A is for Anctil
Born in 1985, Daniel Anctil was in Grade six at Vancouver’s McKechnie Elementary School in 1997 when he wrote the poem that would become the text for his children’s picture book Fly Fly (Midtown, $19.95), illustrated by Corentin Hunter. Written through the school’s “Kid’s Write” program, it was named the program’s best piece of writing that year. Anctil’s poem was also included in a dramatic presentation by a Vancouver Youth Theatre group at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. In February of 2015, Anctil returned to his former school to read his poem to students about the animals and birds to be found from the Pacific Northwest Coast to the Rocky Mountains. Corentin Hunter’s artwork represents a day of discovering nature and its creatures, from daybreak through to nightfall. Fly Fly is also being published in French under the title L’Envol (Presses de Bras-d’Apic, 2015). Daniel Anctil of Vancouver holds a Bachelor of Arts in religion and psychology from the University of Victoria. 978-0-9881101-6-8
B is for Bath
When Mandy Bath left her home on July 12, 2012, she had no idea that only an hour later, her house and community would be destroyed. A massive landslide caused by snow melt and heavy rains hit the tiny hamlet of Johnsons Landing [no apostrophe is correct] mid-morning that day, killing four people and decimating the tight-knit lakeside community. Disaster in Paradise: The Landslides in Johnsons Landing (Harbour $22.95), tells a story of “survival, grief and recovery” as residents try to heal and eventually rebuild. Bath came to live in Johnsons Landing, the site of a former steamboat landing, in 1993. Since her home was destroyed in 2012, she lives in Kaslo, B.C., with her husband Christopher Klassen.
C is for Cotton
At 97, H. Barry Cotton gathered almost a century’s worth of wisdom for a collection of mostly political poetry, Rhymes for the Times, Rants in Iambic Pentameter (Friesen Press, 2015), as an outgrowth of his freelance contributions to the Gulf Islands Driftwood and the Island Tides newspapers. With both humour and outrage, he skewers the growing tide of neo-conservatism that has emboldened Canada’s federal government in recent times. Cotton simultaneously draws strength and inspiration from the natural beauty of British Columbia. Released in June of 2015, the collection is subtitled ‘Politically Motivated Poems from the Last Two Years.’ Cotton served in the British army during World War II. As a retired BC Land Surveyor and an avid mountaineer, Cotton previously provided an excellent introductory article on mapmaker and explorer David Thompson called ‘In Search of David Thompson: A Study in Bibliography’, in BC Historical News, Vol. 37, No. 4, Fall 2005. He also self-published a treatise on B.C.’s early civil engineers and land surveyors from his Saltspring Island home in 1994. He now lives in Vancouver with his wife Daphne Tobler [wedding photo above]. They spend as much time as they can in their log cabin in the southern Chilcotin area of BC. Rhymes for the Times /Amazon: Kindle $2.99; hardcover $33.02; paperback $15.17 978-1-4602-6768-4 Hardcover / 978-1-4602-6769-1 Paperback / 978-1-4602-6770-7 eBook
D is for D’arcangelo
On June 27, 2015 at the Piazza Colombo on Rossland Avenue, as part Trail’s Festa Italiana, retired teacher John D’Arcangelo launched his illustrated book, A Trail to Remember $20), that contains more than 150 stories about Trail, B.C., gathered from residents and former residents. It was published by ball hockey enthusiast John ‘Deke’ D’Arcangelo at age 68 with the assistance of the Trail Historical Society and businesses in Greater Trail that provided assistance. D’Arcangelo was assisted by Sarah Benson, director of Trail Museum and Archives, and Trail Historical Society president Jamie Forbes, who helped him