Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon writes for children, young adults, and adults. She has a background in both visual and literary art, with a BFA and an MA in English. Her award-winning literary fairy tale Tiktala, illustrated by Laszlo Gal, was published in 1996 by Stoddart in Toronto and Holiday House in New York, and was reprinted in soft cover in 2006 by Fitzhenry and Whiteside. She wrote 20 one-page stories for a National Film Board (Montréal) youth website. In 2001, her essay “Birth, Death and the Eleusinian Mysteries” was published in Dropped Threads, and she completed a Parks Canada Reader’s Theatre Play on Manitoba’s history for children in Grades 4-6. In April 2008, Margaret launched her youth novel The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach (Aivilo Press), and she has prepared an anti-bullying guide to accompany the book.
Margaret tailor-makes her program for each group she visits, from K-12. Each session will include discussions about story writing and/or illustrating, as well as time for students to engage in writing or illustrating exercises. Young students will focus on illustrations and the connection between word and image. Older students will concentrate more on writing exercises to create strong character, plot, theme, and other elements of fiction. Margaret has taught children’s literature at the university level and always leads students into an appreciation of this rich world. One variation on Margaret’s program involves a creative immersion in Manitoba’s history through Margaret’s reader’s theatre play. An exciting new addition to Margaret’s program begins with a reading of her youth novel The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach, and takes off into a creative, transformative exploration of the theme of bullying.