Books by Kathleen Cook Waldron




Twelve-year-old Ari's beloved grandfather has died, but he's left Ari an amazing gift: his unique log cabin and the unspoiled property around it. Tucked into a small lakeside community, the cabin and its land are full of secrets to discover. . . and very, very marketable. With the family's money troubles, the only option from his dad and aunt's point of view is to sell. While they arrange the sale, Ari sets about exploring everything his new property has to offer, discovering its hidden beaches, forest trails, locked doors — and even an extraordinary (and exasperating) new friend. This magical place offers him a home and a lasting connection to his grandfather, to a community, and to the land itself — if he can find a way to keep it.

The idea for Between Shadows began with our own access problems when we built our log home in central British Columbia. At one point I used Access Denied as the book's working title. Unlike Five Stars for Emily and Joseph, Master of Dreams, I had to build the framework for Between Shadows from the ground up. Learning to do that made my writing process even slower than usual. Over the past few years, I've probably spent more time with the book's protagonist Ari than with most of the 'real' people I know. The journey has been worth it, however, for me and I hope for my readers as well.

Between Shadows is a golden book, a jaunty little anthem to deep country and all the good it can do the heart. Waldron's writing is quick and mischievous, and as bright as a sun-smacked swimming hole.
    - Tim Wynne-Jones, award-winning author and children's writing instructor.
[This] story has underlying warmth in its themes of the importance of community, family, and preserving the wilderness, as well as a happy ending that's as bright as Gramps's rainbow-coloured cabin.
    - Cynthia O'Brien; Quill & Quire; March, 2015

Forestry A-ZFORESTRY A-Z. with Ann Walsh; photographs by Bob Warick; Orca Books; 2008

Have you ever wondered what can make a green forest turn rusty red? What a yarder or a timber cruiser is? Why midnight is often a millwright's busiest time? How plywood is made? What dozer boats are? Or how forestry has changed in the last century? These questions and dozens more are answered in Forestry A-Z, an informative and fascinating look at modern forestry.

Forestry A-Z is my first collaboration with another writer, Williams Lake author, Ann Walsh. She and I met countless times in person, by phone, and on-line in the course of doing this book, our first purely non-fiction project. While learning extensively about our own forest-based communities, Ann and I benefited from the advice of a broad range of extremely patient experts. I was able to draw from my own experiences as well: planting trees, working in a tree nursery, picking cones, clearing land, and building our own log home. My husband Mark had additional expertise in carpentry, logging, and timber cruising. He and I were also partners in a woodlot for many years.

Veteran B.C. authors Ann Walsh and Kathleen Cook Waldron, both long-time residents of lumber-based communities, present an alphabetical collection of forestry facts providing insight into this vital industry…The authors' choices of little-known and diverse facts keep readers interested…The authors show how the forestry industry affects many others, such as recreation and carpentry, and how forests figure prominently in the artistic heritage of First Nations people…Bob Warick spent a year taking photos of B.C. forests for this book, and the results are wonderful. We see pristine landscapes juxtaposed with huge equipment crunching through the forest and many people hard at work in all facets of the industry.
    - Quill & Quire

Roundup at the Palace
ROUNDUP AT THE PALACE, illustrations by Alan and Lea Daniel. Red Deer Press, 2006

Zack is looking forward to taking Buster the bull to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. As Zack and his dad sing their way along the road, Buster doesn't find his first trip away from the ranch much fun. When a snowfall turns into a blinding blizzard and Zack's dad must detour through downtown, Buster sees his chance to make his own hay. Thundering out of the truck, Buster gallops toward the nearest set of wide doors - straight into the lobby of the Brown Palace Hotel. There he confronts Alice, who helps her mother in the hotel gift shop. Now Zack must act quickly to save Alice and Buster from disaster.

Like A Wilderness Passover, Roundup at the Palace is filled with real-life connections for me. While the Passover book is a story of my life in Canada, Roundup came about through my ties to Colorado. Growing up in Denver, the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo, and Horse Show was an annual January event: the largest indoor show of its kind in North America, always associated with stormy weather. In Denver it's called "Stock Show weather." The Brown Palace is an elegant, historic hotel that has traditionally hosted the grand prize-winning steer in its lobby. Our son Levi's godmother, Alice Toppenberg, worked for many years in the hotel gift shop, where she earned the nickname Alice-at-the-Palace. Roundup at the Palace also has a Canadian connection. Local rancher Norman Granberg created the original design for the flawed stock trailer that allowed Buster the bull to escape in downtown Denver and make his panicky dash for safety through the wide, barn-like doors of the Brown Palace.

