Friday, 26 May 2017

Kicking Off My Summer Reading Challenge

I was going to reveal the amazing new cover of the final book in the Superman Duffy graphic novel collection today—but it looks like the illustrator has some last-minute tweaks to do, so you’ll have to wait a week or so to see the awesome cover of “O.”

So instead, I’m keeping on the reading theme, and kicking off my Summer Reading Challenge with a promise to myself that I will finish five books this summer. It’s always hard to read in the Spring—nicer weather means spending time outdoors, and with end of the school year approaching, I try to study more. I vow to do better this year!

Here are the five books I hope to tackle this summer:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio: I know, I know, I’m probably the last kid in the world to read this book. It’s the inspiring story of a young boy who was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to school—until now. My friend Sophie tells me I should get out my Kleenex box for this read… I don’t know about THAT, but I’m excited to dive in.

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicker: Another series that’s been off my radar up until now! But with the new Netflix show airing, I’m even more curious to read the “unpleasant” first book in a very popular series about three unlucky children. 

Doll Bones by Holly Black: It’s not Halloween, but I always love a creepy book. Don’t let the “doll title” fool you, either—this is not a story about Barbies! The girl in the book is being haunted by a china doll. *shudder* Makes me think twice about my sister’s doll collection!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: I’ve seen the movie—and it was amazing. (and it’s not a horror!) The librarian at our school says I HAVE to read the book. This one is definitely on my list. I can’t talk about it too much without spoiling it, but let’s just say, the monster referred to on the title is not at all what you’re probably expecting!

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi: If you know me at all, you know I love stories with magical worlds—like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Alice in Wonderland. This book sounds like it has a very interesting new world to explore. I’m ready to go through a new rabbit hole. 

There are probably a hundred more books I could list that I would love to read this summer, but I can sometimes get distracted by summer fun activities, and with this being Canada’s 150th birthday, I bet there are a lot of events I’ll want to attend. So, I’ll start with five books and go from there. Wish me luck!

What’s on your summer reading list?

Gotta Jet! 

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 19 May 2017

On The Importance of Planning Ahead

Sometimes, it takes a dose of reality for me to truly appreciate farmers. 

It’s not that I don’t have an understanding of where my food comes from—my grandparents are generational canola producers, and I benefit from their crop year after year.

But sometimes, I think I take it for granted that there will always be a canola field for me to run around. The truth is, farming is hard work, and it’s susceptible to many factors—like the weather. And this year in Alberta, Mother Nature is playing hardball.

I can feel the stress on my grandpa, who is still trying to get his seed in for this growing season. A task made that much more difficult thanks to some unfortunate weather the past few weeks. (I haven’t even been out running as much since it’s either wet, or—gasp—slippery!) 

To give you some perspective, farmers need 14 weeks to grow a crop. Seeding can’t begin until all of the snow melts (just the other day, some parts of Alberta received heavy hail!) and the moisture-saturated land dries—which, thanks to more rain, has been challenging. To make things even more complicated, last year’s daily showers during harvest meant that some crops couldn’t get harvested, and they still can’t because of the moisture in the soil. That could mean an extra delay in seeding this spring. 

Grandpa says he needs to take advantage of EVERY dry day if he’s going to get his crop in—and then, we all need to hope for perfect growing weather to ensure the seeds have enough time to grow. We live in Alberta though, so weather is about as unpredictable as it gets. Which is why this long weekend, Grandpa will be in his fields.

Now I understand why my parents are always telling me to PLAN AHEAD. Like, school assignment deadlines, and budgeting my allowance for unexpected things. Because you never know what life challenge you will need to deal with.

Gotta jet! I’m spending the next few days on the farm helping Grandpa. What are you doing for the long weekend?

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. The Superman Duffy book tour kicks off again next week with visits to schools in St Paul and Viking. Watch my Twitter and Instagram for updates and pictures!

Friday, 12 May 2017

How Are YOU Celebrating Mother’s Day?

My mom reads my blog, so I’m not going to tell you what I’m doing for Mother’s Day (nice try, Mom!) but every year, Grandpa and I buy my grandma “blue” roses. They’re her favourite! 

They’re not always easy to find (you can read more about them in the Superman Duffy graphic novel 5-7-5 ErrandBoy), so Grandpa and I go on the hunt for them…starting tonight. That’s tradition!

It got me thinking about Mother’s Day traditions around the world—which are surprisingly different. 

Like, for instance, in Sweden, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the last weekend in May. A week or so before the big day, children sell flowers around their town, and any money raised is used to send mothers with small children on a trip. If she could go anywhere, my mom would pick France—she’s always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower!

In Pakistan, prayers are sent out country-wide to those who have lost their mothers. During this day, all moms are given a series of gifts and some of their favourite foods. If that’s how we celebrated here, my mom would ask for cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

Mother’s Day is actually one of the more popular celebrations in Mexico, with schools and companies hosting major events. Plus, the moms receive their gifts on the eve of Mother’s Day. (Nice try, Mom, we don’t live in Mexico!)

In India, children make sure their moms have relaxing days, with handmade cards, prepared meals, and “spa” packages topping the list of gifts. Hmmm…my mom does love a good pedicure.

And in Japan, children are encouraged to draw pictures of their moms. (For this, I’d need the help of James Grasdal, the illustrator of the Superman Duffy graphic novels.) The illustrations are put on display, and each mother receives a red carnation or scarf.

At school on Monday, I’m going to ask some of the students in my class how they celebrated Mother’s Day. I wonder if my friend Gen—he’s from Japan—will buy his mom a red carnation? Maybe I’ll see him in the flower store when Grandpa and I are looking for Grandma’s blue roses!

Gotta jet! Hope you have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy