Polly Horvath of Metchosin is a National Book Award winner for The Canning Season, winner of a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for The Tolls, and a three-time recipient of the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Award for Everything on a Waffle in 2002, The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane in 2008 and My One Hundred Adventures in 2009. She has also received the Newbery Honor for Everything on A Waffle, the Mr. Christie Book Award and the CLA Young Adult Book Award. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for One Year in Coal Harbour (Groundwood Books), which later won the sixth annual Bolen Books Children's Book Prize [See Press Release below]

In her acceptance speech for the Bolen Prize, she recalled: 'I knew a writer years ago who was, as many of us are when we start out, really really poor. He didn't mind. No one chains you to your typewriter. But he missed egg rolls. He loved them. Couldn't afford them. Tough toenails. A couple of years passed and then it happened. He went to his mailbox and there was a letter from a publisher saying they wanted to publish his book. He floated out in a daze, drifted down the street until he stumbled into the first Chinese restaurant he could find. He said, eggs rolls! Keep them coming!

'Mother Theresa said none of us can do great things but all of us can do small things with great love. I think you're lucky if you get to do the small thing you love and you're luckier still if, in there, you get a few egg roll moments.'

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane is about two cousins who are sent to live with an aloof, scholarly uncle and his eccentric house staff following the deaths of the children's parents. Written from four different characters' perspectives, it has been described as "a moving meditation on loss and finding family in the most unlikely places."

Everything on a Waffle is a blend of life and food, with accompanying recipes. Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp has hair the colour of carrots in an apricot glaze and the recipe to prove it. Although Primrose never doubts the return of her lost-at-sea parents, she often seeks refuge with Miss Bowzer, dispenser of common sense and good advice and owner of 'The Girl on the Red Swing' restaurant.

The Pepins and Their Problems is a comic novel about a wacky Canadian family. The Vacation is an account of a wacky road trip taken by Henry and his quarrelsome aunts Magnolia and Pigg after his mother leaves the United States to be a missionary in Africa. The crabby aunts and Henry visit Virginia Beach, the Everglades and Oklahoma, encountering eccentric characters.

The promotional copy of Very Rich reads: "Ten-year-old Rupert Brown comes from an ordinary family. They live in a small house in the poorest section of Steelville, Ohio, and have little money or food. So when Rupert inadvertently finds himself spending Christmas at the house of Turgid River -- the richest boy in town -- he is blown away to discover a whole other world, including all the food he can eat and wonderful prizes that he wins when the family plays games, prizes he hopes to take home to his family so they can have Christmas presents for the very first time. But this windfall is short-lived when Rupert loses it all in one last game and goes home empty-handed. Each member of the Rivers family feels guilty about what happened and, unbeknownst to each other, tries to make it up to Rupert in their own unique way, taking him on one unlikely adventure after another."

Polly Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She went to college in Toronto and lived in New York and Montreal before settling on southern Vancouver Island with her husband Arnie Keller and their daughters, Emily and Rebecca. She began to write stories at age eight. 'I began wanting to do to nine books about a character, from childhood to 90s," she has told a reviewer. "The voice that came to me was that of a 91-year-old lady looking back on her life, and I'm intrigued by the idea of taking someone through a life.' My One Hundred Adventures (Groundwood, 2008) and Northward to the Moon (Groundwood, 2010) concern the same family of characters, so more volumes are expected.\

BOOKS:

An Occasional Cow
No More Cornflakes
The Happy Yellow Car
When the Circus Came to Town
The Trolls
Everything on a Waffle (Groundwood, 2001) 0-88899-442-7
The Canning Season
The Pepins and Their Problems (Groundwood, 2004). Illustrated by Marylin Hafner.
The Vacation (Groundwood, 2005)
The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane (Groundwood, 2007) 0-88899-851-1
My One Hundred Adventures (Groundwood, 2008)
Northward to the Moon (Groundwood, 2010)
One Year in Coal Harbour (Groundwood 2012)
The Night Garden (Penguin Random House 2017) $21.99 978-0-143198-64-2
Very Rich (Penguin Random House 2018) $19.95 978-0-1431986-11

[BCBW 2018] "Kidlit"