The Word on the Street

Don’t forget, the Word on the Street starts this weekend on Sunday, September 23! Here’s a quick glance at the schedules in:

TORONTO – September 23, 2012

Children’s Activity Tent

11:15 – 11:45 AM
My Itchy Body and My Healthy Body
Liza Fromer and Francine Gerstein MD
Activity suitability: All ages
In their Body Works series Liza Fromer and Dr. Francine Gerstein have taken it upon themselves to think up every question a child could have about their body and answer them in an educational and amusing manner. Each title in the series is divided up by topic and focus on giving all the information a child could want to feel safe and secure in their own skin. Join Liza Fromer and Dr. Francine Gerstein for a fast-paced Body Works Quiz – and test your knowledge about the human body!

1:00 – 1:45 PM
Checkers and Dot and Checkers and Dot at the Zoo
J. Torres and J. Lum
Activity suitability: Ages 3-7
Welcome to the wonderfully patterned world of Checkers and Dot, a sweet and striking series of board books with high-contrast, patterned art for developing eyes, simple but memorable rhyming text for reading aloud, and cute-as-a-button characters! Join J. Lum and J. Torres for a felt puppet decorating and a hat making activity.

Children’s Reading Tent

3:40 – 4:00 PM
Mr. Zinger’s Hat
Cary Fagan is the award-winning author of several young adult novels and picture books. This wonderful new story is about stories, and story-telling, and is sure to enchant and instruct children at home and at school for years to come. This is the tale of a bored little boy, who meets a thoughtful man, and together they build a story. This story within a story is charming and changes both their lives… and quite possibly the readers as well.

4:30 – 4:50 PM
Miss Mousie’s Blind Date
As soon as Miss Mousie’s eyes alight on handsome Matt LaBatt, the water rat, she can think of nothing but how to catch his attention. Should she try to speak, bat her eyelashes, drop her hankie? In front of Mole, the deli-owner, the water rat breaks the spell by insulting Miss Mousie, who retreats to her burrow and hides in shame. When Mousie receives an anonymous dinner invitation, she decides to accept it. But how to dress so her mystery date will like what he sees? In this charming timeless tale, author Tim Beiser shows the reader that love truly lies in the eye of the beholder. And check out Sienna’s review on the WOTS blog!

This is Not the Shakespeare Stage

4:15 – 4:45 PM
Becoming Holmes
The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case
Shane Peacock is an award-winning novelist, playwright, journalist and television screenwriter. His bestselling series for young adults, The Boy Sherlock Holmes, has been published in ten countries in twelve languages and has found its way onto more than forty shortlists. He enjoys reading, spending time with his kids, playing and coaching hockey, and visiting schools, conferences and festivals across North America to speak about reading and writing. Shane lives in the countryside north of Cobourg, Ontario. For more information, visit

LETHBRIDGE – September 23, 2012

Teen Zone via Skype

3:30 – 4:30 PM
Becoming Holmes
The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case
Shane Peacock is an author, playwright, television screenwriter, and journalist. He likes to write about extraordinary people and create unusual characters. His first book was a biography of The Great Farini, about perhaps the most amazing man in Canadian history, who walked over Niagara Falls in 1860 and invented the human cannonball act in the circus. His novels for young adults have won many accolades. His best-selling Boy Sherlock Holmes series has won and been nominated for 50 awards on their own and been published in 10 countries in 12 languages. His final Boy Sherlock, Becoming Holmes, appears this fall from Tundra Books!

VANCOUVER – September 30, 2012

Kids Tent

4:00 PM
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
Canadian Screenwriter and Gemini Award-winning author Susin Nielsen got her start writing for the hit television show Degrassi Junior High. Her novel Word Nerd was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Book Award and won the Red Maple, Rocky Mountain, Willow, and Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Awards. Her novel Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom has received rave reviews and has already been translated into French, Portuguese and German. Susin lives in Vancouver.

For more information about the Word on the Street, you can visit their website, facebook page, twitter, and blog.

Guest Post: Jan Andrews

We’ve got another Word on the Street guest post for you! We love how our authors from all across Canada participated and are reporting back! Jan Andrews was at the Kitchener Radio Group’s Department of Canadian Heritage Reading Rocks Tent.

Jan Andrews: Rock we did, all of us, a wondrously varied assortment of authors and illustrators from the world of Canadian children’s book. Kids came to listen with their faces painted or wearing the party hats they had made in celebration of the fact that this was Kitchener’s 10th Annual WOTS. There was even cake. Children’s entertainer, Erick Chaplin, not only welcomed us, he raised his guitar and played us in. And, oh, those children’s librarians from the Kitchener Public Library, ensuring that everything went smoothly, telling us so clearly how much they care. So, another WOTS is over; another opportunity to reach out to one and all with joy and with delight is done. Whoever came up with this idea deserves much in the way of applause for an event I hope will go on…and on…and on.

To hear Jan tell stories, visit

The Word on the Street: Toronto

Sunday, September 25th was The Word on the Street held coast to coast in Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener, Toronto, and Halifax.

