Books for Uganda


Last night I delivered about 30 boxes of wonderful books which I had collected on Salt Spring Island, for a school in Uganda. A couple from Mayne Island came to pick them up. Now the books will make their way by container, compliments of Rotary International, to Uganda. The small rural school there is now being used as library, not just by the village but people walk from miles around to borrow books!
This shipment was made possible by people around Salt Spring Island and includes gorgeous books: from a homeschool library, text books from our highschool, the collection from a 15 year old who passed away and whose mom donated his books, and many other sources. I hope this inspires you to collect and ship books to a project of your choice in a similar way!
You can also visit this website: http://www.unicef.org/supply/kits_flash/schoolinabox/
and donate a school-in-a-box to bring education to children around the world.
Happy Holidays!

Greg Mortenson Coming to Vancouver!

I was thrilled to learn that Vancouver Kidsbooks will be hosting Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, on January 14, 15 and 16 for 3 speaking engagements.
You can see all the details here: http://www.kidsbooks.ca/kidsbooksevents.htm?&
Greg is a gifted speaker and will talk about the schools he has built in Pakistan and Afghanistan. If you live anywhere near Vancouver, this is a great opportunity to listen to an inspiring person! I just booked my tickets!

Global Bookmark Exchange


If you have not yet participated in my global bookmark exchange with your school, now is the time! I have several schools in different countries looking for buddies.
All you need to do is let me know how many students and in which grades, want to make bookmarks. I will send you a match.
Bookmarks need to be handmade. Students can decorate them any way they like, but should write one sentence about their favorite book, in English and in any other language they may speak. They then mail their bookmarks to another country. You can use this activity to study the country, to send letters, pictures, flags.etc. Sometimes students even become pen pals.
You can also check out the books that other kids recommend and find out what they are reading in other countries!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Time to Write

The November rains are here. It's pouring... But it's nice to be home with a fire going. I made home baked bread and soup and now it's time to write! I'm putting the final touches on a novel on which I have been working for a long, long time.
I also collected about 40 boxes of books from different donors on Salt Spring Island. The books will be going to a new school in Uganda which Rotary International has helped to build.

Here is a fun interview with fellow Salt Spring writer Phyllis Smallman:
http://lettheshadowsfallbehindyou.blogspot.com

Phyllis writes adult mysteries. Her book Magarita Nights is in our booklovers' B & B.
If you are a writer, you will enjoy reading her interview.

Librarians & Teachers Everywhere!


Hello from Charlotte, North Carolina. I am speaking at the convention of the American School Libraries Association. There are some 2,500 t/l's here and it's fun to see old friends (from Teipei, Atlanta, Oregon and other places) as well as meet new friends. I'm staying with author Carol Baldwin in Charlotte. I'm looking forward to sharing the stories behind My Librarian is a Camel and My School in the Rain Forest tomorrow.

Write on Salt Spring


The brilliant fall colours are getting less as golden leaves now line the roads. But.. you don't have to shovel rain! And this past weekend my husband and sons went golfing in the sunshine. I feel pretty lucky to be writing with a view like this...
A deer wandered by this morning, looked in the window and continue his/her quest for greenery.

Teaching The Story - in North Carolina

In just a few weeks I will be presenting at the American Association of School Libraries annual conference in Charlotte, NC. Fellow writer Carol Baldwin has kindly offered me to stay at her house. Carol has written a wonderful book for teachers: Teaching The Story. Check it out here: https://www.maupinhouse.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=198

Paper Tigers

Recently I met Corinne from Paper Tigers, a book related website for educators. Check out the site: http://www.papertigers.org/wordpress/index.php
It has a wealth of information about multicultural books and how to use them.

My Books

Here is a slideshow of my book covers.
You can order any of these titles from Amazon or from your local bookstore.
If you have any problems, let me know!
Happy reading.

10 Questions

I just had an interview posted here: http://www.openbooktoronto.com/news/ten_questions_with_margriet_ruurs

Hope you enjoy reading it!

10 Questions

I just had an interview posted here:

Hope you enjoy reading it!

10 Questions

I just had an interview posted here: http://www.openbooktoronto.com/news/ten_questions_with_margriet_ruurs

Hope you enjoy reading it!

