Guest Post: Monica Kulling

Tundra author, Monica Kulling, shares with us in this guest post about her event on Wednesday, November 18, 2009:

Monica Kulling: I had the distinct pleasure last week of participating in my first-ever Canadian Children’s Book Week event. I read my first Canadian book, It’s a Snap! George Eastman’s First Photograph, to a group of grade fours and fives at the Black Creek Branch of the Toronto Public Library.

Since publishing my first picture book, in the U.K. and the U.S. in 1992, I have looked longingly (each November) at the Canada Book Week poster and felt a like the poor match-girl in the fairy tale, uninvited because she has never published a book in Canada. A sad state of affairs. But sad no longer!

Enter TUNDRA BOOKS and Kathy Lowinger and all the talented people who work so hard to produce the beautiful books that Tundra is famous for. And a huge thanks to Bill Slavin, the illustrious Canadian illustrator, whose work is so well-known that doors open for me when I mention his name! Thank you for putting me on the Canadian map! I am tickled pink to be a Canadian author and to have the opportunity to share my books with kids across our great country.

So … with my symbolic invitation in hand, I drove to the Black Creek library located in the North York Sheridan Mall. Driving up Black Creek Drive, I passed the perfectly named, “Photography Drive,” which indicates the street that leads to the old Kodak plant. In 2005 Kodak became a casualty of the digital age and was forced to close down its plant. Until then it had employed hundreds of people for nearly 100 years. All the Kodak film and photography paper used in Canada were manufactured at the place that was called, “Kodak Heights.” Now one solitary building remains—building number 9:

Photo from: "The End of Kodachrome and the Death of Kodak Heights" by Rick McGinnis (July 3, 2009 on http://www.blogto.com)

The Black Creek Library is on the lower level of the Sheridan Mall, tucked behind an escalator. But the strategy of arriving early, allowed me to get lost, at least once. Anne-Marie Di Lello, the librarian who contacted me, greeted me warmly. She is proud of the library. “This library is a pearl in the mall,” Anne-Marie tells me. “Most people don’t know it’s here. But when they discover it, they keep coming back.” And as I entered its cozy and quiet domain, I can see why.

I was shown the room where the reading was going to be. Nancy Velez, another Black Creek librarian, had gone to great lengths to search the Toronto system for every book of mine she could get. The table at the front of the room, made me feel right at home.

The group was a little late, but worth waiting for. I began my presentation by taking a panoramic photograph of the entire group. So see for yourself what a grand bunch of kids I had in front of me.

And did they have questions? They did indeed! For that Kirkus reviewer who thought that “a few phrases may confuse young readers (“George had a brain wave”),” you can rest easy. Not only did my young listeners understand the term “brainwave,” one astute young man answered my query this way, “It’s when you have a wave of an idea in your brain and then a lightbulb comes on over your head!” Sounds about right to me.

Thank you Black Creek for a wonderful visit!

Note from Tundra: We hope people are happy to see pictures of themselves on Talking with Tundra, but if you would like your photo removed, please contact us at tundra@mcclelland.com. Thank you.

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