edit the collection. Any revenues were promised to the Trail Historical Society. Due to his passion for ball hockey or “shinny,”, D’Arcangelo was honoured with the 2013 B.C. Sports Hero Award for floor-hockey. The East Trail native has organized ball hockey games for most of his life starting from his youth, every week in the winter months, then more formally from a neighborhood parking to the Cominco Gym, the MacLean School in Rossland, Central School, the Armouries, Field House, and eventually Trail Middle School gym. As of 2015 when the book was publised, the ‘Sultan of Shinny’ was still organizing a weekly contest at the Kootenay-Columbia Learning Centre. [Liz Bevan photo]
E is for Evenden
Following World War II, Canada became a world leader in hydro-electricity production. Only Norway produced more per capita and only the U.S. generated more in terms of total output. Allied Power: Mobilizing Hydro-electricity during Canada’s Second World War (UTP $32.95) by UBC’s Matthew Evenden explores how the climate of war influenced Canada’s hydro-electric development and expansion and led to the introduction of greater government controls. Increased production of hydro power also “exacerbated regional disparities, transformed rivers through dam construction, and changed public attitudes to electricity though power conservation programs.” Evenden is a co-leader of The Water History Project which looks at the many ways humans interact with the hydrological environment. 9781442626256
F is for Findon
As a professor of English literature at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Joanne Findon, formerly of Coquitlam, has examined the life and times of Sarah Jameson Craig who grew up in rural New Brunswick in the 1800s. Educated at home by her parents when few working class girls were literate, Craig became a skilled writer who recorded detailed accounts of her adolescence through to her senior years. Her journals and memoirs create the framework for Seeking our Eden: the Dreams and Migrations of Sarah Jameson Craig (McGill-Queen’s University Press $34.95). Sarah Jameson Craig’s life took her from New Brunswick to New Jersey, then west to Saskatchewan and finally to British Columbia. As an adult she became an advocate of women’s rights and a staunch dress-reformer, believing the restrictive fashions of the day were a barrier to equality of the sexes. Sarah Jameson Craig was not only an early voice of Canadian feminism; Seeking our Eden reveals her to be a forward-thinker, open to exploring alternative medical treatments (water cures) and drawn to the concept of utopian colonies. Celtic scholar Joanne Findon was born in New Westminster, B.C. and earned her BA at UBC. She received her MA and PhD in medieval studies at the University of Toronto. She is also the author of two picture books, The Dream of Aengus (Stoddart Kids, 1998), a retelling of an ancient Irish myth, and Auld Lang Syne (Stoddart Kids, 1997), a story of Robert Burns told from the poet’s own perspective. As well, Findon’s first children’s novel, When Night Eats The Moon (Red Deer Press, 1999), follows Holly, a young girl sent back in time to 700 B.C., who is thought by the locals to be their saviour. 9780773544802
G is for Graham
D.R. Graham is the pen name for Danielle Aldcorn, a columnist for the Richmond News, who has written biker and rodeo novels for teens and adults including One Percenter (book one in her Noir et Bleu Motorcycle Club Series); The Handler (book two in the Noir et Bleu Series); Rank; the Brampton Beach Series; and Hit That and You’re Dead. Her novels deal with issues relevant to young and new adults in love, transition, or crisis. Her books are available in eBook format and paperback. Aldcorn worked as a social worker with at-risk youth for seven years before becoming a therapist in private practice.
