Day #1 of my impromptu Oliver Jeffers week on the blog
There are some authors that, when you find out they are making a local appearance, you just have to drop what you are doing and go see them. Oliver Jeffers is such an author, which is why yesterday I convinced the boyfriend to get up early on a Saturday and drive 50 minutes to Brampton where Oliver was making a rare appearance. I was not disappointed.
If you ever get a chance to go to an Oliver Jeffers reading, do it! He is hilarious! But I’m getting ahead of myself… We arrived right on time at the beautiful Brampton Chapters where there was already quite a crowd in the kids section. Children were scooched up close to the front and seats had already filled up so we stood around the edge and listened. Oliver was so friendly and great with the kids, getting them involved in the telling of his stories. And he was so witty (his accent is pretty spectacular, too, even though he denies having one).
He talked about his art a bit and then read from The Way Back Home. Next he told some of his stories by drawing them out on a large pad of paper instead of reading, which I thought was very cool. He told us about The Incredible Book Eating Boy (a book I definitely need to track down and add to my collection because it was such a great story) and the Hueys. Then he read from his new book This Moose Belongs to Me.
After the readings, he shared a few writing tips. This is what I learned from Oliver Jeffers:
- Every writer needs something to write with and an idea.
- It’s important to have a window so that you can look at the world for ideas when you are stuck.
- Always carry a giant pencil with you because you never know when you’ll get an idea.
- If all else fails and mom says no, ask dad.
There, now you can be a writer, too.
After sharing his pearls of wisdom, Oliver answered questions from the floor. When asked what his favourite book as a child was, he said one of his favourites was Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug. The enormity of the whale next to lady bug really stuck with him. I’m sure someday the next generation of picture book writers will be saying the same thing about his illustrations.
The line-up for the signing was long, but soon I was up at the table with my books getting them signed. He made a different doodle in each of my books, including an adorable penguin and a rocket ship. It was so nice to meet him and well worth the hour in the car. All in all, it was a fantastic and bookish Saturday morning!
Photo Credits: Danielle Webster