It’s that time of the year when my schedule tends to run away from me.

Within the next six weeks I have a five day road trip/tour of Espanola and Manitoulin island skills, I have a full week’s presentations when I get back, I have a trip to Orlando Florida for the International Reading Association convention on May 9th(the week after), I have to rush back and leave on May 10th for a three day tour of New Brunswick schools, then go to Halifax on May 13th for the Hackmatack award and then rush home for a presentation at a library on May 14th. And then various presentations that will keep me busy for the rest of the month.

I was supposed to go to Singapore on May 25th too, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to say no.

It’s not easy to say ‘no’.

I  had to disappoint a couple of librarians in Singapore who really wanted me to come. One of whom has been such a champion of my work!

Makes me feel all guilty inside.

I also had to say ‘no’ to an evening event in Hamilton on May 1st, a Sunday. At 49 I have to look at physical limitations. I know what kind of shape I’d be in if I got back from Hamilton at 10 or 11 pm and then have presentations bright and early the next day (which I do).

I’m almost at the point where I think it was irresponsible not to say ‘no’. How could I do a proper job if I’m running on nothing but adrenaline and good intentions?

It just doesn’t work.

This week has been crazy too. I’ve had presentations all week, and two tomorrow down in Kitchener. I’m dreading the drive. And in fact I should be getting to sleep right now.

But I was feeling thoughtful and I hadn’t blogged for a while.

I’ve been particularly thinking of a school I went to a few days ago. I spoke to the teacher librarian, as usual (I love teacher librarians!) and she said something very curious.

She’s not the first one who’s asked me why my picture books haven’t been up for the Blue Spruce awards. These are reader choice awards that kids in Ontario vote on. She said it’s always the same authors being honoured and she wishes that they could recognize others including me.

Apparently it’s got to do with the fact that my three latest picture books were published in the States. They’re not eligible because they’re only half  ‘Canadian’.

Then she went on to say how much she’d loved Wanting Mor  and how surprised she was it wasn’t on the Ontario reader’s choice awards: the Red Maple or the Silver Birch.

Think about it! Wanting Mor was up for the Red Dot awards (the equivalent readers’ choice awards of the Red Maple and Silver Birch only for international schools in Singapore) but it’s been totally ignored by my home province.

I don’t even think about these things any more. Some teacher librarians in St. Catherines wondered the very same thing!

It’s really nice to know that people are that supportive of my work.

It warms my heart.

But what really made me smile was this little blonde girl who came up to me after my presentation and told me how much she’d loved Wanting Mor. She was so cute!

And the librarian who I was talking to mentioned her too. Then she pointed to some photos that lined the top of the library. You know those ‘READ’ posters that exist, with famous celebrities posing with their favourite books? Well this librarian had done something quite brilliant! She’d taken photos of the kids in the school holding their favourite books! And there was that little blonde girl, holding a copy of Wanting Mor. What an honour!

And yet, it’s ironic. There was a little girl in that school who wore hijab, who came to my presentation. Guess which book she was holding in her picture? A copy of Junie B. Jones!

Sometimes Muslim kids really avoid me when I come into their schools to present.

I can understand why.

Maybe they don’t want to be lumped together.

Maybe they don’t want people to think that just because we dress the same, we are the same.

That’s cool.

But I do hope she at least reads Wanting Mor.   I hope she gives it a try.

Apparently the little blonde girl’s been talking it up to all her friends!