I’m just back from a couple of lovely days in beautiful Powell River, BC. I had been kindly invited by local librarian, Megan Cole, as part of their BC Author Series, where four BC writers were invited throughout the year to speak to Powell River audiences. I was delighted to be one of the four!
I flew up on a (teeny-tiny!) plane and spoke to an adult audience one evening and to audiences of children at Edgehill school the next day. Both age-groups seemed interested, engaged, and keen to talk about books. Many thanks to the library and school for thinking of me! And a big thank you to children’s librarian Sonia Zagwyn for arranging the school visit.
Powell River is a special place with a flourishing arts community. The new library is only two years old and is aesthetically pleasing and very welcoming to the public. I could happily live in that library, which is bright, decorated with local art and sculptures, and even has a small food and coffee bar that serves local and delicious items. Not only that, you are permitted to enjoy your food and drink at a table in the library as you read. It was wonderful!
Edgehill school was also a treat. It was so nice to meet the librarian Darcy Gesell, and to hear about the many interesting school programs in Powell River, and to see again principal Ian Landy, whose library in Lumby I had visited some years ago. The children in the audiences (from Grades 1 to 4) were enthusiastic and well-informed, and a real pleasure to meet.
All in all, a very good trip. Huge thanks to the Powell River folks who invited me into their warm and welcoming community. I hope to have the opportunity to return some day.
These past few months, I’ve been hard at work on my next book. (Editing, revising, fretting, stressing, persevering and finally feeling/hoping it’s right.) It’s a follow-up to our earlier title, West Coast Wild.
The new book is called West Coast Wild Babies and it features a look at the wild babies of land and sea, born in the springtime on our wild west coast. (Wolf pups, bear cubs, whale calves, eaglets and salmon fry are just a few of the creatures you will meet.)
Once again, its pages are graced by the beautiful art of my talented collaborative partner, Karen Reczuch.
It’s been a fun book to work on (I love babies!) and it’s almost ready to go to the printer, with a release date of April 2020.
Karen and I are very excited! We are grateful to Groundwood Books for publishing another west coast title.
For your viewing pleasure, here is a sneak preview of the cover.
Today is the first day of school in my part of the world — a very exciting day, indeed!
I’m thinking about all the kids and teachers who are back in the classroom and hoping that everyone feels refreshed and rejuvenated after their summer break, ready to embrace the challenges of a new year.
Before I began writing, I was a primary teacher (I enjoyed my job so much!). I remember with fondness the first day of school, seeing the children eager and full of enthusiasm, glad to be reunited with their friends and keen to embark on a new year.
I wish all the teachers and students a happy school year, with much learning, oodles of fun, and many good books to read!
(The photo is from a school I visited a few years ago. The children are enjoying some of my wildlife books.)
A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to visit the west coast of Vancouver Island (an annual holiday trek) and spent a lot of time walking the beautiful beaches, peering into tidepools and watching the ebb and flow of the ocean.
It was both an inspiring and restful trip — a wonderful place for a writer to unwind.
I’m back home with a notebook full of ideas, hoping to turn some of them into books one of these days (perhaps when the sunny weather disappears and the west coast rain returns).
The photos show the little cove at Mackenzie Beach where we stayed and a rocky shoreline full of tidepools.
I discovered many fascinating creatures in the tidepools: hermit crabs, giant green anemones, orange and purple sea stars, blue mussels, barnacles of every size and more. These lovely marine animals may soon find their way into upcoming book. It was fun to do the research!
Summer is in full swing! I hope you are enjoying it wherever you are.
I want to thank all the dedicated teachers and librarians who have worked so hard with the children in their care over the past year. You are inspiring!
And to all the students who are in the midst of summer holidays: I hope you are having a fun, happy, relaxing time with your family and friends. You deserve it!
The art on this page is from Cooking with Bear, my most recent book. I chose it for this post because it shows two friends having fun together, cooking and eating delicious seasonal food. I love the happy smile on Bear’s face. Thank you to Lisa Cinar for this very sweet image.
