November brown
  • the staggered and stacked irregular rectangles of the Niagara Escarpment‘s limestone cliffs
  • deer snacking in a cornfield

Most Memorable Moments

  • seeing the girl diagonally ahead of me sleep slumped over her book as it rested on the pullout tray (as someone who has huge difficulty sleeping in any sort of moving vehicle, this was a marvel to me)
  • the wonderful lady beside Scot who was going to give our book to her grandchild
  • waiting to see if Scot would be kicked off the train for not having his ticket 
    • In his defense, the London lineup was colossal so we each went to different automatic ticket machines, fondly nicknamed “useless buckets of job killing bolts” by one employee early this week. Scot scanned his e-ticket and then, while the machine was preparing to print the real ticket, it promptly went out of service. This meant the next machine didn’t recognize the e-ticket as valid. Train pulls in. No person to speak to. We both got on the train anyway. Suspense ensues. Scot tells his tale to a helpful conductor who found out that the ticket was indeed printed after that original machine came online, not that that was any good by that time. Still, Scot was not kicked off the train.

So then it was a car ride back home where my family was very glad to see me. Okay, so technically I found myself in an arena before I even made it home…such is my regular life.

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Day Five Down

Off to London early in the morning.

Sights Seen from a Train

  • crumpled and lonely leaflet litter see-sawing in the breeze on a station platform
  • the scraped and scarred land of a gravel pit adorned with a rectangular jewel of turquoise water
  • fog shrouded barns and silos
  • combed cornfields rolling off into the distance

Most Memorable Moments

  • the two student greeters who made Scot and I feel so welcome at their school
  • posters on the school door and library made especially for us about our book
  • the respectful quiet clap of appreciation to welcome us
  • the girl who proudly handed us her autograph and drawings
  • seeing all the different writing projects from many grades proudly displayed all over school

And today’s bonus
Sight Seen from a Taxi: Fatty Patty’s Restaurant (complete with tagline proclaiming it to be A Food Experience). In fact, it might actually bump the Hefty Hoagie from the other day out of the running as the name of a super setting for a small town drama novel.

The Book Week presentations are now finished. Hard to believe! I’m sad to be done although admittedly a bit worn out. More profound thoughts (maybe) and pictures later.

© Lizann Flatt,
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.