Welcome! You’ve found me at home, but I’m probably at my desk writing right now, so please feel free to take a look around and explore my books, blog and writing journey. Thanks for dropping in! LATEST NEWS is below.
*LARKIN ON THE SHORE RECEIVES A 2020 WHIPPOORWILL AWARD*
What wonderful news! Poor Larkin, after disappearing under the pandemic waves, has swum to the surface and been recognized with a 2020 Whippoorwill Award honouring “young adult literature that sings the authentic stories of rural people and places”. This award, curated by educators across the United States, honours distinguished, rural, young adult novels published in English during the preceding year.
The setting of LARKIN ON THE SHORE is drawn from my Nova Scotia home on the Northumberland Strait, where I live for part of the year. It’s a special place, and I couldn’t be happier to see this book, which depends so much on the rural East Coast setting, to receive this attention from educators.
(Did you know that LARKIN ON THE SHORE is also included by the Nova Scotia Book Bureau as a selection for the province’s Grade 11 English curriculum?)
A glimpse of my little corner of Nova Scotia. Prince Edward Island lies just on the other side of that expanse of water, the Northumberland Strait. And there’s my little blue house, just off to the right…
*I READ CANADIAN DAY *
February 19, 2021, was the second annual I Read Canadian Day, a chance to celebrate Canadian literature – especially reading aimed at kids.
It was the brainchild of Eric Walters, one of the busiest kidlit authors in Canada, and was quickly picked up by organizations including CANSCAIP, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Ontario Library Association, Canadian School Libraries, and Communication Jeunesse. Here’s the call to action on the I Read Canadian website:
We challenge the nation to “Read Canadian” for 15 minutes and to share their experience at their library, in their school, with their families and friends, or on social media. Young people are encouraged to read, or have read to them, a Canadian book of their choice.
I can assure you that Canadian kidlit authors are all on board for this event. One initiative is to have celebrities dig into our books and share their photos on social media, like this one from #IReadCanadianDay 2020 featuring my book Skating Over Thin Ice in the hands of Hockey Night In Canada broadcaster Chris Cuthbert.
This year, the Canadian kidlit writing community posted their photos, events, invitations and more. Readers did their part by reading, sharing, following, promoting and just overall celebrating the many great Canadian books, authors and illustrators we have in this country.
Social media was busy using the tag @IReadCanadian and the hashtags #IReadCanadian and #NowMoreThanEver
February 17 – I was there (see my photo, above, of CBC Radio classical music host Tom Allen reading about musical prodigy Imogen St. Pierre and hockey boy Nathan McCormick in Skating Over Thin Ice). So was this penguin. Were you?
*NEWS ABOUT MY ONLINE DEBUT*
When the COVID-19 shutdown hit us last March, many of my Canadian kidlit writing colleagues said good-bye to connecting with readers in person and jumped online to keep up those readings, book launches, school visits, videos – they were everywhere!
Not me. This is mostly because no one asked me (truth). It’s also partly because the online scene was quickly full of excellent content from authors much more qualified, well-known and capable than I am.
Then Toronto Public Library came calling, and, yes, I, too, went online. And it’s the best kind of presentation – a bit of reading from my books SKATING OVER THIN ICE and LARKIN ON THE SHORE, and tying that into some writing tips on the subject of “first chapters”: how to get your story started by setting the tone, establishing your narrator’s voice, and hooking the reader into the story right from the start.
So, I went online – finally. (Yes, it only took me six months…) Thanks for the invitation, Toronto Public Library!
Click here to watch: First Chapters with Jean Mills
*NEWS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19*
A message for young readers (also not-so-young readers), parents, teachers, librarians: if you’re looking for ways to stay connected, focused, busy and have some fun during holiday closures and beyond, consider CONNECTING WITH AN AUTHOR.
Do you have comments or questions about a book you read? Find that author online or on social media – younger readers should ask parents for help with this one – and send a message to them or their publisher. We would love to hear from you. I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! Check out my Contact page for ways to reach me. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter and Instagram @jeanmillswriter.
Most important – stay safe, stay busy, and keep reading and writing!
Also, meet Hedwig, my owl. She’s watching over me as I work on my next YA novel…