Answer to Daniel’s questions

USbombsDaniel from David Douglas School District in Portland OR wrote:
Marsha, I am a big fan of the book you wrote, “Making bombs for Hitler” and, I hope you continue to make great books. Some questions that I have for you are: What inspired you to make a book about World War II? Will you be making a sequel to the book “Making bombs for Hitler”? And how long did it take you to write “Making bombs for Hitler”? In conclusion I hope you respond to these questions.

Dear Daniel, ¬†Thanks so much for your email. I tried to respond but your message bounced. I’m delighted that you’re a fan of Making Bombs for Hitler. I have written 20 books and some of them may be available from your local library. There will be a sequel to Making Bombs coming out next year with Scholastic. It will be from Luka’s point of view. The following year, a third book will be published, told from Larissa’s point of view. It took me a couple of years to do the research for Bombs, then 6 months of solid writing, then a year of editing, rewriting, and revision. I was inspired to write Lida’s story because I met people who had lived through the war just like she had yet I’d never seen their stories in a book. All the best, Marsha

Aidon, Maggie, Regan, Abbi — answers to your questions

Aidon, I wrote it because no one else had written a picture book about the Vietnamese Boat People. I wanted to show how heroic Tuan and his family were.

Maggie, my publisher, Gail Winskill at Pajama Press met Tuan and when she heard his story she knew I’d want to write it. I have been interested in the Vietnamese Boat People for several decades.

Regan, I love writing coming to Canada stories. I love finding real people who came here under very difficult circumstances. These people are heroic and their stories should be told.

Abbi, Tuan’s older sister and father escaped earlier. They were all eventually reunited in Canada. Tuan’s youngest sister came to Canada several years later.

Dear McKinlee and Evie

Dear McKinlee, I vividly remember the Vietnamese refugee crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s. I have wanted to write about this for a very long time. When I met Tuan and he told me his story, I knew that the time had come to write about it.


Dear Evie, the fact that you feel this way shows that you are a kind person. Yes, there is still war across the world but closer to home there are things that you can do. Keep your eyes open for sadness close to you. If you see a fellow student who could use a friend, why not be one? If you see a friend who forgot their lunch, why not share yours? What are some other kindnesses that you can do? These small kindnesses all add up and have a huge effect.

Northview Heights Secondary School history classes and Gisela Sherman

I’ve had the honour of speaking at Northview Heights a few times now, and I love meeting with grade 10 history students. In the past, I’ve spoken about the internment operations during WWI in Canada. This year, I proposed to Julia that I tailor a presentation just for her students. I love writing coming to Canada stories, and also exploring the lives of young people who are plunged into war. Canada’s strength comes from those who choose to be Canadian. It was a wonderful visit on April 19th.

My friend and fellow writer, Gisela Sherman, came to Northview to watch me present. She was writing a profile piece about me for CANSCAIP news. I was shocked and saddened when she died on April 23. She may be tucked somewhere unobtrusively in this picture:

I am grateful that I was able to have a few more hours with Gisela before she died. Do hug a friend today. You never know when it will be the last time you can do it.