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16 June 2009 ·

Meeting Nim’s Girl scout fans

Last week we took the train up from NYC to Albany – following the banks of the Hudson, so a lovely ride even though it was misty and raining for the first hour.

We were picked up in Albany and taken to the home of the Girl Scout coordinator who organised the Nim’s Island patch program – and what a wonderful time we had! It was great to meet the people behind this program, and to see some of the work behind it: I met the woman who had engineered the spyglass design that the girls followed to create their own spyglasses – and I saw all the Nim related toys that sat on the desk to keep inspiration up.

Best of all, despite the tricky timing of end of school concerts etc, I was able to meet some of Nim’s girl scout fans, which was very special. I now even have Nim’s official membership card, safely tucked into my wallet. (Won’t that confuse a pickpocket!) And a special thank you to the troupe who, remembering that I’d said in an interview that the autumn colours were something I missed most about Canada, gave me a dish towel patterned with beautiful autumn leaves.

Actually I can’t choose ‘best of all’ – because there was also the huge feast, with Acadian baked beans, incredible barbecue, and strawberry shortcake… and the warmth, laughter and family fun of our hosts.

And, in a strange twist of fate, our host’s home, built in 1820, was very similar to the home we lived in when I finished high school in Nova Scotia, and that I based the house on in The House at Evelyn’s Pond. We even slept in a bedroom that was in exactly the same place as my bedroom in that house.

Sometimes I feel extraordinarily lucky at the places my books have taken me, and the people they’ve brought into my life.

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio