Writer Caroline Woodward returns to the Kootenays for a reading tour in May, with a pocketful of accolades for her adult novel, Penny Loves Wade, Wade Loves Penny (Oolichan Books) and a fistful of award nominations for her children’s book, Singing Away the Dark (Simply Read Books).
Both books celebrate the humour, ingenuity, struggles and sheer doggedness of rural people, from little kids to grown-ups.
Woodward uses classical myths and fears, from Homer’s Odyssey of the long trip away from home, to the child who walks one long mile through the dark morning to catch the school bus.
“The genre-crossing of classical myth with a contemporary love story…is larger than life,” says the Malahat Review of Penny Loves Wade, who goes on to say that “and in Woodward’s hands, any exaggeration simply gives the story a playful edge.”
The Vancouver Sun calls the story of the long-married Peace River ranchers, Penny and Wade, “delectable and gripping.”
The story of Wade’s long-haul truck journey around B.C. and her trials keeping the home fires burning and the bills paid, immediately hit the B.C. bestseller list and became a book club favourite around the province.
Singing Away the Dark, illustrated by Julie Morstad, is the story of a six-year-old girl singing her heart out as she walks the long mile to the school bus.
It’s just been shortlisted for two awards: the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award in Ontario for picture books and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for Best Illustrator by the Canadian Library Association.
“Beautiful on both a visual and a literary level, Morstad and Woodward are a match made in heaven,” says the School Library Journal Review. “If you’re looking for going-to-school books outside of the usual fare, that also happen to be easy on the eyes, this is one of the finer offerings out there. A real treat and a great little title. Well worth discovering.”
The Manitoba Library Association Magazine CM says, “Woodward’s poetic story provides readers, young and old, with a celebration of language through a little girl who finds consolation in the power of song.”
Her previous books include A Blue Fable, Disturbing the Peace, Alaska Highway Two-Step, and Work is a 4-Letter Word, and her short stories have been published in dozens of anthologies.
On Thursday, May 19, she will be at the Grand Forks Public Library with a reading from her children’s book at 1 p.m. Caroline Woodward’s tour is sponsored by the Kootenay Library Federation, the individual libraries, Oolichan Books and Simply Read Books.