I am excited to be a part of this Digital Human Library! Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Paul J. Toffanello (the “J” is for Joseph) and I grew up in Timmins, Ontario, a small northern mining town that once held the distinction of being the greatest gold mining town in the world. I am the second son from a family of five boys, and I always want to note that my mother loved me best. Both of my parents worked, mother in life insurance and dad as an auto mechanics teacher.
I majored in English and minored in Psychology at Carleton University and became an elementary school teacher in 1979 graduating from Nipissing University. After 10 years of teaching grades 7 & 8, I became a high school English teacher. Shortly thereafter, I became a Vice Principal, a Principal at two different high schools, a Superintendent of Education and finally a Director of Education. In the latter role, I was part of the original group of Directors of Education who helped to bring the Ontario Literacy & Numeracy Secretariat to life under the leadership of Dr. Avis Glaze.
I took an early interest in understanding the fundamentals of how it is that children learn. I was an ardent follower and student of the works of Lucy McCormick Calkins, and later of Nancie Atwell. Both inspired me in my teaching practices, and later, Nancie’s teachings in particular, influenced my writing significantly and helped me to set my goals of encouraging kids to read – particularly boys.
I have been writing most of my life, and the first draft of Popchuck’s Ghost was written in 1984, but it wasn’t until I met Frank B. Edwards (Pokeweed Press/Bungalo Books) that I gave serious thought to publication. It was released in 2013 and has sold over 7000 copies making it a Canadian best seller! Since then, we have published book two, Popchuck’s Revenge, in December of 2015 and it has already sold over 1200 copies.
I also write rhyming stories for children, and my first interactive children’s story called Trashcan Twilight has been published through Mercury Inpress. This book was launched on Apple ITunes and is part of Mercury’s Incredebook series. I will be completing his first full children’s book, In Blackburn Hamlet, by the end of 2016. For more information, go to: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/trashcan-twilight-interactive/id907546346?mt=8
I also write television pitch ideas (comedy/drama/animation), screenplays, and professional articles.
I currently work as a writer and consultant/counselor out of Ottawa, Ontario. I have presented to over 200 schools across Canada and the U.S., and believe that I have inspired thousands of students to read and write.
My wife, Karen, and I will be spending time between Ottawa, Vancouver and Northern Ontario where we enjoy grandkids, cottaging, and city life. I am continuing to work on writing novels, television, screenplays and movie projects while finalizing the third installment of The Popchuck Chronicles. As well, I am currently working with a film producer from Los Angeles in an effort to take the series to film!
Teachers and Principals – Reach Out! Invite me to your school and let me inspire your students to become avid readers. I offer an engaging presentation and various workshops for both students and teachers. I offer a teacher’s guide to reading/writing strategies, activities and assessments & evaluations – FREE! Go to my website to find out more, or contact me personally. See contact information below.
In future blogs, I hope to share some of ideas to generate enthusiasm around reading and writing for kids. In the meantime, be in touch. I am looking forward to being a part of this Digital Human Library! Please check out our websites and FB pages and contact me anytime! See you soon, in person or on Skype!
For more information please go to:
www.popchuck.ca (Popchuck webpage)
www.bungalobooks.com (Bungalo Books Publishing webpage)
Contact me anytime at:
This post is also available in: French