Tag Archives: Animals

École South Sahali interviews Gabrielle Prendergast, Author of Pandas on the Eastside

 

Pandas on the Eastside coverHow did you come up with your characters?

Usually I start with a situation or a premise and I slot in a character who is very much like me to start with. As I write I kind of carve away my own personality and carve in a new personality if that makes sense. Sometimes giving a character a name tells me a lot about them. What kind of parent named a child “Journey” in 1962? How does Journey feel about her name? When I add appearance details like hair color and age and size I get to know them more. Then I choose clothes for them. What kind of clothes do they like? Why? Most of my characters maintain some key characteristics of me. I love animals, for example. I love reading and learning.

panda

from wikipedia.org

Have you ever experienced anything like what happened to the characters?

I’m a little younger than Journey would be today, but I did live in a city in the 1970s so I remember what that was like. And I HAVE seen pandas (in a zoo). The only animals I’ve helped are my pets and occasionally a bird if it gets stunned from flying in a window.

Gabrielle PredergastHow long have you been writing for?

I started writing my first (unfinished) novel when I was about 11. I still have it!

Are the characters based on real people?

My brother-in-law, Ben thinks David is based on him and that’s pretty much true. The rest of the characters are made up.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve tried pretty much every other job and this is the only one I’m good at that doesn’t make me sad.

What difficulties did you encounter when you were writing the book and how did you solve them?

Sometimes I’m not sure what is going to happen next. Sometimes when that happens I just wait and work on something else until I get a good idea. Other times I just write any old thing and fix it later.

Harvest Writer

from flickr.com

Do you have any tips for young writers?

Write something short enough to finish. Start with poems. Then short stories. Always try to finish. Then revise your draft to see if you can make it better. Writing is rewriting.

Did you have a plan for the novel or make it up as you went along?

I made this one up. Sometimes I use a plan because it’s faster that way.

How long did it take you to write Pandas On the Eastside?

I started writing it in 2010 and sold it to my publisher in 2015. So about five years. But I was working on a bunch of other things at the same time and published four other books.

JK Rowling

from wikipedia.org

If you could have added anything else to the book, what would it have been?

I don’t know! What a good question! Maybe Journey could have met the president or something.

Who is your favourite author?

I really admire Margaret Atwood and J.K Rowling.

-Melisa Hunter, Teacher-Librarian, and students from École South Sahali, Kamloops, BC

5 Giraffes

5 Giraffes by Anne Innis Dagg

5 Girafffes coverThe latest in the 5 Animals series, with an introduction by Rob Laidlaw, 5 Giraffes profiles five unique giraffes from both captivity and the wild. Accompanying the five giraffe profiles is information on their diet, social life, and chapters on some of their more unique aspects, like the giraffe’s unusual body. Includes full color photographs throughout, glossary, bibliography, table of contents and index. (Fitzhenry and Whiteside)

Yellow Dog

Yellow Dog by Miriam Korner

Yellow Dog coverJeremy lives in a small community where winters are long and stray dogs roam the streets. When peer pressure leads Jeremy into a bad prank, he is immediately struck with guilt — and that’s when his life changes forever. Trying to make amends, Jeremy befriends Yellow Dog — and in the process meets a curious old man who introduces him to the adventures of dog sledding. Soon Jeremy is forming his own old-time dog team that includes Yellow Dog and in the process, discovers more about himself — and the old man — than he ever thought possible. (Red Deer Press)

 

Pandas on the Eastside

Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast

Pandas on the Eastside coverWhen ten-year-old Journey Song hears that two pandas are being held in a warehouse in her neighborhood, she worries that they may be hungry, cold and lonely. Horrified to learn that the pandas, originally destined for a zoo in Washington, might be shipped back to China because of a diplomatic spat between China and the United States, Journey rallies her friends and neighbors on the poverty-stricken Eastside. Her infectious enthusiasm for all things panda is hard to resist, and soon she’s getting assistance from every corner of her tight-knit neighborhood. (Orca)

Animal Hospital: Rescuing Urban Wildlife

​Julia Coey’s Animal Hospital: Rescuing Urban Wildlife covers the easily overlooked world of wildlife rehabilitation efforts around the world.  Coey focuses on city animals such as birds, squirrels, raccoons, and skunks that have been injured or orphaned, often because of human interference. Unlike zoos or wildlife sanctuaries that are long-term animal homes, the goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to help nurse animals back to health before releasing them back into the wild.  The book starts with an introduction to understanding wildlife rehabilitation and its importance before we see these rehabilitation efforts in action through the eyes of the Toronto Wildlife Centre whose hotline fields tens of thousands of calls every year.

The book is filled with striking, full colour photos that filled my heart with love (a pile of baby raccoons) and heartache (a poor helpless skunk whose head got trapped in a plastic dessert lid-– but don’t worry, he was saved!).  It was inspiring to read about these champions of nature and learn new wildlife facts. Did you know 20% of the time squirrels are just sneakily pretending to bury nuts to trick other squirrels or birds who might be watching?  Animal Hospital was a fascinating and enlightening read that’s definitely worth picking up!

-Reviewed by Jamie Fong

Coming to the Red Cedar Gala on May 6 to see if Animal Hospital is a winner? Please RSVP to redcedaraward@gmail.com Hope to see you there!

