Jill Murray’s action-packed multicultural YA breakdance novel Break On Through was published in 2008 by Doubleday Canada. Its follow-up, LGBT-friendly Rhythm & Blues debuted in 2010. Jill has appeared at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, and in schools and libraries around Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes. Break On Through was critically acclaimed by Quill & Quire, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Canadian Review of Materials and the Montreal Book Review, and has been a curriculum book for Canadian Identity in Literature at Vanier College. Jill is a recipient of grants from the Toronto Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. She is currently working on a novel for teens and another for adults, and in 2009, founded a Web site to promote YA & Middle-Grade fiction across Canada.
Break On Through
Rhythm & Blues
*These titles have been suggested by the author based on the activities that he/she proposes to students.
It is, however, up to teachers to verify whether the titles are appropriate for their groups (age and education level, specific context, etc.).
Teaching staff are invited to contact the author for clarification on this aspect and assistance in preparing their groups for his/her visit.
The author’s activities for schools include two components: a presentation and a workshop. Her presentation includes an introduction, some background about who she is, how she became a writer, and what the challenges and surprises were along the way. Jill emphasizes the many stages involved in producing the work as well as the importance of stamina, persistence, and following one’s own ideas and dreams.
Her books are keyed into the performing arts. Break On Through concerns breakdance, Rhythm & Blues takes place within the music industry. Ms. Murray holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Production. She uses aspects and ideas drawn from these sources in her workshops. Often, students will learn a dance sequence, listen to music, or read about popular performers to draw inspiration for the workshop that follows. The emphasis is on the fun of discovery and expression. The author’s aim is to promote the enjoyment of writing and reading, and to demonstrate its versatility and usefulness in practical ways. There is discussion, followed by quiet writing time, a chance to ask questions, and interactive participation, during which students can share their work. She frequently modifies her workshops and approach based on student and teacher feedback, and she can tailor any presentation or workshop to the curriculum needs of the class.
Other examples of collaboration
The workshop requires an LCD projector that plugs into a computer and an attached sound system.
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