Monday 13 February 2023

Thank You Global TV and 680 CJOB Radio!

What a few weeks it's been! 

I'd like to shout a big THANKS to both 680 CJOB radio and Global TV for including me in their I Love to Read Month series featuring Canadian authors. It was a thrill to be interviewed and discuss my book, The U-nique Lou Fox, ADHD, dyslexia and the importance of representation in children's literature.

What that's you say? You missed the radio interview with Greg, Brett, and Laura? No worries, you can listen here.

And if you missed the TV interview, you can watch it here.

Please note: I did misspeak. Twice! Funny how your brain can go rogue under pressure. Something to let kids know happens to adults too! We make mistakes. Corrections: Dyslexia is NOT kryptonite and the teacher training takes a full day.  

The U-nique Lou Fox is about a fifth grader named, Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O'Shaughnessy who has big, bold, audacious plans. She intends to become the youngest Broadway playwright in history, and the youngest Cirque du Soleil performer...but first she has to get through the fifth grade. Between ADHD, dyslexia, and a teacher who never gives her a break, school is never spec-tac-u-lar. She wishes her teacher Mrs. Snyder would disappear. She wishes her friends would stop interfering with the play she's writing. Sometimes she even wishes she wasn't about to be a big sister.

Then Mrs. Snyder gets sick. Really sick. And Lou gets scared. What if all her worst wishes come true?

This novel means so much to me, as my family is full of neurodivergent people who have faced their own struggles in school and personal relationships. And just like Lou, they also have dreamt their own big, bold, audacious dreams, using their unique talents and gifts. 

If you're looking for the resources I mentioned in the interviews, here's a list to get you started on learning more about being neurodivergent.


Dr. Ned Hallowell – “Board-certified child and adult psychiatrist and world authority on ADHD. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medical School, and was a Harvard Medical School faculty member for 21 years. He is the Founder of The Hallowell ADHD Centers in Boston MetroWest, New York City, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Seattle.”

ADDitude Inside the ADHD Mind - Focuses on the experience of living with ADHD

 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Service – Manitoba – for children aged 6 through 17. “Families may self-refer through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centralized Intake Service at 204-958-9660, however, a physician referral is required for psychiatric/medication consultation.” 

CHADD – Children and Adults with ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder Association

How to ADHD by Jessica McCabe and her Youtube Videos are excellent. Highly recommend. This channel is excellent and very accessible. The content creator breaks down everything in a fun, easy to follow, and understand way.


ADHD 2.0 by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. & John J. Ratey, M.D.

Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach for Raising Your Distracted Child by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. & John J. Ratey, M.D.

Inattentive/distractible ADHD'ers are often often overlooked
and receive later diagnosis.
This happens often with women and girls.


Made by Dyslexia – “They are a global charity, led by successful dyslexics. They’ve built the world’s largest community of dyslexic people and our allies. Their purpose is to help the world to Learn Dyslexia: to understand it, to value it and to support it.” 

FREE teacher training to spot and support dyslexic learners. This was developed by Made by Dyslexia in partnership with Microsoft. One single day is all it takes to complete all 3 training levels below. But it’s enough to change a child’s life. And for you to change the world.

Learn Dyslexia Campaign Film

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity - “Their mission is to increase awareness of dyslexia and its true nature, specifically to illuminate the creative and intellectual strengths of those with dyslexia, to disseminate the latest scientific research and practical resources, and to transform the treatment of all dyslexic children and adults.” 

Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba – “Working together to champion the gifts, and support the needs of Manitobans with dyslexia.” 

Dyslexia Canada

International Dyslexia Association


This is Dyslexia by Kate Griggs

Overcoming Dyslexia (Second Edition) by Sally Shaywitz, M.D. (Codirector for the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity) and Jonathan Shaywitz, M.D.

1 in 5 students have dyslexia.
At least 80% of dyslexic students leave school without a diagnosis
or having had the proper supports to thrive.

You can buy The U-nique Lou Fox online or at your local independent bookseller. 

McNally Robinson Booksellers is in Winnipeg and they ship worldwide!

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Why Art Matters

My favourite writing spot. On the whole of Earth.
It's been more than a year since last I've blogged. In that time, my third book has sold well, I've visited schools across Ontario and Manitoba, celebrated the first I Read Canadian Day, and I'm now writing through a world-wide pandemic. Like so many, my life has been upended. Any publishing interest is currently on pause, waiting for the economic fallout as a result of closed schools, shuttered economies, and sick fellow human beings. 

Like many writers, I'm often overcome with the thoughts of, "What am I doing here? Why does it matter? There is so much at stake far greater than the words I write or don't write. People are dying. People are losing everything. Does my work, really matter?" 

