Old TV Advertising: Canada – The World Next Door

I can’t imagine how people garnered the information they needed to move to another country or go there for an extended stay years ago before they were able to research on the Internet.

These days, it only takes seconds to check any information about a foreign location that you want. For example, let’s say you waned to visit Calgary, Alberta, Canada for a long period of time and you decided you wanted to rent an apartment. It would take you no time at all to research Calgary apartments online. The Internet has made travel and relocation infinitely simpler.

What got me thinking about his today was reminiscing about those old television ads encouraging people to visit Canada. When I was as kid, I used to love those old TV ads with the slogan and song that said, “Come to Canada, the World Next Door.”

Do you remember those? If you do, then you have just dated yourself as I did by bringing up the topic!

I can’t believe that after all these years, I can still hear the tune in my head and I can picture the Canadian geese flying. That really is a testament to the Canadian tourism board or advertising agency that created those ads. I remember when people would talk about the ads they would say how beautiful the country was and they wished they could not only visit, but actually move there. If they decide to do that in the modern era, all the information they will need is only a few clicks away.

Does Your Child Want To Be A Writer

Supporting Your Child’s Writing Development

In the first part (entitled Encouraging Children To Write) of this guest post by author Jean Cross, she talked about her own writing when she was a child. In the conclusion below, Jean talks a little about writing as an adult and then offers insights on how to encourage your child in his or her writing pursuits.

Jean’s thoughts:
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So what have I been writing since I was a child? Well, if anyone in my family wanted a serious letter written, they turned to me. At work I doddled off reports and sometimes wrote to the papers when moved to do so. But the imaginative stuff found its was out on rare occasions too. Over the years I have written some poetry, humorous and otherwise. I take a delight in composing letters such as the one I wrote to the people who operate the speed cameras, asking for a photograph of me in my car. But by and large I have not written much. Until lately that is. I finally made it to writing my own book. At fifty two, I know I have to keep writing. Nothing else satisfies.

Why didn’t I start to write earlier? The answer is simple. Nobody thought of it. My parents or teachers never translated my school abilities into a possible career opportunity. I don’t blame them. The scope just didn’t exist back there, back then. My own expectations were very limited. It never even crossed my mind that I could be a writer. I had no confidence regarding my place in the world. The few options that faced me on leaving school scared me because I knew I wouldn’t fit in. I suppose I had always been more of an observer, quiet, on the outskirts, ill at ease with strangers. Perhaps the single biggest factor holding me back was lack of information. I just didn’t know what possibilities were out there. This might seem bewildering in our information age, but, as they say, if I knew then what I know now., things may have been different.

So, to come full circle, what of the little writer of today? Surely an array of opportunity has blossomed with the rise of technology? Perhaps not. You may, or may not have given some thought to the possibility of your child growing into a writer. You may, or may not welcome some advice from someone who was once a little writer themselves. But here it is anyway. Be gentle. You are dealing with a delicate sapling. Too much attention will kill the shoot as surely as too little. Let the talent evolve organically. Try to find an outlet outside of school. Chances are, if you have a writer, they are already ahead of what is being asked of them in English class. Guide them to writing for themselves. Perhaps start a family newsletter, ask them if they could write a funny article or poem about dad, or mum, not siblings. See if they want to send an email to grandparents – (encourage a reply). If the little writer you know is being cared for outside of the family setting, same thing applies. Follow their lead, try to see where their interest is taking them and then try to facilitate it. Listen. Find out what matters to them, what moves them to write. Don’t freak at teenage outpourings of angst and doom. And… and I am sure there are other thing you could do. But you might find a good start in there somewhere. If you do nothing else, at least entertain the possibility that you may have a young writer on your hands. If you do, and even if you don’t, best of luck with everything you do for them. I know it’s not easy. But, I suppose, what is wonderful cannot be easy.

For my part, my book is a children’s story. I didn’t set out to write one. But that is what came out and honestly, as I wrote I got the same feeling as all those years ago on a Sunday afternoon when I was glad I had finally sat down to do my essay and was one with my pen and paper. Bliss.

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Jean’s book is called The Boots of Saint Felicity and is available on Amazon.



