I'm feeling so at home here in Whitehorse. It could be because when I walk into the local café Baked, people say, "Hey, weren't you at my school yesterday?"!
Today, I visited four schools in the Whitehorse area. The first one was Jack Hulland Elementary, where I got to be with my new best friend Helen O'Connor. Like me, Helen does a lot of stuff. In addition to being a wonderful artist, she is the librarian at Jack Hulland, and she is also the Yukon coordinator for TD Canadian Children's Book Week.
I worked with grades six and seven students. One girl named Hannah has even more energy than me. And a student named Chayce ("it's spelled weird," he told me) stayed after my session to discuss writer's block. Chayce said, "I start writing a story and within the first paragraph, I get writer's block." Luckily for Chayce, I had a solution! I told him that for me, writer's block is like running -- if you get a cramp while you're running, you gotta keep running -- or writing in the case of writer's block.
Here's a photo of me with a few students at Jack Hulland. Note the cool display!
Next stop was Holy Family Elementary, where I worked with a LIVELY group of grade sevens. The first student I met shook my hand and introduced himself saying, "My name is Conly and I'm a fellow author." I had some trouble getting this group to settle down at first, but I think I got them hooked when we started talking about the Holocaust and I told them how my mum had been a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.
And we did a really cool thing together -- we Skyped my class at Marianopolis College... that's because at the same time as I was visiting Holy Family, author and editor Sarah Harvey was visiting my Writing for Children class at Marianopolis. The students at Holy Family were eager to check out my students -- as you can see from the next pic.
After lunch, I went to Porter Creek High School. I was happy to meet up here with another new friend, Porter Creek librarian Brenda Estabrook. I worked with Mr. Hale's grade ten students, as well as a few grade eleven and twelve students who are keen writers. When I told a sad story, I could tell from a student named Tyra's eyes that she really felt the story's pain. Writers need to feel, Tyra! I even showed the students a few of my boxing moves (that's because my latest book is about a girl boxer, and I took boxing lessons as part of my research for the story). That's me in the next pic demonstrating an uppercut!
My last stop for the day was at Elijah Smith Elementary, where I worked with Mrs. Potters's grade six class and two visiting grade seven students. My favourite moment was when a student named Asher said, "You should write a book about the Yukon!" So I told Asher, "You know WHO should write a book about the Yukon?" and four other students (Josh, Meghan, Kenny, and Cassidy) called out, "US!"
That's exactly right, you guys! In fact, that's the whole point of TD Canadian Children's Book Week -- to make you realize that you can be writers, too, and that you have great stories (not to mention a beautiful territory!) to write about!
I'm off to Carmax tomorrow, then Mayo on Friday ... will do my best to keep blogging if the internet connection is good enough!
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im so happy that i met you! you just left like 12 minutes ago
Hi im using Jessica's Email. You should write a book about a girl trying to get into hockey but these bunch of boys said she can't becuase she is a girl. so she tries to prove to them that anyone boy or girl can do anything a boy can do. theres a hockey camp open so she goes. She is the only girl there. Its didnt say anything about no girls going. Its fine if you dont like it. you wanted some sport ideas so i told you one! Its real becuase it happened to meh!
your a good writer!;D
you make some good books.....keep it up Polak.
You make some good book....keep it up Polak.
you make some good books....keep it up.
thanks for coming to our school your still in the room not to far i don't know what to say but imlike your books I'm reading junkyard dog
Hey JP6, that was a fun letter from all of you! You made me laugh out loud when I read it. Yes, I want to write more about my mum's secrets. (If she'll tell me more! Otherwise, I'll just have to imagine them!!) It's hard to say which book is my favourite. That would be like choosing a favourite child. To all of you at Eliza Bibber, thanks for your comments. It was great meeting you guys and hey, you got on the computer before I did! Write write write and read read read -- and stay out of trouble!!!
Hannah says hi! from Jack Hulland Elementary. Thanks for coming to the Yukon. ;D;D;D;D;D;D;D;D;D
Hey Monique, Chayce (It's most definitely spelt funny) here. I am so sorry about how late this comment is. I promised I would post a comment as soon as I could, but I forgot. At least I remembered... Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for coming to Whitehorse and our school! I really appreciate your help with writers block. I'm already on chapter 4 of my book in progress, and even if I still get stuck, I just go and grab a cup of Coco and get back to writing :P. Don't know if you want a full copy of the whole story though... If you do, I totally would give you a free copy 8). Also, after reading your blog posts, I had inspiration to make a book about your trip to the yukon called 'The angry highway bear!'... Or atleast, that's my current title. I thank you so much for the help you gave me, as I feel I'm able to use my Imagination to it's fullest writing stories. If there's any chance you would come back to the yukon, I'd love to see you again.;D
Dear Chayce, Reading your comment puts me in a great mood. The title of your story "The Angry Highway Bear!" definitely makes me want to read that book!! KEEP WRITING. I will be gald to pay full price when it comes out, though maybe you'll SIGN it for me! Have a great summer, and yes, I hope to return to the Yukon and see you guys again!!
Might as well reply to your reply... Unfortunately, my personal computer is down and all my work is lost, so I'll have to restart from an early backup on the net... . At least I can still write, cause I have two other laptops and a desktop. I hope to have it finished by 2015, but I don't know if that's gonna be possible. Anyway, keep writing, monique, and don't forget to come to PCSS (Porter Creek Secondary), cause that's where I'll be this year.