You're Invited!

If you live in or near the lower mainland, I'd like to invite you to the Fall Book Harvest, a launch of new books by many BC authors and illustrators. I will be sharing my new book MY SCHOOL IN THE RAIN FOREST. Here are the details of the event. Hope to see you there!

Kirkus Review for MY SCHOOL IN THE RAIN FOREST

My School In The Rain Forest

Kirkus Review 8/15/2009

Beginning with a quote from the UN's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" that states that everyone has the right to an education, this selection describes an assortment of schools of various types and shapes in different locations across the globe. A huge diversity is explored and described—traditional classrooms, homeschooling, distance learning, community and nongovernment schools, international schools, specially designed buildings, outdoor learning spaces and even boats. Each spread presents a school in a design that includes the national flag, a map and facts about the country, interesting photographs of the school and students, general descriptions of the location and type of school and whom it serves and the transportation involved, as well as the words and thoughts of children who attend. Accessible and inspiring, the depictions of these 13 schools are impressive in scope, and the sheer number of similarities and differences between the schools makes for a fascinating read. An excellent choice for the classroom and a strong introduction to such topics as global diversity and the importance of education. (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Virtual Author Visits Available


In this day and age, when we all face excalating transportation costs and budget cuts, I am pleased to offer you a virtual author visit to your classroom.
By simply downloading Skype I can address your students, answer their questions, show them my (new) books and share information with them on reading and writing.
Cost for a one hour Skype visit is $200 (reduced from the standard $250 per hour classroom presentation) with no added travel or accommodation expenses.
If you would like to arrange a suitable date and time, please contact me: margriet@margrietruurs.com

Workshop offered on Salt Spring

If you live on or near Salt Spring you might be interested in the workshop I will be teaching:

Library Cuts

If you are a teacher, parent, booklover in B.C. you have probably heard about the pending funding cuts to BC libraries. Not long ago our premier promised "to make BC the most literate province in Canada." Now, however, the government is cutting not just special programs but core funding to libraries. This means that children's programming, Summer Reading clubs, even the B.C. One Card may all soon disappear.
Please let your voice be heard by contacting your MLA, the premier and others. You can find details on this website: http://www.stopbclibrarycuts.ca/

International School visit


I just received this photo from the International School in Teipei, Taiwan I visited earlier this year. They took this photo of me reading to students. It is now hanging, framed, on the wall of their library. A wonderful memento!

A Great Summer Read!

Who says they don't write books like they used to? I just finished reading a wonderful children's novel. Couldn't put it down! JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA by Eva Ibbotson is a blend of Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn and Pippy Longstocking. Bound to become a classic - I loved the characters, the settings, everything about it. If you need a good read this summer, be sure to try this book.
On the page of "Recommended Reads" on this website, you will find a list of many of my favorite books, including this one.

NorthWords Writing Camp

After the long weekend I will be flying to Terrace, B.C. to conduct a creative writers' camp at the Public Library. I look forward to working with children who want to write and illustrate their own stories. Hopefully it won't be as hot as it is now!

Writers' Workshops


During the past week I spoke at the Oregon Coast Children's Writing Workshop in Oceanside, Oregon. What a gorgeous setting to spend the week talking about children's writing. There were some 50 participants from across the country as well as great writers, an agent and editors. Now I'm looking forward to getting home and writing!

New Book!

Summer is flying by at Between The Covers, our booklovers' B & B. I'm having fun hosting people from all across the world in our Fiction and Poetry room. Good news: my brandnew book is now out! MY SCHOOL IN THE RAIN FOREST has been several years in the making. It is published by Boyds Mills Press, ISBN 978-1-59078-601-7-51795 and can be ordered from any bookstore or online.
My School in the Rain Forest: How Children Attend School Around the World
The book shares stories and information about many countries around the world and how children attend school. It includes a school via the radio in Australia, a school on a ship, a floating school in Cambodia and many more. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Books, Beds and Bedtime Stories

Time flies when you're having fun. I AM having fun making big breakfasts for our many guests at Between The Covers, sharing stories and books with them. Many of our first guests have been teachers who enjoy our book theme. We now have bookings from Australia, Newfoundland and many other places and look forward to meeting more booklovers here in our piece of paradise.
When I am not doing laundry or weeding the lavender, I am editing my upcoming book: Amazing Animals.
I hope you are finding time to read good books. For a list of some of my favourite books to read this summer, click on the 'for readers' tab on my website.