In the spirit of summer fun, Bear and I suggest you take some time over the holidays to cook and eat with friends. It is a wonderful way to spend time together!
Here’s the amazing Lisa Cinar and I signing books at our launch at Kidsbooks for Cooking with Bear.
Kidsbooks is a marvellous store and the best place in the world to have a book party! And Lisa Cinar knows how to bring the fun!
It was a wonderful night, with friends and family, hazelnut-chocolate chip cookies (made by Bear and I) and festive bubbly! A lovely time, indeed!
Huge thanks to everyone who came to help us celebrate. It made us happy!
I’m delighted to announce the arrival of my newest book Cooking with Bear, a combination story and cookbook for the youngest readers (and cooks!).
The book is set in the spring forest where all the plants and flowers are beginning to bloom. Bear is excited to see his friends after a long winter in his den, and thrilled to be able to show Fox how to gather fresh seasonal foods and cook with them.
The young foxes in your life might enjoy trying out the 15 forest-themed delicious recipes that Bear shares in his cookbook, “Best of Bear.” Mostly local, mostly seasonal and mostly vegetarian. Lots to enjoy!
And a sweet story of friendship to accompany the recipes. Thank you to Groundwood Books for publishing this new work and to Lisa Cinar for wonderful art.
I’m pleased to announce the launch for my new book Cooking with Bear. Please join illustrator, Lisa Cinar, and I in celebrating our latest collaboration. Fun, food and friends! An evening to enjoy. See you there!
Many of us are in the midst of a very cold winter, donning mitts and wielding snow shovels, and looking ahead to warmer days.
We on the west coast, however, have kindly been spared the Arctic temperatures of other places. We’re grateful to see the sunshine and blue sky today, although the air is not yet close to spring temperatures. (Update: Actually, it snowed a lot the day after I posted this!)
Why the talk of spring? There’s a new book on the horizon and it’s a spring story. Cooking with Bear will be released on April 1 and the illustrator, Lisa Cinar, and I are feeling like expectant parents, happily anticipating our newborn’s arrival.
This illustration is from the opening page of the book. It shows Bear looking outside of his den window and seeing the sunshine and green all around. He’s delighted that spring is finally here. (It’s been a long cold winter in his forest.) He can hardly wait to gather some fresh plants of spring and get cooking with his friend, Fox.
Lisa and I will be delighted when spring arrives, too, especially when we get to hold our brand new book in our hands.
I was very happy to hear the news that my upcoming book Cooking with Bear has received a starred review from Kirkus! I think every author dreams of such high praise from this important review magazine. Here’s what the reviewer said:
“Spring is here at last in this companion to Bear’s Winter Party (2016), and Bear begins cooking for himself and his forest friends.
First, Bear makes watercress soup. Then his friend Fox arrives to share the soup. “Can you teach me to cook like this?” Fox asks. So Bear shows Fox where he gathers his ingredients in the forest, and along the way, they visit friends. Squirrel has gathered nuts, so Bear shows Fox how to make nut burgers. Chickadee dried berries last summer, so granola with dried cranberries is next on the menu. Beaver’s dreams of apples lead to a recipe for maple-apple crisp, and Deer and Hare’s browsing to a spring greens salad with honey vinaigrette.
The recipes provided for each dish have been taste-tested and are straightforward and clearly written. Young chefs are encouraged to cook with adults and ask them for help with anything sharp or hot. The volume subtly encourages eating seasonally and locally, using farmers markets, and planting gardens. Cinar’s colorful, large-format illustrations have a Raschka-esque flair to them, with loose, inky outlines and splashy watercolor fill; the animals’ faces are, appealingly, done in an especially childlike manner.”
“A fun, accessible first cookbook for the little foxes in our lives.” Starred review! Kirkus.
Available on April 1st! Published by Groundwood Books.