On the Road with Mary Beth Leatherdale promoting Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Refugees

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This fall, I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to hit the road with my new book Stormy Seas. As a writer and editor, I spend far too much time at the desk in my home office and far too little actually talking to my readers. So I was thrilled when I received an invitation to speak at The Kansas City Public Library in Missouri. In a year when the anti-immigration rhetoric in the US has been weighing heavily on my mind, I was eager to visit a community that wanted to learn more about refugees’ experiences.  However, my preconceptions about the population and perspectives in mid-sized American cities were quickly blown away. The students at North East High School who had recently immigrated to Kansas City from around the world had far more to teach me than I them.


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As part of the Authors@School program at the Kingston Writers Festival, I visited two schools. One, Sacred Heart, Batawa, was a small, rural school in a bucolic setting where I presented to 45 students from Grades 5-8. The other, St. Francis Assisi, was housed in a brand-new building in north Kingston designed to offer flexible learning spaces. With its giant, glass garage-doored learning studios, stylishly furnished commons areas, and spinning bikes for those in need of a “body break”, it seemed, at first glance, to have more in common with Google headquarters than the traditional elementary school I had just visited.  But once I started presenting to the 100 Grade 6-8 students and heard their thoughtful, insightful questions, I realized how much these students shared—in their empathy for the refugees and their interest in their situations as well as how the stories resonated with their own experiences. They were also very curious about the process of writing the book asking questions like “How long did it take?”, “How much money did you make?” and my favourite “What would you do differently if you could write it again?”


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My travels ended at The Vancouver Writers Festival. I had more than 200 kids in my first presentation at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island and they were amazing — attentive, excited about the book, and full of thoughtful questions like “How has writing this book changed you?”. I was especially delighted to have students asking to read Ruth, Phu, Jose, Najeeba and Mohamed's stories on stage. The next morning, I visited Tecumseh Elementary School. The class had many recent immigrants which made for really interesting conversation. Two girls who told me that after reading Stormy Seas they asked their parents about their experiences as Vietnamese boat people. Another, a girl whose father escaped from Cuba by boat asked me “How does it feel to tell other people’s stories?”—something I’ve been struggling with increasingly. In the afternoon, I joined Seeking Refuge author Irene Watts and illustrator Kathryn Shoemaker on a panel. After listening to their excellent presentation, I got up to present but YIKES my Powerpoint presentation would not come up. Luckily, the talented AV team got things working and I got to share the beautiful work of my talented designer/illustrator Eleanor Shakespeare. Her artwork is so powerful and integral to the book. It’s no surprise that her beautiful artwork was the inspiration for the festival poster. 


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Being on the road with Stormy Seas was wonderful fun, and I look forward to hitting the road for more conversations.


#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women reviewed


Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale's latest anthology, #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, is making a big impression in print and online. Check out some of these great reviews by authors, esteemed reviewers, and artists below:


Debbie Reese, librarian and author of the outstanding American Indians in Children's Literature, says in her beautiful, heartfelt review: "What you see and read in this book will linger in your head and heart."


Author Alicia Elliot says in her (also beautiful and heartfelt) review in THIS Magazine: "#NotYourPrincess feels like it’s holding young Native women close, smiling at them, looking into their eyes and stroking their cheeks."


And the art in response to the collection is pretty impressive as well!


Here's what JennieShaw wrote on Instagram:

I’ve slowly been reading through this gorgeous anthology, #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, because it’s the sort of collection that can’t be rushed. Each page has power and to be honest, I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of that power. There’s so much pain and beauty, vulnerability and strength, and it made me feel a whole lot of different ways. I’ll be posting a review and mani next week so for now, take a look at the description because this is a book that you need to read!👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 • • Big thanks to @annickpress for sending me a review copy. • • This is what needs to be said, needs to be shown, and needs to be told… • What is it like to be an Indigenous women or girl today? In this compelling collection, over fifty contemporary artists come together to shatter stereotypes, revealing hurt from the past and celebrating hope for the future. With the striking honesty, #NotYourPrincess showcases the extraordinary strength, diversity, and talent of native American girls and women across North America. • • #annickpress #lisacharleyboy #marybethleatherdale #chaptersindigo #indigofaves #mustread #poetrybook #indigenousart #essaycollection

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And the results are a manicure/review:

