Monthly Archives: September 2010

Who Got the Pambassador Job? Not Me! But I’m Still Available…

I think I am over qualified for this job, Pambassador except for having one foot on a banana peel and one foot in the grave. 🙂

Applicant Qualification Requirement
Applications will be accepted only if applicants conform to and agree with the following terms and conditions.

1. The applicants’ age should range between 18 and 40 (including 18 and 40) by January 1, 2010. There is no gender limitation.

2. The applicants should possess excellent English or Chinese communication skills and writing abilities.

3. The qualified applicants should be in good physical and psychological condition so as to meet with the requirements specified in the “rights and duties of the pambassador”. If necessary, the selected applicants should take a physical and psychological check-up conducted by a medical institution chosen by Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and meet with all the physical and psychological requirements.

4. The applicants should behave appropriately and their behaviors shall never be affected by any medical/chemical substance. By applying for the “pambassador” program, the applicants allow the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to conduct the necessary investigations as regards to civil offence and criminal records, financial and driving records as well as other deemed necessary personal background information.

5. Employment conditions specify that the applicants shall be willing to perform the 1-month duties of the pambassadors in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. They will also comply with the reasonable instructions and arrangements given by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

6. Shall the applicants reach the final selection stage, they should be inclined to travel to Chengdu to complete the training program as well as take part in the final selection process (which will last about 1 week). The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding will pay for the economic class round trip air ticket between Chengdu and the home city (or a nearby city if there is no airport in the living town) as well as traffic fares, boarding and lodging for all the applicants that have reached the final selection stage. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding encourages all the finalists to purchase comprehensive travel insurances prior to coming to Chengdu for the final selection.

7. The applicants should meet the general requirements to acquire a tourist visa to China. After entering the final selection process, the applicants should start the visa application procedure. The visa should include two entries, namely, the last one-week final selection held in Chengdu, and the 1-month pambassador duties after being selected as a pambassador. For more information as regards tourist visas within the borders of China, please refer to the website or send an email to for inquiry.

8. During the final selection, the applicants should be willing to participate in the basic training related to the protection of pandas and a series of tests carried by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, including team work test, physical test, basic abilities test, individual influence test and adaptability test, etc

9. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is allowed to use the application, name, image, appearance, voice, and profile of the applicant for the spreading and marketing activities.

10. During the selection process or after being selected as pambassadors, the applicants should follow the rules mentioned above, obey Chinese laws and regulations and the requirements related to this activity. The applicants shall be accounted responsible for any personal casualties and property loss or other casualties caused by the applicants’ own intention or misconduct. If the loss occurs to organizing units, the related units shall be entitled to claim compensation from the applicants that caused the trouble.

11. All the staff of Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, the designated duty officers of the program and other related employees cannot apply for this program.

12. Since the selected applicants will be recognized as global pambassadors by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, their behaviors shall always be appropriate and ethically professional.

13. Applicants will be disqualified if it is proved that they have violated Chinese laws, or behaved in an improper or immoral manner.

14. All the applicants will automatically subscribe to the e-mails and e-magazines (for free) designated by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

15. The applications must be submitted by September 5, 2010. If the applicants exceeds 30,000, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding shall be entitled to move the deadline ahead.

Employ Agreement
The qualified applicant should set up an employ agreement including the following terms. All the applicants should be sure to accept the following terms.

You should perform the duties of pambassador in Chengdu from October 1 to November 10, 2010. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is entitled to adjust the time of activities as the case may require, but should notify the qualified applicants in written form 10 working days prior to the adjustment. If there is any unforeseen incident, qualified applicant can apply to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding for terminating the performance of duties 10 working days ahead of time and the pambassador award will be granted pro rata at scheduled time.

You have the responsibility to make necessary arrangements for your employer and family 1-2 months before you leave your hometown.

During the tenure in Chengdu, the pambassador should perform the following duties:

After being selected as a Pambassador, you will have to “work in Chengdu” for one month, namely, under the guidance of Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, you’ll have to complete the studying and practice programs providing basic knowledge concerning giant pandas protection and care

You will behave appropriately as a committed spokesperson and “Giant Panda Pambassador” for the “Panda Protection Project” of Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding by documenting your adventures on the web, complementing them with pictures and videos on an every two days basis.

You will take at least 30 pictures of giant pandas and shoot videos of giant pandas for not less than 100 minutes, edit your own material, post it on and frequently mobilize social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, as well as special zone of Pambassador Network Activities designated by Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

Accomplish the tasks enthused by Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in accordance with the requirements, such as going to the selected destinations and completing the allocated work.

Accept interviews with the media as required, including internet chat rooms interviews and telephone interviews.

After “working in Chengdu” for one month and returning to hometown, before the tenure of pambassador is over, he or she should perform the following duties,

Represent the panda cause on multiple occasions; actively mobilize your own social media resources to spread the knowledge, come up with creative ideas for the “Panda Protection”; actively engage in fundraising and awareness raising activities.

