Author Tags: Kidlit & Young Adult

Born in Manchester, England, Andrea Spalding trained as a teacher in England. She came to Canada in 1967 and formed the folk duo Brandywine with her husband David Spalding. Living in Edmonton with their three daughters, she was a folk singer, teacher, actor and storyteller. She broke into writing in 1984 when she won an Alberta Teleplay prize. "It all happened by accident," she said, in a 2000 Bookmark interview, "as I never intended writing. Actually I am dyslexic and so never wrote in school. It started when my husband and I used to travel in the car with our young kids. When they got bored I would tell them stories." Her husband recommended she record her stories, offering to help tidy up her spelling, etc. "To this day Dave corrects everything the computer cannot untangle."

Andrea Spalding's first children's book, The Most Beautiful Kite in the World, was published by Red Deer College Press in 1988, but it was preceded by Never a Dull Moment (Collins, 1984), with Peggy Holmes, and The Whistlers, Jasper National Park (Environment Canada, Parks), with David Spalding. After 24 years in Edmonton, the Spaldings relocated to Pender Island in 1990.

Written by Andrea Spalding, Solomon’s Tree, inspired by Tsimshian master carver Victor Reece and illustrated by Janet Wilson, was selected as the First Nations Communities Read book of the year.

Inspired by her Coast Salish heritage, Darlene Gait of Shawnigan Lake has illustrated Secret of the Dance (Orca $19.95), a collaboration between Pender Islanders Andrea Spalding and Judge Alfred Scow, Elder of the Kwakwa’wakw First Nation and member of the Order of Canada. For children aged 4 to 8, it recalls a forbidden potlatch held in Kingcome Inlet in 1935. In 1961, Alfred John Scow became the first Aboriginal in B.C. to graduate from UBC law school and was called to the bar the following year. In 1971, he became the first legally-trained Aboriginal in B.C. to become a provincial court judge, serving until 1994. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from UBC in 1997.


Secret of the Dance (Orca 2006) $19.95 1-55143-396-6

Bottled Sunshine. With illustrations by Ruth Ohi. (Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2005).

The Most Beautiful Kite in the World. With illustrations by Leslie Watts. (Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2003) $19.95 (ISBN 1-55041-716-9). - Childrenąs Book Centre recommended book. Originally Red Deer (College Press, 1988).

Solomon's Tree. With illustrations by Janet Wilson. (Orca, 2002) $19.95 (ISBN 1-55143-217-X) Nominated for Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for illustration - Childrenąs Book Centre recommended book - shortlisted for Christie Harris Illustration Prize (BC Book Prizes, 2003)

It's Raining, It's Pouring. Illustrations by Leslie Elizabeth Watts. (Orca, 2001) Hardcover $19.95 (ISBN 1-55143-186-6). Paperback $8.95 (ISBN 1-55143-229-3) Chocolate Lily Award nominee (BC) - Blue Spruce Book Award nominee (OLA) - Nominated for Little Sapling Award (River Oaks Library, Ontario)

Me and Mr Mah. Illustrations by Janet Wilson. (Orca, 1999) Hardcover $17.95. (ISBN 1-55143-168-8) Paperback $8.95 2001 (ISBN
1-55143-177-7) - IRA 2002 Teacherąs Choices List - BC 2000 Book Award
- CLA Honour Book, 1999 - Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award nominee for illustration

Sarah May and the New Red Dress. Illustrations by Janet Wilson. (Orca, 1998) Hardcover, $17.95. (ISBN 1-55143-117-3). Softcover $8.95. (ISBN 1-55143-119-X) (Children's picture book, set on the Gulf
Islands). - Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon award nomination for illustration
- Canadian Library Association Honour Book for 1998. - Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice - Short-listed for Ruth Schwartz award, Ontario Library Association - CBC This Morning Book Panel selection

Dance Baby Dance (Orca, 2009)


Phoebe and the Gypsy. Orca. 1999. 86pp. Illustrations by Sheena Lott.
Softcover. $5.95 (ISBN 1-55143-135-1) (Orca young reader, set in England) - Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice - nominee for CLA book of the year 1999 - OLA Best Bets Canadian Materials 1999


