As I’m writing this at the Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino, waves are breaking over rocks outside my window and a receding tide is showing a beautiful beach below. A crow sits in the branches of a tree waiting for crumbs to be tossed on our balcony. They’ve been amusing company for the last few days and remind us of Edgar Alan Crow who used to visit us at 0ur home in Ontario. We are here taking a few days between my week in Nanaimo and visits next week in Edmonton.
I was in Nanaimo for a week prior to the Nanaimo Chidren’s Book Festival last Saturday May 5th. I visited great schools and beautiful libraries all week before a wonderful day at the festival. Nanaimo has always had the best festival and it was wonderful to return for what I think was my 4th time since 1991.
All festivals are great, organized by dedicated volunteers and attended by enthusiastic audiences, but there is something about Nanaimo that sets it apart. Perhaps it is the location: Nanaimo set beside Departure Bay and tucked in by Newcastle and Protection Island is a beautiful place for a festival. Or perhaps it is the people like Thora Howell who was the inspiration and guiding force behind the festival 26 years ago. Like Thora, there is a group of dedicated hard working volunteers who take on the task of bringing such an event to life, too many to mention, but to whom appreciation goes out to from authors and illustrators across Canada. I’m just one of many lucky enough to have been invited to share our work with young and old, and someone fortunate enough to be invited back.
This week I am charging my batteries on the beautiful far west coast of Canada in Tofino and Uclulet. Canada is stunningly beautiful from ocean to ocean to ocean. I wish there were a way to bring children from different parts of Canada to see what we have and to grow up appreciating the enormity and beauty of this amazing land.
Next week, thanks to Canada Council for the Arts and to private donors such as Dr. Alan Murdoch and parent donors of schools I will be visiting, I will be sharing my work once again in Edmonton. I’m excited to be returning to the library to share my work, meeting the Children’s Roundtable members and doing drawing workshops as well as an evening PJ presentation. Along with sharing the creative process and my love of books, it will be a time of drawing dragons, wearing pots and any other silly stuff that might happen. One just never knows. I guess that’s what makes it so much fun.
(I’ll post pictures just as soon as I get back from sketching on the beach!)