Author & Artist's Corner: Author

Brenda Moore

Brenda Moore, author

We are happy to announce that Brenda Moore has won the 2012 International Reading Association Paul A. Witty Short Story Award for “
Beyond the Call of Duty,” which appeared in the January 2011 issue of Cricket. You can congratulate her by leaving a comment below or ask her questions about how she wrote her newest story for Cricket, “The Bandit Runner,” which is in the May/June issue.


Brenda Moore grew up in the small mining town of Kimberley in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. She loved animals, so it was wonderful to grow up near the woods with all its wildlife. In grade 3, her class went on the best field trip ever—across the playground to collect pond water. Brenda Moore as a childBack in the classroom they looked at drops of water under a microscope. She couldn’t believe all the interesting microbes darting around. It was a whole new world that she found fascinating.

Later, in university, she majored in microbiology so she could learn about those microscopic creatures. She spent summers studying fish parasites in the department of fish science and surveying nematodes (microscopic worms) for Agriculture Canada. After graduating, she worked with an environmental consulting firm. They did government projects, mostly monitoring the effects of various toxins on fish. She wrote some papers then, but they weren’t especially entertaining.

Brenda discovered the joy of writing for entertainment through her children. She loved how a good story could bring life to a dull day and turn a grumpy child into a curious child. She was inspired to take writing courses through the Institute of Children’s Literature, and found writing nonfiction to be a natural fit.

baby sealNowadays, Brenda lives near Vancouver B.C. with her husband and three children and their little dog Clancy. She loves to go for bike rides on the local dikes where there’s lots of birdlife to see. She also enjoys walking Clancy along the beach. All sorts of interesting things can wash up such as whales and beavers. “Last summer, I nearly tripped over a sleeping baby seal. He was orphaned, so we took him to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at the port of Vancouver. Following a tour of the facility, the staff invited us to name our seal. The theme was vegetables, and with so many names already taken, all we could think of was Acorn Squash. I hope the little fellow didn’t mind.”

“It is such a privilege to have my stories published in Cricket and I am thrilled to win the Witty award. Such an unexpected honor!  It is very gratifying to know that others enjoyed reading the story of Gander as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope everyone also enjoys the story of Bobbi Gibb. Her courage and her power to initiate change amazed me.

I am very excited to answer any questions Cricket readers may have about my stories (or anything else), and I am look forward to hearing your comments. So fire away!”

That dog with you in the picture is so cute! What's his name and what kind of dog is he?

Also, how did you feel when you got your first ever story published?

submitted by PiperC., age 12, Atlantis
(May 2, 2012 - 2:06 pm)

Hi Piper,

Thanks for your questions! My dog’s name is Clancy. He’s a mix of Havanese, Papillon, and miniature Australian Shepherd. If you look closely, one of his eyes is partly blue and that’s from the Australian Shepherd. When he’s excited or curious, his ears pop way up and look like the wings
of a butterfly--that’s the Papillon (papillon is French for butterfly).

My first story to be published was “Beyond the Call of Duty.” When I submitted the story to Cricket I didn’t know what to expect and I thought it was a long shot. I was thrilled when I learned that it would be published. You know how it is when you finally get that present that you always wanted and you can’t stop jumping up and down? That’s how excited I was. It was like the best present ever!

submitted by Brenda Moore, Vancouver, B.C.
(May 2, 2012 - 7:02 pm)

Hi! I really liked your story. It is so cool!

What exactly is the Witty award?

What tip or piece of encouragement would you give to other readers?

submitted by True S.
(May 2, 2012 - 5:44 pm)

Hi True,

I’m so happy that you enjoyed the story about Gander! The Paul A. Witty Award is given by the IRA (International Reading Association) every year to the author of a short story published for the first time in a children’s magazine. I was so surprised and honored to have my story chosen this year!

