Written by: Carmen Oliver
Illustrated by: Katy Dockrill
For ages: 4 years and up
Topics Covered: Environmental Activism, Historic Figure, Social-Emotional Growth, Shyness, Environmental Protection, Nature, Natural World.
Summary: This story is based on David Simon Jackson, a person who organized for the safety and preservation of a rare type of black bear called the spirit bear. It follows David through childhood when he first became interested in the safety and environmental security of bear habitats, to adulthood where he continues to work for his cause.
When Simon was a young boy, he was quite shy and teased by his classmates. He began to learn about bears and became very interested in their protection. Simon even started a lemonade stand to send the money to help preserve bear habitats! One day, Simon gathered his courage and gave a presentation at his school about spirit bears and inspired kids in his school to write to their government about the destruction of the spirit bear habitat! Simon started the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, and even got to meet Jane Goodall! He has work tirelessly and courageously by facing his fears in order to help spread the word about the disappearing spirit bear habitats.
In the back of the book is more information about the real Simon, some photos, and alive about what the reader can do to make a difference! I really like it when books based on real people have this additional information in the back, it helps to affirm the real human identity of the person rather than them being just an illustration. The book is part of the amazing CitizenKid series (we’ve profiled the Banana Leaf Ball book, but there are tons of other incredible stories in the series)!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Carmen Oliver is the author of picture books A Voice for the Spirit Bears: How One Boy Inspired Millions to Save a Rare Animal, a Junior Library Guild spring 2019 pick and Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies. She’s also the author of the forthcoming picture books Bears Make the Best Math Buddies (July 1, 2019), Bears Make the Best Writing Buddies(Spring 2020), Bears Make the Best Science Buddies (Fall 2020) and The Favio Chavez Story (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers).
She grew up in southern Manitoba, Canada, surrounded by lakes and prairie grasses. She built tree forts, caught tadpoles, sailed on homemade rafts and concocted mud pies and snow slushies. In high school, she anchored on the TV and radio station and wrote for the school newspaper, but eventually she entered a computer science program at college and began writing as a programmer analyst. In 2000, she married an amazing man and their three beautiful children became her new reading buddies. Inspired by parenthood, she cultivated new stories and nurtured them until they blossomed and produced fruit. Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies is her debut picture book. When she’s not writing, she loves gardening, cheering on her kids from the sidelines and blue-sky days. Carmen lives in Round Rock, TX with her family.
Canadian illustrator Katy Dockrill, is an honours graduate from OCAD. Using brush and ink and Photoshop, she creates art that is both playful and reflective. Some of her clients include NJ Monthly Magazine, Chudleigh’s Apple Farms, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, New Trail Magazine, CBC, Second Story Press and Toronto Life. She’s a nerdy, wordy, cat-loving aquaphile who’s inspired by her city within a city (Leslieville), her friends, and her family. When she isn’t drawing (or reading, lets be honest), she loves to find and fix things, drink coffee and take walks in the neighbourhood (which usually leads to finding things to fix.)