Saturday, May 21, 2011

Getting Books into the hands of kids

One of the regular occurrences of being an author is the request for books.  Most people aren't aware that we authors have to buy our own books and pay for shipping.  Sadly, that means that most of us creators simply can't afford to support every charity request that comes our way. My colleague and friend Margriet Ruurs has come up with a clever solution.  She's come up with a service called Bookmatcher. The idea is to match books with groups that are trying to get books into the hands of children, no matter where they are in the world. So, if you are in need of books to support children and reading, or if you have books to donate, this site is for you.  Here it all is in Margriet's own words.

 Matching books to readers

Are you in need of books?
If you run a program to get books into the hands of children, anywhere in the world, this is the place to come! As a service learning site, schools, libraries, organizations and individuals can find programs to support.

To have your project approved, send details, including where, how and why you bring books to children. Once approved, your project will be shared online.

If you are an educator, parent, librarian or any person wanting to help bring books and children together, check this blog, select the project of your choice, then contact that project directly to send books, school supplies or money.

If you have any questions, you can reach Margriet Ruurs at
If you run a service program to get books into the hands of children, anywhere in the world, this is the place to come! Please scroll to 1st post for details.

Help Slave Lake, AB rebuild their fire-devestated library

My son-in-law has been up fighting the fire in Slave Lake Alberta.  In a phone conversation to us he spoke about how terrible the destruction was.  What a nightmare for the people of that fire-devestated town. My heart goes out to them. One of their losses has been their new public library.  I'm so happy to see that support from other libraries, publishers and book lovers has been pouring in. Please consider helping with:
1) cash donations which can be made through on their "Make a Donation" link, or
2) donating new or nearly new books (they are asking for books no older than 2 years, probably to avoid musty cast-offs).  These can be shipped to the Peace Library system headquarters for cataloguing and storage until a temporary library can be opened in Slave Lake.

ATTN: Books for Slave Lake Library
Peace Library System
8301 -- 110 Street
Grande Prairie, AB T8W 6T2

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Support for libraries is linked to increased reading scores

Guess what?  
Support for libraries is important to learning.  What we all knew intuitively turns out to be true.  A group of American and Canadian researchers have found that when support for school libraries goes up, so do reading scores as well as learning measured in other ways. "School Library Research Summarized" can be found at the link below. It has also been turned into a booklet and a website. Both can be found here: Thanks to my colleague Brenda Kearns from the Canadian Society of Authors Illustrators and Performers  (CANSCAIP for the heads up).

Friday, May 06, 2011

Rules by Cynthia Lord

One of the problems with loving books is trying to keep up with reading everything that comes through the door! This is made worse by living in a tiny house with limited bookshelves requiring me to double the rows of books.  I’ve had Rules by Cynthia Lord since it came out, but only recently rediscovered it in the back book row when I was doing a little book weeding.
Once I started Rules, I couldn’t put it down.  It’s an absolutely wonderful book, with insights into the lives of families coping with the challenges of autism that we can all learn from.  The story is narrated by Catherine whose younger brother David is autistic. Catherine is a loving, but frustrated sister who is frequently responsible for looking after her brother while her mom works from her home office.  The novel’s title comes from the rules Catherine makes for herself and those she makes for her brother.  Rules like “When things get confusing, make a joke,” help her to cope with making new friends including Jason, the quadriplegic boy she meets at her brother’s physiotherapist’s office. More basic rules like “Keep your pants on! Unless Mom, Dad or the doctor tells you to take them off,” help her brother survive in the sometimes frightening and incomprehensible world around him.   But, neither Catherine nor her brother can rely entirely on rules.  When rules don’t work, Catherine has art to fall back on.  When rules don’t work for David, he takes comfort in the words of Arnold Lobel. But sometimes something more is needed; sometimes, tolerance and love and humor are what gets you through the day.  This is a book about all of those things…rules, art, language, love and tolerance and humor.  This is a book you’ll want to read,