I am excited to share with you that "Where Do Babies Come From" the first book in the "Just Enough" series by Orca Book Publishers was awarded today with the prestigious OLA "Best Bet" award at OLA's Super Conference in Toronto .
Only 10 titles are chosen each year--out of all the books written by Canadian authors. The book can now proudly wear the "Best Bet" sticker. The book will be showcased at all the OLA events.
Thank you to the Orca team for helping bring this project into realization!
Dr Jillian Roberts
PS--Here is the letter that I received from OLA :)
From: Vivien Keiling <Vivien.Keiling@barrie.ca>
Date: January 25, 2016 at 5:14:10 PM PST
To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: OLA Best Bets - Award winner
After extensive reading and lots of discussion, the Ontario Library Association’s Best Bets committee has finalized our lists and have prepared our Top Ten titles as well as some Honourable Mentions for each of our categories.
Best Bets looks exclusively at titles published in the past year (2015, in this case) that are either written or illustrated by a Canadian or someone living in Canada. Our categories include Picture books, Junior Fiction, Junior Non-Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, and this year we’ve added a Young Adult Non-Fiction category
I wanted to pass along my congratulations that your book “Where Do Babies Come From?” has made this year’s Best Bets top ten list.
The full list will be officially announced at our presentation at next week’s OLA Super Conference and the winning titles will be recognized and available at the OLA Store at the conference (hosted by Tinlids).
I am very excited to share the news that we are going to be getting removable stickers that can be placed on book covers to recognize the award and will be sent to various distributors and publishers. I’m attaching the sticker image – feel free to make use of it on your own website in relation with our winning titles.
One request – please do not publicize this news until we release the list. Once more, we will be releasing the official list of winners and honourable mentions at our session on Friday, January 29 (10am). This list will be posted on the OLA website at this, as well as promoted through various OLA channels.
This information has been shared with your publisher and/or Canadian distributor.
Congratulations again – we really loved your book!
OLA Best Bets Committee Co-Chair
As a girl, I made up my mind to become fluent in Canada's other language. My mother was born into a francophone community in Northern Alberta and I had felt a strong connection to French Canadian culture.
When I was a teen, I participated in three French language exchanges (two to Quebec and one to France). I studied French at University and I majored in French Language Pedagogy in my Bachelor of Education at Dalhousie University.
When I taught school, I worked as both a French teacher and special education/primary teacher. When I graduated from my PhD in School Psychology, I worked as a French Language School Psychologist for the Calgary Board of Education.
It has been many years since I spoke French as my primary language day to day, and I know I am quite rusty. But, I have made it my goal to hone these skills in 2016 (as well as hone my Spanish and nurture my budding Italian!)
I must say, Duolingo has been a great help!
A la prochaine!
The New York Times recently published an article about Canada suddenly being "hip." (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/15/style/canada-justin-trudeau-cool.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0). Many young Canadians grabbed onto this compliment and tweeted so much that #Canada was hugely trending on Twitter today. I was perplexed. Who cares? Why does it matter?
I tweeted a quick comment:
I quickly received some feedback, and some of it was interesting. For example:
This tweeter went on to tweet:
I suppose I am old-fashioned, but trying to be "hip" was never a goal of mine. I want to be relevant, useful, and helpful--but I really do not think that "being hip" matters one bit. Do you think that teachers working overtime to teach our children care about being "hip?" What about emergency room doctors? Volunteers for the MSF (Doctors without Borders)? How about the first responders to terrorist attacks? Economists like Mark Carney (who by the way did not make the NYTimes list of hipsters)? People who are really working hard to make a positive difference in the world? I think they just want to help. Spending any time at all on trying to be hip is a total distraction.
Answer to the question: "Did you actually read it?" Of course I did. It is just not that important a topic. Spending any time at all trying to be in any kind of spotlight for any reason other to advocate for a greater good is a waste of time.
So, the smaller part of myself thinks about what Coco Channel would say. The bigger part reminds myself of what really matters.
I am a passionate advocate for inclusion. My third book by Orca Book Publishers is called "What Makes Us Unique? Our First Talk about Diversity" and is about celebrating (rather than fearing) the complexities and differences around us. I also teach about inclusive education, and from time to time I am asked to comment in the media. Here is a podcast from 2014 where I spoke about inclusion within the context of a teachers strike in Canada. My part begins midway through, at about the 33 minute mark.
I hope you enjoy! Send me your comments!
At each start of term, I feel a kind of excitement brewing inside of me. The prospect of meeting new students and getting ready to greet them, fills me with a kind of pure enthusiasm. I love to see the students milling in the hallways and gathering outside. Their smiles and nervous frowns, the hopeful expressions, the worries about being out of place--all lead me to think of how far each and every one of these students has worked to be here. They have all done extraordinarily well to have been given a seat in one of our programs. Many have came from far away to join us. I mean really far--like Japan, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Isle of Man, etc. Each of these students, in their own way, is stretching beyond their comfort zone. They are trying so hard to learn and grow, and eventually contribute to our greater society. I am proud of them.
When the class begins, I feel a little nervous. I struggle to get my power point to work. I notice that all of the technology has been upgraded and I do not know how to use it. Everything is touch screen. There are no more buttons to hold down for a few seconds to make the projector work. Everything is in a kind of big circuit that is unfamiliar. I rush to our tech support door in the hall and no one is there, and so I call the emergency cell phone number and leave a message. I rush back to class and imagine how to teach the first class in a kind of "tech-acapella." But, then, our beloved tech master walks through the door with his co-op student and all is well. Whew!
There are no more blackboards, no more white boards, no smart board even--instead, every inch of wall space is painted with a kind of material that allows you to write on it. You can write all over all of the walls like you are in kindergarten again. Blows my mind.
The room is bright and looks small, yet 47 students are carefully arranged in layers around me. I am not on a stage, but rather mere metres away from them. I have no microphone, no podium. The space feels intimate. The power point projects directly onto the special kindergarten drawing wall.
I welcome the students. I try to find my flow. I try to help them understand where I am coming from, what I find important, what I hope to teach them.
They are eager. They look at me hopefully, encouragingly, attentively. I feel my words rushing into place. I find my voice. I share.
This term, I hope to share what I have learned over 20 years of teaching, research and clinical practice. I hope to inspire young people to become great--no, more than just great--I hope to inspire young people to become exceptionally great teachers.
Dr Jillian Roberts