Booklovers' B & B - Big News!!


After months of hard work, renovations, planting, mowing, painting and moving furniture we are now proud to tell you that we have opened BETWEEN THE COVERS, Booklovers' B & B here on Salt Spring Island, B.C.!
The place looks gorgeous. We have two rooms:
• The Poetry Room has a queen size bed, sitting area, kitchen counter with microwave and coffee maker, private entrance and private bathroom.
• The Fiction Room has a king size bed, a hide-a-bed couch and also private entrance and private bathroom. The hut tub on the deck overlooks acres of lavender and farm fields. Deer wander by daily. The rooms have bookcases full of an eclectic assortment of books. You can even take a book with you once you get into it!
My daughter-in-law Hannah is a great (English) cook and we look forward to working on fancy breakfast menu's. We plan to serve all sorts of homemade things as well as our own farm eggs! We finished building a gorgeous chicken coop this weekend!
So, if you need a break and get away from it all this summer, and if you like to read, come stay at Between The Covers!
www.betweenthecoversbandb.com

Award from a reader!



Just want to share the wonderful letter I received from Raul in Taiwan. He asks if I ever received an award. And look at the lovely "award" I just received from Linda. It's a win-win situation!




And then it was May!

The IRA Convention always marks the end of the school year and beginning of summer for me. This year it was my last booking until July, when I will be conducted part of a writing for children course. IRA was good - hectic but good. I enjoyed seeing many friends and making new ones during the one day Institute I presented with several other writers. The highlight was meeting Ron Broda, the illustrator of In My Backyard. We had never met each other (illustrators are assigned by the publisher) but recognized each other immediately! Ron was a great presenter as well as a gifted artist. His original paper sculptures had everyone in awe.
I signed books in the booths of Maupin House and Boyds Mills Press. I also co-presented the Poetry Olio, always my favorite event at IRA.
Since I came back I have been mowing lawns, weeding and getting ready for the first guests in our B & B. More about that soon! Enjoy the last few weeks of the school year!

Spring is here - off to IRA


Spring is here - I have been raking, weeding, planting! I love it - the birds are building nests, hummingbirds whizz by my head and tonight a bunny hopped through the driveway. Last night, my kids made dinner for us and served it out on the deck while we watched the sunset. How perfect can it get?!
This weekend I'm off to the annual Reading Convention in Minneapolis. Hope to see many of you there! I'm presenting an all day Institute on Sunday, signing books on Monday and Tuesday and co-presenting the Poetry Olio on Wednesday night. If you love poetry, be sure to come for rhythm and fun!

The Big Read

Today is the first day of Global Action Week. Check out this website: http://www.campaignforeducationcanada.org/en/index.php

I hope you will do something special this week to celebrate reading and books!

Earthday!


Hope you were able to do something today that benefits the earth. My family and I planted 15 trees on our new acreage. I bought tomato plants and planted rhubarb. I weeded all day yesterday and today, we tilted the new vegetable garden and had a lot of fun working together on gorgeous Salt Spring Island. We will soon open our planned booklovers' B & B!
I am also putting the final touches on the text for a new book and getting ready for a day of poetry writing in the lower mainland next week.
Happy Earthday!

• Write an Earthday poem
• Keep a log of what you see outside your window (I see birds pulling worms from the soil, a bird gathering grasses to line its nest, two blue jays hanging on the birdfeeder, and yesterday, we had a wild turkey visiting our yard all day).
• Write a story about your favorite animal
• Take a photo of a wild animal such as a bird, a duck, a butterfly (I took this photo of a young owl last summer)


Happy Easter!



Both Emma and Henry wish you a HAPPY EASTER! May it be the start of a lovely Spring,

Margriet

Lower Mainland Author Visit Available

Back from Asia! I tried to bring warmer weather with me... It was hard to leave gorgeous Subic in The Philippines where my hotel was on a white sand beach, I swam with dolphins and I enjoyed meeting everyone in the lovely school. But it's good to be home again and do some gardening. The daffodils are blooming and the blossoms are out.