The story is that rare thing - a plausible, realistic tale in which the child protagonists solve the problem themselves. The action is beautifully shaped, with the two stories coming together, linked by music. The pace moves smoothly between motion and rest, and the tone, a delicate balance of almost-slapstick and genuine danger, is pitch-perfect. Waldron has fashioned a heart-stopping, fun, moving gem of a story.
    - Sarah Ellis, Quill & Quire, starred, feature review

Five Stars for EmilyFIVE STARS FOR EMILY, Orca Books, 2004

Emily is horrified when she learns that she will spend her holiday up north at an isolated cabin without indoor plumbing or electricity. When she and her aunt arrive, it is even worse than Emily imagined. The snow is deep. The work is hard. Aunt Hannah is bossy. And Blossom, the girl her age, wants her to play ice hockey on a nearby lake. Could this turn into the five-star holiday Emily dreamed of?

Emily was first published as a New Year's story in the 100 Mile Free Press Holiday Supplement. I then hoped to develop it into a picture book illustrated by a friend of mine in Clearwater. While we both put lots of time and energy into the project, it never happened. I then sent it to Maggie DeVries at Orca books who suggested making it into a novel for young readers. I kept the ending, but changed almost everything else. Emily is a lot like I was, a not very adventurous city girl lucky enough to be blown away by the wilderness.

The story flows smoothly with enough descriptions to challenge a young reader. Emily is a likable character because she is unafraid to express her feelings to the reader. We sympathize with Emily's dilemma and are thrilled to see her grow and come to terms with her situation. Young readers will enjoy being in Emily's "head", sharing her fears, her feelings and her doubts.
    - Resource Links, Rated E (excellent). Chosen as one of the best books of 2005

A Wilderness PassoverA WILDERNESS PASSOVER; illustrations by Leslie Gould; Red Deer Press; 1994

A Wilderness Passover is the story of a family spending its first holiday away from their family and friends.

A Wilderness Passover is my most autobiographical book. It's the story of moving far from family and friends, and what it's like to celebrate your first holiday away from home. There really is a Higgins family who tended sheep and a Millie who always offered a warm visit and a hot cup of tea. Although I never met the illustrator, Leslie Gould, until after the book came out, her illustration of Susan pouring the juice looks very much like my daughter Rosy. Leslie and I are both city-raised Jewish girls who came to experience the wilderness - she in Northern BC near Smithers, and I in Central BC, in the Cariboo.

[A] rare love and must story that effortlessly succeeds in capturing numerous dimensions of the Pesach spirit. . . Set in the mountains of Ruby Lake, Canada, it describes a family's first Seder "in the middle of nowhere." Realistically and sensitively written and illustrated with a keen eye to natural detail, A Wilderness Passover reflects a modern, communal interpretation of Elijah's ghostly seder visit. It's a superb, all Canadian addition to Pesach Kid Lit. Hip, hip, hurray!
    - Ottawa Jewish Bulletin


THE LOON LAKE BOOKS came about as a direct result of my move to Horse Lake in the fall of 1988. The following spring, shortly after the ice broke up on the lake, "Worms for Sale" signs started popping up along the road to town. There seemed to be a new one almost every day. That got me wondering about what would happen if worm selling were to get completely out of control. I changed Horse Lake to another local lake, Loon Lake, because I figured everyone could see the connection between lakes and loons, while the connection between lakes and horses is less clear. Loon Lake also suited the loony events in these stories. Loon Lake Fishing Derby is indeed, as one reviewer put it, my commentary on venture capitalism. Rough Day at Loon Lake came about after another children's writer, Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet, suggested I write about golf since I like sports and she didn't know of any golf books. Rough Day at Loon Lake isn't really about golf, though. It's based on the many happy hours I spent with my dad taking our various family dogs for runs on a golf course after the golfers had gone home.

Loon Lake Fishing Derby - a chilcren's book by Kathleen Cook WaldronLOON LAKE FISHING DERBY; illustrations by Dean Griffiths; Orca Books; 1999

When the sleepy town of Loon Lake holds a fishing derby, Wally goes into business selling worms. All goes well until his friends enter the bait business too. Now the town is crawling with worm sellers and flooded with fishermen demanding live bait. Chaos reigns: the clever fish eat their fill without taking one hook, the fishermen clamour for more bait, and Wally's friends dig up every garden in town to find worms. With all the townsfolk overheated by the mess in their yards, and every fisherman catchless and ready to blow, Wally decides to restore order before Loon Lake's first fishing derby becomes its last.