H is for Hart
The debut young adult novel, Queen of the Godforsaken (Thistledown $14.95) by Mix Hart of Kelowna is a coming-of-age story about Lydia who moves with her family from urban Vancouver in the 1980s to an isolated farmhouse in Batoche, Saskatchewan. The distraught teenager is appalled by her parents, the locals and the terrain that is so unfamiliar to her. It doesn’t help when her father has difficulty finding steady employment and her mother becomes suicidal—so they start drinking and fighting. To make things worse, Lydia can’t relate to her classmates. Lydia learns to adapt by looking after her sister and her parents in their period of self-absorbed neglect only after meeting a handsome, hockey-mad farm boy, Brady, and two elderly Francophone neighbours who break through her standoff-ish exterior. In addition, Mix Hart is both a traditional and digital oil painter—specializing in realism and portraiture. She illustrates her own Peter-Not Pizzaface junior fiction series as well as other picture books. She studied fashion design at George Brown College, then attended University of Saskatchewan for English and Art Education classes; then attended University of British Columbia for classes in digital storytelling and freelance journalism. 978-1-771870-63-4
I is for Isabella
The Red Bicycle (Kids Can $18.95) by Jude Isabella follows the journey of Big Red, Leo’s cherished bicycle, as it makes its way from North America to Africa. Leo is too big for his bike and donates it to a charity that ships it to Alisetta, a young girl in Burkina Faso. Alisetta can now travel much more quickly to her family’s farm and to the market. The next owner of Big Red is Haridata, a young woman who uses it to deliver medicine and carry sick people to the hospital. The Red Bicycle reveals how something as simple as a bicycle can have a powerful impact on lives half a world away. Illustrated by Simone Shin. Jude Isabella of Victoria was a managing editor of YES Magazine, a science magazine for kids, for twelve years. She writes science books for kids. She has also written for The Walrus, New Scientist, the Loh Down on Science, Canadian Geographic, Medical Post, WILD Magazine, Readers Digest, Archaeology Magazine, BC Magazine, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Spirituality and Health Magazine, and The Tyee, focusing on science, health, and the environment. 978-1-77138-023-2.
J is for Johnson
Combining biography, history and literary analysis, George M. Johnson’s Mourning and Mysticism in First World War Literature and Beyond: Grappling with Ghosts (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) examines how the loss of loved ones was endured and justified during World War One in Britain. He examines the influences in this regard of writers that include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Oliver Lodge, J.M. Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, Virginia Woolf, Wilfred Owen and Aldous Huxley who all coped with personal losses and traumas with doses of mysticism “making these writers receptive to the possibility of communicating with spirits.” Johnson reveals how most of these writers were influenced by the work of Frederic Myers and other key psychical researchers. With avenues such as telepathy, clairvoyance and automatic writing, many people wanted to believe that personality could survive beyond death. Mourning and Mysticism suggests that such explorations were not necessarily delusionary in that they resulted in a therapeutic form of mourning that could be more effective for solace than state-sanctioned representations of mourning such as war memorials. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, George M. Johnson moved to Kamloops, B.C. in 1991, where he is Professor of English at Thompson Rivers University. He specializes in modern literature, particularly psychological approaches to it and the supernatural in it, as well as biography, playwriting and screenwriting. As a long-time Chair of the Global and Community Action Ctte at Kamloops United Church, Johnson is a social activist whose plays deal with some form of social justice. His screenplay “Peace Pledge” about Canon Dick Sheppard and the Peace Pledge Union in the 1930s was selected as one of 12 finalists for the Euroscript Screenplay Competition in the U.K.
K is for Kalteis
The protagonist of Dietrich Kalteis’ second crime novel, Grey Stevens, is literally minding his own business, contentedly growing and selling a sought-after brand of pot in Whistler dubbed ‘Eight Miles High,’ and developing a new romance, when the incursion of two rival gangs in town gives rise to a turf war that threatens his life and his love. The Deadbeat Club (ECW $14.95) paints an unflattering view of the ‘world class’ ski resort while offering action, vengeance and dark humour. In the debut crime novel by Dietrich Kalteis of West Vancouver, Ride the Lightning (ECW 2014), a disbarred Seattle bounty hunter named Karl Morgen comes north to work as a process server in Vancouver. Impressed by a city in which “people settle things with middle fingers instead of guns,” Morgen nonetheless finds himself immersed in the city’s underbelly when he crosses paths with the scumbag from Seattle who had his license revoked, Miro Knotts, a dope dealer. 978-1-77041-152-4
L is for Longe
Robert Longe worked in mineral exploration for many years as a geologist, consultant, and chief executive of a junior public company. His own experiences searching for mineral deposits in many parts of the world convinced him that the industry, much of it based in Vancouver, provides enough excitement, unique characters and engrossing situations for an entire genre of novels. His first novel, The Nisselinka Claims, is his contribution. It’s a family saga that spans three generations. In the early years of the 20th century Edward Wickford, a settler in northern British Columbia, lays claim to a rich vein of copper and gold. But events outside his control wreak havoc with his plans and dreams of wealth. Two world wars and two generations later, his grandson’s ownership of the same mineral rights is threatened by a hard-driving promoter of a public company listed on the junior mining market. The resulting conflict in a high-stakes treasure hunt run by professionals, but spiced by rogues, propels the story to its climax.
