Born in 1947, Julie Lawson has emerged as one of Canada's best children's authors, having published more than twenty books for young people. Born and raised in Victoria, B.C., she spent 18 years as an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time author in 1991. Her first novel, White Jade Tiger, won the Sheila Egoff Award in 1994, and over the years she has garnered awards and nominations, critical acclaim, and much recognition.

The subjects of her books range from cougars, ghosts and Chinese dragons, to fishing adventures and tongue-twisting pirates. Her interest in the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway is evident not only in White Jade Tiger, but also in her picture book, Emma and the Silk Train and her novel, A Ribbon of Shining Steel. Her Goldstone Trilogy is based on the worst disaster in CPR history - the 1910 avalanche at B.C.'s Rogers Pass. The Halifax Explosion of 1917 is the backdrop for an orphaned girl's diary in No Safe Harbour.

White Jade Tiger (Beach Holme, 1993), based on actual events in the Fraser Canyon during the building of the CPR, describes the experiences of Chinese workers as its 13-year-old heroine Jasmine time-travels to Victoria's Chinatown of the 1880s. She befriends 16-year-old Keung and travels to the Fraser Canyon where they search for his missing father as well as a jade amulet from ancient times. Only when this jade amulet is recovered and returned to China will a curse be lifted on Keung's family. The spirit of Bright Jade appears to Jasmine in dreams and ultimately Jasmine is able to come to a clearer understanding of her own family.

For Lawson's story The Dragon's Tale, she travelled on the Yellow River to remote Buddhist caves at Bilingsi and climbed the summit of Taishan, one of China's five sacred mountains. Emma and the Silk Train is based upon the derailment of a train east of Vancouver in 1927 when some of its cargo of Oriental silk fell into the Fraser River. Lawson incorporated Native myths in The Sand Sifter and used Chinese, Greek and Native myths in My Grandfather Loved the Stars. She wrote her 20th book, Destination Gold, while writer-in-residence at the (Pierre) Berton House Writers Retreat in Dawson City, Yukon. In Ghosts of the Titanic (Scholastic, 2011) a family travels to Halifax after inheriting a house from a mystery man, and a ghost from the ill-fated ship starts haunting a young son's dreams after he discovers 1911 artifacts inside the house's walls.

Lawson divides her time between writing at home and visiting schools and libraries. She has spoken to Roundtable groups, toured for Canadian Children's Book Week, conducted writing workshops, taught university courses on writing children's literature, and been a presenter at conferences for adults and children across North America. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling the world by train or container ship, hiking, spending time with friends, and curling up with a good book. She lives in Victoria, B.C. with her husband, Patrick.

BOOKS:

Ghosts of the Titanic (Scholastic, 2011) 978-1-4431-0041-0 $8.99
Our Canadian Girl: Emily (Puffin 2010)
Where the River Takes Me: The Hudson's Bay Company Diary of Jenna Sinclair (Scholastic, 2008)
The Pirates of Captain McKee (Scholastic, 2008. Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman) $6.99 978-0-545-99766-9
No Safe Harbour: The Halifax Explosion Diary of Charlotte Blackburn, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1917 (Scholastic, 2006)
Our Canadian Girl: Emily, Summer of Gold (Penguin, 2004)
A Ribbon of Shining Steel: The Railway Diary of Kate Cameron (Scholastic, 2002). 'Dear Canada' Series.
Across the James Bay Bridge (Penguin, Our Canadian Girl series, 2001)
Destination Gold! (Orca, 2000)
The Ghost of Avalanche Mountain (Stoddart, 2000) Part Three of the Goldstone Trilogy
Bear on the Train (Kids Can, 1999. Illustrated by Brian Deines)
Midnight in the Mountains (Orca, 1998. Illustrated by Sheena Lott)
In Like a Lion (Scholastic, 1998. Illustrated by Yolaine Lefebvre)
Turns on a Dime (Stoddart, 1998)
Goldstone (Stoddart, 1997)
Emma and the Silk Train (Kids Can Press, 1997. Illustrated by Paul Mombourquette)
Whatever You Do, Don't Go Near That Canoe! (Scholastic, 1996. Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman)
Too Many Suns (Stoddart, 1996. Illustrated by Martin Springett)
Cougar Cove (Orca 1994)
Blown Away (Red Deer College Press, 1995, Illustrated by Kathryn Naylor)
Fires Burning (Stoddart, 1995; Little, Brown in the U.S. 1996 as Danger Game)
White Jade Tiger (Beach Holme, 1993; Dundurn 2006).
The Dragon's Pearl (Oxford University Press, 1992; published in the U.S. by Clarion Press, 1993, Illustrated by Paul Morin)
Kate's Castle (Oxford University Press, 1992, Illustrated by Frances Tyrrell)
My Grandfather Loved the Stars (Beach Holme, 1992, Illustrated by Judy McLaren)
A Morning to Polish and Keep (Red Deer College Press, 1992, Illustrated by Sheena Lott)
The Sand Sifter (Beach Holme, 1990)

AWARDS:

The Pirates of Captain McKee (Scholastic, 2008. Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman)
*Governor's General Award Nominee

Midnight in the Mountains (Orca, 1998. Illustrated by Sheena Lott)
*Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, Shortlist, 1999

Turns on a Dime (Stoddart, 1998)
*National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award, Shortlist, 1999

Goldstone (Stoddart, 1997)
*CNIB Torgi Award, Shortlist, 1999
*Regional Winner and Finalist, Silver Birch Award, 1998

Emma and the Silk Train (Kids Can Press, 1997. Illustrated by Paul Mombourquette)
*International Reading Association Teachers' Choice, 1999
*Sheila A. Egoff Award, Shortlist, 1998
*Junior Library Guild Selection, 1998

Whatever You Do, Don't Go Near That Canoe! (Scholastic, 1996. Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman)
*Winner of the CNIB's Tiny Torgi Award, 1997
*International Youth Library White Ravens Notable, 1997
*Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, Shortlist, 1997
*Runner-up for the Governor-General's Award for Illustrations, 1996

Cougar Cove (Orca, 1996)
*Regional Winner and Finalist for the Ontario Silver Birch Award, 1997

Fires Burning (Stoddart, 1995; Little, Brown in the U.S. 1996 as Danger Game )
*Shortlisted for the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, 1998
*Shortlisted for the ALA Best Books for Young Adults list, 1996

White Jade Tiger (Beach Holme, 1993)
*Winner of the Sheila A. Egoff Award, 1994
*Shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award
*Shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Award
*CLA Fiction Notable

The Dragon's Pearl (Oxford University Press, 1992; published in the U.S. by Clarion Press, 1993, Illustrated by Paul Morin)
*Short-listed for the Ruth Schwartz Award and the CLA Book of the Year Award
*Winner of the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for illustrations.
*U.S. 1993 NAPPA Award for Folklore (National Parenting Publications Award)

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2010] "Kidlit"