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Photo of Kathy Stinson wearing an orange shirt

Beyond the Orange Shirt

September 13, 2023

Are you planning to wear an orange shirt on September 30? Great. It’s a way of honouring all the children who attended Canada’s Indian residential schools and their families – a visible reminder of the stripping away of culture, freedom, and self-esteem experienced by generations of Indigenous children. Why orange? For First Nations going back…

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Canadian Independent Booksellers Day

Canadian Independent Bookstore Day

April 27, 2022

Saturday, April 30 is your chance to celebrate heroes of the Canadian book business, Canada’s independent sellers. Read my take on why they deserve celebrating, and I’ll then tell you what they’re doing to celebrate you, their customers. My friend says, “Books are cheaper somewhere else.” But when people buy cheaper, author royalties are correspondingly…

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Beyond Orange Shirt Day

September 29, 2021

Like many Canadians, I’m horrified and saddened by stories that continue to come out about the mistreatment, past and present day, of Indigenous people in this country. So I’m pleased to know that starting tomorrow, we will be honouring the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities with a National Day…

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Do You Love Giraffes?

September 8, 2021

The subject of my latest book, The Girl Who Loved Giraffes — Anne Innis Dagg — wants to share her life-long love of giraffes. If you’re 7-17 years old, you can meet with her and other young giraffe lovers from around the world online every month by joining the Junior Giraffe Club, set up by…

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“Let’s Read!”

January 31, 2018

My thanks to the Family Literacy Committee of Brant for choosing The Man with the Violin as the book they would plan events around to encourage family reading this year — and for purchasing 700 copies to support their efforts! Everyone’s enjoyment of the “Let’s Read” events in Paris and Brantford this weekend was greatly…

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Where you'll find me in Autumn 2017

September 13, 2017

The Eden Mills Writers Festival last weekend marked the beginning of a busy season of “being an author” (as opposed to actually writing, which I hope to be doing a fair bit of too). This photo is the audience for some other authors. My group was a tad younger. Coming up… September 14 – Reading…

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Canada 150

March 29, 2017

I’m having mixed feelings about all the attention being given to “Canada’s 150th Birthday.” I wish I could feel more enthused. It’s strange. Much about Canada makes it a wonderful country, well worth celebrating. And yet. . . When the new Canadian flag was hoisted up the flagpole at my school for the first time in…

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First Book Canada

June 8, 2016

Many of the kids in this pic took home their first ever “mine for keeps” books yesterday thanks to First Book Canada. Owning a book is a new concept for some of them. When I handed one boy his copy of The Man with the Violin he asked me, “Do I bring it back tomorrow?”…

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Write for a Better World – Choosing a Winner

May 6, 2015

World Literacy Canada does some fine work “to promote literacy and foster a culture of global citizenship among Canadians”. I had the opportunity recently to judge stories by students in grades 5 to 8 who entered WLC’s “Write for a Better World” contest. Reading 20 of the hundreds of entries and narrowing them down to…

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Authors Support Indies Day

April 22, 2015

Saturday, May 2 is Authors Support Indies Day. It’s a great chance for readers to meet and chat with some of their favourite authors, who will be hanging out as “guest booksellers” in their local independent bookstores. Says one of Canada’s best known authors, Ann-Marie MacDonald, “Independent bookstores enrich our communities. They provide gathering places…

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National Volunteer Week

April 8, 2015

Next week is National Volunteer Week — originally designated in 1943 to recognize “the vital contribution women made to the war effort on the home front”. Studies indicate that volunteers generally like to be thanked but I suspect that what matters most to many volunteers (like me) is the satisfaction of knowing one is making…

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Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

November 5, 2014

The most recent “pin” on my “C is for Causes” Pinterest board links to the website for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. I chose as its cover image a photo from the site that I hope will entice Pinterest browsers to look into it, look around the site, and decide to spread word about the…

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A House with No Windows, No Mirrors

October 22, 2014

Imagine living in a house that had no windows and no mirrors. That’s what a house without books would be like. Books open windows onto worlds unlike our own and thereby create empathy for those living lives different from what we know. And by reflecting back to us our own experience of the world, books validate…

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Why did Joshua Bell do it again?

October 8, 2014

According to a Washington Post article last week: 1. He hoped it would get people to stop asking him about his first Metro station concert that he did as part of a social experiment. I wonder if he’s been asked more often since the publication of The Man with the Violin which has attracted awards all over…

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Welcome Home, Soldiers

April 2, 2014

Since deciding in 2010 to donate a portion of proceeds of Highway of Heroes to Wounded Warriors, I’ve become even more aware of the importance of the work that the organization does to support soldiers who return home injured or traumatized and to their families. Stories of soldier suicides in recent months have underlined the…

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What does "The Man with the Violin" really care about?