In Toronto, Tundra had eight authors participating, which included Helaine Becker, Cary Fagan, Nan Forler, Liza Fromer, Francine Gerstein, Monica Kulling, Shane Peacock and Heather Hartt-Sussman. We also had a booth on Kidstreet, which was well stocked with backlist titles for sale. Hardcovers were $10 and paperbacks were $5. It was a gorgeous day (sorry, Vancouver) and thousands of Torontonians flocked to Queen’s Park for this ever-growing festival.

Here are some of the highlights of the day:

First up, Shane Peacock participated in a Mastering the Mystery panel with Norah McClintock and Evan Munday, and moderated by Toronto Life’s Nathan Whitlock at the This Is Not The Shakespeare Stage.

At the Children’s Activity Tent, Nan Forler demonstrated a quilting craft then signed copies of her new book, Winterberries and Apple Blossoms: Reflections and Flavors of a Mennonite Year.

Heather Hartt-Sussman signs Noni Says No. Check out this CTV clip of her reading in the Children’s Reading Tent!

Liza Fromer and Francine Gerstein MD answer kids’ medical questions, interestingly many were about farts and burps, and then sign copies of their series, Body Works.

Shane Peacock reads from the 5th book in The Boy Sherlock Holmes series, The Dragon Turn, at the Bestsellers of Tomorrow event with authors Brian Francis and Ian Hamilton. The event was hosted by Mary Ito.

Monica Kulling reads from Merci Mister Dash! in the Children’s Reading Tent and signs book for her fans.

Helaine Becker reads from Juba This, Juba That. She also led the audience in a spirited hand-clapping routine.

Many thanks to our authors who participated and to the staff and volunteers of The Word on the Street. A special thanks goes to Festival Director, Nicola Dufficy for working so tirelessly on programming a fantastic day and for her incredible support of our authors and illustrators!

Guest Post: Ron Lightburn

Juba This, Juba That illustrator, Ron Lightburn, shares a few snapshots and his fun (he is on a boat) Word on the Street Halifax experience.

Ron Lightburn: Here are a few photos of my day with Theodore Tugboat at the Word on the Street literary festival on the Halifax waterfront.

I’ve been giving readings and presentations for twenty years, but it was truly a marvelous and memorable experience reading Juba This, Juba That on a moving boat!

My first mate, Sandra, helped out by demonstrating a hand clapping and thigh slapping routine to go with the text as I read it.  It was wonderful to hear the audience repeat the story and join in the clapping and slapping.

I handed out Juba posters, the weather was fantastic and we all had a great time!  My thanks to Tundra for making it all happen!

Guest Post: Pam Withers

We hope you were able to check out the Word on the Street yesterday! While we were blessed with beautiful weather in Toronto, author Pam Withers had a different story in Vancouver:

Pam Withers: Word on the Street is a lively readers’ and writers’ festival that takes place every year in a series of tented stages hugging the perimeter of the downtown Vancouver Public Library.

Imagine tentfuls of festival-goers listening raptly to words of all kinds: preschoolers giggling through children’s author readings, poetry lovers listening raptly to the cadence of poets reading, and book lovers of all ages and backgrounds getting to ask questions of, or collect autographs from, a favorite author. Never mind the tables upon tables of writing organizations, publishers and booksellers.

I’ve been going to this event for many, many years, and I thought I’d experienced it in every manner of weather: lashing rain, brilliant sunshine, bone-chilling cold and late-summer warmth. But ho, was I wrong!

I showed up at 1 p.m. yesterday to introduce my new Tundra book, First Descent – a teen novel about a river kayaker who goes on an international expedition and gets kidnapped. And wow, did it ever feel like a wet, windblown expedition where tents – quite literally – got kidnapped!

An entire street of volunteers and visitors found themselves clinging desperately to tent poles as gusts of wind smacked into them. Pieces of tent siding went flying like kites, and the crash/bang/boom of collapsing structures sent dozens of exhibitors packing.

I was lucky enough to be presenting on the east side of the library, where wind gusts merely spattered authors and their books with rain as audience members in sensible rain-gear filled folding chairs to listen. You know what? When you’re introducing a novel about adventurers chasing down a river amidst white-capped waves, boulder-choked rapids, whirlpools and a waterfall… what better setting, right? When you’re describing characters dealing with warring factions of soldiers, riverbank landmines, jealousy, abandonment and betrayal — you have… a book summary that makes this year’s Word on the Street feel cozy and safe!

Anyway, I had a laminated, poster-size version of First Descent’s awesome cover to hold up as I spoke, so I cheated the rain of spoiling one book that afternoon. Had to tuck my notes under a chair leg to keep them from blowing away.

I have to give major points to the valiant volunteers to kept things running, and all the dedicated book-lovers who milled about and listened and bought books. What better testimony to the fact that the printed word remains alive, well and alluring?

I was blown away and flooded with delight. Thanks, Tundra, for setting up my Word on the Street adventure!