This is a delightful, but not moralizing, little book that children will surely enjoy. The idea of youthful entrepreneurship is a concept to which many children will relate. Certainly, numerous ideas and stories can be generated and developed from Wally's sally in venture capitalism. As well, the idea that the environment and friendships may be harmed in the competition for limited resources and market opportunities provides an interesting basis for discussions in both science and social studies.
    - Highly Recommended - CM Magazine.

Rough Day at Loon Lake - a children's book by Kathleen Cook WaldronROUGH DAY AT LOON LAKE; illustrations by Dean Griffiths; Orca Books; 2002

Wally, Robyn, Justin, and Nobu caused plenty of trouble in Loon Lake Fishing Derby. Now they are back, enticed by the inviting lake and sandy beach on the local green. When four imposing golfers arrive, Wally and the rest have some explaining to do. Will they find a way to turn events to their advantage?

An ingenious story, with the added fillip of outlaw behavior and some deliciously playful art.
    - Kirkus

Ivan and the All-StarsIVAN AND THE ALL-STARS, illustrations by Mark Thurman, Boardwalk Books, 1995

Ivan and the All-Stars is the story of a boy who has moved so many times that he decides that anything, including being a star, has to be easier than finding new friends.

After waiting eight years for my second book, I was pleased when Ivan and the All-Stars came out just one year after A Wilderness Passover. Ivan and the All-Stars is another story about moving, blended with the love I have for sports, in spite of never having been especially good at them. I chose the 'west side' of town because my father grew up on Denver's west side and my mother still lives there.

Mark Thurman's richly coloured illustrations reflect Ivan's changing moods through colour and perspective as well as facial expressions. Dealing with topical concerns like moving, friendship, and baseball, and written in short, lively sentences, Ivan and the All-Stars has a natural appeal for children in the early grades.
    - Quill & Quire

Cook Waldron's sympathetic portrayal of Ivan's situation will ring true with children struggling with adjustment to a new neighbourhood.
    - The Weekend (Vancouver) Sun; "Christmas Choices for Children"

JOSEPH, MASTER OF DREAMS, Roussan Publishers, 2000

A retelling of the Book of Genesis story of Joseph, son of Jacob. Spoiled by his father and envied by his brothers, Joseph the dreamer is forced to begin a harsh new life in Egypt. Poetic language and humour bring Joseph into perspective as he grapples with his changing roles under Pharaoh and the meaning of his dreams.

I began Joseph, Master of Dreams when asked by an illustrator who loved the story to write a text for her to illustrate. Joseph never worked for me as a picture book, but Roussan Publishers encouraged me to expand it into a chapter book for young readers. The added freedom of a longer format combined with my desire to tell an alternate, yet traditional and plausible, version of Joseph's story inspired me to do the necessary research to complete my first long project.

Eloquently written by Kathleen Cook Waldron, the story flows across the pages like poetry.
    - Montreal Review of Books; Spring & Summer, 2001

A WINTER'S YARN, illustrations by Deborah Turney-Zagwyn, Red Deer Press, 1986, 1987, 1989

A Winter's Yarn   Winter's Yarn

Where can you meet a kangaroo in jogging suit? A giraffe in a turtleneck? A hippopotamus in a hot tub? Ducks in mukluks?

The answer is really quite simple: at Sweet Tempest's special zoo on a lonely day in winter - that's where.

"What do animals do when it's cold at the zoo?" When a child sets out to learn the answer, he encounters an extraordinary zookeeper who promises a tour. And what a surprising tour it turns out to be, as she shows off the special ways she deals with her animals' icy toes and shivering shanks.

All who love illustrated books will enjoy the rich water colours bustling with delightful details evoking both the cold of winter and warmth of the heart.

First books are always special. They open the door to the world of publishing and offer a first glimpse into a complex world. A Winter's Yarn began in the British Columbia Interior in the small Cariboo community of Mahood Falls. Deborah Turney Zagwyn, the illustrator, and I learned about writing and illustrating while building our own log homes and raising our young families. A Winter's Yarn is the only book where I worked with the illustrator from beginning to end. I spent about ten months thinking about, researching (with no Internet or computer), and writing about what 'animals do when it's cold at the zoo.' After the book was finished, I received a letter from the Calgary Zoo telling how much of A Winter's Yarn was true! There are hot tubs for hippos and warm, cozy homes for monkeys!

A Winter's Yarn is a fun romp through a picturesque winter wonderland.
    - British Columbia Library Association Reporter

Sketch by Dean Griffiths
for Loon Lake Fishing Derby

My out-of-print books may still be ordered on-line from Amazon.



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