YOUNG, Beryl




Author Tags: Kidlit & Young Adult

In 1995, Beryl Young won the People's Poem Award in the Milton Acorn People's Poetry Letter. That year she was also writer-in-residence at Wallace Stegner House in Saskatchewan. In 1997 she held the same position at the Wurlitzer Foundation for the Arts in New Mexico. She has produced recordings for children including "Lullabies and Laughter with the Lullaby Lady" which received a Gold Record in 1998.

Beryl Young’s debut young adult novel Wishing Star Summer (Raincoast $9.95), published on the fifteenth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, explores the intricacies of friendship. When Tanya arrives in Vancouver from Belarus, with sores on her face from exposure to Chernobyl radiation and speaking only two words of English – “no” and “toilet,” she’s not the summer exchange student 11-year-old Jillian expected. Or wants.

Beryl Young's father never told his daughter about his past as a 'Home Child,' one of nearly 100,000 children who were sent to Canada as indentured labourers between 1870 and 1938, until Beryl Young discovered the story when she was twenty during a visit to England. Decades later she has written a tribute to his life, Charlie: A Home Child's Life in Canada (Key Porter $19.95). Her father Charlie Harvey was one of seven children whose English shopkeeper father died of pneumonia in 1910. First sent to live at Leopold House in London, one of several homes founded by Dr. Thomas Barnardo as a safe haven for destitute children, he was sent to Canada to work as a child labourer on an Ontario farm in 1911 at age twelve. He fought in World War I for Canada, was wounded at the Somme, became an RCMP officer and escorted Queen Elizabeth on her first visit to Canada.

Beryl Young's third book, Follow the Elephant, describes the challenges of a thirteen-year-old boy travelling with his Grandmother through India. The adventure teaches the boy how to deal with the recent death of his father.

In Beryl Young’s picture book Would Someone Please Answer the Parrot! (Peanut Butter 2013) a family receives a talking parrot named Guapo who drives the household up the wall with his antics—imitating absolutely everything, even the microwave—seemingly generating confusion on purpose. Guapo can perfectly imitate the sound of a ringing telephone, for example, hence the title. The family ultimately welcomes their unruly pet as an asset when it turns out only Guapo can vanquish an even more objectionable presence, the nasty and miserable Auntie Pattie, an unwanted annual visitor. Illustrations for this whimsical and slightly audacious story are by Jason Doll.

CITY/TOWN: Vancouver

DATE OF BIRTH: November 8 1934

PLACE OF BIRTH: Canada

AWARDS: Wishing Star Summer is a CCBC Recommended Book and was nominated for the B.C. Chocolate Lily Award, 2003, the B.C. Red Cedar Award 2003-4 and Saskatchewan's Diamond Willow Award 2004

BOOKS:

Wishing Star Summer (Raincoast 2001). 1-55192-450-1

Charlie: A Home Child's Life in Canada (Key Porter 2009) $19.95 978-1-55470-200-8

Follow the Elephant (Ronsdale Press 2010) 978-1-55380-098-9 $10.95

Would Someone Please Answer the Parrot! (Peanut Butter Press 2013) Illustrated by Jason Doll 978-1-927735-00-8 $19.95

[BCBW 2013] "Kidlit"