Life, the Universe and Everything


cover of The Boreal Forest by L. E. Carmichael

Happy I Read Canadian Day!

It's the first ever I Read Canadian Day! Take 15 minutes out of your day today to read a Canadian book. Any Canadian book! And if you are so inspired: read out loud to your class, library, family, or pet post ... Read More  

Author Mahtab Narsimhan

Cantastic Authorpalooza: Mahtab Narsimhan

I dread reading the news these days. It’s important to stay up to date with current affairs but what do you do when almost everything you read ratchets up the stress, the tension? I’ve figured it out. You keep your eyes ... Read More  

fabric masks don't block viruses

Mad Science Monday: Coronavirus, Flu, and Wanderers

Last week, the news broke that Canadians who are being evacuated from China will be quarantined at Canadian Forces Base Trenton for two weeks, to ensure they're not infected with the new coronavirus. This got my attention because CFB ... Read More  

Five Thousand Years of Slavery cover art

Black History Month: Slavery is Not History

When Francis Bok was seven years old, his mother sent him to the market near his village in southern Sudan to sell hard-boiled eggs and peanuts. This was the first time she’d entrusted him with this responsibility, and he ... Read More  

Innovations in Health by L.E. Carmichael - Front Cover

STEMinism Sunday: Patricia Bath and the Fight for Sight (part 2)

Imagine it's the 1960s and you're a black person in the USA. Congratulations - you're twice as likely to be blind as a white person. I hope that fact makes you as mad as it makes me! It made Dr. ... Read More  

Sylvia McNicholl teaches a writing workshop

Cantastic Authorpalooza: Sylvia McNicholl

Sometimes I find it’s hard to stop being angry with yourself when you make a stupid mistake. Berating yourself then leads to a feeling of inadequacy which can easily morph into anxiety and a lack of confidence to try ... Read More  

Forensic Science: In Pursuit of Justice by L.E. Carmichael - Front Cover

Mad Science: The Brides in the Bath Murders

I've been watching Murder Maps on Netflix recently (because what's more Christmasy than murder?) and if you're into forensic science, it's solid viewing - a sort of historical Forensic Files, but with more social context. So far, S1E4: The ... Read More  

Teach Write: What Is an Essay For?

Happy New Year, and welcome to January, also known as "the start of a new semester." Which means it's a perfect time to talk about the most common form of writing assigned by university professors - the essay. Students ... Read More  

Cats taking a nap together

A Long Winter’s Nap

As the holiday season kicks into high gear, we're going to take a brief hiatus here on ye olde blog. The blog-mistress is in dire need of a nap, and she's willing to bet a lot of you are, ... Read More  

Scar and the hyaenas (Lion King 2019)

The Mad Science of The Lion King

Despite swearing off of live-action-remakes-of-Disney-movies-that-really-didn't-need-to-be-remade-to-begin-with, Tech Support and I recently watched the new version of The Lion King. Which isn't even "live action" so much as "slightly more advanced animation," but whatever. Read More  

Teach Write: Lab Reports and Scientific Papers

If you're new to this column, we've spent the last couple months talking about the influence that our intended audience has on the way we approach a piece of writing, and now we're discussing purpose - the goal of ... Read More  

Innovations in Health by L.E. Carmichael - Front Cover

STEMinism Sunday: Dr. Patricia Bath and the Fight for Sight

I learned about Dr. Patricia Bath - ophthalmologist and laser scientist - while researching my children's book, Innovations in Health. Of all the people I profiled, she's one of my favourites. Bath was not just a woman in science, ... Read More  

Melanie Gall in concert

Cantastic Authorpalooza – Melanie Gall Reflects on L. M. Montgomery

Welcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by great Canadian children's writers! Today, something a little different - my friend, author, actress, singer, knitter, and all-around-amazing-talent Melanie Gall, discusses one of our favourite books, by legendary Canadian author L. M. ... Read More  

Mr. Clarke from Stranger Things

Mad Scientists of Stranger Things: Part IV – Mr. Clarke

Did you miss the previous instalments in this series? Check the archives for posts on Martin Brenner, Sam Owens, and Dr. Alexei. Today, we're talking about my favourite character, never mind scientist, in all of Stranger Things: Mr. Clarke. Read More  

Teach Write: An Introduction to Purpose

As part of our preparation for writing a new piece, we need to think about audience - who we are writing for and how the knowledge and needs of that audience affect the way we approach our work. Figuring ... Read More  

Counting on Katherine, by Helaine Becker

STEMinism Sunday: Women in Space

In honour of the recent, first-ever, all-female spacewalk, I thought I'd share three recent, amazing Canadian kids' books united by the theme of women in space. Read More  

shoreline by Jean Mills

Cantastic Authorpalooza: Jean Mills

Warning, readers: I’m not a science writer. But like any scientist, I do incorporate research findings (of a sort) into my stories. Here’s one example that’s especially true of my most recent YA novel, Larkin on the Shore. When stories ... Read More  

Dr. Alexei from Stranger Things

Mad Scientists of Stranger Things: Part III – Alexei

This is Part III in my series on the scientists of Stranger Things. Check the blog archive for thoughts on Martin Brenner and Sam Owens. Today, we take a look at everyone's favourite Russian scientist, Alexei! Read More