As for tips or advice for readers, I think the best thing you can do is just keep reading. Reading for me is like exploring. You’re always discovering something new--new information, new ideas, and new ways of thinking about things. So it’s great to read a variety of things, both fiction and nonfiction. And I think it helps to make you a more thoughtful person who better understands other people’s points of view. I read a lot and I hope the inspiration I get helps me to be a better writer. I hope reading inspires you as well!

submitted by Brenda Moore, Vancouver B.C.
(May 3, 2012 - 12:47 pm)

I absoulutly love your story!Smile You lead a good life. how did you feel when your story was published?

submitted by Elizabeth F., age 9, Raliegh,NC
(May 7, 2012 - 5:03 pm)

Hi Elizabeth,

I'm so glad that you loved the story of Gander!  When I first heard about Gander I was very moved by his loyalty and heroism.  You understand why it was so important to the Royal Rifles that he not be forgotten. 

And yes, I think I do have a good life. I'm very lucky to live close to the ocean and I try to get out every day to enjoy it. I've heard that North Carolina is also very beautiful. I have never been to the eastern United States and would love to visit there some day.

I felt fantastic when my story published. Not only was it very exciting to see my story included in a magazine it was very cool to see it dressed up with all the pictures and color! I think it's like when you finally put the finishing touches on a school project and you're so happy  and proud because it's done and it looks great.  



submitted by Brenda Moore, Vancouver B.C.
(May 7, 2012 - 11:28 pm)

I loved The Bandit Runner! Where did you get your inspiration for that story?

submitted by Claire H.
(May 8, 2012 - 2:58 pm)

Hi Claire,

I'm so happy you enjoyed "The Bandit Runner" and thank you for your question! My initial inspiration to write the story came by chance. I was driving along and happened to catch a radio interview with a woman who ran the Boston Marathon a year after Bobbi Gibb's ground-breaking feat. I was shocked by how recently it was considered unsafe for women to run marathons and how controversial it was for a pioneer like Bobbi Gibb to challenge the status quo. Women's participation in marathons was something I took for granted. I did some further research and was amazed by the inner drive Bobbi Gibb possessed to train on her own and at such a high level. And I was impressed by her determination and bravery in face of the unknown. I was also surprised to find that Bobbi Gibb was something of an unsung hero. Although her story had been told in running magazines and running books it was not widely known. I was inspired to write "The Bandit Runner" because I thought her story also deserved to be told to a younger audience.  

submitted by Brenda Moore, Vancouver, B.C.
(May 9, 2012 - 12:50 am)


First of all, congratulations that you won that award! I loved your story The Bandit Runner and I can't wait to read the new one. Here are a few questions: 

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Do you write just short stories or also novels?

Well, bye and congratulations again! 

submitted by Elizabeth M., age 12, Germany
(May 12, 2012 - 2:13 am)

Hi Elizabeth,

Wow!  So neat to hear from a reader in Germany!  Thank you for your congratulations and I’m so
happy that you enjoyed The Bandit Runner!
 To answer your first question, I didn’t really
consider being an author when I was growing up, even though I loved English
class and writing stories.  No family
members or anyone I knew wrote, so I didn’t have any influences that way. Also,
I enjoyed the sciences, especially biology, and went that route instead.  It wasn’t until I had children and started to
explore children’s books that I began to think about writing.  I was so impressed with the quality of
children’s books and the interesting subjects being written about, that I thought
I would like to do that too. I just wish that I had thought of it sooner!   

As for tips for aspiring
writers, I’ll just tell you what so far works for me.  First, read lots!  Especially the types of stories that you would
like to write yourself. You can gain so much by seeing how others write and
it’s also a great source of inspiration. 

The other thing is that
when you first start writing, let your ideas flow.  Don’t worry about writing terribly, just
getting your ideas down is half the battle. 
Most of what I first write is awful. 
But at least it’s a start.  And
there’s always the hope that it can be made better. As long as you stay
positive and know that you can fix the rough spots, your stories will continue
to improve. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your stories take shape
in a way that feels right to you.