I’ve got a new book review and mani to share, and for my very first anthology! Woot! #NotYourPrincess is an incredible collection of work by Indigenous women and girls, designed to show what it’s like to be a Native American woman in today’s times. The artwork is gorgeous and insightful, and the poetry, essays, and interviews are teeming with emotion. • • As one would guess, there are expressions of anger and frustration (rightly so) but there are also messages of hope, strength, and undeniable some sassiness, which made me smile. Each contribution sings in harmony, and the overall effect is pretty profound. So much so that I’ll be keeping this book on my coffee table, in order to entice visitors to take a look. In short, #NotYourPrincess is a must-read. 👉🏼 MUST. READ. 👈🏼 • • (I’d also like to apologize to the beautiful model who’s featured on this cover. Painting portraits isn’t my forte so I’m sorry for how Picasso-ish you look! To lessen the pain, I took artistic liberties with your hand because I’m not so great at those, either. 🤦🏻‍♀️) • • Click link in profile for my full review! #jenniesnailsandtales 💅🏼📚 • • Cover photography by Tenille Campbell of Sweetmoon Photography. Shooting by Darian Lonechild. • • Big thanks to @annick_press for sending me a review copy! • • For this mani, I used a ton of different polishes from @opi_products, @essiepolish, @julepbeauty, and @chinaglazeofficial, along with @mitty_burns Candy 00 and Clean Pro Flat nail art brushes and @whatsupnails Skinny zig zag tape. Full details are on the blog. • • #annickpress #lisacharleyboy #marybethleatherdale #chaptersindigo #indigofaves #mustread #poetrylove #indigenousart #bookinspired #freehandnailart #whatsupnails #cgclique #essiefan #mittyburns #sallybeauty

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Watch the trailer below, and be sure to share your thoughts on the collection with the title, #NotYourPrincess!


Gillian O'Reilly on the Sci/Why Blog: The Mistaken Monolith of Math

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Gillian O'Reilly, author of The Great Number Rumble, has a new post on the common mistake of seeing math as single monolithic subject. Check it out here.



Updated submission guidelines

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Our updated submission guidelines for authors and illustrators are now  available on our submissions page. Click here to find out how to send us your work for consideration in our publishing program!





Simon Shapiro receives the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada's Youth Book Award at the Ontario Science Centre

Yesterday, Faster, Higher, Smarter author Simon Shapiro received the Youth Book Award from the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada at the Ontario Science Centre. He then lead a full classroom presentation in the Centre's Science Hotspot, before fielding scores of questions from the students about innovations in skateboarding, cycling, tennis and skiing, and whether athletics requires more skill and strength than smarts. Not a bad way to celebrate Science Literacy Week! See below for tweets and photos from a great morning. And special thanks to the students at Grenoble PS for their great questions!




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Read more about Faster, Higher, Smarter.


Mary Beth Leatherdale interviewed by KCUR 89.3 Kansas City

Watch the trailer here:

Watch the new video on STEM titles



Preparing kids for the future with science and technology is the focus of today's school curriculum. Annick Press is constantly adding to its rich backlist of titles that make learning about science, technology, engineering and math, not only informative but fun as well! Here are some of our books to enhance the STEM resources in your school library:

To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space

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Go For Liftoff!: How to Train Like an Astronaut
DNA Detective
Faster, Higher, Smarter: Bright Ideas That Transformed Sports

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Eat Up! An Infographic Exploration of Food 
Water Wow! An Infographic Exploration
Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy
The Great Motion Mission: A Surprising Story of Physics in Everyday Life

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The Great Number Rumble: A Story of Math in Surprising Places


Great reviews for I LOVE MY PURSE

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"Perhaps it's the fluidity of the art and the prose, or maybe it's Charlie's "cool cat" attitude.  From the swinging purse to the pliable characters (both in body and disposition), Belle DeMont and Sonja Wimmer have given us a wonderful story about self-expression." writes Helen Kubiw on her blog, CanLit for Little Canadians.


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"With his polite determination not to conform to other people’s gender expectations, Charlie is the heart of this delightful story." writes Joanne Findon in her starred review in Quill & Quire.


