Noelle Jack, author and great-aunt to two of our Dulwich students, Thomas and William Moore, generously offered to talk to Year 6 & 7 students today while she is here visiting her Singapore family. Not only did she captivate our students with her storytelling, but she also inspired them with her writing tips and tricks. We are now all looking forward to reading her book 'Shire Summer' so that we can see what happens in the end!
Noelle Jack was born in Fife, Scotland where she spent the first eleven years of her life before immigrating to Canada. As an adult, she sailed the lakes and rivers of Ontario, the New England coast, the Caribbean and the Bahamas, with her ex-Naval Officer husband and her cat McLeod.
During her career as a teacher and librarian in Toronto she developed a passion for children’s books. Soon it occurred that she would like to write too, often alongside her students, and together they encouraged one another along the road to authorship. The New Hampshire Writing Program with Donald Graves, Maureen Barbieri, Donald Murray and Ralph Fletcher in 1995 were hugely influential in furthering her writing career. Her book reviews subsequently appeared in professional journals for teachers of English.
Ms. Jack obtained her teaching qualifications in Montreal from McGill, her B.A. from Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and M.Ed. from OISE in Toronto. Throughout her career as an elementary teacher, school librarian and teacher of the gifted she acted as curriculum leader and associate Teacher for the Faculty of Education at York University. She also served as executive member and latterly President of an International Reading Association affiliate which presented annual Language Art Conferences for delegates across Canada and the USA and hosted speakers from Australia, New Zealand and the UK as well.
Since her retirement, she has taken courses and workshops in writing for children with Sharon Jennings and Peter Carver. She has volunteered as a Silver Birch Awards leader bringing new Ontario- based writers to the attention and scrutiny of young readers and encouraging them to evaluate these writers and vote for their favorites.
She has completed two pre-teen novel manuscripts. She is currently living in Toronto with her husband. Shire Summer is her first published work.
World War II is over, her father is home safe and Annie McLeod’s parents are building a new life. But it’s not quite the life this 12 year- old wants. Most of their beautiful house on Scotland’s Fife coast is filled with paying summer guests and Annie has just had to move schools again. But when the polio epidemic strikes and Annie asked to share her tiny attic room with her six-year-old cousin, Moira, it is almost too much to bear.
In an effort to ease her frustrations Annie sneaks into her father’s workshop to build a toy for Moira and accidentally breaks one of his treasured model boats. However, her secret repairs to the damaged William Morr prove so skillful that she comes to believe the boat has magical powers, not only for but for Moira too. To test her theory she lends the boat to her pal Hamish, who, in one horrible moment, loses it to the sea. Then news follows that Moira is ill.
Knowing her parents would never agree to her death-defying schemes to recover the William Morr, Annie concocts a complicated plan of deception, and once caught in the tide of her own scheming, there is no turning back. The journey is hair-raising, her discoveries astounding and the course of her life is altered in ways she would never have dreamed possible.
Noelle's Tips for budding writers