Those are some pretty big thoughts. And I have worked them round and round in my head and heart. I've finally settled on the fact that art in all its form unites, supports, inspires, and encourages. It reminds us that we are connected to others, that living is a shared experience. That life must and will go on, although changed either temporarily or perhaps permanently. So, I will go on and write. I'll take this time to build my portfolio of stories. Fine tune and edit completed manuscripts. Work with my fellow critique partners and assist with their novels. Immerse myself in words and stories and continue to improve my craft. In doing so, I hope in some small way to help soothe the anxious worries of the children and teens who read my novels. Letting them know, that they are not alone in their struggles, even now when everything seems strange and often scary.

I wish you all good health, peace of mind, and hope for better days to come.
The simple joy of a sunrise.

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Mid TD Book Tour Update

The Lakewood Lakers!

I am having the time of my life. No exaggeration. I've now been to five schools and delivered six presentations. I've shared Spy-Like Writing Skills and How to Grow a Story from a Seed of an Idea to a Published Book. I've answered hundreds of questions (only a slight exaggeration) from students in Kindergarten to Eighth Grade!
Holy Cross Students and Me!

I can't imagine how this tour could get any better, but today I visit two branches of the Burlington Library and will help a group of young writers prepare for a writing contest. After that I get to join a group of Brownies and Boy Scouts for an Author and Pizza night! (I hope they have pepperoni!)

Preparing for this trip, I felt waves of excitement intermingled with anxiety that would often make me think, "What have I got myself into?" 

Mid-tour my anxiety is low, my excitement is off the charts and I keep thinking, "How lucky am I to have got into this program?" 
Spy-Like Writing Skills at St. Theresa's School

Filled with gratitude and humbled by the response I've received from the students and staff at every school I've visited in Southern Ontario, I continue across the province, feeling blessed and so proud to be Canadian.

New Pal, Principal Van Laecke at Lakewood!

Thank you, TD Bank for supporting this program, Canadian authors, Canadian literature and Canadian children. Thank you to the Canadian Children's Book Centre, for selecting me to take part. Thank you to my mentor, actor, 1st Vice Chair of The Writers' Union of Canada, Award-Winning Author and friend, Anita Daher. Without you, I would not be sitting in the Holiday Inn in Burlington, surround by my books, preparing to finish my first book tour.
More New Pals!

So excited to begin with the grade 3/4's
at Sacred Heart that I forgot to take pics.
So, here are the scraps of paper
I autographed and the school!

Thursday 2 May 2019

TD Canadian Children's Book Week Tour Approaches!

The days are growing ever closer to the start of my tour TD Canadian Children's Book Week through southern Ontario. Beginning on Monday, May 6th, I'll be visiting Brantford, Burlington, Hamilton, Port Dover, Glen Morris, Oakville and Paris!

Presentation materials sorted

My bags are nearly all packed, my presentations polished and now I impatiently wait for Sunday afternoon's flight to Hamilton.

I'll blog when possible, with updates on my journey and reflections of my travels, spreading a love of reading, writing and creativity.
TD Canadian Children's Book Week Road Trip 2019!

Two of my tour stops are at the Burlington Library. 
Very excited to work with these young writers.

Friday 5 April 2019

Back to the Printer!

This cover still takes my breath away.

Family of Spies: Paris is back to Friesen Press for a second print run!

Thanks to all who have purchased copies or have borrowed the novel from a library. Finding an audience is every writer's dream.

AND it is now available in the United Kingdom and most of Europe!
We're working hard on U.S. distribution. Inches away from a green light.

Happy Dancing around my house. Need to get my extra hyper out or I'll never get back to my current work in progress. These stories don't write themselves, after all.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Writing. Submitting. Chocolate Reward and Repeat

And so the writer's life goes. This week it's all about putting finished work out there, waiting for replies on picture book, NOT a Halloween Book and writing through the messy middle of Rise of the Dark Faeries Book 2 in the Dear Warden Trilogy.

I've developed a lovely little pattern, where my writing breaks are now filled more with business matters such as submitting new work and marketing my published novels and less social media distraction. (Stupid shiny internet and your endless maze of fascinating articles and rarely known facts.) And of course, my chocolate rewards.

Because what is the point of anything if there isn't sweet, sweet chocolate?

How do you stay motivated? 
Always curious to see how others meet deadlines and stay on task.

Sunday 3 March 2019

Literacy Matters

The fantastic literacy professionals of the MRA.

Literacy matters. 
No one would deny that. 

