A group of Canadian children's writers are touring the country this week for Canadian Children's Book Week. One of the authors -- Penny Draper -- visited my Writing for Children class at Marianopolis College earlier this week.
So, let me tell you a little about Penny. In addition to being a children's writer, Penny is also a professional storyteller... and I must say she had a magical effect on all of us when she told us a story.
To our surprise, Penny explained that as a child, she was shy. (See -- even shy people can turn into amazing storytellers!) But reading and writing were always important to her: "Writing was my way to understand the world."
All of Penny's novels are linked to various Canadian disasters, including the 1998 ice storm here in Quebec. She does a lot of research before beginning a new book: "One of my goals is to find interesting facts that no one knows about." But in the end, Penny's novels are about kids and how they must find inner strength to cope with disastrous circumstances. Here's what Penny had to say about her characters: "They become almost like my children, or my friends."
Penny told us that her own kids (the real ones, not the characters in her books!) sometimes call her "The Disaster Queen." But despite her kids' teasing, Penny still enjoys writing about disasters: "Something good always comes out of a disaster. Something's learned. Laws are changed."