Sunday, 25 June 2017

When You Wish Upon A Star…or Meteor

One of the reasons I love going out to my grandparent’s canola farm (aside from running around it, of course) is because on a clear night, you can see THOUSANDS of stars.

I’ve looked for them in the city, and while I can often point out The Big Dipper, or some of the other well-known constellations, it’s hard to really see the stars with all of the other light pollution.

Which is why next Friday, I’ll be hanging out at the farm for Meteor Watch Day. Apparently June 30 is the day that people see the most meteors—otherwise known as shooting stars. Did you know that shooting stars are actually very small? Thousands of these pebble-to-fist sized stars enter the Earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis, but few reach the surface. When they do, they’re called meteorites.

You can learn more about outer space in the Superman Duffy graphic novel IT’S A BLAST! But it’s actually the “legend” of the shooting star that has me excited for Friday, not necessarily where they fit in the galaxy. As far back as AD 127-151 (a long, long time ago) the Greek astronomer Ptolemy declared that these shooting stars were actually Gods looking down on us—and since the Gods were looking at us, they’d probably be receptive to wishes.

I know, it could be a myth. But with summer holidays just around the corner, I have a LOT of wishes—like, I wish for…oh wait, I can’t say it aloud right now! I’ll just whisper it to the first shooting star I see on June 30. What would you wish for? You have a week to think of some good ones!

Need some ideas? Check out the Superman Duffy graphic novel AS YOU WISH to see what happens when you make wishes that aren’t…sustainable. It’s a pretty funny read.

Gotta jet! Have a great week.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 16 June 2017

Around The World: Celebrating With Dad

My dad says he’s my biggest blog fan, which may be true since he always brings up the topics of my writing at the dinner table on Friday nights. So, I won’t tell you how *I* am celebrating Father’s Day this year, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

But because I’m learning all about different cultures in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, I took a look at how Father’s Day is celebrated around the world. And I learned that it isn’t the same across the globe—in some cases, it’s not even on the same day! In Australia, for instance, the day for honouring Dad occurs on the first Sunday in September. Same with New Zealand. 

In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (that’s a mouthful) on Dec 5. The King gives a speech and many people in the country wear pink to honour him. Canna Lilies are a popular gift. 

Men—not just fathers—are celebrated in Russia. The Feb. 23 holiday started as a military commemoration, and soldiers are still honoured in parades throughout the country. 

Mexico honours Father’s day with a 21K Father’s Day race (hey, Dad, let’s go there next year!) and people in Brazil celebrate St. Joachim on Aug. 2. St. Joachim is the patron saint of fathers and grandfathers.

Interesting, right?

I’m always fascinated by how different cultures celebrate the various holidays, especially since Canada is such a culturally diverse country. Speaking of Canada…the 16th (and *gulp* final) book in the Superman Duffy series of graphic novels is AT THE PRESS! I can’t wait to share it with all of you. Contact the Alberta Canola Producers’ Commission to see about getting YOUR copy.

Gotta jet! Happy Father’s Day everyone—I hope it’s a special one!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Annual Summer Reading Challenge—Are YOU Up For It? 

As much as I love school, I’m starting to get excited for summer break. Not only do I get to sleep in, spend more time writing, and practicing for track and field by running laps around my grandparents’ canola farm, I have more time to READ, READ, READ!
I haven’t been as good at this as I should be. (Which is horrible since I want to be a writer!) This is my wake-up call. <cough cough>
Last summer, I pledged to read 12 books, which was probably a bit ambitious. Six books per month isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when there are so many fun things to do in the summer. Like go swimming and hiking, or ride my bike and do crafts with my sister. Plus, this year being Canada’s 150th birthday, there will be many celebrations happening across the province. I plan to take in as many as I can.
So, this year, I’ve set a more realistic goal.
That’s still five books a month, but if I carve out a few minutes every day, I should be able to get through a book and a bit every week. And that’s if I start July 1…I might actually start THIS weekend. How many books will YOU read this summer? (P-s-s-t ~ comics and graphic novels count!) 
I hereby challenge you to a Summer of Reading. What 10 books are on your list? (Share in the comments so others can get ideas!) 
Gotta jet! Have a great weekend… reading, right? 
— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 2 June 2017

That’s A Wrap AND…A Cover Reveal!

The Superman Duffy book tour team wrapped up six weeks of school visits across Alberta on Wednesday, with character creating Play-Doh workshops for Grade 4 and 5 students at Isabella Campbell school in Grande Prairie. 

What an amazing spring tour!

Thanks to support from the Alberta Canola Producers’ Commission, author Dawn Ius, illustrator James Grasdal, and educator Brent Andressen, visited 17 elementary schools across the province. More than 2,000 students received signed copies of the Superman Duffy graphic novels.

The team also took part in the Lethbridge and Calgary Aggie Days events, autographing another 1500 books. (I bet Dawn and James have very sore hands today.)

The tour was a great chance for students to learn more about Alberta’s canola industry, PLUS, take part in story brainstorming and character creation workshops with Dawn and James. (If your local Wal-Mart is out of Play-Doh, we MAY be to blame. Sorry! <grin>) 

Check out some of these great pictures from the tour.

Illustrator James Grasdal signing at Calgary Aggie Days.

Grade 4 students reading to their Grade 1 reading buddies.

Creating characters with Play-Doh

Students at the Viking Colony showing off their work.

James's interpretation of the students' story.

A collection of Play-Doh characters created by students in Grande Prairie.

The tour team may be packing it in for the summer, but that doesn’t mean the excitement stops. Today, I’m thrilled to reveal the FINAL book in the Superman Duffy graphic novel series, “O.”

Here’s the blurb first:

Tasked with writing an article about a Canadian invention, Chase Duffy embarks on a research adventure that takes him from the school gym to his grandfather’s canola field. Along the way, Chase learns some surprising facts about Canadian inventions and inventors—and reunites with some familiar faces from the previous 15 books. 
The final instalment in the Superman Duffy series of graphic novels, “O” celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday and the 50th anniversary of canola. 
Now scroll down to see the awesome cover!

Told you it was awesome. Stay tuned for details on where we’ll be launching “Oh”—you won’t want to miss it.

Gotta Jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy