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-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, 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 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 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