Hittin’ the Road: A Year of Adventure

November 7, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A year to travel. Wow! So where will you go? What will you do?”

I can’t tell you the exact moment I decided to take a year away from my everyday life to hit the road on a solo do-it-yourself adventure. The idea came to me in increments. But I can pinpoint what and who inspired me.

The beautiful landscape of British Columbia. Standing on the deck of a ferry as it cruised across a glistening ocean against a backdrop of mountains made me wonder if I could ever take this view and make it my daily reality, at least for the short term. I remember someone describing B.C. as a place where there is little separation between the outside and inside world. This is due to the mild climate during the winter, meaning you can explore, camp, and hike all year round.

Ferry from Gibson to Vancouver, B.C., August 2016.

Other adventurous women. In the past 10 years, I’ve met several adventurous women who have packed up their lives to explore the world. In Australia, I first met Sandra in a hostel in Sydney. Sandra had left her home in Spain to travel and live in the Land Down Under for a year. We were bunkmates in our four-bed dorm. In a few days, she would be leaving for Melbourne in Southern Australia and I’d be flying north to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Sandra shared some tips on what to see as I made my way down the coast, and we hatched a plan to meet up when I made it to Melbourne. Five weeks later, we were together again!

Hearing other women’s stories of adventures and some of the challenges they face, such as keeping to a budget (Sandra was working in hostels for free lodging while looking for work) and dining alone (tip: sit at the bar!) has helped me plan my own year of travel with excitement and a dose of reality.

Solo female travel

Making new friends is one of the big advantages of traveling solo.

Reading Wade’s Wiggly Antlers to kids. Since Wade’s Wiggly Antlers was released in early May, I’ve leapt at the chance to read to children in schools, libraries and bookstores. I’m always amazed by how smart these young readers are and by their ability to grasp the nuances of Wade’s struggle to deal with the impending loss of his antlers, while waiting for his new ones to grow. I loved the idea of taking this opportunity to meet and read to kids in cities and communities across Western Canada. In the past month, I’ve been fortunate to visit schools and bookstores in Calgary, Alberta and Nanaimo, B.C..

Louise-Bradford-Wade's-Wiggly-Antlers

I love presenting Wade’s Wiggly Antlers to kids of all ages.

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The Children’s Treehouse in Nanaimo, B.C.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to travel and explore. Keeping these inspirations in mind will help me make the most of every day.

 

 

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Where in the world is Wade? Alberta, Canada!

November 1, 2017

Over the next year I’ll be travelling through Western Canada with a few side trips to other great locations. Every so often, this adventure will include a visit to a school or library to present Wade’s Wiggly Antlers to classrooms and families. So far, I’ve visited the Chaparral School in Calgary where I presented to 200 students from kindergarten to Grade 3. There were many questions about moose and how they lose their antlers as well as what it’s like to be a Canadian author. I’m now in Banff to attend the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. What a spectacular location to showcase outdoor adventure art, films and books.

Wade’s visiting Banff, Alberta.

Banff, Alberta

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, 2017

Banff Centre for the Arts

Morning view at the Banff Centre for the Arts

Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta

Took the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Great view of the town of Banff from here!

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How many ways to say thank you?

August 1, 2017

Kids Can Press’s Bookface Friday promotion.

It’s been three months since the release of Wade’s Wiggly Antlers. What an adventure it’s been! I am so grateful for the incredible support I’ve received from Kids Can Press, bookstores, schools, libraries, family, friends and my community in Ottawa and Northern Ontario. Here’s a roundup of my many big thank-yous.

 

 

 

Kids Can Press

I am most grateful to Yvette Ghionne at Kids Can Press who believed in my story and Wade, and for bringing on the incredibly talented Christine Battuz to illustrate the book. Kids Can Press was recently named Children’s Publisher of the Year in North America at the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair. They are fabulous.

The Happening Festival

What an amazing way to introduce Wade’s Wiggly Antlers to the world! From May 3-6th, kids were invited to play “Where in the World is Wade?”, and find a toy moose hiding among maps. The event wrapped up with a sold-out launch party and reading.

 

The party included Wade’s favourite ‘moss’ cupcakes. One little reviewer described them as tasting “good and mossy”.

I’m so thankful to the Festival, World of Maps and the families and kids who made this such a successful event.

Also very grateful for the full page article in Kitchissippi Times promoting the book and event.

School Visits

I owe a lot to principals, teachers and librarians. A big thrill in being a children’s author is having the chance to visit schools and libraries to read to kids. Here are some pics from my visits to St. Joseph French Immersion in Wawa and St. Mary’s French Immersion in Sault Ste. Marie. I was also thrilled to visit the Centennial Public Library where I met many little readers. The hand-print antler headbands have been a big hit!

A big audience at St. Mary’s French Immersion, Sault Ste. Marie

 

Antler headbands at St. Joseph French Immersion, Wawa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Official launch party – Sault Ste. Marie

A whirlwind week in Sault Ste. Marie wrapped up with the launch party at Cafe Natura. I have to thank my mother, Carol Rouleau, especially, for all her hard work and organizational skills. She made sure I arrived on time to all the events and was a master baker in making those delicious ‘moss’ cupcakes.

Wade's Wiggly Antlers - moss cupcakes

Wade’s favourite moss cupcakes

Sales at Coles Bookstore were such a success throughout the week that all 60 copies were sold out before the launch! Not a bad problem to have and thankfully my guests were super understanding.  I was happy to sign the copies they had on hand, though!

So, a humungous thank you to everyone from the Soo who came and supported me and bought the book.