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"Confidently rocking a bright red hand me down pocketbook, Charlie’s quiet courage shines in Belle DeMont’s delightfully inspiring I Love My Purse, a tribute to being unapologetically true to yourself and embracing individuality, be it through wearing an accessory traditionally meant for girls, eating the food you love, or openly pursuing your dreams" says Pallas Gates McCorquodale in her starred review in Foreword Reviews.


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Although it won't be released until next month, I Love My Purse is starting to build buzz. Debut author Belle DeMont, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and German illustrator Sonja Wimmer, team up for one heckuva picture book this Fall. You can read more here.

Against racism: an Annick reading list

A recent article from Today’s Parent points out that it is never too early to start talking with children about race issues. They break down, age by age, strategies for explaining difference and demonstrating role-model behavior. The headline of the National Council of Teachers of English blog this week was just as direct, saying “There Is No Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times.” Even former US-President Barack Obama, in a tweet that has received the most likes in Twitter’s history, quoted Nelson Mandela this week, saying:

Educating young people toward comfort with and celebration of differences never really goes out of fashion, but recent world events certainly underscore their importance. To that end, it seems important to highlight how Annick approaches anti-racism through literature. Here are titles that help with discussing issues of race, following the same age groups mentioned in Today’s Parent article:



Infants and toddlers
“To counteract any prejudicial messages kids might receive, create an environment where they can learn about the differences and similarities between people of different races, cultures and religions at an early age, says Karen Mock, an educational psychologist and human rights consultant in Toronto.”


Talk-About-Books: This collection of seventeen board books portrays the world of babies and toddlers in natural settings. They are organized around practical themes and relationships, for example Shoes, Hats, My Mom, My Friends, and (my personal favorite) Happy Birthday. The Talk-About-Books are also available in Spanish.


Making decisions about whom to choose as a playmate can reflect unconscious biases, starting from preschool-aged children, according to research noted in the article.

The My Friend… series (preschool to second grade) is made up of My Friend Jamal and My Friend Mei Jing, where childhood friendship between children of differing cultures lets readers sample some of the differences while recognizing the powerful bond that brings the two young people together.

Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Purple Problem Ruth Ohi’s series for ages two to five about the farm-animal friends takes a tender look at alienation and self-acceptance. When cow leaves the group to make herself look like the cows she is used to seeing, Chicken and Pig reassure her that she is their friend – purple spots and all.


School-aged kids’ titles offer more direct address of issues that racialized children and children from vulnerable communities face, while keeping the details age-appropriate.

Lila and the Crow by Gabrielle Grimard, shows a young girl of color arriving at a new school and being bullied by her all-white classmates about her dark hair. But Lila turns the words that are used against her into a powerful self-expression. (kindergarten to third grade.)


Classic Robert Munsch titles tend to take ethnic diversity in stride, but his collaboration with Saoussan Askar, From Far Away, directly addresses Saoussan’s experience adjusting to life in North America as a refugee of the war in Lebanon. This new edition is beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Green.  (Kindergarten and up)

The idea for The Nutmeg Princess came from a student who asked author Richardo Keens-Douglas whether he knew a story about a Black princess. The resulting book about the princess who lives in the lake on top of the Isle of Spice (based on Granada) is beautifully illustrated Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and has become a modern-day classic.


When I Was Eight and Not My Girl are the picture book-editions of Residential School survivor Olemaun’s, or, co-author Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s, memoir of her life in the school and her difficult return to her home.


Young adults, tweens and teens can have more in-depth conversations about race, prejudice, and systemic injustice.

The End of the Line by Sharon McKay is set in Amsterdam in 1942, where two brothers, “Righteous Gentiles” Hans and Lars Gorter, rescue young Beatrix from the Nazis after her mother is abducted. (Grade three to seven.)

Fatty Legs and A Stranger At Home (ages 9-12) tells Olemaun’s story of Residential School survival in chapter book format for an older audience, with illustrations, archival images and further reading.

The Lynching of Louie Sam is based on the historical account of an 1884 lynching that took place on Canadian soil, when a Stó:lo boy named Louie Sam was scapegoated and chased over the Washington Territorial border by a crazed mob. Told from the perspective of a teen boy who lives in the town, knows that Louie is innocent, and discovers the bigotries that the real perpetrators pander to to get away with murder.

People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression (ages 9-12) and Fight To Learn: The Struggle to Go to School (ages 10-14) are global surveys of resistance to systemic barriers, often along racial lines, over the recent past.


