Author Tags: Kidlit & Young Adult
Ever since she was three, Whistler-based teacher-librarian Sara Leach has spent part of every summer on an island in Georgia Strait. The island inspired Jake Reynolds: Chicken or Eagle (Orca $7.95) for ages 8-11. When eleven-year-old Jake isn’t dreaming of saving seal pups from the talons of bald eagles, or protecting his little sister Sierra, he wonders if he can confront a wolf that hears howling at night on Hidalgo Island. His friend Emily says he’s chicken, so Jake leads her into the woods in search of the wolf. 978-1-55469-145-6
Leach's second book, Mountain Machines (Poppy Productions 2009), is a playful look at the machines that manage a ski hill. It is a counting book for children aged two to six. Illustrated by California artist Steven Corvelo, each machine has it own personality and on every page Marty Marmot observes the antics. 978-0-9782818-1-6 $9.95
Her third title is Sounds of the Ferry (Poppy / Sandhill Distribution 2011), a picture book illustrated by Steven Corvelo. It explores the sights and sounds of a sea voyage on a BC Ferry. 978-0-9782818-2-3 $9.95
Sara Leach also wrote Count Me In (Orca Books, September 2011).
As a writer, Leach credits her Vicious Circle writing group in Whistler and its writer-in-residence program, where she worked with Paulette Bourgeois, creator of the Franklin the Turtle series.
Jake Reynolds: Chicken or Eagle (Orca $7.95)
Mountain Machines (Poppy Productions 2009)
Sounds of the Ferry (Poppy / Sandhill Distribution 2011). Illustrated by Steven Corvelo
Count Me In (Orca 2011). $9.95
Warm Up (Orca 2013) $9.95 9781459804289
Warm Up (Orca, $9.95), by Whistler-based teacher-librarian Sara Leach, also in the Limelights series, explores the equally competitive world of dance. Jasmine and her dance team, having squeaked into third place in the preliminary round, finally qualify for a spot in the finals. But that just sends Miss Carina, the gray-haired, tightly-coiffed founder of Moondance studio, into a tailspin.
All ribs and collar bone, right foot turned out in fourth position and tapping impatiently, Miss Carina tells the disbelieving girls she’s reworking the entire dance to better their chance of winning the Star Struck championship.
Jasmine suspects it’s less about what’s best for the team and more about Miss Carina trumping Miss Brandi and the InMotion studio. Rumour has it that years ago the two women once danced together and then a rivalry erupted that still consumes Miss Carina. Driving her dancers with daunting warm-ups and endless changes to the choreography, she appears blind to the mounting rivalries and distrust brewing between the girls.
For Jasmine, the joy—the “air filling her lungs”—goes out of dancing and she comes close to quitting. But, prodded by her Russian grandmother, Jasmine dares to reclaim that joy and, suddenly, winning the championship is a tantalizing possibility.
Other Limelights books include Big Time by Tom Ryan and Cut the Lights by Karen Krossing.
[by Louise Donnelly, who writes her column from Vernon]