Interview with Aubrey Davis

GravatarHello everyone. A couple of weeks ago I reached out to one of my favourite Canadian authors, the incomparable Aubrey Davis, who I met many years ago when he was kind enough to autograph a copy of Bagels From Benny for my kids. I asked if we could connect and learn about his journey as a writer. When we got news that he was available, we set up some time and had a chat with Mr. Davis. Here is his story. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you.


I’m Mauricio, managing editor at WOAL, and I had the unique privilege of spending some moments with one of Canada’s most cherished story-tellers and children’s authors. A world traveler, he has mastered the gift of recounting timeless traditional tales in both the oral and written disciplines for a modern day audience. We had a chance to reflect on writing, culture, books, movies, the state of the education but most indulging of all, to me, the distinct art of story-telling. He joined us via Skype from sunny downtown Toronto, on of all days, Mother’s Day.

Welcome Mr. Davis. We know early on you began your career as a story-teller, what inspired you to become a writer?

It began when I was a kid, I was 9 years old and I lived next door to a writer. I never spoke to him about his writing, nor did I see any of his writing, I just lived next door to him. One day I woke up and felt, I want to be a writer too. I kind of caught it like a cold. So I bugged my mom for a typewriter, and a great big Webster’s Dictionary and I started to write.

What I loved to write back then was funny things. I really loved humour. I was a fan of Mad Magazine and the Bible. I was a religious kid on my own, not through my parents. And I just kept writing funny things until grade 8.

Who were some of your champions supporting you early on? And what happened in Grade 8?

I think it was when I was a kid, my 6th grade teacher. I noticed all the other kids got their stories handed back to them and I was the only one that didn’t get a story back. I didn’t know what was going on. He read my story to the whole class, with tears of laughter running down his cheeks. And I thought “Oh, this is nice”. I loved to write in school.

I had a grade 8 teacher that wrote, “There’s nothing worse than humour poorly done”. That shut me down, and I didn’t write again until I was I was about 40 and I came into story-telling.

How did teaching shape your writing? Continue reading

Advertisements

My Favourites – March 2014

Lora-Mauricio - 0018Happy Saturday everyone.  Here are some more of my favourite picture books.  What are some of yours?  Did you have a favourite book growing up?  Share to feature on our blog.


 

How to Babysit a Grandpa
How to Babysit a Grandpa
by Jean Reagan

New York Times bestselling picture book about a child spending time with his grandpa. Written in a how-to style, the narrator gives important tips for “babysitting” a grandpa, including what to eat for snack (anything dipped in ketchup, ice cream topped with cookies, cookies topped with ice cream) what to do on a walk (find lizards and dandelion puffs, be on the lookout for puddles and sprinklers), and how to play with a grandpa (build a pirate cave, put on a scary play).

Filled with humor, energy, and warmth, this is a great gift for or from a grandparent, and perfect for lap reading when Grandpa comes to visit!


The GruffaloThe Gruffalo
by Julia Donaldson
This is a rhyming story of a mouse and a monster. Little mouse goes for a walk in a dangerous forest. To scare off his enemies he invents tales of a fantastical creature called the Gruffalo. So imagine his surprise when he meets the real Gruffalo.
 
 
 
 
 


The Very Itchy Bear
The Very Itchy Bear
by Nick Bland
Companion to The Very Cranky Bear

Bear is here . . and here is Flea (but Flea’s a little small to see). This is Flea about to bite, but not because he’s impolite. He’s biting bear to say, Hello!’, biting high and biting low. In The Very Cranky Bear, Bear’s cave was invaded by four playful animals. In The Very Itchy Bear there is just one creature bothering him: a persistent flea. Bear tries to get away, but Flea just won’t leave him alone. When Bear finally gets rid of Flea, he finds that he misses him-and a new friendship is born.


Stephanie's Ponytail
Stephanie’s Ponytail
by Robert Munsch
A little girl who is determined to strike a blow for nonconformity manages to arrive at school every day with a hairdo more outraegous than the day before. And each time, the cast of copycats grows and grows — until the day she threatens to shave her head! The strong female voice will speak to many, asserting the importance of individuality and independent thought. 

 


The Rat and the Tiger
The Rat and the Tiger
by Keiko Kasza
Even though one is just a tiny little fellow and the other is a big tough guy, rat and tiger are best friends. they have lots of fun playing together, even though tiger is a bit of a bully. when they play cowboys, rat always has to be the bad guy. when they share a snack, rat always gets the smaller piece. but one day, tiger takes the bullying too far, and rat decides that he’s not going take it anymore. rat stands up for himself and refuses to be tiger’s friend until tiger learns to play fair and square. with appealing illustrations and a simple text, Keiko Kasza delivers an important message about friendship in this heartwarming story.

