Pigboy: starring Zachary Gordon and Megan Fox

Pigboy Movie posterOne of my favourite things about doing school visits is seeing examples of what I humbly refer to as ‘fan art’. (Click here to see another amazing example.)

I was back at Bible Hill Junior High this week and was given – okay, that’s not quite right. I was back at BHJH and begged to be given this Pigboy: The Movie poster created by one of the Grade 8 boys. (Pigboy – the book, that is – is a funny-scary or maybe scary-funny quick-read about a kid named Dan Hogg who goes on the worst field trip ever.)

I love the drawing. I love the stencilling. I love the casting. Zachary Gordon as Dan Hogg and Stanley Tucci as Mr. Benvie? Brilliant!

But my favourite is Megan Fox as Ms. Creaser. I named the character after an old friend of mine and a real teacher. Sue is going to be very flattered.

And P.S. Thanks to Mr. Greg Reid, teacher extraordinaire for inviting me back again this year. (What is it now, Greg? Five? Six times?

And P.P.S. Thanks to Halifax Learning Centre for sponsoring my visit – and their continuing work with struggling readers.

Spell Read and Me

School Visits, Halifax Learning CentreI’ve always had a special place in my heart for ‘reluctant readers’ – kids who for whatever reason don’t like to read, have trouble reading or are struggling with English as a second language. That’s why I write so many books for Orca’s excellent Sounding and Currents series. (Well, that and because they’re fun to write too. Their short format makes them an excellent playground to try out new writing styles and genres.)

Halifax Learning Centre has long been using books like Pigboy, Dead-End Job, I.D. and Not Suitable for Family Viewing as part of their remarkable Spell Read Literacy Program. Now I’m thrilled to announce that HLC is once again sponsoring my visits to schools throughout Nova Scotia. This November, I’ll be meeting with hundreds of kids in Grade s 5 through 12 to talk about my books and writing life as part of Halifax Learning Centre’s Celebration of Literacy.

Thanks, Halifax Learning Centre, for this wonderful endorsement.

Coming soon to Toronto!

Vicki Grant PresentationCan I go to school with you?

I’ll be in the GTA October 14, 15 and 16 and would love to visit your class or library. I do my best to make my presentations entertaining and, when I can get away with it, educational. If that sounds like something your students would enjoy, please get in touch with me here.

“Down-to-earth, funny and informative” – Dan Rolo, Monsieur Uyen Catholic School

“A motivating and heartfelt presentation” – Darlene Charron, Immaculata High School

“Vicki is an absolute delight!” – Linda Arsenault, Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library

 

“Vicki Grant is funny and endearing.”

Vicki Grant, Christmas, snowAnd I’ve got that on good authority. Amy Mathers said so. (Click her name if you don’t believe me.)

Amy has begun a journey “across the Canadian landscape of teen fiction” through her Marathon of Books. Her quest is to open “readers up to new perspectives and inspire book lovers to fund a teen book award.” She’s reading a book a day on a literary cross-country tour. She began in Nova Scotia with some of my oeuvre and that of my dear buddy, Don Aker. She hopes to get $100,000 in pledges to go towards the award.

It’s a wonderful project (and I’d say that even if she didn’t call me “funny and endearing”. Did I already mention that?) Click here to find out how you can support Amy’s Marathon of Books.

Amy Mathers, reader extraordinaire
Amy Mathers, reader extraordinaire

I’ve joined the Dream Team.

Orca Secrets
Marthe Jocelyn and Eric Walters hammering out some plot points at a top SECRETS meeting.

And when I say “dream team”, I mean DREAM TEAM. I’m one of seven authors writing a series of linked novels for Orca Books called Seven Secrets. Here, in alphabetical order, are my amazing co-writers: Kelley Armstrong, Marthe Jocelyn, Kathy Kacer, Norah McClintock, Teresa Toten, and our token – ha,ha – male, the inimitable Eric Walters. And that’s about all I can tell you about the project at the moment because the rest is – as the title suggests – still SECRETS. All will be revealed in 2015.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Vicki Grant (and no doubt more…)

Me looking thoughtfulVivian Howard of Dalhousie University is the driving force behind SeaStacks, a website devoted to children’s and young adult authors of Atlantic Canada. When she asked to interview me for the project, I’m sure she had no idea how much I could talk.

