Local Author Book Review

We have a stunning new book in our Learning Commons, written by Karen Autio, a local Kelowna author, and illustrated by Loraine Kemp.

GROWING UP IN WILD HORSE CANYON explores Okanagan history by focusing on Wild Horse Canyon in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park (south of Kelowna, BC) and its vicinity. This narrative nonfiction picture book, with illustrations by Loraine Kemp, includes natural and social history.

In a hidden Okanagan canyon, a ponderosa pine tree sprouts and begins to grow. Seasons pass and the tree’s growth becomes a measure of human history in the Okanagan Valley, from First Nations quests to fur brigades, horse wrangling, secret wartime commando training, and the firestorm of 2003.

Richly illuminated by realistic paintings, maps, and historical images and informed by a timeline, historical notes, and index, this fascinating book interweaves First Nations history with European settlement and the natural history of animals and plants. While broad in its scope, the story is intensely personal, following the thread of one tree growing in one sheltered and sacred space. This book is a unique approach to history that will delight readers of all ages.

Karen has a Teacher’s Guide for GROWING UP IN WILD HORSE CANYON  available on her website. Read one teacher’s review of how she used the book and guide with her students here.

Karen Autio

Karen Autio has long been intrigued by Wild Horse Canyon. The tales of syilx/Okanagan people trapping wild horses there piqued her interest. She started researching the history of the canyon and got hooked on exploring what had happened in the area over the past few centuries. When Karen imagined a ponderosa pine living in the canyon for more than two centuries, this book began to take shape. To learn more about Karen’s other books for young readers, visit www.karenautio.com

Loraine Kemp

Loraine Kemp has loved being an artist since she was barely old enough to hold a pencil. Living in the Okanagan Valley all her life and observing her equine friends have given Loraine an edge for creating realistic renderings her beloved home environment and its inhabitants. To learn more about Loraine’s artwork and writing, visit www.lorainekemp.com.       (CRWTH Press)

Check out these other titles by Karen in our Learning Commons:

Young sea otter Kah-Lan is hungry. He is sure there are big crabs near the point, but his mother won’t let him out of her sight. One day, he sees his chance. Soon he and his friend Yamka are swimming around the point—right into danger! Will they ever make it back home?

SECOND WATCH Book 1 – Trilogy – Historical Fiction for Ages 8–13
Inspired by a Finnish silver spoon and the 1914 wreck of the Canadian Pacific steamship Empress of Ireland—Canada’s Titanic

SAARA’S PASSAGE Book 2 – After surviving one of the worst marine disasters in Canadian history, Saara Mäki still feels a little at sea. As the First World War looms, tuberculosis strikes her family, and Saara’s next passage takes her into entirely unfamiliar waters.

SABOTAGE Book 3 – German spies? Sabotage plots? Innocent people interned in camps? SABOTAGE is an adventure tale based on real espionage, sabotage, and paranoia in Canada during the Great War, a tale cleverly told in Saara’s and John’s alternating points of view.