Endings & Beginnings

Last night, my husband, Peter Carver, marked the end of his 25-year career in teaching ‘Writing for Children’ by launching – at his retirement party – his first book, So You Want to Write a Children’s Book. Joining the students from across the years who gathered to honour him were: Peggy Needham, Peter’s much loved faculty advisor from George Brown College whose friendship he continued to value after her retirement and more recent George Brown staff; Eleanor LeFave and others from Mabel’s Fables, the bookstore that has housed the class since 1989; Richard Dionne and others from Red Deer Press, who saw the potential in the guidebook that Peter had made available to students over the years and encouraged him to update and expand it; a select few other friends and supporters; and last but not least, Ted Staunton, into whose capable hands Peter has now passed the ‘Writing for Children II’ baton (having passed him the ‘Writing for Children I’ baton several years ago). I’m grateful to everyone who attended the retirement/book launch event for making the evening memorable and who contributed to the ‘What’s the Story?’ scrapbook presented to Peter with such gratitude and affection.

Mabel's Fables

I titled this post ‘Endings & Beginnings’ in part because I hope that So You Want to Write a Children’s Book stands for the start of what Peter might do with some of the time and energy freed up with his retirement from teaching. (He will continue as children’s book editor for Red Deer to conduct workshops on Nova Scotia’s south shore each summer.) Not all the ideas for the writing project are for children’s books, including the one of which he already some 40,000 words written.

But there’s another ‘beginning’ in our family we’re excited about too. Several months ago my son Matt shifted to working only part time for Ernst & Young so he could invest his time and energy in creating Black Panda Games, a video game development studio. He expects to release his first game for the iPhone/iPod/iPad next month – details and a link to ‘Flozzle Drop’ in a future post, or follow @blackpandagames on Twitter!

Btw, the painting in this post was created by one of Peter’s now former students. When Richard Ungar heard of Peter’s plans in February, he knew immediately what he wanted to give him, to remind him of all the hours under the roof of Mabel’s Fables. Eleanor LeFave is going to sell prints of Richard’s painting, with proceeds going to a charity of Peter’s choosing. More on that in a future post too.

Tomorrow I am heading to Liberia for another week of workshops, so I’d best go now and prepare…

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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. Jo Ellen Bogart on June 17, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Congratulations to both you and Peter for being such wonderful influences in our field of children's writing. That is great news about Matt's new company! And woohoo for Richard Unger's fabulous painting and the prints being sold for charity. All good! Safe travels, Kathy.

  2. Kathy Stinson on June 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Thanks Jo Ellen. Hope you have a great summer.

  3. Nan Forler on June 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I am so sorry to have missed this special tribute to Peter! I was thinking about both of you last night. Please let me know about the prints when all is decided. Even I felt very sentimental seeing it. What a perfect gift!

    Enjoy your time in Liberia, Kathy! Such unique and valuable work you do there!

  4. Janet Barclay on June 18, 2011 at 2:09 am

    What a beautiful painting and a wonderful memento of the hundreds of hours Peter spent at Mabel's Fables. I couldn't help noticing a little tribute to you in there as well! I wish you all continuing success in the future.

  5. Kathy Stinson on June 18, 2011 at 4:53 am

    You would have loved the event, Nan. You'd have been one of the people there who's known Peter the longest. I'm glad you were able to get a sense of it from my post. And if you like the painting in the not very good photo I took of it, you will love it when you see it hanging.

    Thanks for your words about Liberia. In the scramble to get ready to go, it's nice to be reminded of that side of it.

    Have a great summer.

  6. Kathy Stinson on June 18, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Thank you Janet. About 22 hundred hours, I think, and that's not counting the 'Writing for Children I' classes! I'll have to show you the scrapbook the a number of the students put together, when next I see you. I know you'll be impressed by that too!

  7. Janet Barclay on June 18, 2011 at 8:31 am

    That is a lot of hours – more than 90 days! I will look forward to seeing the scrapbook.

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