#NotYourPrincess (14 and up) is a new anthology of contributed writings and art by Indigenous women of North America, from famous authors to new voices. In the words of co-editor Lisa Charleyboy, the collection seeks to counter myths and show the joyful truth about Indigenous women and girls:
“Too often I’ve seen, we’ve all seen, those headlines that send shivers down spines, spin stereotypes to soaring heights, and ultimately shame Indigenous women. Yet when I look around me, I see so many bright, talented, ambitious Indigenous women and girls, full of light, laughter, and love.”

Give Me Wings: How a Group of Former Slaves Took on the World The story of Ella Sheppard and the Jubilee Singers bringing the African American tradition of gospel music to the world also tells the story of race in America coming out of slavery into the Civil War, Emancipation and Reconstruction.


Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People human activity in North America has recently been dated to over 130,000 years ago, but during the 20th century, archaeologists often reported a much shorter depth of Indigenous history, and as a result showed a bias favoring colonization. Turtle Island surveys the evidence of human activity going back much further than previous books, in a format that is accessible for sixth graders and up.


Browse our titles by theme or the full list to see more.

New video: #NotYourPrincess by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale



Fresh on the heels of hosting the exciting new season of CBC's New Fire, Lisa Charleyboy has teamed up again with Mary Beth Leatherdale, to edit the anthology #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women.

Watch the trailer above, and check out the book page for an excerpt. Coming in September!


Joshua Bell and Family Read The Dance of The Violin

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Joshua Bell was on Minnesota Public Radio’s Performance Today for a special Father’s Day audiobook reading of The Dance of the Violin.


Listen to Hour 2 from the 30:00 minute mark to 1:00:00, to hear Joshua Bell, his son Josef, and his mother Shirley read the whole book with host, Fred Child. Following the reading of the book, you can hear the incredible performance of Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole in D minor, which Bell performed with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Charles Dutoit, in 1988.


Listen here

Watch the trailer for Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Eleanor Shakespeare



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Read the remarkable true stories of five young refugees.

A treacherous voyage on the open seas

was their last hope to reach safety and freedom.


read more:

Joshua Bell Brings the Books to the Symphony Stage

“America’s favorite homegrown violinist” was what the Washington Post called Joshua Bell this week, and it’s easy to see why. He will perform and conduct The National Symphony at a residency at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. this month, and, for their family concert on Sunday, February 12, they will debut a new work called The Man With the Violin. Academy-award winner Anne Dudley composed the score, adapting the pictures and story Kathy Stinson and Dušan Petričić’s book.


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Bell’s residency will also include a performance of Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, a piece he describes in this video as one that he’s played since he was young.


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In fact, it is this enchanting piece of music that young Joshua learns for his first recital in The Dance of the Violin, the new collaboration between Kathy Stinson and Dušan Petričić. We’re sure concert-goers are in for the sort of treat that this recital judge gets in the book:


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More about Joshua Bell at the Kennedy Center
More about The Man With the Violin
More about The Dance of the Violin

Annick at the Ontario Library Association Superconference

Annick is pleased to be back at this year’s Ontario Library Association Superconference on Thursday, February 2nd, and Friday, February 3rd!


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Visit our booth from 11-11:30 on Thursday to meet author Laura Scandiffio and get a signed copy of Fight to Learn: The Struggle to Go to School, along with a classroom discussion guide.


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Come back on Friday at 11-11:30 to meet astronaut Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti, authors of To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space and the forthcoming Go For Liftoff! How To Train Like an Astronaut and get a signed copy to review for your library or classroom.


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And visit our booth anytime to ask about our upcoming collaboration with the Toronto Public Library, Let’s Get Ready For Reading, an early literacy guide for new parents and caregivers.


