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Once again this year, the Alice Munro Festival of the short Story is delighted to offer your students the magic of literature directly in their educational environment.  Having an author visit the classroom can inspire students to engage more deeply with reading and writing, and hearing firsthand about the author's journey and creative process can spark excitement and motivation.

FOUR PROFESSIONAL AUTHORS EVENTS

Tuesday, June 4 and Thursday, June 6, 2024

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Alan Barillaro                         Stephanie Cooke                 Jessica Vitalis                        Kim Spencer      

Where the Water Takes Us     The Racc Pack                    Coyote Queen                     Weird Rules to Follow

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Where the Water Takes Us:  

Ava’s mom is about to have twins, and the pregnancy isn’t going well. All Ava wants to do is stay by her mother’s side, but instead, she is sent away to stay with her grandparents. Normally, spending time at the lake with Nonna and Nonno is wonderful. But everything is different now. While her mom’s hospital visits are getting serious back home, Ava grapples with anxiety. As summer storms rock the island, electricity goes out at the cabin, and an annoyingly cheerful boy named Cody seems determined to pop up everywhere she goes. Ava can’t be distracted from the feeling that something terrible, something irrevocable, is going to happen to her mom while she is gone.

When a bird dies in front of her, Ava is sure it is a sign that she is cursed—the last thing she, or her family, needs. But if a curse has been placed on her, there must be a way to break it. So Ava makes a deal: if she can take care of two orphaned bird eggs, she will have paid off her debt, and her family will be all right. With everything on the line, Ava will do whatever it takes to make sure that her mom, her twin baby brothers, her birds, and even Cody come through the summer safely.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alan Barillaro is the Academy Award–winning writer and director of the animated short film Piper and has been supervising animator on many other popular theatrical releases, including The Incredibles and Incredibles 2, WALL-E, and Brave. He began his career in animation at the age of sixteen and spent twenty-five years at Pixar Animation Studios. Alan Barillaro lives in Vancouver, British Columbia

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GET READY TO LIVE LIFE IN THE TRASH LANE!

The Racc Pack

This graphic novel follows the Racc Pack…meet the Bins, a crafty family of raccoons in the risky business of dumpster diving for all their needs. With Dusty's brains, ReRe's muscle, and Scraps' gadgets (please don't tell him he's almost definitely an opossum), the Bins are determined to leave no garbage bin unturned in their pursuit of the tastiest trash they can find.  When the family discovers a new upscale grocery store that’s throwing away perfectly good food at the end of each day, the Bins hatch a heist so daring, it’ll have them rolling in garbage all winter long. But with its critter-despising CEO, Jeff Beans, and the high-tech defense system he's installed, liberating that trash is going to take all the skills the Racc Pack have... and maybe some help from a cat burglar with a mysterious past. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Cooke is an award-nominated writer of graphic novels including ParaNorthern and the Oh My Gods! series, as well as the new graphic novel series, The Racc Pack, with bestselling creator, Whitney Gardner. Stephanie is an avid reader, gamer, movie watcher, and pun connoisseur. She’s based out of the City of Raccoons (aka Toronto, Canada) where she can often be found curled up with her snuggly cat…that she happens to be very allergic to.


Coming in April 2024 is Pillow Talk, her debut young adult graphic novel with artist Mel Valentine

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Coyote Queen    

Coyote Queen is the story of a young girl desperate to escape an abusive situation. She joins a local beauty pageant determined to win the prize money she and her mother need to leave, but an eerie connection to a local pack of coyotes causes strange changes to her body––she goes colorblind, her sense of smell improves, and soon, she has to figure out how to win the pageant with a tail. The Benefits of Being an Octopus meets The Nest in this contemporary middle grade novel with a magical twist about family, class, and resilience that Newbery honor-winning author Gary D. Schmidt calls “a powerful novel of tremendous empathy and optimism.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Vitalis is a Columbia MBA-wielding middle grade author with Greenwillow/HarperCollins. Her books have been translated into three languages, received multiple starred reviews, and appeared on “Best Book” lists for Kirkus and CCBC. COYOTE QUEEN was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection and has been shortlisted for the Reading the West Book Awards. A historical novel in verse, UNSINKABLE CAYENNE, comes out October 29th, 2024. Jessica currently lives and writes in Ontario but speaks at schools, conferences, and festivals all over North America.

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Weird Rules to Follow:   

Mia knows her family is very different than her best friend's.
 

In the 1980s, the coastal fishing town of Prince Rupert is booming. There is plenty

of sockeye salmon in the nearby ocean, which means the fishermen are happy

and there is plenty of work at the cannery. Eleven-year-old Mia and her best

friend, Lara, have known each other since kindergarten. Like most tweens, they

like to hang out and compare notes on their crushes and dream about their futures. But even though they both live in the same cul-de-sac, Mia’s life is very different from her non-Indigenous, middle-class neighbor. Even though their differences never seemed to matter to the two friends, Mia begins to notice how adults treat her differently, just because she is Indigenous.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim Spencer graduated from the Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University, where she focused on creative nonfiction.

Kim’s debut novel Weird Rules to Follow received a Kirkus-starred review. It was named a USBBY 2023 Outstanding International Book and a Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year. It also won the IODE Violet Downey Book Award, the Jean Little First Novel Award, the Geoffrey Bilson Historical

Fiction Award, the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, and the Pacific Northwest Book

Award. It was also a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award.

 

Kim is from the Gitxaala Nation in northwest BC and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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