Friday, October 10, 2014

Ashley Spires' The Most Magnificent Thing and other book treasures

I have been longing to write about picture books, but I was so upset about the teachers' strike that started in June and didn't end until late September, it was hard to write about anything else.

The strike is over, if not the issues so I am finally going to  write about picture books.

The last Sunday in September,  I went to Word on the Street, a fun event that takes place in major cities across Canada to celebrate reading.  There are lots of books, and authors reading books, and you can make books etc.  When I skimmed down the list of authors, I was pleased to discover Ashley Spires was speaking.  I fell in love with Ashley's book, Penguin and the Cupcake, when I was a consultant and there was a lovely little children's bookstore near me, on Main Street. called Once Upon A Huckleberry, and I was able to hear her speak there.  She just seemed so creative and fun.  I loved the finger puppets she made that went with her book.

Ashley moved to Saskatchewan, the store closed, and I became a grade six/seven teacher, but I still loved her books.  So it was great to see her again  at Word on the Street and to find out about her latest books.  And I was also please to find out that she was living in the Lower Mainland again.

She spoke mainly about two of her newest books Sunday.  The first was The Most Magificent Thing.  She was inspired to write this book having seen children at schools frustrated by their drawing so she wanted to help kids to realize that you don't have to create perfection.  It's a delightful book as the girl tries to create something magnificent but is not satisfied with each creation though in the end a use is found for all her creations.  To hear a bit more about this book and the hackable books she gave away at this presentation as well, just check out this video.

The book even inspired  the Property Brothers!

She also  talked about her popular graphic novel series Binky the Space Cat, the astronaut who never actually leaves home and her plans for a new series.

The other new book she shared was Edie's Ensembles.  Edie is so busy creating incredible outfits that she kind of forgets about her best friend.  And she gave out paper dolls of Edie with some of her ensembles!  She has plans for a sequel about Edie's friend, Andrew.

I just love Ashley's creativity, and I have been after my friends to arrange school visits!  For contact information just check her website.

Just a note- I have often used picture books with intermediate students, sometimes as a model for their own picture book writing or as part of a theme.  I think The Magnicent Thing Could be used in a variety of ways!