I’m No Bully!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/L7pzGMw2xCM]

Happy Pink Shirt Day, everyone! I just spent the morning at Roncalli Elementary School in St. John’s, where Breakwater’s own Debbie Hanlon put on her Read-Along I’m No Bully! show for an ocean (or, at least, an auditorium’s-worth) of pink-shirted, anti-bullying cuties.

Kids' author Debbie Hanlon poses with Roncalli  school teachers (wearing their Pink shirt Day finest!)
Kids’ author Debbie Hanlon poses with Roncalli school teachers (wearing their Pink shirt Day finest!)

With the pages of Hanlon’s first book, The Adventures of Gus and Isaac: Backyard Bullies projected up on the big screen, the 200+ crowd of kids were all treated to a read-along led by Miss Debbie herself.

“This is a story about Isaac the Cat,” Hanlon begins. ” Now, who knows what’s different about Isaac?”

“HE HAS NO TAIL!” all the kids holler back. Many of them already know the characters: Gus, the Seagull-Who’s-Afraid-Of-Heights, and Isaac the Bob-Tail Cat.

In this first adventure, Isaac is new to the neighbourhood and finds himself a target of the neighbourhood bullies: Vamps the Cat and his cronies, Berg and Flake.

“That’s right,” Hanlon says. “He’s a bob-tail cat, and that sure makes him different! And what sometimes happens to people who are different?”

“Bullies!”

The kids have had good Pink Shirt Day training, and they have lots of ideas about what makes people bullies: usually, bullies are pretty scared themselves. Scared of people who are different. But bullying isn’t the way to combat those fears. Hanlon leads the kids in a discussion of the “bystander” role in a bullying situation, and reiterates the two things every kid needs to do if they see someone being bullied:

1. Say something! “Stop! Bullying isn’t cool!” the kids yell.

2. Tell someone! “Find an adult — it can be your teacher, your Mom, your Dad — and tell them what’s going on. An adult will help you!” Hanlon says, before leading the kids in an anti-bullying ditty she’s written herself — accompanied, of course, by a pink ukelele.

Hanlon’s I’m No Bully show is a favourite at elementary schools across the region, with frequent performances in the St. John’s area, and a recent fall tour into Central Newfoundland. Next up, Hanlon plans to hit the west coast, with stops in Corner Brook and Stephenville.

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Nine Lives

Sad news this week from Breakwater Headquarters: Isaac, the real-life bob-tailed cat who inspired the Adventures of Gus and Isaac books, passed away this past Sunday.

Photo of Isaac in real life.
Looking out the window.

The storybooks, written by Isaac’s owner Debbie Hanlon and illustrated by painter Grant Boland, imagine the hijinks and friendship between Isaac the Bob-Tail Cat and Gus the Seagull-Who’s-Afraid-of-Heights.

Real-Life Isaac was a real cutie. Gotta figure he’s moved onto life # 10 now, wouldn’t you say?

 

Our Writers Resolve: A Handful of Breakwater Authors Give Us Their Top New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

Look who’s back in action! If you’re reading this, then congratulations! You survived the Mayan-End-Of-Days crisis AND your NYE Hangover. We’re back in full-gear here at Breakwater headquarters and first on our list was a list… of resolutions. We asked a handful of Breakwater’s authors to give us their top resolutions for 2013, literary or otherwise, and here’s what they said:

Kerri Cull, author of 2012’s Soak and curator at The Book Fridge:

My literary resolution: to complete drafting a manuscript of short fiction that is currently 24 stories deep.

Debbie Hanlon, author of two Adventures of Gus and Isaac books, including 2012’s Ho Ho No Christmas!:

2013 will be a year of the Deb! Looking forward to getting my red belt in TKD, completing Trouble times in Tickle Harbour, the 3rd book in The Adventures of Gus and Isaac series, spending as much time as I can with my amazing husband, traveling, and taking good care of myself and my loved ones..all in all continuing to love and live my amazing life!

Susan M. MacDonald, author of Edge of Time, winner of the 2012 Moonbeam Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy:

I’ve got to stop sitting in front of the computer and get up and MOVE. Of course, I’ve got to spend more time at the computer, WRITING, too.

Ergh, I hate New Years resolutions.

Samuel Thomas Martin, author of 2012’s A Blessed Snarl

My two aims this year are to finish my novel Odin’s Eyes and, since I’m living in Iowa, have tea with Marilynne Robinson. Both, at this point seem equally as (un)likely.

Trudy J. Morgan-Cole, author of By the Rivers of Brooklyn and the 2012 NL Heritage and History Award winner, That Forgetful Shore:

I just posted a vlog all about my writerly New Year’s resolutions so it’s fresh in my mind … I have a few things in mind but the main one is to finish researching and writing this draft of my current work-in-progress, “A Sudden Sun Discloses,” which is (partly, at least) about suffragists in 1890s and 1920s Newfoundland.

Chad Pelley, author of 2010’s award-winning debut novel, Away From Everywhere and the forthcoming novel, Every Little Thingto be released in March 2013:

For me, 2013 is going to go down as The Year of Ambitious Writing. I have two goals. One is to curate a collection of shorts by March, from the 27 stories on my hard drive. There’s at least a dozen there that’ll work well together: funny ones, sad ones, funny-sad ones, about people longing for something they’ll never have. It’ll be called Big Red Hearts. Come February, I’ve cleared my schedule of everything – day jobs included – to write the novel I’ve been preparing to write for years now. It’s about a small town forced to turn on each other, with subplots and backstory including a man’s divorce and search for his missing daughter. I’ve never been more excited about a writing project, and the first draft will exist by 2014.

Claire Wilkshire, author of the forthcoming debut novel, Maxine

1. Smile more.  (Less scowly-frowniness, even if it’s just from concentrating.)

2. Encourage people.  (Do we think “Good old X, he really taught me a lot that time when he accurately pointed out every one of my shortcomings?” No, we do not.)
3. Be optimistic.

These appear in blue marker on a yellow, star-shaped sticky note on my computer stand. There’s also the small matter of the 20 lbs. but in order to remain optimistic, I decided to leave that one off the note.

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