Chatting with “Margaret” readers


I can’t say enough how much of a pleasure it was getting to meet so many readers, young and old, around the province this past month. Seeing the Margaret-inspired artwork some of you made, getting such insightful questions and comments, opening the mail to find a stack of reader letters… it’s been just amazing for Brit and me. And one form of reader interaction that’s been especially fun — which we just tried for the first time! — is video-chatting with book clubs.

We first heard about Toronto’s Bookworm Bookclub when two of their members, sisters Thea and Annika, made a fantastic movie trailer for the Silver Birch Award voting, costarring their mom Kim (aka Bookwormmom). They did such a good job… future filmmakers in the making, perhaps?


So when we got to meet this club at the Toronto “Forest of Reading” event, we jumped at the chance to virtually “attend” one of their meetings.

Bookwormmom went all out, as she writes on her website!

I set the table in the manner that Ms. Switch would have entertained her real guests – lovely flowers, pretty cakes and tea (a.k.a. pink lemonade)…


We had a good discussion about how we stand up to bullies, even when the bully is an adult.  It was encouraging to know that all the girls had someone they felt they could turn to if they needed help (usually a teacher or parent).  After that, we played a game where we stayed silent with our eyes closed for 2 minutes and listened for as many sounds as possible.  It’s amazing how long it takes the ear to settle down and begin to hear the soft sounds of birds chirping or dogs barking far away.  By 90 seconds we were wavering between trying to remember all the sounds we were hearing and trying not to giggle because we felt kind of silly sitting all together with our eyes closed.  I have to admit, I peeked a few times to check that the girls weren’t all sitting there staring at me! :) Our next activity included a lot of magazines and scissors.  In the book, the moths feed on nimblers; the stuff dreams are made of.  The girls cut out pictures depicting dream-like and nightmarish images to them.  They chatted about the kinds of dreams they have and what they might mean.  I didn’t know you could have a nightmare about a spoon, but apparently it happens!  I would have loved to have done a dream analysis activity with them, but alas we barely had enough time to finish cutting out the pictures for pasting onto poster board before our author call… Each girl had a question that we had come up with earlier in the meeting.  Since all of us were siblings, we were very curious to hear what it was like to work so closely with a sister… Margaret and the Moth Tree was one of our Bookclub’s favourite books, both because of the story it told and the authors who told it.  It’s one of those sweet little tales you fondly recall on a warm summer night watching moths flit around the porch light at the cottage.  And the message of hidden strength no matter your size is one I hope the girls will carry with them always.


What fun — it was so great to chat with you guys, and we both hung up feeling so energized and inspired.

Can’t wait to “meet” another book club, the Share-A-Story club in Milton, next month!

An overdue post about some highly exciting developments


Okay I’ll get right to it… Margaret and the Moth Tree has been nominated for a kids’ choice award!!!

This is such a wonderful honour for Brit and me, as the nominations are done by people who read a lot of children’s books — librarians and educators — and it’s hugely exciting, because the votes will be cast by students across the province!

Here in Ontario these awards are called the “Forest of Reading” (aka the Tree Awards), with a different “tree” for each age category. Margaret‘s category is the Silver Birch Express Award: fiction and non-fiction aimed at the Grade 3-4 reading level. This year’s nominees are listed here 🙂

How it works is, students at participating schools have to read five out of the ten nominees in order to cast their vote. Then in May, the Ontario Library Association holds an awards ceremony and announces the winners in front of  all the kids. This footage makes me feel absolutely giddy that Brit and I will get to attend. So many children… so much literary love… eek!


And there you have it: proof that kids can get just as excited about BOOKS as they can about Justin Bieber!!


To add to the excitement, Margaret has also been nominated for TWO other awards (eek!).

The first is one that you — yes, YOU! — can cast a vote for.

Margaret’s been nominated for Best Middle Grade Fantasy in this year’s YABC Choice Awards. Staff editors from Young Adult Books Central nominate their favourites of 2012 (huge thanks to editor Claire Johnson), and the public has until midnight on New Year’s Eve to vote. Should you care to vote for Margaret, click HERE. (Best to do a search for “moth tree” if you’d rather not scroll through every category.)

Margaret has also been nominated for a Cybils Award in the “Science Fiction and Fantasy” category. The Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards are nominated by the reading public and judged by a panel of children’s book bloggers. We’re just thrilled to be included among the nominees — thank you so much, lovely online friends.


And lastly…

The Sisters Trogen are proud to present… Margaret and the Moth Tree‘s shiny new book trailer!