Manoah Steves Elementary Interviews Tanya Lloyd Kyi

We are super excited that Tanya Lloyd Kyi, author of the fascinating book DNA Detective, will be at the Red Cedar Gala at Vancouver Public Library on May 6. Ahead of her appearance, students from Manoah Steves Elementary interviewed her and asked her some thought-provoking questions.
MSE: Did you know any of these facts before?
TLK: Before I began this project, I knew very little about DNA. And when I started my research, the science of genes and heredity seemed really complicated. It took a long time to sort through the information overload to find great stories about the way DNA affects our daily lives. Right now, DNA research is changing the way we eat, the way governments and police forces track criminals, even the way we choose our pets! Stories about these sorts of implications and changes were really what inspired me to write the book.
MSE: How long did it take to research all of these facts?
TLK: For each of my books, I spend three or four months on research. Once I’ve gathered enough information, I begin to write… and I always, always discover that there’s a lot more to learn. The first draft of DNA Detective took six to eight months of research and writing combined, then a little MORE research once the editor started asking questions and pointing out gaps. Good thing I love research — I like hunting for the best stories and the best ways to explain tricky scientific concepts.
MSE: Why did you name the DNA Scientists Genetic rock stars?
TLK: Like contestants on The Voice, the scientists who made major DNA discoveries were completely obsessed with success. One of them studied fruit flies for a decade before he discovered one teeny, microscopic mutation. And since these scientists changed the world in ways no pop song has ever done, I think they deserve the “rock star” title.
MSE: How did you come up with all the funny names on p. 23?
TLK: Once I started searching for silly names on the internet, there were zillions. Ever since the book was published, I keep stumbling across other great pun-names and thinking, “oooh… I wish I’d included that one!”
MSE: Why did you start writing books?
TLK: I’ve been writing stories since elementary school. I still have an unfinished novel from high school sitting in my crawl space. My first published book was Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World, which came out in 2000.  It was all about girls who’d accomplished amazing things before they turned 20.
MSE: Did you get to choose who did the drawings for your book?
TLK: The publisher always chooses the illustrators for my books, but I’ve never complained — they make amazing choices. Seeing the illustration sketches is one of my favourite parts of book-creation. By that time, most of my work on the project is finished, and I get to sit back and relax while someone else interprets my stories and facts in ways I might never expect. My favourite illustrations in DNA Detective are the genetic rock stars and the detective dog.
MSE: Where did you get the idea to write a non-fiction story combined with a fiction story?
TLK: The entire subject of DNA seems to lend itself to mystery solving. And when I read the story of the twins in Germany who couldn’t be charged with a robbery because the police couldn’t prove which twin committed the crime (that story’s at the back of the book)… well, then I just HAD to include the mystery.

Image credit: worth1000.com

MSE: Did you know anything about DNA before you wrote this story?

TLK: Very little! I wrote a book a few years ago called Seeing Red, which was all about blood. In that book, there was the story of two Chicago families who’d taken their babies home from the hospital only to find the babies were labelled with different last names. So, had the babies been switched, or were the labels wrong? The hospital didn’t know, and the Chicago Commissioner of Health called in a panel of experts. No one could tell which baby belonged to which family! Finally, a pathologist who understood blood types tested the blood of the babies and of all four parents, and figured out the babies had gone home with the wrong families. It was the first time blood types had been used to figure out paternity. That story — which is really about genetics and heredity — helped me get excited about the idea of a DNA book.
MSE: Is it possible to mix DNA  eg. frog and snake  – Can I make a froggy-snake?
TLK: Probably not… yet. But if scientists get that far, I’d like a pet cabbit. (You know: half cat, half rabbit.)

-Lauren Craze, Teacher-Librarian at Manoah Steves Elementary and friends

If you want to see Tanya Lloyd Kyi at the Red Cedar Gala on May 6 please RSVP to redcedaraward@gmail.com Hope to see you there!


Our first book trailer! And it’s for…

…Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest

Eden Forbes of Victoria West Elementary created this fantastically creepy trailer.

Many thanks to Rachel Speller, Victoria West’s teacher-librarian for sending it our way.

We’d love to see your book trailer too!  Want tips on how to create your own?  Check out our handy dandy how to guide.

-Patricia

Eco Warrior

Eco Warrior by Philip Roy

Eco Warrior is a wonderful tale about a sixteen year old boy named Alfred that pulls you in right away and keeps you reading from page one to the end. Alfred is traveling to Australia in a 28413939homemade submarine with his pet seagull and dog to learn how to be an environmentalist and save the oceans. On the way Alfred learns many life lessons and meets new friends for life. After Alfred gets to Australia he gets mistakenly accused of sabotaging a tanker and has to make a daring escape with the help of a friend. Because of that Alfred makes his way over to Tasmania to see if he can help the Sea Shepherd Society battle tankers that supply Japanese whale hunters with fuel for their ships.

Eco Warrior is short book that outlines the dangers that our oceans are in and shows that it’s still possible for us to make a change. You do not need to read the previous six books in the series to enjoy this one.

Overall, Eco Warrior an engaging book that never leaves you in a dry spot.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is real! Take a look at this site to find out more: http://www.seashepherd.org

-reviewed by Johanna Ahn