Beverley Brenna

Beverley Brenna

Author
Saskatoon, SK
Awards

Governor General's Award (Short-listed, 2013)

Printz Honour Book (Winner, 2013)

Dolly Gray Award (2012)

Publications

The Bug House Family Restaurant (Tradewind Books, 2014)

The White Bicycle (Red Deer Press, 2012)

Waiting for No One (Red Deer Press, 2010)

Wild Orchid (Red Deer Press, 2005)

Something to Hang On To (Thistledown Press, 2009)

The Moon Children (Red Deer Press, 2007)

The Keeper of the Trees (Ronsdale Press, 1999)

Spider Summer (Nelson out of print; free pdf available on www.beverleybrenna.com, 1998)

Daddy Longlegs at Birch Lane (Soundprints Press/The Smithsonian Institute, 1996)

Falling for Henry (Red Deer Press, 2011)

Stories for Every Classroom: Canadian Children's Fiction Portraying Characters with Disabilities (working title) (Canadian Scholars' Press, 2015)

Genres

Junior fiction (Ages 8-12), Intermediate Fiction (Ages 10-14), Middle Years Fiction (Hi-Lo) (Ages 10-14), Non-fiction, Picture books, Short stories, Teen Fiction (Hi-Lo) (Ages 12 and up)

Biography

I began writing poetry at age 7, thanks to the powerful model my writing mother provided, and enjoy the creative process where time and effort produce an original product. Although I consistently wrote poetry into my teen years, my publications have focused on short stories and novels, with poetry only recently making a comeback in my artistic profile.

I really enjoy the chance to take stories from real life and embed them in fiction, and am particularly interested in portraying characters who are differently abled, with research into autism and FASD assisting in the development of the award winning Wild Orchid series for young adults, as well as for my junior novel The Moon Children. I'm very interested in insects, bugs, and all aspects of the natural world. Spiders take a cameo role in many of my books. I had a tarantula spider for many years when I was a classroom teacher, and it was the best ever teachers' pet.

Once I have a character in mind, I move along thinking of life through the character’s eyes, trying to see things from the character’s perspective, and eventually get around (hopefully) to devising and revising a plot to support a story that this character has inspired. I have a drama background, and the process of creating a character for the stage is very like the initial process I go through in developing a character for prose or poetry.

I am an associate professor in Curriculum Studies at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, where my research interests include literacy and children’s literature. I have published ten books for young people, with others on the way (at least I have some very bad drafts in the plastic bin where I collect things, and this follows my usual pattern of revision after revision!), and my background as a classroom and special education teacher has been particularly inspirational.

I am a huge fan of schools that support students' reading and writing, and hope that my presentations will engage, motivate, and extend literacy practices in young people and in their teachers. The work that is being done in schools is tremendous--anything that I can do to support this work, I will!

More information about me and my writing is available on: www.beverleybrenna.com.

Presentations
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Reading

Storytelling and Author Reading (Kindergarten to Grade 3)

This 30 - 45 minute session involves children in folktales through participatory storytelling using puppets and props, and introduces some of Beverley Brenna's published works for this age group including poems from her new collection The Bug House Family Restaurant. "If ever you've been bugged by bugs, please don't be so suspicious…with one good chef and half a chance they could be quite delicious..."

Storytelling and Author Reading (Grades 4 - 6)

This 45 - 60 minute session involves children in folktales through participatory storytelling, and delivers a visual autobiography of writer Beverley Brenna, including short readings from her novels and poetry for this age group.

Author Reading (Grades 7 - 9)

This 45-60 minute session involves students in a visual autobiography of writer Beverley Brenna and concludes with readings from her published works for this age group as well as an opportunity for students to ask questions about her writing process.

Author Reading (Grades 10 - 12)

This 45-60 minute session involves students in a visual autobiography of writer Beverley Brenna and concludes with readings from her published works for this age group as well as an opportunity for students to ask questions about her writing process including applications of storytelling to story writing. Bev will also talk about her choices to include aspects of diversity in characterization, including the creation of a number of novels about characters who have special needs (including autism spectrum disorder/ASD and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder/FASD).

Presentation type: Reading

Recommended levels: Junior kindergarten, Senior kindergarten, Primary (1-3), Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8), High school (9-12)

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Workshop

Writing Workshop (high school students interested in writing)

The opportunity to create and workshop pattern poems, including an exploration of the pantoum, will offer 10-15 students a 45-60 minute hands-on writing experience

Presentation type: Workshop

Recommended levels: High school (9-12)