A smattering of kidlit books by Edmonton and area authors. There are waaaaay more!!!
I’m going to tell you one of Edmonton’s best-kept secrets… in just a moment. First, I digress…
…because this best-kept secret is not supposed to be a secret at all. In fact, I’ve told it to many people over the years, yet somehow the word isn’t fully getting out. So today, I’m using my blog to shout this message out to the universe:
Edmonton is CRAWLING with children’s authors. LOUSY with them, in fact.
And you want to know something else? They’re really GOOD!
So in preparation for this week’s event, “Smorgasbook: A Youth Literature Buffet” (Wed. Nov. 12th, 6:30 pm, Whitemud Library, 4211-106 St), here is a not-everything-you-need-to-know-but-the-best-I-can-do guide to Edmonton’s children and teen authors.
“Demon Gate” is the first book in the Ehrich Weisz Chronicles by Marty Chan. The second book in the series soon follows. And since it’s my blog, I’m also going to put in a special plug for my favourite series among Marty’s juvenile titles: Barnabas Bigfoot. Who can resist a bigfoot with small feet?!
Frost is my favourite book by Nicole Luiken, a long-time Edmontonian. I was captivated by the characters’ northern lifestyle and by the sometimes-creepy speculative element. I dare you to read it!
I can’t talk about Edmonton authors without including at least one title by my dear friend and mentor, Mary Woodbury. “Merron’s Ghosts” is the final book that Mary released and I look forward to reading it. Some day. You might say I’m still in denial about Mary’s sudden passing almost two years ago.
Among Glen Huser’s best known titles are his GG Award winner, “Stitches” and the young adult book that followed entitled “Skinnybones And The Wrinkle Queen.” Glen currently lives in Vancouver but Edmonton was his home for many years. As with Mary Woodbury, I had the good fortune to cross paths with Glen when I was just beginning to write fiction for young people. I’m lucky to consider Glen one of my mentors as well.
A highly versatile author, Gwen Molnar’s “Casey Templeton Mysteries” diverge widely from her previous titles. Imagine writing adorable animal rhymes (“Animal Rap”) and “I Said To Sam,” then somehow writing YA novels called “Hate Cell” and “Old Bones.” Wow. Just wow.
Rita Feutl is another versatile Edmonton author who’s perhaps best known for her middle-grade novel, “Rescue At Fort Edmonton.” Rita has also co-written picture books with fellow Edmonton author Debby Waldman. Rita’s latest offering, “Bike Thief,” is a gritty YA title for reluctant readers at the high-school level. Something I love best about this story: it’s told from the point-of-view of the actual bike thief. Very cool.
Sadly, I couldn’t lay my hands on any of Joan Marie Galat’s children’s titles in my personal collection just now (a sure testament to their popularity among my younger friends and family members). Instead, here are cover pictures of Joan’s adult titles, “Give Yourself A Pep Talk” and “Day Trips From Edmonton.” As for Joan’s children’s books, I can’t resist offering special mention to Joan’s award-winning “The Discovery Of Longitude”–one of my favourite picture books–and to her brilliant “Dot To Dot In The Sky” series about the night sky. Joan’s newest title, “Branching Out: How Trees Are Part of our World” also promises to be an engaging read.
Although Sue Farrell Holler and Karen Bass live north of Edmonton (in Grande Prairie and Hythe respectively), I’d like to acknowledge them here too. Both are fine children and teen authors who frequently travel to Edmonton to participate in local book events. I’m delighted to have their titles among my kidlit collection.
Finally, these are my book offerings. “Vanish” and “Dog Walker” are both written for 10-14 year-old readers and are set in Edmonton. Although they are geared toward reluctant readers, I am thrilled that they are similarly read and enjoyed by avid readers.
But do you remember my earlier comment about this being an imperfect guide to Edmonton kidlit authors? At the risk of sounding terribly haphazard, the above books are those which I could readily locate within my personal collection. In other words, this blog barely scratches the surface when it comes to all that Edmonton and area authors are turning out for young readers.
In the very least though, I hope that I’ve succeeded in whetting your appetite for finding out more about what Edmonton’s professionally-published kidlit authors have to offer.
As for “Smorgasbook: A Youth Literature Buffet,” it will feature several of the local authors I’ve mentioned above, among others.
There will be opportunities to purchase signed, personalized copies of books, and the speaker’s line-up includes:
Joan Marie Galat, “Branching Out: How Trees Are Part Of Our World”
Jim Sellers, “Jackie The Brave”
Karen Spafford-Fitz, “Vanish”
Georgia Graham, “Nana’s Summer Surprise”
Bill Bunn, “Duck Boy”
Natasha Deen, “Guardian”
Larry Loyie & Constance Brissenden, “Residential Schools, With The Words & Images Of Survivors”
Kate Asha Boorman, “Winterkill”
Lorna Schultz Nicholson, “Hoop Dreams,” “Puckster’s Christmas Hockey Tournament,” and “Puckster Plays The Hockey Mascots”
and Marty Chan, “Demon Gate.”
I look forward to hearing the various authors speak about their new titles and to growing my collection of kidlit books by local authors. I will be sure to take my Christmas shopping list to Whitemud Library with me on Wednesday, and I look forward to meeting friends and book lovers there. I would love to see you among them.