Thoughts From My Child Self: ‘Too Many Sisters’ Edition


There’s a fantastic reading series here in Toronto called “Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids.” It’s exactly as its name suggests: respectable adults — writers and non-writers alike — delve into their closets and basements to find their most entertaining childhood writing, and everyone gets together to laugh at them. I have yet to make it to one of these readings (they always sell out!), but the knowledge that they’re happening in my city makes me happy. This event, along with my blogger friend Caitlin’s hilarious foray into her childhood time capsule, reminded me that the last time I was back home in Edmonton, I did some digging around in my room. And oh, did I find things. What did I find, you may ask?

Sister issues! Deep-rooted sister issues I didn’t even know I had! My introverted nature = EXPLAINED.

Without further ado…

Relics of My Childhood


The Tale of Too Many Sisters


Here is a poem I wrote about the precious escape offered by my bedroom. Sometimes sisters want to have fun, and all you want to do is have some alone time. You know, a place for yourself.



Sisters sharing rooms. Dirty cats. Small, orchardless backyards. Some things are just so sad.

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Sisters are full of lies.

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They’re totally talking about my new ball behind my back. Sniff.


Sisters steal from you.

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It’s okay though. When the real world feels crowded with sisters, simply insert yourself into famous literary classics, taking the place of the main character. This allows you to hang out with imaginary people instead of your sisters.

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Better yet, write a book with no one else in it at all! This sisterless story won the Caldecott “Medle,” apparently.

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*At the bottom it specifies that “Kari Trogen” and “me” are, in fact, one and the same.



Warning: excessive sisters can lead to delusions of grandeur.


And if there was any doubt about my feelings on the matter…


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The Story Behind the Story


Here, more or less, is how it happened.

 May, 2009 – One Victoria Day long weekend, three sisters went on a road trip in New Brunswick. On a stormy drive somewhere between Fredericton and Grand Manan Island, two of them decided to try writing a children’s story together (and the third one was nice enough to tolerate them).
January 14, ’11 – After showing our manuscript to a couple of trusted readers, we submitted it to Kids Can Press. Rather like sending your kid off to kindergarden, not knowing whether she will make any friends.
May 16 ’11 – Probably the most exciting email of our respective lives… WE’VE BEEN ACCEPTED BY KIDS CAN PRESS!
… TYPITY TYPE TYPE, this time with a lovely and wonderful creature called a substantive editor (ours was the lovely and wonderful Sheila Barry) …
August 23, ’11 – In the midst of final substantive edits, we got our first peek at the cover art.
September 12, ’11 – After a lot of hard work with Sheila, Margaret was deemed substantial enough. Then she was sent off to another, more elusive editor: the copyeditor.
September 29, ’11 – Our last week with our book in manuscript form. Equal parts braindead and fluttery-hearted… with a pinch of grumpiness to see our Canadian spellings and Oxford commas go. (Boo, Noah Webster.)
October 21, ’11 – The proof is in the “proofs”… today the computer pages looked like book pages! (And we got to keep some of our favourite commas after all. Yippee!)
February 2, ’12 – Arrived home to find a book-shaped package on my desk. Felt like Jo March at the end of Little Women.
March 27, ’12 – The day that Margaret found her way onto a shelf in my local bookstore in Toronto…
Lately – I still go and check on her there sometimes, to make sure she’s doing all right.