M is for Maddock
Irish Beth Maddock (nee Fell) of Vernon, B.C. was a columnist for two local newspapers. She has had stories published in Reader’s Digest Canada and broadcast on CHBC Television in the Okanagan. She is a published poet who has performed in and directed plays and musical theatre productions. As a playwright for a church drama production, her three part monologue “Tapestry” helped fund-raise over $1,000. She is a member of SCBWI, Inscribe & The Word Guild. Her self-published children’s book, The Great Carp Escape ($12.99), is an inspirational children’s story based on her experiences as a child growing up on Okanagan Lake. Children discover a repellent-looking carp but later feel obliged to save it. 978-1-4866-0508-8
N is for Nozick
Nicole Nozick is the new Executive Director of the Vancouver Writers Festival, taking over from Camilla Tibbs who has become the Executive Director of the Richmond Gateway Theatre. Nozick holds a B.A. in English from University of Cape Town, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Tel Aviv University. Most recently, she was Director of the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival in Vancouver.
O is for O’Brien
As an associate professor in History and Humanities at SFU, Emily O’Brien has examined the autobiography of the fifteenth-century humanist Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, better known as Pope Pius II, who wrote a romantic novella and his life story, Commentaries. Her new book, The Commentaries of Pope Pius II (1458-1464) and the Crisis of the Fifteenth Century Papacy (UTP $65), shows how Pius’ self-portrait affected and supported the evolution of the Renaissance papacy. “Though Canadian born,” she writes, “I consider Italy to be my true intellectual home.” O’Brien came to SFU in the fall of 2005. She grew up in Toronto, did her B.A. at the University of Toronto and then went to Brown University in Rhode Island for graduate work. Her research interests took her to Rome and Florence, where she spent almost three years. Her central field of research is the Italian Renaissance. While finishing her thesis, she taught for several years in Harvard’s Expository Writing Program. She received her Ph.D. in History in the spring of 2005. 978-1-4426-4763-3
P is for Pearson
“We live such flammable lives,” writes Miranda Pearson in the title poem for her fourth collection, The Fire Extinguisher (Oolichan $17.95). Again Pearson evokes the struggle to live outside and beyond vulgarity and catastrophe, bravely beholden to glimpses of grace. There are some particularly sublime and subtle poems about human frailty when a body has been invaded by the c-word. Miranda Pearson was born in Kent, England and moved to Canada in 1991 to work as a psychiatric nurse. She received an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of British Columbia, where she was poetry editor for Prism International. Pearson has taught creative writing at the University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University where she has been the poetry mentor at the SFU Writers Studio. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Malahat Review, Event, The Fiddlehead, Grain, Arc, and Prairie Fire. She lives in Vancouver. The Aviary, her second book of poetry, received the Alfred G. Bailey Prize in 2006, awarded by the Writers Federation of New Brunswick. Miranda Pearson has continued to work in the field of community mental health. 978-0-88982-308-2
Q is for Quiver
A dwarf mistletoe can shoot its seeds up to 50 feet away. The Arctic heather plant can create subtropical conditions within its leaves. Often exposed to bitter cold, relentless winds, intense heat, drought, fire, pollution and other adverse conditions, such plants demonstrate remarkable strategies for surviving their environment. Jesse Vernon Trail’s first book, Quiver Trees, Phantom Orchids and Rock Splitters (ECW Press $24.95), highlights the world’s most unusual plants for a general audience of plant and nature enthusiasts. Quiver Trees is also a fact-filled reference source on some of the lesser-known plants that populate landscapes around the world. Jesse Vernon Trail is an instructor and curriculum developer in environment, ecology, sustainability issues, horticulture and the natural history of plants. His articles have been published in The Ecologist, Garden Making, Canadian Gardening, Plant and Garden, Fine Gardening, Gardenwise, Harrowsmith Country Life, Alive, and Outdoor Canada. He lives in Vernon, B.C. “Gardening will never go out of fashion,” Trail told the Vernon Morning Star newspaper. “People will always buy plants even when they don’t have very much money. There is something in the greenery and beauty of plants that gives us a feeling of comfort and joy.” 978-1-77041-208-8
