Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Celebrating agriculture literacy week
It was my pleasure yesterday to talk to five Grade 4 classes at McKenzie Lake Elementary in Calgary, AB not only about agriculture, but also to share my book Fields of Home, the first in a series of graphic storybooks following the adventures of Chase Duffy and his grandfather, an Alberta canola farmer.
The kids were absolutely fabulous - all 125-ish of them! I was prepared for questions about being a writer, or farming, or canola... What shocked me was the number of questions about Chase.
Girls were dying to know his favorite color, flavor of ice cream, or whether he has a girlfriend. The boys wanted to know how fast Chase can run, his favorite brand of running shoe - and whether he has a girlfriend.
But the experience was an eye-opening reminder about the importance of character development. I didn't have to fake my answers because I know my character. I write as Chase every Friday on his blog, update his Twitter (@SupermanDuffy) daily, and post to his Facebook profiles a few times a week.
I can tell you whether Chase would eat an Aero chocolate bar (yes, as long as it's not mint), and what his favorite CFL football team is (Hamilton Tiger-Cats.) I don't know all of my characters this well. But I should. For sure the main ones.
In a few weeks, the second book in the Chase Duffy series, Gotta Jet, launches and the next few months will be a whirlwind of canola-related activity. But yesterday was all about McKenzie Lake Elementary and the fabulous Grade 4 students who made my first big reading an experience worth writing home about.
Huge thanks to Farm Credit Canada for supporting this initiative, and to Simone and the rest of the team at the Alberta Canola Producers Commission for believing in me and letting me share Chase's adventures.
The Book In My Bag Today: Rot & Ruin, Jonathan Mayberry