Encouraging Children To Write

Nurturing Children’s Interest In Writing

In Part 1 of this guest post by author Jean Cross, she explains her attitudes and feelings towards writing – first as an elementary school student, later as a high school and college student. In Part 2, she talks about various kinds of writing she did as an adult as she refined her writing skills and worked towards becoming a professional author.
Jean says:

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We all love it when our children take an interest in reading. It’s a welcome development and is usually easy to spot. But what of the kids who have an interest in writing? What outlets do they have for their emerging ability? In pondering the point I set out to examine my own relationship with writing, as a child.

My forum for writing, as a youngster, can be summed up in one word, school. Essays in particular seemed to be the only outlet where I was invited, or more precisely, instructed to let my imagination roam all over the page. I wouldn’t say I received the teachers order to write an essay on a particular subject with great enthusiasm. The demand was often a parting shot on a Friday afternoon, cast a pall over Saturday, and was most often tackled on Sunday afternoon. But looking back I do know that before I left the school yard for the weekend the story was already taking shape somewhere in the back of my mind. Once I got into it on Sunday I felt in control. It was my page and I knew just what to do with it.
My parents didn’t help me with essays. They were always there for other stuff, but I knew I didn’t need them when I was writing.

I do remember that I was always pleased with my work . When I got it back from the teacher, having been corrected, it was always awash with red scribbles, I was, and am, a terrible speller. But there were very few occasions when she did not ask me to read my effort aloud for the class. I found out years later that she often read my essays out to her colleagues in the staff room too. The truth is that the assignment were too easy for me. Looking back, I could have risen to tougher challenges. But in primary school (ages 5/6-12) there was no other outlet for a fledgling writer, in my experience.

Secondary school (ages 12/13-17/18) was a whole other kettle of fish. Writing became serious. There was prose to explore, questions on Shakespeare and Yeats and Byron that needed an answer, critical analysis that demanded a considered opinion and all of it had to be written down. I took it on happily and I was good at it. I developed a special relationship with the English language in secondary school and I came to love it. My spellings didn’t improve, but I was still called on to read at the top of the classroom, and not just in English either. I could write a good essay on any subject, especially history. Then I finished school and it all stopped.

Since then I have been working and went on to University, at night, as a mature student in my thirties. The writing here was more of a chore. I could still get my ideas over, but it was very exam orientated and while I enjoyed the experience and went on to get a Masters, I can’t say the writing stood out as a highpoint for me.



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Check back for Part 2 of this guest post which is entitled Does Your Child Want To Be A Writer in which Jean discusses her writing during her adult years and also how to encourage your own child in his or her writing interests.

Sibling Rivalry In Fiction

Books Featuring Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is an important topic for a parenting blog. We’ve covered it here before (and no doubt will again) under the guise of nonfiction from the point of view of psychological analysis of the phenomenon and how to deal with it…aka how to make your kids get along better.

In today’s guest post by author Ardyth DeBruyn, she talks about exploring sibling rivalry from another angle – in fiction, specifically in her middle-grade novel Chosen Sister.

Since the plot of the book deals with swords, sorcery, magic, and wizards, it fits right in with current trends and tastes in choices for young readers. Reading and discussing a book like this with your kids is a great way to open up dialogue with them on this subject. Sometimes it is easier to discuss these topics first in a setting that relates to fictional characters and then apply the lessons learned to real life.

Here is Ardyth’s explanation of what inspired her to write the book:

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Growing up in a large family, I’ve seen a lot of sibling dynamics. It can be hard when a younger brother or sister gets a special privilege, while older children are overlooked, and that ort of dynamic got me thinking about classic “chosen one” stories. Often it’s the youngest child who gets chosen, leaving the older siblings jealous and often downright villainous in fairy tales. But I’ve always felt that’s a simplistic picture of things.

As the oldest child I was incredibly protective of my younger brothers and sisters as well. While I might be angry or jealous with them, I certainly wouldn’t let anyone else mistreat them. That seems even more normal of a reaction for an older sister to have, and that’s what led me to develop the main characters in my first novel, “Chosen Sister.”

When Reina’s little brother is announced as the Child Warrior and chosen to go on a dangerous quest, I wanted to explore both her feelings of jealousy at being looked over and her feelings of being protective. I wanted to show a strong and healthy brother and sister relationship that really took a deeper look for child readers on what it means to be an older sister. Using the classic fairy-tale type set-up, I traced their journey not from the point of view of the hero, but that of his sister and her competing feelings and her inner journey at figuring out both herself and how she felt about her brother.