I’m trying to figure something out.

There seems to be a sort of disconnect between my writing and my stage persona.

And yet there shouldn’t be.

I’m still struggling with it.

Needless to say I’ve been very busy! Still busy, but I’m not complaining. I’m musing.

Had an interesting presentation for 0-4 year olds at a daycare!

The toughest audience, bar none!


Had to look at my books and stories and think what would be appropriate.

I thought let me do Little Rooster and the Diamond Button. It’s actually a Hungarian folktale and it’s a bit mean to the Turkish Sultan but it’s such a good story, and darn it, there were a lot of mean Turkish Sultans! But even that story had to be toned down!

Definitely Silly Chicken. I did that with them, and they were listening and engaged, but their little eyes got too round like they were scared. And I definitely glossed over the fact that the chicken gets eaten by a dog. Instead, I assured them she ran away!

But they did love Big Red Lollipop! That one is definitely gentle enough!

And coming home I thought about the books they’d had on display. Very very gentle, mostly non-fiction picture books. And I got a real glimpse into very very young concept picture books and started composing some stories in my head, and then I questioned what I was doing.

Do I really want to write for such small children???

Is it ego that I think I must be all things to all ages???

What the heck is wrong with focusing on a certain age group and letting others excel at the younger kids???

And then I was thinking about this other interesting interaction I had with some kids.

I’m doing my old Universality in Folktales program with a bunch of kids from grades 3-5. Not my favourite age group (I love the grades 7 & 8 best!) but a good age to work with nonetheless!

We were brainstorming a poem that described the region of Toronto they live in (Don Mills) and some of the suggestions some of the kids were giving were ridiculous, and instead of trying to be ‘encouraging’, I cut to the chase (blunt person that I am) and said, “Nope, nope, that doesn’t work!” And answered another kid with their hand up!

Didn’t think anything of it until I was chatting with the teacher in the staff room. Apparently the new teaching pedagogy says that you never do that. Even if the kid suggests something silly,  you try to see a positive in it even when there is none.

She was really surprised though because the kids were perfectly fine with me coming out and saying bluntly, nope, that won’t work! Even the kids who had done the suggesting didn’t take it personally. And I’m thinking maybe it’s just my tone of voice. It’s matter of fact, and blunt and not personal, where my tone clearly says, “I don’t think you’re less, but no, that suggestion really doesn’t work.”

The teacher called it refreshing!

And another chimed in saying how limited and politically correct they had to be these days in their assessments and on the report cards. They couldn’t come out and say a kid doesn’t ‘get’ a concept that is part of the curriculum, they had to say, ‘is working on understanding…’ and as a result the same kids’ parents get a completely skewed idea of how well their kid is doing. They’ll come to them and say things like, “Oh I’m so relieved that my child is doing so well!” When they’re actually not.

The funny thing is, I’ve been doing writing exercises with a group of kids, trying to find a tighter more powerful word for a sentence and the kids get so excited they start yelling out, and waving their arms frantically!

To the point where I had to turn my back to them, and tell them I wasn’t going to turn around until they’d composed themselves! LOL

Don’t get me wrong, it is lovely to have them so excited about verbs, but c’mon, we need to control ourselves!

And that bring me back to my original musing, why do they act like this with me???

How come I can get in front of almost any group of junior and intermediate kids (grades 4-8) and just have them for the whole hour?

Not sure.

And once they’ve heard me, they clamor to read the books, and they love the books, but it seems they have to hear me first.

I need to get it to the point where they can get that feeling just from the books themselves.

And yet…get a group of preschoolers together and I’m the one left feeling intimidated.

But then they really are so YOUNG!

Babies really!

And yet I’m good with babies! For goodness sakes I have ten grandchildren and the oldest one is seven! Lots of babies and toddlers and yet I can interact with them so easily! We sing songs and play clapping games like This Old Man, and Pat a Cake, and we do the Hokey Pokey!

They don’t look at me with big round kind of frightened eyes!!!

Is it the dress? Possibly.

Didn’t help that the chair I was sitting on was one of those modern designed ones and it tipped forward and deposited me on the ground in front of them! Omigosh! How embarrassing!

People helping me up asking, “Are you hurt? Are you okay?” And me saying, “I’m fine! Just embarrassed!”

Yeah, give me the teens!

They are SO much easier!!!!