Scholastic Canada | Irene Punt
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Irene Punt

When students ask me about writing, I often tell them to finish every story they start; an unfinished something is nothing.

I have always been creative and found great satisfaction figuring out how to make something, mostly without directions. I remember drawing paper dolls by the dozens in elementary school, sewing entire wardrobes for junior high, and writing reports for Social Studies that needed to be delivered by car. My parents were supportive, never complaining about the messes I made.

I believe having the freedom to spread my projects across the dining room table for weeks kept my mind and hands on them. Growing up in an art-friendly house, where my family made things and had hobbies, prompted me to look for new things to try. I had the stamina to complete my projects, and the ability and nerve to find uses for them. Looking back at some of the crazy things I made and did, I consider myself daring.

I received a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Simon Fraser University. I think this sums up who I am — a generalist, doing and knowing a little bit of everything. I became a classroom teacher, teaching all subjects. While teaching, I studied children's literature at S.F.U. and had the good fortune to take a course from David Booth. I gobbled up the writing assignments, and was mesmerized at how he presented a book. I began integrating picture books within all subjects, finding them great tools to bridge difficult topics.

I started writing children's books when I moved from Vancouver to Calgary. I missed my friends and family and found writing to be like having a conversation with a buddy. Before I knew it, I was hooked on writing, tackling all types of projects. I've written picture books, novels, TV and stage scripts. I love figuring out how to make the plot, characters and words weave together. A good bookstore or library never ceases to amaze me.

When students ask me about writing, I often tell them to finish every story they start; an unfinished something is nothing. When they get stumped while writing, then the fun figuring-out part starts. And of course, they may be surprised at the direction a story takes, and the home it eventually finds.