Children's Book Week 2008 – A Breakfast Surprise

On Monday morning I walked into the dining room at the Sylvia Hotel. A woman at a table at the far end of the room waved. At me? I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew there; there must be someone behind me, I thought. But the woman seemed to be looking at me and I kept looking at her. Could this be Cynthia Nugent, the Book Week coordinator I’d met just recently and who was coming to drive me to my first school? She didn’t say she would be joining me for breakfast!

When I’d made my way half way down the dining room, with this woman (who wasn’t Cynthia) and I studying each other the whole time (it was probably ten or fifteen seconds), she spoke. “I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.”

“That’s okay,” I said, “I thought you might be someone else, too.”

At the same instant, we recognized each other’s voices.

The woman in the dining room was Mary Macchiusi, who published my books about writing – one for kids and one for adults. She had come to Vancouver from Toronto and was meeting two women she had met only once, from Wichita, Kansas. She invited me to join her (and Judy and Beth) for breakfast, and also to the launch of a book by Adrienne Gear that the three of them would be attending at Vancouver Kidsbooks that evening. (That’s the same bookstore that had copies of my books on hand at the Children’s Literature Roundtable gathering the week before.)

I was meeting a friend for dinner that night but a phone message from Mary asked me to please join her and the other women for breakfast again on Tuesday. Turned out Adrienne Gear had mentioned a couple of my books in her book, and Beth and Judy wanted me to sign them. Nice to think that kids in Wichita may right now be discovering the fun of A Pocket Can Have A Treasure In It. (Unfortunately Kidsbooks had run out of Red Is Best.)

Sadly, I didn’t make it to Vancouver Kidsbooks during all of Book Week, or to the other new children’s bookstore in Vancouver, Once Upon A Huckleberry Bush, but I did visit with a few friends and about 900 kids. I hope both stores will see lots of them looking for (and finding) my books there in the days to come. (More on some of those kids in tomorrow’s posting.)

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Janet Barclay on November 25, 2008 at 7:10 am

    It sounds like you had a very interesting week, over and above your "scheduled" Book Week activities.

    Once Upon a Huckleberry Bush is a delightful name for a children's bookstore, and their website seems to confirm that it's a unique and fun place. Hopefully you can check it out the next time you're in Vancouver!

  2. kathystinson on November 25, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Sounds good! Want to come with me?

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