But wait! There’s more! Titles galore in five different categories of the Ontario Library Association’s Top Ten Best Bets lists:

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Picture Books:

Joseph’s Big Ride by Terry Farish and illustrated by Ken Daley

Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Qin Leng


Honorable Mention

Move It Miss Macintosh by Peggy Janousky and illustrated by Meghan Lands


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Junior Fiction:

The Biggest Poutine in the World by Andree Poulin


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Junior Non-Fiction

Faster, Higher, Smarterby Simon Shapiro

To Burp or not to Burp by David Williams and Loredana Cunti,  and illustrated by Theo Krynauw



YA Non-Fiction

Fight to Learn by Laura Scandiffio


Annick on CBC's the Next Chapter Childrens Book Panel

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Ken Setterington and Michele Landsberg returned to speak with host Shealgh Rogers on CBC's the Next Chapter today for their 2016 installment of the ever-charming children’s book panel. Among the books highlighted (and they all sound great) were two particularly admirable choices, SNAP! by Hazel Hutchins and Dušan Petričić, and Bad Girls of Fashion: Style Rebels From Cleopatra to Lady Gaga, by Jennifer Croll.


Of SNAP! they called it "A wonderful book about colour, about drawing, and it is simply just glorious. I would give this as a great present to a kid with a box of crayons. I just can't imagine a better gift."


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About another favourite book, Bad Girls of Fashion, they said it is:


“An amazing book that is just full of information” on the likes of Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol and more.


Listen to the whole segment here:


Read and excerpt from SNAP!


Read an excerpt from Bad Girls of Fashion.

From Dr. Dave - Astronaut's day at the Ontario Science Centre

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all images © Ontario Science Centre

Burping, peeing, and farting...


No, this is not the transcript of a conversation in a Grade 3 classroom. Rather, it’s how Dr. Dave Williams kept groups of kids and their parents enthralled last Saturday at the Ontario Science Centre. Former NASA astronaut and, with Loredana Cunti, author of To Burp or Not to Burp, Dr. Dave talked  about what happens to the human body in zero gravity.  As a veteran of three space walks, he spoke from first-hand experience.


Kids of all ages sat mesmerized as Dr. Dave showed slides taken during several space missions. And, needless to say, they loved hearing about why it’s often necessary to pick your nose in space, how astronauts go to the bathroom, and why burping in space may not be such a good idea. 


Kids got a chance to ask Dr. Dave questions at the end of the talk, including ones like “How do you take a shower in space?”


More public appearances are in store for Dr. Dave in the spring, when his second book, Go for Liftoff: How to Train Like and Astronaut will be released.              

Having fun with board books!

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Check out these two, living life, and loving board books!


Which board books? You may ask.


Why, A Button Story and A Pebble Story by Emil Sher, illustrated by Cindy Revell.


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These stories introduce the youngest readers to problem-solving and crafting with down-to-earth language and whimsical illustration.


 “… a positive purchase for a home or day-care setting, for a read-aloud with an adult or for a child to read and enjoy on his or her own.”
—CM Reviews, 10/17/14


“A sweet, unassuming tale for adult and child to share.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 10/06/14


More Board Books

Launching Dr. Dave - Astronaut at the Ontario Science Centre

Ontario Science Centre 


On Saturday, November 19, 2016, Dr. Dave Williams will be at the Ontario Science Centre to present his new book To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide To Your Body in Space! This event will take place at different points throughout the day, so mark your calendars, check this schedule, and get ready to blast into a series that is sure to give kids the solid facts to become space travelers!


View event page on


Read more about To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide To Your Body in Space


Water Wow! at the Vancouver International Writers Festival

It was rainy in Vancouver last Thursday, but that made it a perfect day for us to talk about water. Students from two Vancouver schools, False Creek Elementary and Jules Quesnel Elementary, came down to Granville Island to hear us talk about our infographic, Water Wow! The energy was palpable, with over a hundred 11- and 12-year olds in the room.


Co-Authors Paula Ayer and Antonia Banyard


We warmed up with some “wows!” and recruited a volunteer “wow” co-ordinator, who enthusiastically cued the audience. We talked about the water in their backyard—the watersheds on Vancouver’s North Shore—and around the world, such as the South-to-North Water Transfer Project in China.



A group of volunteers created a “human infographic” on stage, to demonstrate how water is distributed globally. We had a lot of fun with that, thanks to Paula’s fully-decorated signs!



Question period was lively, especially as some of the kids knew far more than we’d expected. And we were lucky to have Belle Wuthrich, Water Wow’s illustrator and designer, in the audience and available to field questions about how the art was created.


Water Wow! creators Belle Wuthrich, Antonia Banyard, and Paula Ayer at the Vancouver International Writer's Festival 2016


It was a treat to connect with our audience directly. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and we left inspired!


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Read more about Water Wow!