R is for Richardson
Former teacher-librarian Gillian Richardson of Shuswap Lake, near Sorrento, B.C., won the 2010 Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics for her book Kaboom! Explosions of All Kinds. Her Ten Ships That Rocked the World (Annick $14.95) is a fascinating introduction for young readers to ancient treasure ships from China, Vasco da Gama’s Sao Gabriel, convicts from England to Australia such as the Lady Penrhyn, the USS Susquehanna that sailed to Japan in the 1800s, the Civil War submersible H.L. Hunley, the Komagata Maru that brought unwanted Sikhs as would-be immigrants to British Columbia, the Exodus 1947 that played a key role in the creation of Israel, the Granma hired by Fidel Castro that led to his overthrow of the dictator Batista in Cuba (even though the voyage of the Granma resulted in a botched landing), the Rainbow Warrior that was essential for the creation of Greenpeace and the oil tanker Sirius Star that was hijacked off the east coast of Africa. 978-1-55451-444-1 Illustrated by Kim Rosen.
S is for Stone
Now that water restrictions have been placed at Level 4 on the Sunshine Coast below Pender Harbour, some citizens are angry because they have become semi-dependent on growing their own food. That’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. As revealed in Curtis Stone’s The Urban Farmer, Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land (New Society $29.95), there are some 40 million acres of lawn in the U.S. (Canada is on par, per capita) that could be used to feed 355 million people a 2000 calorie/day diet for one year. The trend towards “local” will soon become more than a fad as consumers increasingly prefer the freshest produce money can buy. The Urban Farmer is described as a comprehensive, hands-on, practical manual to help you learn the techniques and business strategies you need to make a good living growing high-yield, high-value crops right in your yard. Curtis Stone is the owner/operator of Green City Acres, a commercial urban farm based in Kelowna, BC. Farming less than half an acre on a collection of urban plots, Green City Acres grows vegetables for farmers markets, restaurants and retail outlets. 9780865718012
T is for Turner
With more than 600 photos, Robert D. Turner’s The Klondike Gold Rush Steamers: A History of Yukon River Steam (Sono Nis $49.95) must surely rank as one of the most comprehensive studies of the remarkable Yukon River vessels and their vital services, as well as those who built and ran them. After 19 books, Turner understands the importance of B.C. and Yukon history to the general public and it’s a catalyst for his work. “Recently I did a talk on the E&N Railway for the Cowichan Valley Historical Society in Duncan,” said Turner in 2013, “and it was once again so rewarding to see the impact of my books at a personal level for people whose families and community histories are portrayed in the text or photos. I’ve met so many people whose parents or grandparents featured in my books.” 978-1-55039-242-5
U is for UBC
Library Students at UBC have created a digital archive called The Bud Osborn Collection to honour the work of Downtown Eastside activist and poet Bud Osborn who died in 2014 at age 66. The Osborn poems are accompanied by images by Richard Tetrault, and in collaboration with designers David Bircham and David Lester. There’s a UBC website and a short film about Osborn on this BCBookLook news site. UBC Library has simultaneously mounted a permanent exhibit to honour the life and work of George Woodcock, a project kickstarted by a fundraising campaign organized by B.C. BookWorld. [For the Osborne video, go to Home page and scroll down left column to BookLook videos. The UBC site is http://cdm15935.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15935coll70 ]