Man, do I go on.

In any event, here are a series of youtube videos that cover my background, my writing process, my approach to research and a lot of other things that just happened to pop into my head at the time.

Click here to watch. Enjoy!

Young Love, circa 1942

World War 2 Vicki GrantIt was a classic case of one-thing-leading-to-another. I’d always known my father was 17 when he went to war but it never dawned on me just how very, very young that was until my own beardless boy was the same age. (At which point, it promptly broke my heart. Children should not go to war. I get weepy whenever I think about it.)

Dad became a pilot of a Halifax bomber. By the time he returned to his hometown of Stittsville, Ontario in 1945, he’d flown 33 missions over Nazi Germany. He’d won the Distinguished Flying Cross for valour. And he’d been engaged at least twice. This was all before he was in the eyes of the law even considered an adult. (He turned 21 on the troopship home.)

That belated realization on my part spawned several creative projects. The first is a little video I did last year for Remembrance Day. (It’s only a minute long so please watch if you can.)

The second is on-going: a mystery novel set in Halifax (the city, not the bomber) during World War 2. For several years, Halifax, believe it or not, was the most important port in North America. Soldiers, sailors and airmen from all over the world filled the harbour, streets and dance halls. It made it a very exciting time – especially for young Haligonian girls.

Dancing Was My DutyAnd that’s what lead me to my third project. In the course of doing research for the book, I interviewed a number of women who lived in the city at the time. I thought I was going to hear sad stories of young lives lost – and I did hear a few of those – but mostly I heard about the crazy fun of wartime Halifax. There were ten boys for every girl so, as one of my ladies said, “If you didn’t have at least a few dates for Saturday night, you were slipping.” Their fabulous, hilarious stories are recorded in my very first documentary, Dancing Was My Duty. It aired on CBC-TV in the summer but you can watch it now online.

 

Spot the difference.

A comic adventure novel for 10- to 14-year olds.
A comic adventure novel for 10- to 14-year olds.

I just received a wonderful note from a young woman named Alexia Panakos. She’s now a budding fashion designer but when she was in Grade Six, she read a funny little book called The Puppet Wrangler. It’s about a girl named Telly and a – how shall we say it? – character named Bitsie. (He’s hard to explain.)

Alexia enjoyed the book so much she decided to make a life-size replica of Bitsie.

Even better, she decided that it’s time the little guy came home to Mummy. Alexia is sending Bitsie to me so I can take him on school visits.

Didn’t she do an amazing job?

 

 

 

 

 

Bitsie by Alexia Panakos

Check me out at The Human Library.

photo credit: Meghan Tansey-Whitton
photo credit: Meghan Tansey-Whitton

If I were a book, what would I be?

A thriller? In my dreams.

A romance?  Not bloody likely.

A comic book? Closer, perhaps – that is if the cover were a little wrinkled, some of the jokes kind of lame and a few crucial pages were missing in the middle.

Sound like something you’d like to ‘read’? Then check me out this Saturday, January 26 from 10 to 2 at the Keshen-Goodman Library in Clayton Park.

I’m just one of the many books at The Human Library.

And what might that be?

“Human Libraries provide an opportunity to connect one-on-one with individuals who have diverse life experiences, stories and knowledge. Just like borrowing a book from a local library, the user can, “check out” a human book for a 20-minute conversation in the library.”

Other books this year include a forensic anthropologist, a transgender activist, a chef, a judge and a member of the Provincial Legislature. Check out their fascinating stories here.

 

 

My Christmas Shopping Guide – Part 1

Running on Empty, Don Aker, Vicki Grant“Gripping, heartbreaking, and revelatory, a book that will touch teen (and adult) readers deeply.”

That’s what The Canadian Children’s Book News had to say about Don Aker’s RUNNING ON EMPTY. I bet there’s a teenager on your gift list who’d just love to go on this thrilling joy ride.

Running on Empty is available for $14.99 at fine book stores everywhere.