An Island of My Own (Dundurn, 2006)

Dance of the Stones (Orca, 2003) 1-55143-268-4

The Keeper and the Crows. Illustrations by Kirsti. Orca Book Publishers.
2000. 122pp. Paper $6.50. (ISBN 1-55143-141-6). - Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice - Short-listed for 2002 Rocky Mountain Book Award - Short-listed for 2002 Red Cedar Award

An Island of My Own. Beach Holme. 1998. 105pp. Cover by Janet Wilson.
Softcover. $8.95 (ISBN 0-88878-390-6) (YA novel set on BC west coast) - Short-listed for Silver Birch award. - Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice - Nominee for Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award for 2001 - Short-listed for 2000 Tiny TORGI (Talking Book of the year) award

Finders Keepers. Beach Holme. 1995. 144pp. Softcover. $8.95. (ISBN
0-88878-359-0). - Nominated for Sheila Egoff Award for Children's Literature;
- Nominated for the National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book
Award; - Nominated for the Ontario Library Association's Silver Birch Award.
- Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice "Outstanding"


Book Four: Behind the Sorcerer's Cloak. Orca. 2006. $9.95. 1-55143-627-2

Book Three: Heart of the Hill. Orca Book Publishers. 2005. 192 pp.
Softcover $9.95 (ISBN 1-55143-486-5).

Book Two: The Dance of the Stones. Orca Book Publishers. 2003. 174pp.
Softcover $9.95 (ISBN 1-55143-268-4).

Book One: The White Horse Talisman. Orca Book Publishers. 2001. 186pp.
Hardcover $15.95, (ISBN 1-55143-187-4). Softcover $8.95 (ISBN
1-55143-222-6). - Finalist and Honour Book for Silver Birch award. - Nominated for Diamond Willow Award (Sask. Young Readersą Choice) - Nominated for Hackmatack Award - Nominated for Manitoba Readerąs Choice Award

ADVENTURE NET SERIES: (juvenile novels co-written by Andrea and David Spalding)
This series features Canadian settings and internet research.

#3. The Disappearing Dinosaur. Whitecap Books. 128pp. 2002. Softcover,
$8.95. (ISBN 1-55285-311-X)

#2 The Silver Boulder. Whitecap Books. 143pp. 2000. Softcover, $8.95. (ISBN

#1 The Lost Sketch. Whitecap Books. 101pp. 1999. Softcover, $8.95. (ISBN
1-55110-989-1) (juv. novel with non-fiction content; Teacher's Guide
available) - BC 2000 Millennium Book Award - Short-listed for Silver Birch award. - Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice


The Pender Palate (Loon Books, 1992), with Georgina Montgomery. Softcover. $12.95. 0-9211189-02-0

The Flavours of Victoria (Orca Books, 1994), with David Spalding. Softcover, $9.95. 1-55143-014-2.

Seasonings: Flavours of the Southern Gulf Islands (Harbour, 2012) With David Spalding. $29.95 978-1-55017-569-1


BC Ferries and the Canadian West Coast (Altitude, 1996), with David Spalding, Georgina Montgomery and Lawrence Pitt. 1-55153-605-4

[BCBW 2012] "Kidlit"

An Island of My Own
Press Release

Fifteen-year-old Rowan, the daughter of foreign correspondents on assignment in Africa, finds herself beached for a summer with her cousins on a tiny island near Tofino, BC--a drastic change from the international hustle to which she has become accustomed. Desperate for a summer project and a chance to prove herself an intrepid researcher like her parents, she camps out on a neighbouring island to monitor the progress of an endangered group of sea otters, further threatened by the development plans of a real estate agent vying to buy the property for tourism. Making notes in her journal and documenting the habits and behaviour of the rare otters, Rowan makes the case for their safety and with the help of her relations, journalists and a committed marine biologist she leads the fight for their environmental protection. Before the summer is out Rowan has learned a valuable lesson about a precious gift and the importance of telling a story no one wants to hear.