Without good reading skills, school becomes an increasingly challenging place for students. This weekend I had the great privilege to present to a group of dedicated teachers and librarians from across Manitoba at the Manitoba Reading Association's General Board Meeting.

Their work focuses on classroom strategies, growing libraries and resources in remote northern communities, supporting international literacy crises and new initiatives like bringing NERD camp to Manitoba and so much, much more.
I take the most interesting photos...

Do these volunteers work hard? Indeed. Do they love their work? Definitely. If you are a teacher, should you get involved with the MRA? Without a doubt. 

My thanks to Susan Hayward who invited me to discuss my school presentations and thanks to the group for asking great questions and making me feel so welcome.

Looking to get involved with The Manitoba Reading Association?

You can find them on twitter or visit their website.

Authors, you can contact them to join their growing list of recommended school presenters. Click here to find out more.

Friday 22 February 2019

Never Give up, General Byng Barons!

Ready to go!

Prepping for a school visit is no small feat. I like to customize my presentations as much as possible and if time allows, I include a student activity. I often head to the public library to check out books to share with the kids. I am willing to do anything and everything to support and foster a love of reading, writing and following creative passions--heck any passions! 

One of the messages that runs through every one of my presentations is perseverance. Keep working to improve. Don't give up when times get tough. YOU CAN DO IT!
A Family of Spies thank-you for the students.

Today's visit to General Byng School, nestled in the "planet streets" in Fort Garry was no different.

This time I brought in books from Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, J.K. Rowling and Kate DiCamillo.

Today's lesson from these well-known authors: rejection is hard, but it doesn't have to define you nor does it have to defeat you. 

Dr. Seuss was rejected twenty-seven times before he had And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street published. He went on to write a further sixty books.

Judy Blume had two solid years of rejection, then Blubber, Frecklejuice, Are you There God, It's Me Margaret enriched our lives. J.K. Rowling had  twelve rejections and now the Harry Potter Series is one of the highest selling book series in history and the movies are the TOP selling series.

But all awards for perseverance go to Kate DiCamillo. Rejected a whopping 473 times, yet she persisted. Now her books are classics. Because of Winn Dixie. The Tale of Despereaux. Flora and Ulysses. Thank goodness she didn't give up.

Sharing Spaghetti
I shared my own experiences of rejections, rewrites and edits, followed by tales of triumph and success. The students listened intently, asked so many thoughtful and intelligent questions that they left me wanting to return another day!

My most favourite question was one I often hear from the younger grades and when it gets asked, I know the students feel comfortable with me. I know it means I've done my job. It never fails to make me smile.

"How old are you?"

I smiled. "49."

According to the students and the gasps that filled the library, I am ancient. Beyond ancient.
I am as old as their parents.

****And a huge thank you to teacher-librarian, Mrs. Scibak for inviting me to the school. It was the highlight of my week****
Go, Barons!

I love Primrose!

Thursday 21 February 2019

I Love to Read (and write) - General Byng School!

A little something for the classrooms.
How to Become a Writer
(In 12 to 14 easy steps...)

I am supremely excited to be presenting to two groups of students at General Byng School here in Winnipeg.

Every year, I visit loads of schools and enjoy meeting students and teachers in each and every classroom, but tomorrow I am at my youngest daughter's school. She will act as my "Ambassador" and ferry me through the school.

She is handling it all very well. 

She has yet to die from extreme parent embarrassment and as long as we don't bump into any of her friends, she will survive the day. 

Thursday 14 February 2019

Happy Valentine's, Galentine's and Dudentine's Day!

Sending you all a hug whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day with your sweetie or Galentine's Day with your BFF's! Not sure what it's called when guys send flowers or chocolates to their pals. 
Dudentine's Day?

Whatever you want to call it, three cheers to love!

And three cheers to tiny tin-foiled chocolate hearts!

Sunday 3 February 2019

To the Library!

View from our Toronto Airbnb.

What a whirlwind trip. 

I arrived at our Airbnb in Toronto at 1:00 a.m. with fellow author, pal and absolute perfect travel companion Colleen Nelson, and was out again by 7:30 a.m. to get to a full day in at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference.

This cover created a lot of buzz,
thanks to Relish New Brand!
I met lovely authors, teachers, publishers and the reps from Publishers Group Canada, the distributors for Yellow Dog titles. Bronte, Margot and Michael graciously hosted us in their booth and for a feverish twenty minutes I signed books and chatted to teachers and librarians about Family of Spies:Paris and the school visits available through the TD Canadian Children's Book Week Tour.

