Posts Tagged ‘Canadian setting’

Introducing Judy Hilgemann, author/illustrator of The Great Grizzlies Go Home

Posted on July 9th, 2020 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts profiles author Judy Hilgemann.

Judy Hilgemann has always lived in coastal British Columbia. She grew up on northern Vancouver Island, studied and lived in various Canadian cities, then settled on Haida Gwaii. She paints in watercolour, acrylic, and encaustic.

The rugged west coast wilderness, the local character of coastal communities, and the details of the natural world, are her inspirations. Whenever possible, she creates plein-air watercolour paintings in nature, and then works up larger paintings from the studies, back in her studio.

Be sure to visit Judy Hilgemann’s website to view some of her illustrations, including murals for BC Children’s Hospital and for the Haida Gwaii Literacy Poster Project.

Follow Judy on Twitter @judyh615

Judy’s first illustrated children’s book, “B is for Basketball”, was published in the spring of 2011 and has since been used as a “Welcome To
Kindergarten” book across Canada
. Her latest book is “The Great Grizzlie Go Home”, a picture book about a true event, published by Harbour Publishing in April 2020.

The Great Grizzles Go Home is illustrated by Judy Hilgemann

Who do you think should read The Great Grizzlies Go Home? What are you most proud of? 

All ages! Am most proud of the illustrations.

The Great Grizzlies Go Home at Amazon.com

The Great Grizzlies Go Home at Amazon.ca

Was it difficult for you to get your first book published? What suggestions/words of encouragement do you have for aspiring authors/illustrators?

It was a bit difficult to get my first “trade” fiction publication. There are just so many great ideas and authors and illustrators out there – must be very hard for publishers to chose between them all. One of the encouraging things I was told, was not to give up too soon – that sometimes the book idea you are attempting is just not right for the publisher you approach. So keep trying many different publishers.

Thinking back to your own childhood, is there a particular author or illustrator who was a favorite? Why do you suppose that person’s work resonated with you?

During my childhood I loved Maurice Sendak picture books the most. I loved the magical realism, the way humans interacted with animals, and the zany imaginative characters.

When did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

When I was a very small child (6) I knew I wanted to be an artist. By the time I was 10 or 12 I was illustrating books for myself as I read them, making little sketches of the images that the stories put in my head. My parents encouraged me all along, as did my friends and teachers. When I was 15, I worked for a potter, as a studio-helper. One day I overheard her describing me as having “talent dripping from her fingertips”. I have never forgotten that phrase, and I have striven to honour this gift ever since.

If you weren’t an author/illustrator, what sort of work do you envision yourself doing? Have you had other careers or do you have another career now?

I have worked in many other jobs along the way, but drawing, painting, and illustrating have always been my main goal. Graphic Design was an obvious choice for first-year college, although I learned it was hard to find enough work in small northern places in that field. So I got a teaching degree which would allow me to work almost anywhere. Then life and family happened, and it’s been a wonderful blur and mix of all those things ever since.

If you could dine with any author/illustrator (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

I would choose to dine at the home of turn-of-the-century Swedish artist, Carl Larsson because I love his work, his mastery of composition, the way he incorporated his children into his paintings, and also because I would love to go to Sweden where I have ancestors to visit!

Canada’s Highway of Heroes – a picture book tribute by Kathy Stinson

Posted on November 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at Kathy Stinson's Highway of Heroes picture book.Highway of Heroes by Kathy Stinson
Picture book published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside



A solemn forward by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk affirms that Kathy Stinson’s Highway of Heroes is a fitting tribute to Canada’s fallen heroes and the route they travel from Canadian Forces Base Trenton to Toronto, Ontario.

Highway of Heroes is a fictional account of one young boy’s trip as he and his mom accompany his father’s remains from the CFB Trenton tarmac to the coroner’s office in Toronto. The boy is surprised to discover, All the people – on all the bridges – are there because of his dad. A hero.

Dramatic photos depict the journey of the convoy and the crowds standing and waiting to honour a fallen soldier.

While dealing with a solemn topic, the text encourages young readers to appreciate and echo the respect shown by Canadians who choose to go to the Highway of Heroes and and honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

32 pages, suitable for children aged five and up

Endnotes include The Story of the Highway, Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan, Ways to Honour Those Who Are Killed or Wounded In Service to Their Country.

Highway of Heroes Teachers’ Guide in PDF form

Highway of Heroes at Amazon.com

Highway of Heroes at Amazon.ca



Mystery in the Frozen Lands – A Refreshing Change from Fantasy

Posted on October 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts reads Mystery in the Frozen by Martyn GodfreyThis past weekend, my son’s teacher loaned me a copy of Mystery in the Frozen Lands by Martyn Godfrey. He has ordered a class set of the book and his grade 4/5 class will be reading it later this year. What a great choice! It was very refreshing to read historical fiction – I’ve been reading so much fantasy of late.