5.25 X 8.25 Trade paperback 100 pp ISBN 0-88878-390-6 $8.95 CDN $5.95 US

The Silver Boulder (Whitecap $3.95) & The Keeper and the Crows (Orca $6.50)

Since relocating to Pender Island from Alberta, Andrea Spalding and David Spalding have quickly become the most prolific literary couple in B.C., working individually and as a team.

The Spaldings are releasing their second installment of an educational ‘adventure net’ series for ages 8 to 12, The Silver Boulder (Whitecap $3.95). While searching for silver around Kaslo, Rick and Willow Forster visit the ghost town of Sandon and the sternwheeler SS Moyie.

As well, Andrea Spalding has taken an idyllic stay in an Ontario cottage, the remains of the summer home of an eccentric millionaire (who built stone grottoes and secret chambers into local riverbanks), the myth of Pandora’s Box and the memory of a cheeky crow and let it percolate into a thriller for young readers, The Keeper and the Crows (Orca $6.50). Her heroine Misha discovers she is one of a line of caretakers of Pandora’s Box who can unlock the box each day to release a smidgen of Hope. Her Aunt Dora holds one key, but the other has been stolen by crows ruled by a mystical albino crow known as Old One.

Boulder 1-55285-160-2
Keeper 1-55143-141-6

[Louise Donnelly / BCBW 2000]

In Sarah May and the New Red Dress (Orca $17.95)

Mother wants a serviceable dress for Sarah. Father wants it to be cheap. And Sarah May wants it to be red. In Sarah May and the New Red Dress (Orca $17.95) Pender Island storyteller Andrea Spalding relates a young girl’s longing for self-expression.
The West Wind intervenes and begins the transformation of a dull blue dress, fitted with room to grow. A black cloud crosses the sun, rain falls and the colour runs from the hem. Mother bleaches the dress and sends her daughter to the store.
“Get a good strong colour to cover the streaky parts,” she says. And Sarah May chooses red. Janet Wilson, whose work graced In Flanders Fields, imbues her illustrations with Sarah May’s longing and joy. 1-55143-117-3


Me and Mr. Mah (Orca $17.95)

Ian’s parents have separated and now he lives 1,000 miles from his prairie farm with only a shoebox of trinkets to keep him company in the city. Then he discovers Mr. Mah, an old man next door with the garden jungle of gai lan and bok choy and sunflowers. Mr. Mah has his own memory box that he shares. Andrea Spalding’s Me and Mr. Mah (Orca $17.95) is illustrated by Janet Wilson, whose In Flanders Fields earned an IODE Award. They previously collaborated on Sarah May and the New Red Dress. Me and Mr. Mah by Andrea Spalding and Janet Wilson was a runner-up for the CLA’s Book of the Year Award for Children in 2000. 1-55143-168-8

[BCBW 1999]

Phoebe and the Gypsy (Orca, $5.95)

Andrea Spalding, who lives on Pender Island, returns to the English villages of her childhood for Phoebe and the Gypsy (Orca, $5.95). The story is based on Spalding’s memories of gypsy families who halted their caravans to sell clothes pegs, to sharpen tools and to read fortunes. Plagued by episodes of second sight, Phoebe comes to a new acceptance of her unusual ability after a chance encounter with a fortune teller. Geared to 8-11-year-old readers. 1-55143-135-1


Secret of the Dance (Orca $19.95)

Secret of the Dance (Orca $19.95) by Pender Islanders Andrea Spalding and Alfred Scow, and illustrated by Darlene Gait, is a finalist for the Aboriginal Children’s Book of the Year. It describes a forbidden potlatch at Kingcome Inlet in 1935 as witnessed by Alfred Scow when he was an eight-year-old boy. Now an elder of the Kwakwa’ka’wakw Nations, Scow is a retired judge who received the Order of Canada. Born in Alert Bay in 1927, Scow sailed with his family from Gilford Island to attend the potlatch as a memorial for his grandfather. It was especially dangerous for children to participate in such events because government officials were known to confiscate children found at illegal potlatches and remove them from their families. Told he couldn’t attend, Scow sneaked inside to watch his father dance. Alfred John Scow later became the first Aboriginal in B.C. to graduate from UBC law school and was called to the bar the following year. In 1971, he became the first Aboriginal legally-trained in B.C. to become a provincial court judge, serving until 1994. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from UBC in 1997. The anti-potlatch law was rescinded in 1951. With illustrations by Darlene Gait.


