The poisonous side of biodiversity

I’m excited to announce that 50 Poisonous Questions is part of a new exhibit at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. If you haven’t been to this newish UBC museum yet, it’s time. The place is spectacular… and not just because there’s a blue whale skeleton hanging in the atrium.

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The museum has worked all sorts of CWILL BC books into exhibits about backyard biodiversity. But, if you’re not feeling bookish, you can do what I do when I visit: spend an hour (or three) opening drawer after drawer of strange and unusual specimens.

Happy hunting!

We won! We won!

Maritimers are very tricky people.

Last week, Hackmatack organizer Kate Watson sent me this e-mail:

I’m contacting the authors who didn’t get to attend to this year’s ceremony with a small favour. I’m wondering if you’d be able to send a short speech (less than one minute) to be read if you are the winner of the English non-fiction award.

The speech could be something fun or funny or just a straight-up thank you.

On Friday, she sent this:

I’m not sure if you’ve heard that you are the Hackmatack English non-fiction winner for 2013!

(I fooled you by telling you everyone had to send a speech ahead of time.)

I have been thoroughly out-sneaked! But, I am thrilled that 50 Poisonous Questions has won the 2013 Hackmatack for English non-fiction. It’s a reader’s choice award and I have to say, it means a little extra to know that kids read the book and voted for it!

Here’s what I said at the ceremony, in absentia:

When I received an e-mail suggesting that 50 Poisonous Questions was implicated in a Hackmatack, I thought someone had tested one of my venoms and was having a massive coughing fit. (I’m afraid I have a low vocabulary for an author, and I don’t get out of the house much to see the trees!) I was very relieved to discover the Hackmatack was an award, not a possible prison sentence for accidentally poisoning a student.

I loved writing 50 Poisonous Questions. It was so much fun to discover both the frightening and the useful sides of toxins. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read the book — especially to those who wrote or e-mailed me. I am truly, truly honoured by your votes.

May you discover many more noxious and noteworthy things in your future reading!

Again, many thanks to everyone who organized, read, and voted. And congrats to the other Hackmatack authors and illustrators!

My new love of languages

I just learned that Annick Press has sold the rights for 50 Poisonous Questions and 50 Underwear Questions to BlueBird Publishing in Korea.

According to my trusty Google Translate, that would be 50 유독 질문 and 50 속옷 질문. How exciting! (I mean, “흥분”!)

I also received this a few days ago:

Using my powers of deductive reasoning, I have concluded it’s a Spanish translation of My Time as Caz Hazard. It could be anything, though, really…

Everyone likes a forest

I am very pleased to say that 50 Poisonous Questions has been shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch non-fiction award. Public and school librarians make the Forest of Reading shortlists each year, then students read the books and vote for their favourites.

Pick me, pick me!

Just kidding. (Not really.) There are lots of other great titles on the lists, such as Cynthia Pratt Nicolson’s Totally Human. I met Cynthia at Celebrate Science last month, and her writing is captivating. As are the illustrations in her book!

Good luck to all…