Represent the panda cause on multiple occasions; actively mobilize your own social media resources to spread the knowledge, come up with creative ideas for the “Panda Protection”; actively engage in fundraising and awareness raising activities.

• Take part in media reports and interviews (including phone interviews and video interviews) in accordance with the requirements laid down by Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

On the behalf of Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, take advantage of your own resources to actively push forward the publicizing or donation collecting activities of Research Fund for Giant Panda Breeding;

During the tenure of “pambassador”, you should:
During the first month after being selected as pambassador, in Chengdu, you should follow the instructions of Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, lodge in the designated hotel or dormitory and are not allowed to be absent in activities or work allocated by Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding without reason.。 <
You should assume the responsibility and keep good manners
If you cannot meet the above requirements, Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is entitled to put forward the application to terminate the contract of applicant's rights which will be implemented after being passed.

During the one-month working in Chengdu, you should be willing to be allocated to take part in protection work of panda outdoors and caring work of penned panda in Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, including (but not limiting to) cleaning the home of panda, recording the daily data of panda, helping feed the panda, chopping the special bamboos in the designated area, tracking the wild pandas in the open air and hiking and camping in the jungle, and so on.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding will offer each pambassador the following awards,
Each pambassador will receive an award of 1000 dollars;
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding will pay for the pambassador's boarding and lodging in Chengdu (three meals and one lodging), traffic fares and the round trip air tickets between his or her hometown or nearby city and Chengdu;
But you'll have to pay for the snacks, drinks, water and electricity, phone bills and personal belongings other than three meals.

Pambassador will represent Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, whose manners should be proper and meet the professional ethics, and should never do or participate in actions which will hurt the reputation of Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

You should be equipped with the proper skills, prudence and diligence as a pambassador and conform to the pambassador standards set down by Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and WWF.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding will have all the intellectual property (including but not limited to copyright) of all the related reports, journals, web blogs, photos and other materials created by you during the period of employment; Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is entitled to modify them, etc.

If you cannot conform to the above specified requirements, we are entitled to terminate the agreement signed by both parties ahead of time as the case may require and withdraw your title of pambassador.

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Access Books and Airlift to LA

All children should have the opportunity to learn to read!


Los Angeles – As part of their ongoing commitment to strengthen inner-city school libraries throughout Los Angeles and beyond, Access Books has joined forces with a team of Canadian authors to help impoverished families gain access to books. The event will take place at Ralph Bunche Elementary (16223 Haskins Lane, Carson, CA 90746-1092) on October 2, 2010 at 9 a.m. This school is one of 25 elementary schools in the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) that is in desperate need of books for its 450 students.

Access Books, “Air Lift to L.A.” and a team of volunteers from Bunche will spend October 2nd revitalizing the library by painting murals and cataloging brand new books. In addition to the books, Access Books will provide a reading rug, rocking chair and sofa to create a warm and inviting environment for students. Five authors from Canada will be on hand for the event and to give fun and exciting presentations to the students.

The participating authors are:

Rob Weston, author of Silver Birch award winner Zorgamazoo

Kari-Lynn Winters, author Jeffrey and the Sloth, On My Walk, and other award-winning books.

Jill Murray, YA author of Rhythm and Blues and Break on Through

Wendy Kitts, Freelance Writer, Book Reviewer, and author of a soon-to-be published picture book from Nimbus Press

Helaine Becker, author of more than 40 books for children including Silver Birch award winners Boredom Blasters and Secret Agent Y.O.U.

Sadly, only 48 percent of Bunche’s students are scoring “proficient” or “advanced” in English & Language Arts on the California Standards Test. Research has shown that the best predictor of how well a child will learn to read is the number of books to which he or she has access, but 61 percent of economically disadvantaged children don’t have age-appropriate books at home. The students of Bunche Elementary fit this profile: 90 percent live at or below the poverty line. According to a 2009 report from the Jumpstart Foundation, communities ranking high in achievement tests share a common denominator: an abundance of books in their libraries.

California’s Department of Education recommends 28 library books per student, according to the February 2010 draft of its School Library Standards. Bunche, however, has a mere three books per student. Therefore, Access Books has set a goal: Collect at least 5,000 books for Bunche’s library and classrooms. Many of these will be brand new, popular fiction titles – books that have been carefully selected to get students excited about reading.

Access Books’ partner for this endeavor, “Air Lift to L.A.,” grew wings after Canadian children’s author Helaine Becker visited a Long Beach elementary school and saw the empty shelves. Shocked and saddened, she rallied her Canadian colleagues and started a book drive. “The conditions [in Los Angeles] are on par with the worst of the Third World countries,” she writes on the “Air Lift to L.A.” Facebook page. “Actually, they are worse, because in much of the Third World, people are doing their best to raise their standards, while in Los Angeles, conditions have deteriorated abysmally in the last ten years.”

Bunche has just moved its campus library into a new, larger space to afford room for growth, but unfortunately, many of the shelves are bare. The library assistant nicknamed the library “The Dream Shop,” but with so few books, its dreams have yet to be realized.

