CMAS in Action: Celebrate Children’s Book Week with Anna Humphrey, CMAS Editor and Children’s Book Author

CMAS is eager to spread the news about TD Canadian Children’s Book Week, an annual nationwide event being held from May 5-12 to celebrate Canadian children’s books and the importance of reading. Adding to the excitement? Our very own editor, Anna Humphrey, is one of only 30 authors selected to speak this year.

For over ten years, Anna has worked as a freelance writer and editor, specializing in materials targeted at children, youth and families. She has collaborated on a number of CMAS projects, including editing both Caring for Syrian Refugee Children: A Program Guide to Welcoming Young Children and Their Families, as well as the Resilience Guide: Strategies for Responding to Trauma in Refugee Children.

“I work primarily with organizations that serve families, including ESL learners,” explains Anna. “So, I focus on plain language writing that still communicates a message really strongly.”

When she is not helping to make client communications more clear and direct, she is also a children’s book author. She published first book in 2010, Rhymes with Cupid and ha gone on to publish four more books, including the award-winning Clara Humble series.

“I’ve been writing ever since I knew how to write,” says Anna. “I love writing for kids. There is so much emotion at that age. Everything is brand new and exciting. There is never a dull moment in kids books.”

While none of her fiction is specifically directed at newcomer children, her latest book explores homesickness–a feeling often experienced by the children in our programs. Megabat, the charming tale of the friendship between a talking fruit bat and little boy who is new to the neighbourhood, will be available at bookstores in August.

During Children’s Book Week, Anna will be travelling throughout Newfoundland. Her presentation will be part of over 400 readings given to over 28,000 children, teens and adults. She plans to share her journey to becoming a writer and discuss how stories always come from a writer’s “emotional truth”. In addition to a short reading from one of her books, she will answer children’s questions.

What tips will she offer future writers? “Just put your fingers keyboard and enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if your spelling and grammar aren’t perfect,” advises Anna. “Even if English isn’t your first language, just tell a story—and if you like it, chances are someone else will, too.”

Children’s Book Week readings will be held at hundreds of schools, public libraries, bookstores and community centres in roughly 175 communities across the country, so you can find one close to your program. Encourage the love of reading by sharing events with the families in your program–or consider attending together as a program.

“It’s a great opportunity to get children excited about reading and writing,” says Anna. “And, it’s a chance for them to see writers are just regular people—and that they could be a writer, too.”

To find out more, including a schedule of events happening in your area, visit the  TD Canadian Children’s Book Week website.