Amy’s Promise – Red Cedar Award Winner 1998

As we set off on another great Red Cedar award season, let’s fire up that time machine and take a trip back in time to where the awards began.

The very first Red Cedar Awards were handed out in May 1998. The winner of the inaugural award for fiction was Bernice Thurman Hunter’s historical novel Amy’s Promise.

amyAmy Phair’s world fell apart when her mother died. Her baby sister was taken away, and now Gramma Davis keeps her busy cooking and cleaning for three young brothers and a neglectful father. It isn’t fair . .. but Amy promised her mama she’d watch over them all. Still, Amy can dream: dreams of beautiful music, of having a sister, of a father who can love his children again. But what can a twelve-year-old do to make promises come true?

Bernice Thurman Hunter was born in Toronto in 1922, and although her childhood was difficult, and poverty meant she didn’t get a chance to pursue her dream of attending university, Bernice never lost her sense of humour or her cheerful personality. She always wanted to be a writer, and regularly wrote and told stories to entertain her children and grandchildren, but she didn’t publish her first book until she was 59 year old. Bernice eventually published more than 15 books for young people, most of them set in the past, and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her contribution to Canadian children’s literature. She passed away in 2002.

Have you read Amy’s Promise? Which book do you think will take home the Red Cedar award for fiction in 2016? Let us know in the comments below!

Richard Scrimger is coming to town!

Richard_SwrimgerExciting news, Red Cedar Group Leaders! Richard Scrimger is coming to BC this spring.  He knows the Greater Vancouver Area best, but would certainly consider visiting other parts of the province if there is enough interest.

Richard has written 20 books for children and adults, and his work has received multiple awards and been translated into a number of different languages. His last 3 novels feature a developmentally-challenged teen, a depressed zombie, and an onion-ring fan who falls into a steam-punk comic. Plots involve a ghost-wolf grampa, school bussing, a robotic lammergeyer and a brief apocalypse. Fortunately, confusion is Richard’s natural state.

Richard’s presentations are all about story — enjoying it, understanding it, creating it. For grades JK-2, he explains a simple formula: experience + ideas = story. The group shares experiences, and the audience participates in a raucous read-along. For middle grades (3-6) Richard recounts an event from his own life to model techniques of story-building. Then he and the audience create their own story using some of those techniques.

For seniors (7-8) Richard shows how to twist dark truths inside us to make convincing stories. He and the audience put together a story from bits and pieces of truth, and discover what works, what doesn’t, and why.

zomboy

There is no maximum number of students per session: Typical would be 60-100. Fewer students means more interaction. Over a certain number (say, 150) Richard might charge more.

Richard offers Professional Development Workshops for teachers, educators, story builders. He has given key-note addresses across Canada, and conducted story workshops on 4 continents. He is comfortable in any venue – classroom, library, auditorium, gymnasium, concert hall, phone booth.

To learn more about Richard, visit his website.  www.scrimger.ca

Enter the Dunces Rock Songwriting Contest!

Start your New Year off on the right note by entering the Dunces Rock songwriting contest!

From January 1 to 31, 2016, write a song in honour of your teacher or principal and you could win your very own signed copy of Dunces Rock.

Here’s what you have to do:

First, watch the video of the Ballad of Principal Hale.

Next, download the lyrics to the Ballad of Principal Hale.

Now comes the creative part: Use the Ballad of Principal Hale as your inspiration to write a song about your own teacher or principal.

Email the song lyrics to Kate Jaimet at kjaimet@sympatico.ca, with the words “song contest” in the subject line.

Or, take a video of yourself and/or your friends singing the song you wrote, post it online and send her the link. Don’t forget to put the words “song contest” in the subject line.

Songs will be judged on the basis of originality, funniness, rhythm and rhyme. Nasty or mean songs will be immediately disqualified and fed to Boris, the Neighbourhood Dog of Slobbering Terror.

The winner will be announced on February 14, 2016. ‘Cause nothing says “Be my Valentine” like an autographed book!

Good luck!

Welcome to the Red Cedar Blog

Hello, and welcome to the Red Cedar Blog! We’ve got a lot of exciting Red Cedar content planned for this space in the months leading up to the awards, so check back often to keep up to date with all things Red Cedar.

Until then, have you checked out our social media accounts? You can find us on Twitter and Instagram, where we regularly post links to interesting articles, cool features, and interviews with your favourite Red Cedar nominees, as well as photos, quotes, and other nifty things. It’s a great way to learn more about the awards and this year’s nominees.

We’re thrilled to be here on the Red Cedar blog, and we can’t wait to connect with you.

Until next time,

The Red Cedar Award Social Media Team