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Valuable Lessons from Children’s Authors and Illustrators

There are life lessons all around us and from all sorts of people. That was evident during the MASC Young Authors & Illustrators Festival that Eagle sponsored in Ottawa this past April. The event brings in hundreds of students from grades 4 to 7 who get to attend workshops with Canadian authors and illustrators.

Before the learning begins, the authors and illustrators take some time to address the attendees. Each professional had a unique message that, and although crafted for kids, they can easily apply to anyone, including an IT contractor.

Britt Wilson, Cartoonist and Graphic Novelist

Britt Wilson is from Toronto and her graphic novels include Ghost Queen, Cat Dad King of the Goblins, and Britt Wilson’s Greatest Book on Earth. In this short clip, she explains how although it’s great to have a life plan (she knew what she wanted to be since she was a young kid), it’s important to be open to change and follow new opportunities. Wilson comments that she keeps her eye on her main goals and is “still not done yet” as she may still accomplish her original dream. As a bonus, this speech also reveals how valuable social media and networking can be, as well as how simple skills matter in a job search, given her quote “Good handwriting can get you jobs.”

Cary Fagan, Author of Novels and Picture Books for Children

Cary Fagan is also from Toronto and wrote books including Mr. Zinger’s Hat, Danny, Who Fell into a Hole, the Wolfie and Fly series, plus his latest book for middle-grade readers, Mort Ziff is not Dead. Cory explains to the students that there is no such thing as 1st place, 4th place or any real “best” position when it comes to being an author. No, he’s not supporting the controversial “everybody gets a trophy” trend, but he is explaining that people have so many different tastes and preferences and each author has their own style. As a result, authors don’t bother competing but instead build a community, share stories, embrace differences and learn from each other. This is no different for IT contractors. Top technology professionals flourish depending on many variables including the industry, the project, and the people they work with. Rather than considering other contractors as your competition, take Fagan’s advice and work together to bring each other up.

Catherine Austen, Author for All Ages

Catherine Austen comes from Gatineau. Her teen thriller, All Good Children and her middle-grade novel, 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6, each received industry awards. In this final video, Austen reads a chapter from the latter book’s sequel, 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6. The title of the chapter “If you want to keep a secret, don’t post it on social media” speaks for itself and contains a valuable lesson about lies. Whether it’s through social media or any other route, you’re bound to get busted eventually. That is not limited to school because unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Eagle recruiters to catch skilled IT contractors fibbing about their experience, and when the lie is inevitably discovered, it has serious consequences to their reputation and career.