Now it's back to writing work! During the week of April 27 (later in the week) I will be in the lower mainland and it looks like I will have a day available to do author visits. If your school is interested, please let me know as soon as possible.
Happy Easter!

Hello from The Philippines!


This week I am doing writing workshops with middle school students at Brent International School in The Philippines. A great school with keen writers. It is very hot here, and very humid. Tomorrow the teachers are taking me out for dinner on the edge of a volcano!
Look at the amazing welcome I received at the school! I've never had my face on a real banner before :-)


Emma in Taiwan



I just spent a lovely week doing author presentations at Taipei American School in Taiwan. Emma was a huge success!

The school was lovely: nice students, great teachers and an amazing PTA. I enjoyed dinner with different people each night and had fun sharing books and stories.

You can view all of my photos from my 2009 Asia trip here:
http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=712337853


Hello from Myanmar


I had the privilege of speaking at the International School of Yangon, Myanmar this past week. I loved the country. We traveled to the heart of Burma, saw the Irrawaddy River, visited schools in small villages, met children in monastry schools and loved the country and its beautiful people.
Here is a photo of myself and my husband with a tradtional dance group from the Shan hills.
Now I am off to speak to students in Taipei, Taiwan.

Butterfly Award


Today I received a message from Papertigers (http://www.papertigers.org/) with the "Butterfly Award" for my blog!
The idea of this award is to pass it on to others. So I'm forwarding it to several amazing writers whose blogs I have admired.

One of the sites that has a Butterfly Award is Just One More Book:
http://www.justonemorebook.com/

I think that the following blogs deserve this recognition:
• http://www.lindabaileybooks.com/
• http://www.deborahhodge.com/
• http://www.sherylmcfarlane.ca/
• http://www.cwill.bc.ca/
• http://www.marycasanova.com

Hope you enjoy exploring these informative websites.

Moonbeam Children's Book Award


It started out as a dreary day, on Salt Spring, with snow covering the fields. Not what I want to see now that the bulbs are several inches high already. But this afternoon it turned into a glorious day when the mail arrived: I received a silver medal and certificate from the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. A Silver Medal for environmental issues for IN MY BACKYARD (Tundra Books, illustrated by Ron Broda).
I love what Ron did with the art for this book: he made amazing 3D paper sculptures. Children can read about every day critters that can be encountered in any backyard, including urban settings. In each illustration you can spot a ladybug. But Ron has also added a prediction element: in each illustration is a glimpse of the animal featured on the next page. Can you guess which animal it is?
CM magazine said
"Ruurs’ new book reflects her admirable desire to help children learn to appreciate the majesty of their natural surrounds. Her love of nature is evident in many of her books for children, and that is also the case here".

I'm glad the Moonbeam Awards agreed and gave it a silver medal!

Reading is Contagious!

I just returned home from IRA, Phoenix. What a wonderful Institute we had on Saturday! Our panel of authors (Deborah Hodge, Linda Bailey, Sara Holbrook and Mary Casanova) and teacher-of-the-year Jan Keese from Iowa, had a great time sharing inside stories and experiences of writing with teachers. We laughed and cried over poetry and picture books. The participants all left with a thick book of writing activities to use in the classroom. They will now, in turn, spread the joy of reading and writing to their students across the continent. The love of reading is contagious, isn't it?!
On the plane I finished the book I was reading: Throwaway Daughter by Ting-Xing Ye with William Bell. Wow, what a powerfully written book. I highly recommend it to adults and as older YA - the story of a girl adopted from China and the lives of all those involved. I couldn't put it down. That's the one thing I love about those long days of flying: lots of time to read a good book!

IRA Convention

Today I did my first school presentations on Salt Spring Island. Nice school, nice kids, nice teachers, great PAC!
It was a sunny spring day but the kids were excited about books and reading.

Now I'm packing to go to Phoenix, AZ to present an all day Institute at IRA with several fellow writers: Sara Holbrook, Linda Bailey, Deborah Hodge and Mary Casanova. Jan Keese, Iowa's teacher of the year, will weave our stories together with classroom activities. If you are a teacher attending IRA, either in Phoenix or Minneapolis (May) I hope you will attend this very dynamic Institute: Weaving Different Genres into Classroom Gold!