I Will Hold You 'til You Sleep
I Will Hold You ’til You Sleep
by Linda Zuckerman

A book that combines the spiritual (and artistic) appeal of Jon Muth’s THE THREE QUESTIONS with the heartfelt emotion of LOVE YOU FOREVER.

Here is the rare book that not only expresses a parent’s love for their child, but offers a hope for what that love will become. It begins with a wish at bedtime, as parents hold their children tight and hope their love will cradle them, safe and sound. It continues through the day their children have grown up, proud and strong, and can pass that love on to someone else. This is a book that goes beyond a parent’s “I love you” to the generous wish that our children will make the world a better place.


Bagels from Benny
Bagels from Benny
by Aubrey Davis
Benny loves to help out at his grandpa’s bakery in the morning, and the customers love the crusty bagels with their soft insides. When Grandpa explains to Benny that God, not him, should be thanked for the wonderful bagels, Benny sets out to do just that. He decides to leave God a bagful of bagels in the synagogue at the end of each week. And each week God eats the bagels — or so Benny thinks – Lovingly told, Bagels from Benny explores the values of caring and sharing, building a strong sense of community and finding joy in giving thanks.

It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
by Margot ZemachReaders pick

Once upon a time a poor unfortunate man lived with his mother, his wife, and his six children in a one-room hut.

Because they were so crowded, the children often fought and the man and his wife argued. When the poor man was unable to stand it any longer, he ran to the Rabbi for help.

As he follows the Rabbi’s unlikely advice, the poor man’s life goes from bad to worse, with increasingly uproarious results. In his little hut, silly calamity follows foolish catastrophe, all memorably depicted in full-color illustrations that are both funnier and lovelier than any this distinguished artist has done in the past.

It Could Always Be Worse is a 1977 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and Outstanding Book of the Year, and a 1978 Caldecott Honor Book.

Pirates Don't Change Diapers
Pirates Don’t Change Diapers
by Melinda Long
When the pirate crew turns up at Jeremy Jacob’s house and accidentally wakes his baby sister, that wee scallywag howls louder than a storm on the high seas. Sure, there’s buried treasure to be found, but nobody’s digging up anything until Bonney Anne quits her caterwauling. So, quicker than you can say “scurvy dog,” Braid Beard and his swashbuckling pirates become . . . babysitters? Blimey!

This hilarious companion to How I Became a Pirate reveals that minding the nursery can be even more terrifying than walking the plank–especially if you’re a pirate.

Arthur's Teacher Moves In (Arthur Adventures)
Arthur’s Teacher Moves In (Arthur Adventures)
by Marc Brown
Arthur is overwhelmed with dread when he hears that his teacher is coming to stay at his house. But soon, Arthur discovers that Mr. Ratburn is just like everyone else. Arthur thinks his problems are over, but when he gets an A on his test his friends start calling him a teacher’s pet. In the end, Arthur and Mr. Ratburn set the record straight.

 
 


I Have to Go!
I Have to Go!
by Robert Munsch

A classic tale that has sold more than a million copies is now available as a board book.

This ever-popular story of a little boy in the throes of toilet training has been making children laugh since it first appeared more than 20 years ago. This new toddler-sized board book edition retains all the humor of the original story but features condensed text that will make it even more appealing to preschoolers.


Julius, the Baby of the World
Julius, the Baby of the World
by Kevin Henkes
The riotously funny Lilly, last seen in Chester’s Way (Greenwillow), thinks her new baby brother, Julius, is disgusting — if he was a number, he would be zero. But when Cousin Garland dares to criticize Julius, Lilly bullies her into loudly admiring Julius as the baby of the world.Lilly knows her baby brother is nothing but dreadful — until she claims him for her own. “Henkes displays a deep understanding of sibling rivalry and a child’s fragile self-esteem….Lilly is a superb and timely heroine.” — Publishers Weekly. 

Thomas' Snowsuit
Thomas’ Snowsuit
by Robert Munsch
Willful, young Thomas refuses to wear his new snowsuit, despite the pleas of his mother, his teacher and even his principal. When everyone’s best efforts lead only to comedic chaos, they all agree it’s best to let Thomas suit himself. This is marvelous mischief from Munsch and Martchenko.

 


No, David! = No David!
No, David!
by David Shannon
When David Shannon was only five years old, he wrote and illustrated a story in which an unruly little boy breaks all of his mother’s rules — he jumps on the beds; he chews with his mouth open; he plays ball in the house. Any child who is tired of hearing his parents say “No ” will readily identify with this boldly illustrated, comical story.