 Look for honest feedback.  It’s amazing how others can zero in on problem
areas that you’ve become blind to.  Even
if you don’t agree with their criticism, it’s good to hear other’s opinions
because it opens your mind up to looking at things from different angles.  Writing is a never-ending learning process and
your writing will always be evolving.  The
main thing is to keep at it and have fun creating stories that you enjoy. If
you find your stories entertaining then probably other people will love to read
them as well!   

So far I’ve just been
writing short stories.  As an evolving
writer, I have found short pieces to be the best way to focus on my writing
without getting lost in a confusion of ideas. 
That said, I am working on a novel right now and trying to get my
confusion of ideas in order!  It’s a whole
new ball game, albeit with lots of the same rules in play.  But I love the new challenge and I’m looking
forward to seeing what I can come up with!

That’s it for now. Thank
you for your questions Elizabeth!

submitted by Brenda Moore, Vancouver, B.C.
(May 14, 2012 - 10:42 am)

I have a question: How old were you when your work was first published? And congratulations:)

submitted by Coral
(May 17, 2012 - 7:42 pm)

Hi Coral,

Thank you for your
question and your congratulations!  I
started writing for kids later on in life and like I said in an earlier reply,
I wish that I had thought of it sooner because it is a lot of fun and very
rewarding.  My first story to be
published was “Beyond the Call of Duty” in 2011 and I was well into my forties at
that time!   It’s true when they say
you’re never too old to try something new. 
And new challenges are a good way to keep life interesting.

submitted by Brenda Moore, Vancouver, B.C.
(May 18, 2012 - 5:53 pm)

I loved Bandit Runner.  Are you a runner yourself?


Did you go to Boston to research the story?


Where is your favorite place to write? 

submitted by Melody, age 13, Just being awesome
(May 17, 2012 - 8:39 pm)

Hi Melody,

I’m so happy you enjoyed
“The Bandit Runner!”  I used to run--off
and on--when I was younger, but I don’t anymore.  Problem feet “run” in my family and they just
don’t hold up to the daily pounding.  I walk
instead, but quickly because I’m always trying to keep up with my little rascal
of dog who likes to run ahead.  I also
enjoy biking because it’s easy on the feet and we have dikes that stretch for
miles that are great for biking.  I wish
I could still run though because it is such a great way to stay in shape.  Do you like to run?

And no, I didn’t go to
Boston to research the story.  I was able
to access enough information on the internet and from books, old newspaper
articles and various interviews done with Bobbi Gibb over the years to come up
with the story.  I also got part of my
inspiration from watching the Ironman competition that‘s held each year in a
town called Penticton in British Columbia. 
It’s a big event and every summer we join the crowds to watch the marathon
at the halfway turnabout point.  It’s
pretty remarkable to see not only the frontrunners, but also the people who are
undertaking a personal challenge and run well into the night.  I do plan to visit Boston one day though, and would
like to see the Marathon Memorial at Copley as well as the route the Boston
Marathon follows.    

My favorite place to
write is wherever I can find a quiet corner, which at times can be a challenge.  At home I usually work in a spare bedroom
which I associate with my getting down to work routine.  My favorite place to write though is probably
the car.  I’m out a lot driving my
daughter everywhere, and have found the car to be a very handy portable office!  While she’s at dance class I usually park
along the Fraser River where I can write and at the same time watch the tugboats
and barges go by.  I find the boats to be
especially interesting when I’m stuck for words.


submitted by Brenda Moore, Vancouver, B.C.
(May 18, 2012 - 6:13 pm)

Hi Brenda!

I wasn't able to read your latest story, since I just recently graduated to Cicada, but I do remember your story "Beyond the Call of Duty," and that was one of my favorites from all the Cricket stories!

I love writing, and am hoping to major in Science in college (I want to be and Equine Vet) so it's nice to read about someone who does both! But it sounds like you do more writing nowadays. Do you do anything with science now?

Oh, and one more question. What's your favorite book genre?

Thanks for reading!


submitted by Gigi
(June 10, 2012 - 6:49 am)