Another Good Book to Read!

I just finished reading another great book: ALPHABET OF DREAMS by Susan Fletcher.
I just couldn't put it down. I loved her book Shadow Spinner and this one also plays in Persia. It's the story of the famous Three Wise Men. She brings them to life in this gripping story full of amazing details. You can smell the camels, hear the copper bells, see the stable and the star. It's not at all a Christmas story but gives the background of a story we are all familiar with. Highly recommended for avid readers of 12 and up.

2009 Global Action Week on Literacy

Have you heard of this campaign? In April the Global Campaign for Education will celebrate literacy in many innovative ways. Be sure to register your school or library to participate in exciting events!

http://www.campaignforeducationcanada.org/en/index.php

Globe & Mail article on writing/publishing

Interesting article if you are a fellow writer:

"Publish, and your book will probably perish"
You did your part, you wrote the book. So why are Canadian publishers getting worse at their part - selling it? James Adams reports

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090207.wxmarket07/EmailBNStory/Entertainment/home




Colorado State Reading Conference

I just returned from Denver where I did presentations at a wonderful elementary school. The school uses 'real' books, the kids read nonstop, the teachers read aloud... What more could you ask for :-)
Then I presented several sessions at the Colorado State Reading conference - a great conference with nearly 3,000 teachers in attendance. The mayor of Denver made a surprise appearance and it was fun to have dinner with Jane Yolen, Susan Bartoletti, Julie Danneberg and many other wonderful writer friends, old and new.
Besides seeing many Colorado teachers, it was fun to listen to the wild stories of Jon Scieszca, to see Gordon Korman and hear the background details of Patricia Polacco's The Keeping Quilt.
But.. it's also nice to be home again. Time to finish my new book by this week's deadline...

Family Literacy

Did you celebrate Family Literacy this week? I hope someone read a good book to you. I'm currently reading ALPHABET OF DREAMS by Susan Fletcher, an Oregon author. I'm really getting into it. She wrote Shadow Spinner, one of my favorite novels. You can see a list of my favourite titles by scrolling down.

I wanted to share a website with you:
http://www.justonemorebook.com
It's a fun site to explore books, to listen to your favourite author and discover new titles. Have fun listen to just one more book!

Nashville, Tennessee


Last week I visited Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. The students were wonderful. It was a treat to briefly visit The Grand Ol' Opry, just to see what it looks like! Emma stood on the steps with me and wished she was a country singer! Tok!

GLOBAL BOOKMARK EXCHANGE


When I was in Pakistan visiting a library, the children were making bookmarks. I suggested that they exchange their bookmarks with a school in North America. One thing led to another and, at this point, hundreds of students in over 23 countries around the world have exchanged handmade bookmarks with each other.
The idea is that each student makes one bookmark and writes one sentence, in English and in any other language they speak, about their favorite book. I have heard wonderful stories from schools where they all went to look at their buddy's favorite book, sharing their own and discussing a variety of good books. You can also combine social studies with language and study the country with which you are matched, use the map, do research, mail each other pins, flags, etc.
Almost daily I get requests from schools to be teamed up for a bookmark exchange. If you are a teacher and would like your class or whole school to participate, this is what you do:
• email me (margriet@margrietruurs.com) and tell me how many students in each grade you have.
• have students make handmade bookmarks as described above.
I will send you the name of a teacher elsewhere in the world. You will email him or her and send the required number of bookmarks via regular mail. Yours will arrive in the mail at some point!

I hope you will participate. I always have a waiting list, so this may take a while. I have many older students (Grade 8 and up) in North America waiting to be teamed. If you are a teacher in another country, I'd love to hear from you!

Happy teaching with books,

Margriet

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a healthy, happy New Year. May it be filled with stories waiting to be told and a cozy place to curl up with good books to read!
2009 started off with a perfect holiday - having our sons home, playing games, laughing a lot. There's too much snow for my taste but did make it all look very pretty.
We are now focusing on home renovations for our booklovers' B & B. I am also gearing up for school and library visits. If you live in the lower mainland and are interested in school visits, I have 2 days available this month.
I'm looking forward to flying to Nashville, TN soon to work with children in a school there.

Happy New Year!

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