Time to continue on our cross-country road trip!!! Get out the chips and pop, and keep the donuts coming.
We've made it over the Rockies to the prairies: beautiful skies as far as the eye can see, wheat fields stretching on and on and on... What DO Albertans do on those long winter nights? Apparently write, because there are lots of great authors in this province. But I've had to narrow it down to just three:
Monica Hughes wasn't born in Canada, but we're proud to have lured her in. After doing things like, oh, CRACKING CODES during WW II, she ended up living in good ol' Alberta. Although she was almost fifty when her first book was published, she ended up writing over 35 books and became known as one of Canada's best writers of science fiction for children and young adults.
Invitation to the Game is a dystopian novel set on Earth in the year 2154. Lisse and her friends struggle to survive until they are chosen to partipate in 'the Game', a virtual reality surival experience which leaves them unsure of the line between real life and fantasy. The Story Box is set on the island of Ariban, where imagination is forbidden. Then Colin discovers a young woman from a different land, who holds a beautiful chest in her hands she calls 'the story box'. And in her last book, The Maze, Andrea and two of her 'girl gang' tormentors are magically placed in a maze, where they all depend on Andrea for rescue.
But The Isis Trilogy is maybe her most well known work. In The Keeper of the Isis Light, Olwen Pendennis lives on the planet Isis, with Guardian as her only companion after her settler parents die. When colonists from an overpopulated and polluted Earth come to live in the valleys, Olwen fears her world will be changed forever. The Guardian of Isis takes place decades later, after the settlers have replaced their technological knowledge with myth. When a natural disaster threatens the colony, the overly-curious Jody N'Kumo goes searching for the truth. And finally, in The Isis Pedlar, Moira's father Michael Joseph Flynn brings great new stuff to Isis, like his magic firestone, delicious ambrosia, and mysterious Forever Machine. Only Moira knows what a charlatan he really is, and it's up to her to expose him before it's too late!
David A. Poulsen has been a broadcaster, teacher, football coach, actor, and of course, writer. But his coolest and most Albertan activity is - rodeo announcer! Last year, when he wasn't at rodeos, he was busy being Writer in Residence at the Chinook Arch Library System in southern Alberta.
David Poulsen's first work was the award winning short story The Welcomin’. He's written twenty books since. You could check out Last Sam's Cage, in which Eddie runs away from his abusive stepfather to live at the Calgary zoo. He's also written lots of 'jock' stories, like Wild Thing, Blind Date, and Cowboy Cool, set (mostly) in Lawrence 'Jock Joint' High . And in Numbers, misfit Andy Crocket finds out his cool Social teacher Mr. Retzlaff is giving his class a skewed look at history, especially WW II.
His latest, Old Man, is about a road trip (ha! see how that ties in?) involving 16- year-old Casey and his 'old man' - NEVER 'dad', since he left when Casey was five. Casey has plans for the summer: get fit, get some money, and get the girl. But when the 'old man' calls unexpectedly, he's forced into giving up all his plans, to go who knows where, for who knows what reason, with this dude that he doesn't know at all. Not to give anything away, but they end up in Vietnam, hoofing it through the jungle. Casey has an ironic sense of humour which makes his first-person account really enjoyable.
Martine Leavitt was born in Alberta, went to the University of Calgary, and raised her seven children (whew!) here. She still lives here when she's not working a the University of Vermont. She writes contemporary and fantasy novels.
You'll find her first three novels, Dragon's Tapestry, Prism Moon, and The Taker's Key - aka the Marmawell Trilogy - under the name of her 'alter ego', Martine Bates. Many of her books are award winners, like Keturah and Lord Death, Tom Finder - which is set in Calgary - and Heck Superhero.
My book of life by Angel is her latest book. There are a few reasons why it's of special interest. First, it's a 'novel in verse'. If that worries you, don't let it. It's a quick read, but the story and writing are still amazing. And you think 'poems' are all about daffodils and kittens? Think again! This one is about a 16-year-old drug-addicted prostitute living with her pimp, 'Call', in downtown Vancouver (yes, we've gone back over the Rockies, but it's all still Canada, right?) When Call brings home a 13-year-old girl, Angel knows she has to do something to get her out of there, especially since there are rumours of a serial killer preying on the 'girls.' This story tells it like it is, without any preachy 'after school special' moments. The Canadian Library Association just named this their winner for the Young Adult Book Award for 2013!
Well, that should give you lots of stuff to read, when you're not checking out the Badlands or hitting the Stampede. Next stop - Saskatchewan!