Mystery in the Frozen Lands is set in the mid 1900’s and is told from the perspective of a fourteen year old boy: Peter Griffin. Peter is anxious to learn what happened to his uncle, Sir John Franklin. Franklin departed England twelve years earlier, in search of the Northwest Passage. Neither he nor his crew of 128 men returned.

Quite apart from creating an captivating mystery with respect to Franklin’s disappearance, Mr. Godfrey tells of the terrible hardships endured on a voyage of this kind. While enjoying the very readable story, we learn a great deal about life as a ship’s boy and especially the cruel Arctic Winter.

Mystery in the Frozen Lands at Amazon.com

Mystery in the Frozen Lands at Amazon.ca

Recommended Chapter Books – What to Read After E.B. White and Roald Dahl

Posted on September 15th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


What to Read After E.B. White and Roald Dahl Chapter Book Suggestions for Preteens

When you’ve read all the best-known novels for preteens, here are some lesser-known recommended chapter books








I work with a grade three girl who is a very good reader. She has read almost all of Roald Dahl’s books (James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The B.F.G., etc.) and also E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. The question posed Wednesday was, “What shall I read next? What are your recommended chapter books for kids like me?”

Let’s take a look at some possibilities…

Tuck Everlasting
by Natalie Babbitt
A great pick for summertime reading, this adventure is set in the 1880s and tells the story of a family who has found a source of eternal life. Very difficult decisions lie ahead as one of the boys falls in love with Winnie. She must decide between eternal life with him and a life that will come to an end.

Tuck Everlasting at Amazon.com

Tuck Everlasting at Amazon.ca


Frindle (plus The Landry News, The Report Card)
by Andrew Clements
Nick has loads of ideas – he’s always trying to liven things up. His grade five teacher, known as The Lone Granger, is all business and unlikely to appreciate Nick’s antics. However, an early assignment to look up word definitions may just have potential: why not call a pen something else? How about using frindle instead?

Frindle at Amazon.com

Frindle at Amazon.ca


Owls in the Family
by Farley Mowat
I love this depiction of Mr. Mowat’s boyhood. He lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and had all manner of pets. His parents must have been amazing – imagine managing a household with a dog, gophers, snakes, owls and more. The chapter that describes the new minister’s tumultuous visit is one I will never forget.

Owl in the Family at Amazon.com

Owls in the Family at Amazon.ca


The Nose from Jupiter (plus A Nose for Adventure & Noses Are Red)
by Richard Scrimger
Leave your scepticism at the door and enjoy the fun. Poor Alan is a mess, there is something not quite right. His nose is stuffy, considerably stuffier than usual. Norbert, an alien from Jupiter, is an unexpected, uninvited guest in Alan’s nose.

The Nose from Jupiter at Amazon.com

The Nose from Jupiter at Amazon.ca


Canadian Flyer Adventures Time Travel Series for Grade Two

Posted on September 13th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts recommends the Canadian Flyer Adentures series including Beware, Pirates

The exciting Canadian Flyer Adventures time travel series for grade two has all the elements needed for success – action, adventure and fun. Generously illustrated, readers will be captivated while learning history






Canadian Flyer Adventures series written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Time Travel Series published by Owlkids Books



When young friends Emily and Matt climb a rickety spiral staircase, they discover an intriguing room filled with wonderful treasures. They are excited to imagine where and when each originated. When they sit on an old red Canadian Flyer sled, their time travel adventures begin.

In Book One of the Canadian Flyer Adventure series, they are transported to the Far North circa 1577. They find themselves aboard Martin Frobisher’s pirate ship and later help to rescue an Inuit man.

In Book Two, they face dangers during the time of dinosaurs.

Storytime Standouts recommends the Canadian Flyer Adentures series including Danger, DinorsaursI read and enjoyed both books. Likely intended for children who are reading at about a grade two to three level, the series is generously illustrated and quite exciting. Extra features include additional facts, an interview with the author and a preview of the next book in the series for grade two. It is great to see a series like this. The Canadian Flyer Adventure series will be enjoyed by young readers everywhere but will have a special appeal for Canadian children and those who gravitate toward history or time travel.

OwlKids Books’ Canadian Flyer Adventures website includes teacher resources and a map

Beware, Pirates! at Amazon.com

Danger, Dinosaurs! at Amazon.com

Beware, Pirates! at Amazon.ca

Danger, Dinosaurs! at Amazon.ca


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