Friday, 24 March 2017

The Author and the Illustrator of the Chase Duffy Books are Going on Tour!

The author and the illustrator of the Chase Superman Duffy educational graphic novels MAY be coming to a school—or city—near you! Dawn Ius and James Grasdal are just finishing up the FINAL book in the series (that makes 16 graphic novels featuring ME!), and to celebrate, they’re hitting the road on a cross Alberta tour, starting in Calgary on April 3.

Dawn and James will be speaking to Grade 5 and 6 students at a number of schools about the importance of literacy, as well as showcasing how they’ve worked together over the past five years to create adventure graphic novels that are not only entertaining, but also highlight some of the important issues facing Alberta’s agriculture industry, particularly for canola producers.

Superman Duffy (AKA: me) has been everywhere—from the past to outer space.He has driven race cars, swam with sea creatures, dug beneath the soil, and flown to a cloud city via a Steampunk shuttle, as well as met some outstanding innovators along the way. But the last book—simply titled “O”—is going to be EPIC! It’s an ode to Canada, in celebration of the country’s 150th birthday. Prepare to be amazed!

In addition to the school visits throughout the province, you might also be able to catch Dawn and James at various libraries and events, such as Aggie Days (April 7) or the Foothills Young Author Conference (April 8). When you see them, say hi for me, okay?

“O” marks the 16th book in the Chase Superman Duffy collection. How many do you have? Your (Alberta) teacher can order a class set by contacting the Alberta Canola Producers’ Commission at 780-454-0844. Perfect in time for Children’s Book Day, April 2!

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 17 March 2017

Pinch Me, It’s St. Patrick’s Day!

I hope you’re wearing green today. If not, there’s a good chance you might get pinched! That’s because today is St. Patrick’s Day—an Irish holiday that recognizes the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick.

In Canada—and most parts of the world—St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with shamrocks, leprechauns, and the colour green. (And in some places like New York, a BIG parade!)

One of my classmates—Ryan O’Connor—is Irish, and since I’ve decided to learn about the different people and cultures of my fellow Canadians, I did some research on Ireland and St. Paddy’s Day. Here are my Lucky 7 Facts:
  1. The capital of Ireland is Dublin—and there, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with a 5-day festival, March 15-19. I bet there is a LOT of green worn during that week! (But, bonus fact, the traditional colour was actually blue, not green!)
  2. In Ireland, people wear shamrocks on their jacks and hats. Girls often wear green ribbons in their hair. If you want to make a paper Shamrock to wear, here’s a template you can print, cut out, and colour.
  3. Leprechauns are a type of fairy in Irish folklore. In the Superman Duffy education comic, CLOUD 9, a leprechaun teaches us about climate change!
  4. According to legend, leprechauns were seen all their time making shoes. Hm. I wonder if that’s where my grandma gets all her shoes from! You should see her closet.
  5. Corn beef and cabbage is a traditional Irish dish, often eaten on St. Patrick’s Day. Yum!
  6. Shamrocks are the most popular symbol of Ireland. It comes from the Irish Gaelic word Seamrog, a word that refers to the plant’s three leaves. (Maybe that’s why finding one with FOUR leaves is so lucky!)
  7. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations take place all over the world. There are even pictures of astronauts celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in SPACE!

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Mom always makes us something green for dinner—and it is not broccoli!

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 10 March 2017

“In Like a Lion” and More Weather Lore

B-r-r-r-r. This sudden cold snap has really put a damper on my hopes that spring might be early this year—the end of February (at least in Alberta) was warm, and most of the snow had melted. But it seems like Mother Nature isn’t quite done with winter yet. 

I shouldn’t be surprised. Weather is a pretty big topic in my family since my grandparents are canola farmers and rain, snow, and sunshine have a direct impact on their crop production. But this brisk weather is a cool reminder that weather is unpredictable, despite some go-to resources that some people believe can make accurate predictions.

I’ve talked a lot about the Farmer’s Almanac on my blog before, but this cold in March is making me think about other weather predictors like legends and lore. You probably know the famous saying, "In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb.” But is there any truth to it?

Maybe. It’s a little like pinning all your hopes on the groundhog seeing his shadow, though. The truth is, March is the most changeable month. My grandma always says she doesn’t like to travel in March because the weather can change in an instant—and if you look back over the years, that’s so true! So, we can hope that if March starts off stormy that it will end calmly. But mostly, it’s just a rhyme. 

Kind of like these popular sayings:

A dry March and a wet May? Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.
As it rains in March so it rains in June.
March winds and April showers? Bring forth May flowers.

And of course, this sailor lore (which is featured in the Superman Duffy comic, SHIVER ME TIMBERS): Red sky at night, sailors' delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning!

It’s possible the predictions might come true, but there are other factors that come into play as well. 

Maybe I don’t completely believe in weather rhymes—no matter how steeped in lore they seem—but I DO hope that this March goes out like a lamb…and stays like that until late fall! How about you? Are you ready for Spring?

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend—and stay warm!  

~ Chase Superman Duffy