Five is a significant number in Canadian women's history, for it was the Famous Five in Alberta back in the late 1920s who fought tooth and nail all the way to the British Privy Council so that Canadian women could be considered persons. And so, on this International Women's Day, I want to celebrate using the number 5. As you know, I spend a lot of my time working with Atlantic Canadian books for children. Here are 5 + 5 + 5 contemporary creators of such books.
Kate Inglis: A promising new writer of enchanted realism for the 8-12 set, Inglis has one book The Dread Crew, with a second companion novel in the works.
Janet McNaughton: One of Canada's foremost writers of children's/YA fiction, McNaughton has written in multiple genres for mulitple ages.
Valerie Sherrard: Sherrard also writes for a broad age range. She has penned picture books, detective fiction and contemporary realism.
Darlene Ryan: Ryan has one book for babies under her belt and four titles of contemporary realism for young adults.
Budge Wilson: Prolific, canonical, literary, Wilson is the grand-dame of children's literature in Atlantic Canada.
Darka Erdelji: Erdelji is a Czech artist, set designer, puppet creator and illustrator who is now based in Saint John's, Newfoundland. Her illustrations for Andy Jones' adaptation of The Queen of Paradise's Garden are magnificent. To see a sample, watch the book trailer: here.
Hilda Rose: Hilda Rose is a Nova Scotia-based illustrator. The gallery on her website has many fine examples of her work.
Heidi Jardine Stoddart: Stoddart's regionally-themed picture books create nostalgia for the Maritime shoreline.
Susan Tooke: Nova Scotia-based Tooke is one of the most sought-after illustrators in the region. Her illustrations for numerous picture books demonstrate her wide artistic range.
Frances Wolfe: Wolfe's Where I Live won the Amelia-Frances Howard Gibbon award for illustration in 2002. She has written and illustrated two books since.
Karen Davidson: Davidson was the winner of the New Brunswick Born to Read manuscript contest in 2008. The resulting book, published by the Early Childhood Centre at The University of New Brunswick, is a collection of verses called Baby's Garden. A copy, along with several other books, is given by the provincial government to each child born in New Brunswick.
Shirley Downey: The pioneer of New Brunswick's Born to Read Program, Shirley Downey, is a poet in her own right with four fun and fabulous titles to her name.
Sheree Fitch: Poet and fiction writer, Fitch plays non-stop hopscotch with words. From 1987's Toes in My Nose through to 2010's Pluto's Ghost, her titles have been as varied as they are excellent. She is one of Canada best-known and best-loved writers for children.
Shauntay Grant: Grant is a spoken word performer, musician and poet from Halifax. Her two books for children are Up Home and The City Speaks in Drums.
Rita Joe: Rita Joe is known as the poet laureate of the Mi’kmaq nation. A collection of her poems suited to a younger audience, entitled For the Children, was published posthumously in 2008.
May you all find good words and pictures to keep you company on this International Women's Day.