Key Conference Takeaways:

  • Middle Grade. Middle Grade. Middle Grade.
  • Shorter Middle Grade is needed
  • Middle Grade Fantasy remains high in demand
  • Manitoba stories are being very well-received
  • Great Plains Publications has an extremely good reputation

On a personal note:

  • I need to produce more words if I want to grow my writing career.

To get those words onto paper, I plan to take my mobile office to various libraries around the city as I complete the first draft of my next book. I need zero distractions and household chores always scream for my attention, so beginning Monday morning I am off to the Fort Garry Public Library to write for the day. Funny. My love of literature is coming full circle. When I was a child, we spent hours at the Fort Garry Library reading everything we could get our hands on. In fact, years ago I wrote a piece about this for the publisher of Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and Other Life Lessons, Little Pickle Press. You can read that article here: Featured Library: Fort Garry Public Library

Makes me think of that old John Denver song,
Fort Garry Library.
Library Sweet Library.

And finally, my deep gratitude goes to the Manitoba Arts Council and their ongoing support of Manitoba's writing community. Without their grant, my journey to Toronto would not have been possible.
Looking to book an author?
Click here!

Saturday 19 January 2019

Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2019

Look out people, Flatlanders are coming to town  
to the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2019!

Hmm. I need to work on the slogan. Doesn't roll of the tongue, does it. Maybe a song? A riddle? Or what about a limerick!

Portage Avenue Collides with Yonge Street
Jodi Carmichael

There once were three writers from Winnipeg.
They really liked to pull your leg
But their jokes soon fell flat
Even rhymed cat with kitkat
And got bonked on their heads with a shillelagh. 

Think I'll stick to novels.

Let me get straight to the point. Three Manitoba authors will be signing books at the Ontario Library Association's Super Conference the last week of January to showcase prairie talent and to represent publisher, Great-Plain Publications. Anita Daher, award-winning author, presenter and The Writers Union of Canada Vice-Chair, will be arriving old school, via ViaRail. The second award-winning author to make the trek is a contender in the Forest of Reading once more, Colleen Nelson. She'll be climbing aboard Westjet with me for a quick flight from Winnipeg to Toronto.
I'm signing copies of Family of Spies: Paris
at booth #421 on Friday at 10:30 am!

Next up: Family of Spies: Paris Bookmarks!
Are we ready? Yes we are.

I am in full-on marketing mode:

  • Designing business cards
  • Printing marketing sheets for my presentations
  • Preparing a binder of speaker testimonials 
I'm also mulling over questions like:

*Can I bring back list books for teachers to look at?

*Should I bring some sort of marketing piece - maybe a postcard with a blurb about my middle grade fantasy manuscript, A Time of Peril? Is that tacky or is that being a smart business person?

*And of course, most importantly...
what should I wear? 

I strongly feel a new outfit is in order. 
Nothing like new clothes confidence to set the day off right.

And now that I have my priorities in order it is back to writing
Rise of the Dark Faeries
Spooky, yes?
This middle grade novel follows A Time of Peril
and precedes,
Return of Dragons
Please pop by, say hello and pick up some fabulous novels from Manitoba authors. 
We'll be at the Publishers Group Canada's booth #421!

Friday 14 December 2018

TD Canadian Book Week 2019!

Adopt an Author Program
Taking 75 grade 4/5's down the publishing path of
Family of Spies: Paris.
I have extremely awesome news! I've been selected to take part in the TD Canadian Children's Book Week 2019 and tour school and libraries in Ontario. So very grateful for this opportunity. I love presenting nearly as much as I like writing. 

So, what is it all about?

Here is a snipping from the Canadian Children's Book Centre's Page:

Sharing books I wrote at age ten, with ten-year-olds.
TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is the single most important national event celebrating Canadian children’s books and the importance of reading. Each May, over 400 readings are given to over 28,000 children, teens and adults in roughly 175 communities across the country as we make every possible effort to reach children in more remote regions and communities. Hundreds of schools, public libraries, bookstores and community centres host events as part of this major literary festival.

When is it?
The next TD Canadian Children’s Book Week touring program will run from Saturday, May 4 to Saturday, May 11, 2019. Thirty Canadian children’s authors, illustrator and storytellers will be visiting schools, libraries, community centres and bookstores across Canada throughout the week.
                                                          Who organizes it?
Using our Senses with Grade Three's.
TD Canadian Children’s Book Week is organized by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, in partnership with the Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada, and is made possible through the generous support of sponsors and funders.

If you are a teacher, librarian or bookstore in Ontario, please visit the website. I would love to meet you and your students and spread my love for reading, writing, and following our creative passions.
Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food with Grade One's
Looking for reviews for Family of Spies: Paris?

