Millie’s Farm Family: teacher’s guide for the series

Millie’s going to school. The first three picture books about Millie and Turkey Baby and their farm pals now have their own teacher’s guide, for students from Kindergarten through Grade 3. Packed with background, vocabulary, questions, ideas and activities, the guide will enhance students’ experience of the books. Each book – Millie’s Feathered Foster Family, Turkey Baby and the Hungry… Read more →

Be a fierce Millie: safeguarding children who are victims of hate

As Canadians reel with horror from the news of gunmen shooting worshippers at a Quebec City mosque, my thoughts turn to a Mille Fleur hen and the turkey chick she mothered. It may seem an odd juxtaposition, but the rise in senseless attacks on The Other brings home the lessons her life exemplified. Attacking The Other The scene still makes… Read more →

Child with a lantern ventures into the night

Hope in uncertain times

    Years ago I was mesmerized by Laurens van der Post’s book, The Heart of the Hunter. His writing sank its hooks into my story-loving soul. Today I came across a conversation he had with another of my favorite storytellers, P.L. Travers. In it he tells part of a story I still remember from The Heart of the Hunter.… Read more →

Painting software for the digital artist

Not so long ago, turning a photograph into something that looked painterly required a lot of technical know-how with feature-rich, complicated software. New generations of photo editing software make the process both quick and fun. The versions below are just a quick show and tell, with encouragement for you to check out the amazing variety of software on the market. If you have… Read more →

Art, Fear, and Purple Mountains

  Shut down as an artist An 8th grade art class filled me with exuberance. I sketched, explored pastels, tried watercolor. I filled tablets, doodled on margins, and saw the world with new eyes. One day my joy came crashing down like a landslide, burying my joy in rubble I am still digging out from. Something about my watercolor of a… Read more →

You’re a canny good-life liver

The planet is lucky to have you. You are one in 7.5 billion, unique and special. You know how to live the good life. You are very likely already doing all or most of ten things researchers have found lead to the best possible quality of life. If you’re curious to know what they are, here’s a little gift for… Read more →

Endless travel, without luggage or passport

If you were a kid who read by flashlight, covered in blankets you hoped would hide the light, this one’s for you. You danced with the Wild Things when your mother scolded you. You cheered when the spider, Charlotte, spun messages that saved her pal, Wilbur the pig. You ached for days when Travis had to shoot his beloved Old… Read more →

My mom’s Charlie Brown Christmas trees

The scraggliest tree on the lot found a loving home with my mother. Well before A Charlie Brown Christmas became a movie classic, she cherished the lopsided trees with sparse branches. “We’ll cut off these bottom branches,” she would say, “and wire them in the empty spaces. Besides, this gives us space for more ornaments.” A single mother with two… Read more →

Sometimes our best teachers ignore us

    As I walked through the marsh this morning, I heard a nearly-grown osprey chick crying plaintively from the nest. He was facing away from the marsh, which made me curious. Further along the path, I discovered the reason. One of his parents was sitting atop a tall, dead tree, eating a fish. Junior could not fly to the… Read more →

Millie’s about to get company

I’ll never forget the day we put a small, injured turkey chick into a cage with a broody Millefleur hen and held our breaths. Millie was the perfect foster mother for every stray chick. She had refused only one, a duckling. (Don’t tell my young Millie fans, but she pecked him, hard, on the head and pulled her foster chicks… Read more →

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