[BCBW 2006]

Seal Song by Andrea Spalding (Orca $19.95)
Review (2012)

from Louise Donnelly

Prolific storyteller andrea spalding grew up hearing seal stories as a child in Manchester, England. When she immigrated (first to Alberta then, 24 years later, onto Pender Island) she was pleased to learn they were just as popular on Canada’s coasts.

Spalding’s Seal Song weaves the Celtic folklore of selkies – shape-changing seals that can take on a human form – with West Coast fishing tradition. According to Anne Cameron, author of Selkie (1996), “Selkies or Sealkies or Silkies are capable of leaving their seal skins behind and walking on earth as women or men. They often live with or marry humans, and have children who are both human and not.”

In Spalding’s Seal Song, young Finn, with his soft spot for the seals, is caught taking a salmon. “You’re stealing fish to feed a seal?” roars his work-hardened father. “I forbid it.”

But the young seal, trapped in old netting and freed by Finn, is too weak to hunt and will die on her own. At dawn, Finn rows out in his skiff. The fish he catches revives the seal and by day’s end she’s bobbing in the sea. “You’re my best friend,” Finn cries, and that night the seals sing.
“No good comes from seal songs,” he father says, and he “slams the cabin door against the sound.”

The next morning a young woman appears with the surf-singing name of Sheila. “Seal folk,” whisper the fishermen, and Finn’s father snorts. “Watch,” says the oldest fisherman. “That child will never let salt water touch her skin. If it does, she must return to the sea.”
All summer, the salmon are plentiful, although Finn and his father were “always the luckiest.” Then a wild autumn storm blows in and Finn, alone in his skiff, is swept into a blinding darkness. Sheila rushes to the water, singing for her kin, her form already changing.

Morning finds her on the shore of a secret cove, nudging Finn’s sleeping body with her seal nose, and then she slips away. Finn and his father never speak of Sheila but, ever after, when they fish they always “tossed a salmon to the seal who swam beside them.”
The evocative illustrations in oil by award-winning Vancouver artist Pascal Milelli provide a moody, watery backdrop throughout the book.


— by Louise Donnelly

[BCBW 2012]

Publisher's Promo (2012)

As residents of Pender Island, authors Andrea and David Spalding take eating very seriously. They will be signing copies of their most recent cookbook, Seasonings: Flavours of the Southern Gulf Islands (Harbour Publishing, $29.95) at Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks (1740 W. 2 Avenue) on Tuesday, November 20 from 5pm to 6pm. Gulf Island snacks will be provided.

Seasonings highlights some of the very best food and drink that each season has to offer on the Pender, Salt Spring, Galiano, Mayne and Saturna Islands. With over 100 recipes ranging from multi-course meals, complete with wine pairings and tasting notes, to dishes calling for foraged ingredients such as nettles or wild mushrooms, this delightful book pays tribute the area's rich food and drink heritage.

On the Gulf Islands, community and food go hand in hand, and so it is only natural that this cookbook should include anecdotes about Islanders. Seasonings features characters such as Theresa Carle-Sanders (an online chef and brewer), David Rotsztain (a cheese artist), and activist Dan Jason, who challenges the world’s major petrochemical and pharmaceutical giants' promotion of monocultures, monopolies, patents and genetic modification by growing, selling and sharing heritage seeds. The book also pays tribute to the organizers of community gardens and food festivals, including the legendary Saturna Lamb BBQ.

From farmers’ markets to honesty stands to wine festivals and high-end resorts, food and drink are paramount on the southern Gulf Islands, and Seasonings provides a way to capture the abundance of it all.