"It is an absolute page turner, and I spent every spare minute I had reading it. My favourite character is Ellie, because she is really organised, however Ford and Gavin are really good as well! This review has been a great joy to write, and I’ve only just come back from being on holiday, and this is the first thing I’ve done. Congrats Jodi, and thanks for sending an advance copy!" Mango Bubbles Books 

Mango Bubble Books is a site where kids read, write and draw book reviews. No adults allowed! The Guardian has called it "The most influential children's review site in the UK."  

Presenting at an I Love to Read Month Assembly
to 600 Students, Staff and community members.

CM Review of Materials Highly Recommends Family of Spies and awarded it a four out of four!

"Family of Spies will grip readers from the first page and will not let go. While Carmichael has done her research and briefly ventures into the scientific realm of time travel and psychic ability, Family of Spies forces readers to suspend their disbelief and just enjoy a really good story. Told in the third person, this time travel tale successfully immerses readers in the City of Lights during both the 21st century and WWII, highlighting the incredible food, culture, language, history and architecture. The WWII era scenes, complete with marching Nazi troops and flapping swastika flags, are replete with vivid description that captures all of the senses. Chock full of action, suspense, history and intrigue, Family of Spies is a must-read with something for everyone!"

"Such a joy to race through Paris with brothers Ford and Gavin and cousin Ellie as during family reunion/vacation they discover not only that Ford is clairvoyant, but that through him they might solve a mystery swirling around their great grandfather's WWII service. The novel is fast moving-- literally! I mean, those kids never stop running! And eating, which made me crave French pastries something fierce. Jodi Carmichael effectively entwines humour with a truthful punch of history that will not only engage young readers, but also breathe life into a past that is just too important to ever forget. The novel ends with a very clear indication of the next adventure, the next in this series." Anita Daher, Vice Chair of The Writers' Union of Canada and Author of Forgetting How to Breathe, Two Foot Punch and Itty Bitty Bits

Speaker Testimonials:

"Our goal for adopting Jodi was for students to see the hard work and determination that it takes to get a book published. We wanted them to connect with the author, but also the journey. As a teacher, it was heart-warming to see how excited the students were when they knew Jodi was visiting. Jodi’s rapport with students was confident and relaxed. Her presentations were organized and included visuals and artifacts to make it personal for our students.

At the book launch, which was outside of school hours, almost half of the students attended with their families. One student created a book trailer for Jodi and others built an Eiffel Tower which she displayed at the launch. The impact Jodi had on our students last year was lasting.

I hope more students across Canada can have the same meaningful experience as the kids at Beaumont. " - Colleen Nelson, Teacher Librarian, Beaumont School


"As part of our I Love to Read celebrations, we invited author Jodi Carmichael to present her ‘Reading, Writing and Editing’ workshop to our Grades 2/3 class. 

Jodi’s workshop was well planned and at an appropriate level for the students.  From the outset, students were engaged as Jodi shared her experiences as a young reader and writer in elementary school, even bringing samples of her earliest work to share!  The PowerPoint presentation that accompanied the workshop included photographs and images that helped the students to make connections with what Jodi was sharing.  Likely, the favourite part was when Jodi guided them through a writing activity, drawing on their five senses, and using props to deepen their experience.  Jodi modelled the writing process through a shared writing activity, honouring the ideas and abilities of all the students.  This workshop built upon and expanded the work we have been doing as a school to improve writing skills.  Our students came away inspired and excited about reading and writing because of this personal connection with a local published author. 

I would highly recommend Jodi Carmichael as a presenter!" - Trish Steadman, Teacher Librarian, Ecole Crane


"Jodi visited 4 grade 4 classes, talking to them about being a writer and encouraging them in the writerly life! She was well prepared, very at ease with the students and full of excitement. As Jodi shared her story of becoming a writer with all of us she certainly removed some of the mystery surrounding writing and getting a book to the publishing stage!

Our staff would eagerly recommend Jodi's high powered and insightful workshop for any other school. As Teacher Librarian, I was very pleased with the outcome of Jodi's visit and would certainly recommend her as a presenter to other schools." - Claire Sutton, Teacher Stanley Knowles School


"Jodi is a dynamic speaker with a natural ability to encourage spontaneous participation while maintaining the students' attention and respectful listening.  She was able to very quickly adapt her presentation when, minutes before the children assembled, she realized the classes had not yet read her book.

I would definitely recommend Jodi Carmichael as a speaker for diverse groups of elementary students to help with learning to appreciate differences." - Karen Slippert, OTReg.(MB) Occupational Therapist, Pembina Trails School Division