The Writers’ Room has been lucky that our friend Alexandra Gill, the food critic at the Globe and Mail who generously donated her time to our Art of Food Writing fundraiser in October, has now visited the Writers’ Room twice.
She easily wound her way into the primary kids’ hearts through food, letting them sample a food that represented each taste—they even liked the sour lemons!
After talking about the different tastes, each child received an apple, and, before discussing the flavour, they described the look, feel and smell—and the sound of an apple? On the count of three, everyone took a bite at once. The sound of an apple is a resounding crunch followed by a room-full of mmms. Finally, the kids wrote about the apple-eating experience. Here's just one of the great works:
I Ate an Apple!
It looked like a heart.
It felt smooth.
It smelled like a rainbow.
It sounded like a nice cracking sound.
It tasted like sushi.
It reminded me of my dog, my house, candy, worms.
—Ana, grade 4
After spring break, Alexandra returned, this time to chat with the grade 6 and 7 students about food. Whereas the primary workshop was packed with kids and energy, the grade 6/7 workshop was a chance for the eight students who attended to spend some quality time with Alexandra, tasting, food writing, and sharing their thoughts with her on restaurants that the kids and the critic had all been to. That workshop resulted in some great writing, too, like this review by Taran, grade 6:
My favourite restaurant is Top’s on Kingsway. I had the sweet and sour chicken wings. It was very awesome! It wasn’t awesome after I ate the wings! I got more on me than in me. For dessert I had banana cream pie. It was very fluffy.
Alexandra promised to return again for more fun with food, and we can’t wait! Thanks so much for being an ongoing part of our writing (and eating) lives, Alexandra!
Over spring break, the KidSafe kids and Writers’ Room tutors had the pleasure of working with Deborah Willis, Governor-General’s Award–nominated author and the Writer in Residence at the Joy Kogawa House.
She ran a whimsical workshop called Postcards from the Future, where the kids imagined that they had travelled to the future and then wrote a postcard back home to 2012 about what they saw in the future. They also drew the world of the future on the front of the postcards.
These fantastic, futuristic works were displayed at the KidSafe Pancake Breakfast, where three brave writers stood up and shared their visions of the future with a group of their peers, friends, family, KidSafe staff and supporters, and TV crews. Here’s just one of the creative notes from the future:
To see more postcards, check out our Spring Break Postcards from the Future Facebook album.
Thanks so much for spending time with us over spring break, Deborah. We hope to see you again in the future (get it? future?).
It’s spooky how much fun we had in the Writers’ Room this Halloween doing homework, making masks and writing stories. We had some games lined up (including “Monster Mash” musical chairs), but the kids were so into writing that they didn't want to play!
Here are a couple of their spooky tales:
Clara was walking her fish. It turned into a spider! Then Clara got a new pet. It was a werewolf. It turned into a bat! Clara met a cat dressed as a scarecrow.
—Clara, age 5
At Halloween night, Sebastian and his friends Anson, Kaydon, Ali and Michael went trick-or-treating. They had fun. Then suddenly, they saw a scary one. It was Mr. Hangman and he said, “Happy Halloween. Here’s some candy.” They liked those candies and said, “Thanks.” The next house was Lady Gaga’s. She had her own speaker so she put on some of her music, and a fake zombie popped up when you walked beside it. They loved the music, but the zombie scared them. But they went to Lady Gaga and said, “Awesome album,” and off they went to Dr. Seuss’s house. There was a skeleton body on a gurney, and they went in and rang the doorbell and he came and said, “Here’s my famous books, and you have a great Halloween,” and they said, “Thank you for your famous books.”
—Sebastian, age 8
During the summer, the KidSafe kids wrote and created art about their neighbourhoods with the help of Writers' Room volunteers, and some of their amazing work is now on display on bus shelter ads throughout their neighbourhoods! The ad spaces were donated by the City of Vancouver, and designed by Mauve Pagé and Steffen Quong. Check them out in person before November 20, 2011, and see the ads in high resolution along with more of the great work created this summer here.