V is for Vegan
A vegan for ten years, Carla Kelly has followed Vegan Al Fresco: Happy & Healthy Recipes for Picnics, Barbecues & Outdoor Dining with True to your Roots: Vegan Recipes to Comfort and Nourish You (Arsenal $26.95), a collection that provides inventive ways to produce root vegetables—roots, tubers and rhizomes. Having cooked at hotels around the world, she has written two other titles along the way, Quick and Easy Bake Sale and Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking, and she operates a website called The Year of the Vegan. 9781551525327
W is for Whishaw
A former high school principal and a graduate of the Creative Writing Master’s program at UBC, Iona Whishaw has followed her much earlier children’s book, Henry and the Cow Problem, with a murder mystery, Dead in the Water (Friesen 2015). The heroine Lane Winslow is inspired by the author’s sophisticated and adventurous mother who was risk-taker. “She cut a swath through life that was completely independent,” Whishaw writes on her blog. “It was she who put my father through university, and bought our first houses. When we were children she hitchhiked to Alaska with interstate truckers because she was tired of waiting around for my father to come back from geology field trips, and in the same devil-may-care spirit drove me and our German shepherd all the way to Nicaragua to find him, long before the highway through Central America was even complete. She wrote books and spoke 6 languages, and went off to university to get 4 Master’s degrees after I grew up and left for university. And of course, there was that brief episode of spying during the war in South Africa where my father was a pilot for the RAF.” In a tiny community near Nelson, populated by older British émigrés from before WW I, a young British ex-secret service agent looks to put the war and England behind her, only to be arrested when a dead body is found in her creek. Burdened by the requirements of the Official Secrets Act, she is unable to clear herself. Whishaw’s grandfather was a spy in both World Wars. For UBC Creative Writing department head Linda Svendsen, author of Marine Life, has provided praise for the independently published novel: “Inspector Darling and Lane Winslow join the ranks of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane in this exquisitely written, psychologically deft postwar mystery. I couldn’t put it down.” 978-4602-5496-7 (-4 paperback)
X is for Xwisten
A Xwisten First Nation elder, Christine Jack is one of twelve indigenous elders whose lives are celebrated in Wisdom from our First Nations (Second Story $10.95) by Lyle Ernst and Kim Sigafus. Born in Lytton in 1967 as her mother’s tenth child, she overcame alcoholic parents and various family tragedies, including her mother’s death when Christine was eight, and was raised by her aunt and uncle in Lillooet. Overcoming alcohol and drugs, she became the first girl in her family to graduate from high school in 1985. Christine Jack has since worked to stop violence against women. 978-1-927583-55-5
Y is for Yekelchyk
As a UVic history professor in the Department of Germanic and Russian Studies, Serhy Yekelchyk examines the ‘politics of memory’ under Josef Stalin with analysis based on declassified information from eight Ukrainian and Russian archives. Stalin’s Empire of Memory: Russian-Ukrainian Relations in the Soviet Historical Imagination (UTP $29.95) uses the Ukrainian republic as a case study to explain intricate relations between the Kremlin, non-Russian intellectuals and their audience. 978-1-4426-2846-5
Z is for Zabliewicz
With a Ph.D from Berkeley, Denise Zabliewicz of the SFU Health Sciences faculty has chiefly examined issues of employment and mental health within the context of US welfare reform policy and a rapidly changing labor market. This research was motivated by her collaboration on the Welfare Client Longitudinal Study where she developed a passionate interest in reducing socio-economic inequalities and the mental health problems that are often over-represented among disadvantaged populations. With Kate Bassil, Zabliewicz co-edited Health Research Methods: A Canadian Perspective (Oxford University Press $79.95). 9780195447163