California ranks last in the nation in funding for school libraries, spending less than one dollar per child. Although the 2011 federal budget proposal includes a $400 billion investment in education, there’s no mention of federal funds specifically geared toward school libraries. According to Sandra Barnett, head of the American School Library Association, “the budget is proposing to take away the last access to literacy for these kids in high-poverty areas.” The American School Library research data clearly shows that students with access to school libraries and good books score higher in state reading scores and are more interested in reading.

“I think the big issue is that we really need to make reading part of school and make reading fun and interesting,” said Rebecca Constantino, P.h.D., the founder and executive director of Access Books. “And that starts with having a good library.”

About ACCESS BOOKS: Access Books provides quality, high-interest books to Southern California’s most impoverished school libraries. Since 1999, they have donated more than a million books to school and community libraries in the greater Los Angeles area. Access Books has been featured in USA Today, the L.A. Times, the New York Times and School Library Journal among many other media outlets. Access Books’ founder, Rebecca Constantino, is a recipient of Oprah’s “Use Your Life” award. She has published over 100 articles and a book in the areas of literacy development, equity in education, urban school and cultural perspectives of language acquisition.

Give a Child a Book, She’ll be Happy

Give a Child a Library, She’ll be Literate

P.O. Box 64951, Los Angeles, CA 90064


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Jen is Married: Back to Work and Life

For the second time today, I’ve hit some random combination of buttons on my computer and lost my whole post. It happened on my other blog earlier and now on this one, half way through a really good post…so frustrating…

Anyway, sweet Jen is married and on her honeymoon and it is time for me to get back to life and work. I’ve got tons to do:
Edit a book (for someone else)
Edit a book (for me)
Write a book (start now, no time like the present)
Suite101 (always love this)
Eavesdrop more (important for writers)
Play more (Got tickets to The Wall in Vancouver)
Prep for writer’s festival in Val David
Blog on blogs
Maybe return to FB
And a thousand other things…

This is the writer’s life. We work at home and that means we are interrupted. Those new to this, need to get used to it, those seasoned probably need a holiday. Which is why I’m going to finish invigilating exams next week and then run to Whistler to walk, swim, write and get away from it all – that will be my office for a few days and I’m pretty happy about that!

Sometimes it is really important to get away in order to centre oneself. Don’t fight it, just do it 🙂

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CWILL in the Sun! Canadian Writers and Illustrators (of BC)

I’m so thrilled that my professional writer’s association was in the Vancouver Sun today: “BC Group Connects Children’s Authors With Their Audience”

As children’s author Shar Levine will tell you, writers are real people. “ They live down the street, they’re in front of you in the supermarket lineup,” Levine said. “ You may not realize that your favourite book was written by the lady standing in the line ahead of you… read more…

CWILL has over the years offered me and many other BC writers and illustrators support, encouragement and comradeship. I am very proud to be a member of this esteemed group of professionals! Please read the article and be proud of creative British Columbians!

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Quill and Quire: New Publisher in Vancouver

Quill and Quire has an article on my new publisher, McKellar and Martin in their latest issue. It’s called: Canada’s Newest Children’s Publisher Debuts in Vancouver, so take a look!

With Jen’s wedding less than a week away, I am fully focused on next Saturday’s celebrations, but after that and a big dim sum feast I am aching to get back to writing again. That’s always such a good sign!

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Labour Day Already and Time for a New Season

So Labour day has arrived and I celebrated our lovely rain by going to a matinée: The Joan River’s Story and I laughed out loud the whole way through.

I’ve almost got over not getting my Panda job, and I am almost completely ready for my daughter’s wedding. I’ve even found mascara that won’t run when I ball my eyes out when she walks down the aisle. I love the new son, but my baby is getting married. I thought I would rush back to FB, but have not missed it at all, instead taken the time to connect with friends in the old school way and it’s fun to meet in bars, on beaches, at movies. Wow! who would have thought?

What Else?

I like my iphone 4, but not too much and I discovered quinoa, which goes well with our sockeye, which I pray DFO will protect and not over-fish. Let them spawn – you need them to survive to lay eggs.

I had such a great time during my week at Canadian Children’s Writer’s Camp. I left a bit of my heart in Quebec, where I know I will return again and again.

I’ve signed a contract with Mckellar and Martin, (find me on their website) and I’m really excited about my new book, coming this Spring to a bookstore near you.

I can sense that wonderful creeping creativity returning after the lull between books and although I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet, I am prepared to be happily surprised. This feeling is something most writers will be familiar with – it’s a need to go to movies, go to readings, never leave the house without a pencil and a book and spend lots of time alone thinking.

To the outside world it looks like a time waster – head in the clouds, day dreaming, listening to music…but in truth it’s an opening to creativity, a willingness to accept ideas and develop them. It’s a very exciting feeling and it’s a relief too, because I always ask myself, where will the next idea come from? Will there be a next idea?

Over time, I’ve learned to take this time slowly and to appreciate it as a gift. It feels like a period of grace and I am so grateful to experience it every time it occurs.

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