September 18, 2013

As my loyal followers know, “the man with the violin” in The Man with the Violin (now available) is Joshua Bell. As well as caring about making beautiful music, this virtuoso violinist also cares about doing what he can to ensure that kids have access to music education. In the postscript to the book, he quotes…

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More Books for Liberian Children

July 3, 2013

I knew the first time Gii-Hne Russell read his story “A Time to Bathe” during one of the workshops I conducted in Liberia that it would one day become a book Liberian children would love to learn to read for themselves. (That’s the point of the Reading Liberia program I became involved with in 2008.…

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“An Intimate Examination of Sock Fluff” Part 4

March 7, 2012

The next excerpt from my PYI keynote in a series that started in December 2011… Up on Ipswich Road a girl my age, not a servant, boards with Doctor Griggs. Uncle Ingersoll says the girl’s so quiet you can hear snowflakes falling ‘pon her cheek. “Elizabeth,” I call when I pass her on the road…

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Organ Donation & A Grateful Heart

February 29, 2012

The person in the front of the canoe in this photo is Kristin Millar. The remarkable thing about this scene is that Kristin is attached to an LVAD (a Left Ventricular Assistive Device) – a pump that does the work the heart does for most of us, without our thinking about it much. But Kris…

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Good News from Africa

February 8, 2012

Laptops for Liberia have begun to trickle in. More are needed. Please help spread the word anywhere that a laptop of use to a writer in Liberia might be found. And don’t forget to email me if you have a laptop you’re finished using and would like to donate. Liberian illustrators are now bringing to…

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Ontario Library Week

October 19, 2011

Can you remember the first book you borrowed from a public library? Mine was Saturday Walk by Ethel Wright. I borrowed it on a library card that was green and bigger than my current library card. Why would I remember that!? The book or the size and colour of my card?! Because it was a…

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Reading Liberia – June 2011

June 29, 2011

June 2011 presented me with the opportunity to work for a third time with Liberian writers through workshops and one-on-one meetings – thanks to CODE (Canada) and to We Care (Liberia). The president of the country, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, expressed an interest in participating in the launch of the first Liberian-authored, Liberian-illustrated children’s books. She…

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Jan Coates, An Alumnus of the Seaside Writing Workshop

April 12, 2011

Jan Coates first came to our Seaside Writing Workshop/Retreat in 2008 to work on several picture book manuscripts she needed help with. Second Story Press had published Rainbows in the Dark in 2005, but since then, Jan had collected only rejection letters in response to her submissions. During sessions focused on her work, she got feedback from…

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A Volunteer-Reader’s Anniversary

March 2, 2011

Seven years ago this week, I began volunteering at the CNIB Recording Studio in Toronto – reading books and teching for others who are reading. In addition to magazine articles and chunks of various textbooks, (and the foreword to a book being read by a male narrator), I have read a wide range of books – for kids,…

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Word from Liberia

February 23, 2011

Exciting news! The first page in the history of Liberian children’s literature has now been written! Yes, the first books written and illustrated by Liberian authors and illustrators as part of the Reading Liberia program have now arrived in Monrovia! Yvonne, one of the founders of the program, wrote: Hello Kathy, Guess what! We have…

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International Year of the Volunteer

January 27, 2011

According to Volunteer Canada, there are 12.5 million volunteers in this country, working to make a difference in their communities. The United Nations has declared 2011 the 10th International Year of the Volunteer. To help celebrate the impact volunteers make, the Toronto Association for Volunteer Administration has set an interesting goal: to collect 2011 images…

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Reading at the CNIB

January 13, 2011

For close to seven years now, following a successful audition, I have been a volunteer reader at the CNIB. Pictured with me in the booth at the Recording Studio in Toronto is Alex MacDonald, who has been reading for roughly twice as long. Ordinarily during a recording session, there is one narrator, seated, reading a book aloud inside…

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The First "Reading Liberia" Books

January 6, 2011

The first books for Liberian children by Liberian authors will soon be out. Imagine how exciting that will be for both the children who will hold those books that reflect their lives and for the writers and illustrators who created them! I first became involved in “Reading Liberia” two years ago, and I’m proud to…

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Why I Want You to Care about Bill C-32

December 17, 2010

If you know any writers personally, you know that generally speaking we cobble together our livings from a variety of income sources. Royalties on book sales are rarely enough to support us, so we rely on fees for public appearances, editing and/or workshop services, and most of us also count on a cheque for the…

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A Gift that Really Keeps on Giving

December 13, 2010

Did you know that signing your donor card may not be enough to ensure that, in the event of your death, your usable organs and tissue will be donated to someone who needs them? The Canadian Society of Transplantation website provides information on steps you can take, wherever in Canada you live, to ensure that your…

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And More Ways to Honour Them

November 23, 2010

Last week, after my Nov 15 post appeared, I heard from a retired Canadian Forces officer who had read Highway of Heroes. Like me, he has been blown away by the show of support by the thousands of Canadians who have chosen to stand on the bridges over the Highway of Heroes, and he too…

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Organ Donation

May 28, 2010

Kristin Millar was diagnosed with a heart condition when she was still in her teens – the one that some apparently healthy people don’t find out they have till they drop dead on the basketball court. Late last year, when she was twenty-six, the defibrillator that kept her heart beat regular failed. An external pump…

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May is Vision Health Month

May 18, 2010

Because I’m so grateful for my own vision health, and because I love to read aloud (and do it well), I’ve been working as a volunteer reader and technician at the CNIB Recording Studio for the past 6 years. In that time I’ve narrated parts of various magazines and text books and 19 entire books.…

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April is Autism Awareness Month

April 8, 2010

Autism affects 1 out of every 110 children, 1 of every 70 boys. One of those boys is my grandson Peter. You can listen to the 2010 World Autism Awareness Day message from United Nations Secretaray-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon here. If you missed the Autism Speaks Canada insert in last weekend’s Globe & Mail newspaper,…

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I've Got Mail

April 4, 2008

Once in a while something lands in your inbox that just makes your day. Such was the case for me recently, when a literacy consultant in Simcoe County wrote to tell me about the impact of my book King of the Castle on her and some people she knows. “I am writing a biography about…

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