Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers<br>La société canadienne des auteurs, illustrateurs et artistes pour enfants

NOTES from November 2018 meeting; SPEAKER Vicki Grant

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 12:38 AM | Helena Aalto (Administrator)

NOTES from November 14, 2018 with SPEAKER Vicki Grant

Thanks to Recording Secretary Loretta Garbutt.

WELCOME:  President Sharon Jennings welcomed everyone to the meeting on a cold and darkish evening, and thanked all the volunteers in the room tonight: Holly Main, Michele Nidenoff, Cathy Rondina, Theo Heras, Thereza Dos Santos, Patricia Storms, Jillian Dobson, Loretta Garbutt and Jennifer Maruno. CANSCAIP has one part-time staff person: Administrative Director Helena Aalto. 

Thank you to Sylvia McNicoll for cookies and oranges and to all the others who brought goodies to share. Thank you to Helena for organizing a wonderful day at PYI. She worked very closely with Heather Camlot and Jillian Dobson. Other volunteers for that day: Barbara Greenwood, Gillian O’Reilly, Lorna Poplak, Jennifer Maruno, Caroline Fernandez, Theo Heras, Rebecca Upjohn, Michele Nidenoff, Heather Gale, Michael Stewart, and Beth Pare.

Long-time Member Priscilla Galloway passed away on October 20th of this year. Priscilla was a CANSCAIP President and had written over 25 books for kids including, Adventures on the Silk Road, Too Young to Fight. Priscilla delighted in historical fiction, myth and high fantasy since childhood. She has asked that donations in her memory be made to CANSCAIP or The Writer’s Union of Canada.

A message from Helena: We had a record attendance at PYI. Many have also signed up for Virtual PYI. Registration for Virtual PYI will be on our website until January.

Writing for Children Competition: The winners of the 2018 competition were Tziporah Cohen for Sweet Success: The Story of Milton Hershey (Early Reader) and Aaron Rabinowitz for Small-Town Terrestrials (YA). Entrants were pleased with the feedback this year and we had many positive comments.


Lana Button 

Lana is the CANSCAIP-IBBY liaison and wanted to share the wonderful Readers and Refugee program. This is a therapeutic program for young refugee claimants from 6-12 years old living in shelters in Toronto, based on the model of IBBY Children in Crisis programs worldwide. As this is a time of stress for children, the healing experience of reading offers comfort. Program started in May.

For more information go to:

Ishta Mercurio

Can Kid-lit gala or ‘the after party for TD award night’ was a huge success. Some brave souls wore costumes, and $2,330.00 was raised for Books With No Bounds.


Sue Todd

Trust Me, I’m Psychic – illustrator for board game/ ages 12 and up/ Spin Master Games, 2018. Sue illustrated 41 tarot-like cards for this game that tests your psychic abilities.

Connie Clark

Connie recently won the Penguin Random House Student Award for Fiction, for an excerpt from her novel-in-progress: Haunting Charlotte. The excerpt was published by Penguin in a small chapbook along with the two finalists' stories. The chapbook purpose is to interest people in the creative writing program at the University of Toronto.

Theo Heras

Our New Kittens – Picture book from Pajama Press. Alice Carter/Illustrator. Pub date: Nov. 2/18. These two young brothers have waited weeks to welcome their new kittens, and they are determined to do a good job taking care of them.

Regan Macaulay

Merry Myrrh, the Christmas Bat – Guardian Angel Publishing. Alex Zgud/illustrator.A sweet Christmas story about all the beauties, joys, and pleasures of the Christmas season as seen through the eyes of a brown bat family.

Meghan Ferrari

The Garden Young - Red Deer Press/12+ - October/18 - Fifteen-year-old Elias and his family are caught in the middle of an international conflict -the deadly crossfire between the Syrian Army and government-opposed Rebels. Eventually Elias finds himself a newcomer in North America where he comes face to face with completely new battles-culture shock, racism, and bullying.


Cathy Rondina introduced Vicki Grant, a CANSCAIP Member for over 10 years. She has 17 books to her credit and has been nominated for many awards.

Vicki began by telling us of her 11-year old faults: ditzy, scatterbrain, flighty, noisy, unfocussed, frequently late – all the fodder she uses to make her living because when she is in this state, she gets some of our best ideas.

Vicki knew she was creative and went to art college. She began her career in advertising and had lots of ideas but didn’t know how to come up with them when she needed them.  To figure out how to do the work, she said: “Don’t rely on magic, figure out the process.”

Here are some of her insightful quotations regarding the writing process:

- An okay idea on time is better than a brilliant idea too late. This takes away the paralysis.

- Novelty is over-rated. Don’t need to always come up with a totally original idea.

 - It’s not the idea, it’s the execution – start off with good idea and make the most of it.

- Sitzfleisch – means buttocks and perseverance (i.e. bum in chair).

- Clean out the closet/unclutter your brain – good ideas/bad ideas/ non pc ideas – put it out there and see what you’ve got.

- The very worst ideas are often close to best ideas, because the worst idea will be a spark for better idea.   

- Never let fear, decency or good taste get in the way of a great idea.

- “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” (Linus Pauling)

- You have to accept, when there is a lot of garbage coming out, that this is part of the     process.

- Sex: Ideas get together and have sex, that’s how other ideas are made. Talk to someone and share.

- Dream something up – imagine where you are in your manuscript, where it’s stuck, and plan what you are going to dream about when you go to bed.

- Don’t worry about coming up with ideas – there is enough real stuff happening in the world that you can draw upon.

- Steal - from your own life and lives of others.

- Distort the truth – you can drag out your family album and take a kernel of your family story.

- Procrastination gives you time to incubate: “You call it procrastinating. I call it thinking.” (Aaron Sorkin)

- Go for a walk. Physical stuff really helps.

- Share your mistakes – allow your hunch to connect with other people’s ideas. Talk to people with totally different takes on the world, or who do something very different for a living.

- Never throw anything out; go back to earlier ideas.

- Tell your story in three sentences – set up/complication/solution. Can be helpful if you’re wallowing.

Content Copyright © 1996-2019 CANSCAIP

720 Bathurst St, Suite 503, Toronto, ON, CANADA, M5S 2R4

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software