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Finalist for the BC and Yukon Book Prize!

Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North is a finalist for the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. Being nominated for an award is always a great honour, and even more so when it’s in your own province. And I’m thrilled that it is for a sequel, because it tells me I must have done something right with the second book 🙂

Congrats to all the finalists, in all categories this year!

A Colorado Children’s Book Award Nomination!

I am so pleased to announce that The Very, Very Far North has been nominated for the 2022 Colorado Children’s Book Award. This is a wonderful continuation of good news from the state, having had two schools there select my middle grade novel for their One Book / One School event which gets a copy into the hands of every student.

Thoughts on teaching in the time of Covid

Yesterday evening I completed the teaching of my children’s creative writing course. It was online and on Zoom, as is most of our lives. We started in September with the majority of the students in various cities in China and one in Hong Kong (it was morning for them), and the rest of them, here with me in Vancouver. The Wi-Fi was spotty for some, terrible for a couple, most kept their screens black, and others had no access to YouTube where I might have downloaded videos to supplement teaching. So bizarrely, despite the technology that made this pan-world course even possible, it was a pretty low-tech affair, relying on a smorgasbord of simple writing exercises, group storytelling, puzzle games to foster curiosity and question-asking, group book discussions to foster opinions and how to articulate them. There were successes and there were frustrations but certainly nothing to compare to the challenges many teachers have had to deal with even more of that, along with the fears and stresses of in-person teaching.

I have nothing profound or pithy to tie this post up in, other than to wish everyone – teacher and student alike – who has tried their best under these strange circumstances, to take time to rest over the holidays, to acknowledge you got through it, and to be kind to yourself if outcomes did not meet your standards.

photo from the Singapore Botanical Gardens website

Happy Publishing Day for Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North!

It’s October 6th which means that the sequel book is officially released. Here’s a quote from a fun review from yesterday that I may just steal in the future:

“It was a grand adventure … and contained so many pearls of wisdom, one could make a necklace from them.”

Thank you Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!

A Cozy Chat with Me

An online interview with me was recently published on Medium.com. Among many things, I had a chance to discuss the ideas behind The Very, Very Far North and the upcoming sequel, Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North. You can click on the link to read it:

A Cozy Chat with Dan Bar-el

JULIE’S LIBRARY reads Not Your Typical Dragon

Julie’s Library is a podcast co-hosted by iconic actress, Dame Julie Andrews and her daughter, children’s author and educator, Emma Walton Hamilton. I was thrilled to have my picture story read by Ms. Andrews, accompanied by music and sound effects in their latest show. You can hear it by going to:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/not-your-typical-dragon-and-rooster-wore-skinny-jeans/id1507980417?i=1000486475589

Mother Bright and her Apple Tree

Today, I have posted a new storytelling video. It is my telling of a French folktale that I adapted many years ago. Mother Bright and her Apple Tree is a funny and poignant story about an independent, old woman who lives life on her own terms.

In telling this tale, I wish to honour the many elderly people who have succumbed to the Covid-19 virus before their time. If you should be so moved by the story, please consider donating a few dollars to a local organization that assists in caring for seniors. CanadaHelps.org can offer many places across the country. https://www.canadahelps.org/en/donate…

A small warning – this story may not be suitable for younger children as it addresses the topic of death, albeit in a funny, gentle way. I leave it up to your discretion.

The Very, Very Far North is a Best Books selection!

Duane the polar bear and his friends were included in the latest Best Books issue that is published bi-annually by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

Do check it out. It makes for a fun family read in a time when families are together quite a lot.