West Coast Learning Activities

Hello teachers and parent educators!

I hope you are staying healthy and well in these challenging times. I know that many of you are working hard to keep the children in your homes and virtual classrooms learning and happily engaged in educational pursuits. If you are looking for ideas on west coast nature activities, you might want to try some of the ones featured here.

Feel free to ask me any questions about my west coast books or send me your students’ questions. You, or they, can write to me via my contact page.

And if you’re looking for educational ideas to accompany any of my other books, please see my classroom activities page. These suggestions can easily be adapted for home or virtual learning.

I’m happy to help! Take care, stay safe and have fun. Happy learning!

New Book!

I’m delighted to announce the release of my newest book West Coast Wild Babies.

Thank you so much to Groundwood Books for publishing it and to Karen Reczuch, illustrator extraordinaire and wonderful collaborative partner. We are all thrilled with the book and have our fingers crossed that you will love it, too!

The world is a difficult and uncertain place right now and I sincerely hope that any of you who read this post are staying well and healthy. And I also hope that this book might give the children in your life a bit of comfort and enjoyment in these challenging times.

West Coast Wild Babies is available at many bookstores and can be ordered through your local store, with an online bookseller, or directly through the publisher at  Groundwood Books. If you are a Vancouverite, you might consider using the excellent curbside pick-up service that Kidsbooks has established.

And if you’d like to read an interview about the book, check it out at 49th Shelf — the wonderful website featuring an amazing collection of fine Canadian books.

My best to all of you!

West Coast Wild Babies

April 1st is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to the release of my new book West Coast Wild Babies.

Illustrator Karen Reczuch and I have teamed up once again and are happy to have collaborated on another book celebrating the beautiful west coast of BC. Karen’s illustrations are so evocative and lovely!

As promised, here are two more pieces of her wonderful art showing a bald eagle family with downy grey eaglets and an orca pod swimming with a brand new calf.

What could be better than baby wild animals born in the spring? Enjoy!

Coming Soon!

I was excited to receive copies of my upcoming book West Coast Wild Babies! Hooray!

It is the second book in a series I’ve been working on about the Pacific west coast – in particular, the glorious coastal region of western Vancouver Island. The book is a sequel to West Coast Wild.

Some of you may know the spectacular stretch of pristine nature that can be explored from Ucluelet to Tofino. It may be my favourite place in the world! I have loved writing books for kids about this awe-inspiring region and its wild inhabitants.

In this new book, young readers will be introduced to fourteen wild baby animals born in the springtime – in the ocean, on the shore, or deep inside the ancient rainforest. The babies include: wolf pups, cougar kittens, bear cubs, eaglets, whale calves and more. Kids will see these remarkable creatures thriving in their coastal home.

Karen Reczuch’s beautiful art shows many scenes of gentle affection between the offspring and their parents.

Here’s one of a new sea otter pup and its mother, snoozing among the kelp. More to come!

Writing Books for Children

Are you interested in writing or illustrating books for children? If so, and you live in the Vancouver area, you might want to attend the Feb. 3 event at the Vancouver Public Library.

Six professional children’s book authors and illustrators will share their stories of how they got published and give you practical information on how to submit your work. Bring your questions!

There’s always a crowd and it’s a lively evening of fun. It’s free! The featured speakers include a panel of authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade books, and YA novels. It runs from 7 to 8:30 pm at the Central Branch on Georgia Street.

The event promises to be an inspiring start to the new decade. And who doesn’t need a boost to their creative life in these rainy, windy days of our city?

Happy New Year! May 2020 bring you health, happiness and many good books to read.

Winter Thoughts

Winter is officially here and even though the weather is colder (and very rainy on our west coast!), it is a time of year I enjoy. In fact, I love every season of the year and am always grateful we live in a place where we experience four distinct seasons.

We are deeply into the festive time of year and I am thinking about the many wonderful titles there are to choose from when selecting gifts for family and friends. What better way to shop than to visit your favourite bookstore!

And, as schools are now closed for the winter break, I think of the children living in our city who need a warm, safe and happy space to spend their time over the holidays. That’s why I am always glad to support our local KidSafe organization. I know that children will be provided with fun, food and caring staff.

This snowman card was created by one of the children at KidSafe. I love their cards! If you’d like to support the important work of this group, please see their website for more information. Happy holidays!

Powell River Welcome

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.

Sneak Preview

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.

Back to School Wishes

books by Deborah HodgeToday 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.)

West Coast Summer

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!