I’d also like to thank Darren Taylor from Soo Today for the terrific article promoting the book and event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bookstores

Coles and Chapters bookstores in Sault Ste. Marie and Ottawa have included Wade’s Wiggly Antlers in their Celebrate Canada displays. It’s a big year for Canada as we celebrate 150 years since Confederation. Canadian books play a big part in our history and I’m grateful to the bookstores who support and promote Canadian authors and illustrators. Numerous libraries and bookstores across Canada and the United States have added my book to their shelves. How exciting!

Wade's Wiggly Antlers

Wade’s in good company at Coles Bookstore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the Celebrate Canada display at Chapters Rideau!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews and bloggers

Throughout this adventure I’ve discovered the enormous contribution review journals and book review bloggers make in bringing books into the hands of little readers. I am so humbled by the positive reviews by:

Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, CM Magazine, Hamilton Review of Books, the Toronto Public Library, Canlit for Little Canadians, Denver Public Schools’ Review Crew, Granite Library Media (Salt Lake City), and Townsend Public Library.

I was also incredibly honoured to be invited to contribute a guest blog post on acclaimed author Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s website.

Reader’s Pics

Every so often I receive an email from little readers across the country with photos of them reading my book. It’s such a treat. Here’s one from Smither’s, B.C. Did you know you can read Wade’s Wiggly Antlers upside down?

Wade's Wiggly Antlers

Did you know you can read Wade’s Wiggly Antlers upside down?

 

What’s Next?

In the coming year there will be many more adventures with Wade’s Wiggly Antlers, as Wade and I head to the West Coast. Stay tuned!

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My wiggly path to publication and CANSCAIP contest details

May 1, 2017

Recently, I was invited to write a guest post on author Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s website, and I was happy to oblige and grateful for the opportunity. Check out “My wiggly path to publication”.

On that note, CANSCAIP has posted its deadline for the 2017 Writing for Children competition. If  you have a story to submit, give it a polish, hire a proofreader (or enlist a grammar-addict friend!) and send it off. You never know!

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Thank you to Canlit for Little Canadians

April 28, 2017

This lovely review of Wade’s Wiggly Antlers by teacher/librarian Helen Kubiw perfectly captures Wade’s struggle to accept change and celebrates the terrific illustrations by Christine Battuz. Doot too da doo!

Wade's Wiggly Antlers Louise Bradford

“Let Wade and his friends help lighten your children’s anxieties, whether it be about loose teeth or some other growing up change, or, if they’re fearless, use Wade’s Wiggly Antlers to teach some science about seasonal changes and ecology. Either way, there’s some playful learning to be had.” – Canlit for Little Canadians, April 28, 2017.

 

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Where in the world is Wade?

March 14, 2017

Where in the World is Wade? May 3-6, 2017.

I’m excited to announce that Wade’s Wiggly Antlers will be part of The Happening Festival (Ottawa) from May 3rd – 6th. The Festival brings together local artists and businesses in the Wellington West and Hintonburg neighborhoods with creative activities to celebrate art.

If you live in the National Capital region, stop by World of Maps to play “Where in the World is Wade?” Wade will be hiding among the maps. Come see if you can find him! I’ll be on-site from 4:30 to 6pm each week day, and will host a reading and signing on Saturday, May 6th. Details in store. This is a free event!

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CANSCAIP PYI: Celebrating books and writing for kids

November 20, 2016

This weekend  I travelled to Toronto to attend my first of many-to-come events by the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers, or CANSCAIP for short. This one-day Packaging Your Imagination conference brought together writers, illustrators, editors and publishers who share a passion for children’s literature. It was a whirlwind day of workshops and speakers but equally valuable, for me, was the opportunity to meet and share experiences with other children’s writers and creators. I was inspired by the presentations and could only hope that my note-taking was fast and legible enough to help me retain all the excellent advice and tips on on topics like marketing, creating non-fiction, writing believable dialogue and storyboarding.

I’m tired the day after, but it’s good tired. Now it’s time to put all that advice to work.

If you are interested in writing or illustrating children’s books, join CANSCAIP!

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Patricia Storms shares her storyboarding expertise

CANSCAIP PYI 2016

Great meeting authors like Jennifer Mook-Sang

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Picked up a few goodies like these

 

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Road trippin’ across three continents

September 1, 2016
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Hittin’ the road with my son, Jacob, all the way to Victoria, B.C., August 2016

While unpacking my bags from my recent mother-son road trip from Ottawa to Victoria, B.C., I realized I had ticked off my third road trip in six months spanning three continents. What? How did that happen? Two of the three trips were pre-planned. The third pretty much happened on a whim. I’ve added up the total distance: 5278 kilometres or just over 3200 miles. That’s a lot of pavement covered, a lot of time with my bum in a seat and countless hours spent gawking at incredible landscapes. Here’s a brief breakdown of my epic year of road tripping.

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Little libraries are the sweetest

August 2, 2016
Hilton Beach Library

I wonder if my tween fave Nancy Drew mysteries are still here?

The survival of small community libraries has been in the news quite recently. Many towns across Canada’s most easterly coast will have to say good-bye to theirs. In fact, 54 of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 95 libraries will close within two years. This is such a loss, and I sincerely hope it’s not a trend.

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Where do story ideas come from?

May 7, 2016
Blue Mountains, Australia

One idea came to me after a trip to the Blue Mountains, Australia

I recently took a bucket-list trip to Australia and New Zealand. As I planned and packed, I wondered if I would get any writing done during my adventure. I didn’t put any pressure on myself. In fact, I thought a break from writing might be a good thing. I explored two beautiful, exciting countries and met many free spirited travellers along the way. It was during my last two days before heading back to Canada that the kernel of an idea for a new story came to me.

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