TaleBlazers 2015: A Tale of Literacy and Superheroes

Delighted I got to add my left-handed scrawl to Onoway's "Wall Of Honour"

I’m so delighted I got to add my left-handed scrawl to Onoway’s “Wall Of Honour.”

After a vigorous ten days of offering literacy-based presentations in Alberta schools and libraries, I can now add the following numbers to my collection:

Number of students spoken to: 921

Number of kilometres driven: 2,147

Number of new superheroes released into the world: 358

Number of students who’ve met my top-secret superhero alter-ego: 358

Number of students who’ve received my promise about the pay-offs for working hard to become better writers: 592

Overall, it felt like a job well done. In fact, a job befitting a literacy superhero–a role I strive to fill.

Along the way, I amassed many priceless memories–something which continually happens when I am surrounded by my favourite demographic: kids and teenagers.

Here are some of my highlights from this year’s TaleBlazers literacy tour:

Meeting and encouraging new superheroes, including Golden Cheetah, EnviroGirl, Awesome Big Bro, Ninja Bat Boy, Puppy Girl, and Half-Lizard/Half-Spider Boy. They take my breath away with their passion and conviction. The world is already a better place because of them.

Feeling like the grand prize at the fall fair…. because the school that won this year’s Dr. Charles Allard Win-a-Literary Artist Contest used their “golden ticket” to invite ME to speak with their students for the day. Meeting my wonderful hosts and all of the Onoway Elementary students was a huge win for me too! And imagining myself as a massive stuffed teddy bear from the Ex (also how I felt given the fabulous lunch and snacks they served me) was a memory to cherish.

Convincing a student with behavioural tendencies that Grenade Boy wouldn’t make for a positive superhero figure, but that tapping into his love of tigers would be a fantastic mission. And so Tiger Boy emerged. He immediately got to work building his superhero cred by becoming my eager assistant for the rest of the morning. Thanks, Tiger Boy!!!

Enjoying earnest conversations with division one students… Me: “What is an adventure?” Students: “Going on a trip.” “Doing something different.” “Discovering and exploring.” And this wide-eyed response from a Cindy-Lou-Who lookalike: “Doing something brand new. It can be scary. You have to be very brave.” [author’s heart grew three sizes]

Smiling over generous feedback from the teachers and librarians… “Wow, I’ve NEVER seen those grade 6’s listen so well!” and “I learned some new writing tips today too that I’m going to use in the classroom.” Sweet!

This concludes another year of TaleBlazing author visits and I’m grateful to the entire 921 students who I met. As always, they have inspired and energized me for my writing projects in the days ahead.

Thanks also to the teachers, librarians, generous sponsors, and of course to the Young Alberta Book Society (YABS) for arranging these tours. YABS’s mission is to foster literacy and a love of reading among students in Alberta by bringing them together with Alberta’s literary artists and their works. Now, how cool is that???

Steph and Jenn - YABS's fabulous administrators who make EVERYTHING possible... when they're not dancing like chickens in support of charities.

Steph and Jenn – YABS’s fabulous administrators who make EVERYTHING possible… including dancing like chickens to support charity.



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