MEET WENDY ORR – Featured Author

This month our featured author is Wendy Orr, writer of Nim’s Island and many other fabulous titles.

Wendy is generously donating one of her books as a prize in our current FREE writing competition.

So make sure you get your entries in for your chance to win. (Competition closes 30th June.)


I started school in France, so learned to read and write in French. One night just before we moved back to Canada, my parents left two ‘Dick and Jane’ readers by my bed. I woke up and read them, and then realized they were in English.

I can still remember the huge thrill of mastering a whole story, and in my own language, and I think that’s why I started writing stories almost immediately.

I also had great models in my parents: my mother read us classic children’s literature for bedtime stories until I was about twelve, and any time we were in the car, my dad used to make up crazy stories about our dachshund’s great-great-great-grandfather, who had apparently invented or built pretty well everything we saw.

But the most truthful answer is that I don’t know why I became a writer – it’s just part of me.


Here’s a fabulous free writing activity from Wendy.

There are poems by Jess and Raven in the book.

Jess’s goodbye poem for Raven:

When Raven moved to Jenkins Creek

Her friends at home did wail and weep.

For those hills are far away

From the flat lands where we stay.

But when Raven bravely mountain climbs

She’ll think of friends from time to time.

So in our hearts we’ll always keep

Our dearest friend on her mountain peak.

Raven’s verse when she finally finds some food:

Cookies in my tummy,

Chocolate in my brain,

It’s really very funny

When you think you’re going insane.

ACTIVITY: Write a poem for Raven that describes what you think of her or her adventure.


Raven uses inukshuks to point the way to searchers on the mountain. These “are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. …An inukshuk can be small or large, a single rock, several rocks balanced on each other, round boulders or flat. Built from whatever stones are at hand, each one is unique. The arrangement of stones indicates the purpose of the marker. The directions of arms or legs could indicate the direction of an open channel for navigation, or a valley for passage through the mountains.” Read more at:


ACTIVITY: Collect some rocks to make your own inukshuk. You’ll have to experiment to see how to balance each rock. If you use small stones you can glue them for extra stability once you’ve got them in place.

The one on the left was bought from a gallery; the one on the right is one I saw on the beach in Vancouver.

Perhaps you could write a story about your inukshuk.

Thanks, Wendy for visiting Writing Classes For Kids.

Wendy’s new book, Rainbow Street Pets is out this month. Ask for it at your bookshop.



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  1. So wonderful to learn even more about Wendy – and I love this activity! I’d never heard of an inukshuk before.

  2. Fascinated with the idea and the look of those inukshuks – I’m glad they have a name. This must be a very human activity – maybe people can’t resist making their mark in stone or whatever purpose, direction, connection, a link with the earth or just to say, I was here once.