On Friday I got one of those characteristic thick envelopes that always signals that a teacher has assigned her students to write me a letter after one of my presentations.

This was from a school up north I visited a while back. It was odd too, because I’ve often judged how well a presentation has gone by how eager the teachers are to stock my books in their libraries.

Unfortunately though, there are some schools who are well off enough to have had so many authors visit that the lustre has worn off more than a little bit.

They’re the schools where you go in and the secretary looks you over, says, “Oh, you’re the author are you? Well sign in there and take a visitor’s tag. Who did you say you were seeing?”

It sure does put things in perspective.

This school seemed positively jaded.

The first clue was of course the secretary’s reaction.

Sometimes the secretary is brimming with excitement, knows EXACTLY who you are and is quick to say, “Oh we’re so DELIGHTED you’ve come to visit!”

Like I said this wasn’t one of those schools.

They stuck me in this cafeteria with vending machines in the back and a window on the side that overlooked the huge gymnasium. (It was a former high school)

Nevertheless the kids were eager and once I got into the swing of things they loved the presentation like they normally do.

It was my Picture the Story presentation which focuses on my funny picture books and includes my version of my Big Red Lollipop story.

Well apparently the kids not only loved it, they really loved it, and one of the teachers sent me five hand-picked letters from her students.

Here are some of their comments:

“I liked your presntation and books. My favorite books were “Ruler of the Courtyard” and “Big Red Lollipop” they were really interesting. Your presnetation was funny because of your facial expressions.”


“I think that “Big Red Lollipop” is your funniest book you wrote because it has alot of funny characters in it like Sana.”


“You made me laugh because you used different voices… I like Robert Munsch books and your books seem to be just like his books.”

What really struck me was the comment on my use of facial expressions and different voices.

When you’re presenting to children, it’s not a time to be ‘dignified’.

Unless of course the situation calls for it.

One time I was talking to my daughters and I told them I could never wear niqab (the face covering), because my face is such an integral part of my storytelling.

One time when I was at a storytelling festival in St. Mary’s, Ontario, the organizer was kind enough to send me a picture of me in the midst of telling Big Red Lollipop.

The picture made me cringe!

I am SO glad there are no mirrors around when I’m storytelling!

Storytelling involves conveying emotion and emoting is not very pretty.

And imagine if I had botox!!!

How could you show perplexity with a smooth as marble forehead???

You can’t!

There goes half the umph of your presence!

No thank you!

Every morning I examine the lines that are etching their way into the topography of my face. It reminds me I’m mortal and I’d better get moving if I am to get all the things I want to accomplish done before time runs out.

And every day I come to the same conclusion.

Injecting a solution created by the toxins of the botulism bacteria to deaden my nerves is a terrible idea!