About The Authors & Illustrators

mrsfirth.jpg Marie Firth – Author

I was born in Stettler, Alberta in 1915, and have spent the last 92 years reading and writing.

I finally studied for, and received, my Author’s Certificate for Children’s Literature at the Institute for Children’s Literature in West Redding, Connecticut, U.S.A., at the age of 84.

I was brought up in Vancouver, and enjoyed a wonderful life that included swimming, hiking, and dancing, besides getting a good education. I graduated from Kitsilano High School, then Fairview Commercial School, after which I spent a year at the Academy of Fine Arts where I learned to sew a fine seam. Still, in the Dirty Thirties, no jobs were available, so I had to go to work for my father in his clothing store in Langley Prairie.

At the age of fourteen, I had met the man I would eventually marry. Ben and I moved to Cloverdale after a few years. Then we went to Langley, and on to Murrayville. After our three boys were married and left home, we moved up to Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast to retire. Nevertheless, Ben went to work as an accountant for several logging companies, and I went to work in a Men’s Wear Store.

Sadly, I lost my husband in 1979, so I ended up living in Abbotsford with my computer, and travelling to far distant climes and having a ball. I met some wonderful and interesting people on my travels and still correspond with a lot of them. In 2000, my eyes started to act up, and finally I had to stop using the computer and at times, even the typewriter.

After moving to Vernon to live with my son, I decided I would retire to Coldstream Meadows and that is where I got involved with Sharon MacKenzie and the Meadows School Project. I met so many wonderful kids, like the ones who worked so hard to put these little books together. Hope you enjoy them.

Author Marie Firth and Illustrators of The White Elephant: Jay Boehnke, Carly Alexander, Micah Tumlinson, Kim Wilson,Tamara Andronik, Brittany Jackson, Alexa Rysen, Lexus Shmyr, Jonathan Grant
white_elephant.jpg
‘The White Elephant’, was inspired by a White Elephant Sale at the retirement residence where things are discarded by one person to be happily taken by another. In this story, author Marie Firth touches on a most important message for all of us.  An elephant finds himself rejected in the world because of his colour, until he meets a young boy and his grandmother who see him and accept him for who he really is inside.  Illustrated by seven grade five and six students, they each draw Present in a slightly different way, and yet each of them captures who the elephant is deep down. A happy sequel ends this little story of acceptance for who you really are, and the four main characters live happily ever after!

marie__jenna.jpg Jenna Fraser – Illustrator

Jenna Fraser; that’s me. I blow out the candles every year on October 23rd, and I’m currently 17 years old. I did most of my growing up in Coldstream, BC with my mother, father, and younger sister. During October of 2002, I took part in the Coldstream Meadows Project. It was an unbelievable experience and I loved every moment of it – so much so that I took part in it many times after that with Sharon Mackenzie’s later classes. I had so much fun with the seniors. It’s almost impossible to explain why this project is so amazing. You really have to go through it to understand. It was in 2008 when I met Marie Firth at Coldstream Meadows. When I illustrated “Katie,” I had actually never talked to Marie personally, but later on I had the pleasure of meeting her and having a great conversation about how she wound up here in Coldstream. We had a lot more in common than I would have ever thought. She loves to draw, write stories and travel, just like me.

Drawing is one of my passions. It’s my way of expressing my emotions. When I’m not working at my desk drawing away, you can usually find me on my computer. I love HTML and webdesign. In the future, I’d love to be doing both of those. Which is why for many years, I’ve wanted to see myself doing computer animation later on down the road. It may take me while to get there, but the journey along the way will be half the fun.

origins_of_silk.jpg The Origin of Silk – Illustrated by Jenna Fraser

Here is a story of historical significance. From an unkind husband to the road to prosperity, a young woman and small brown insect change the history of a nation. Jenna, our most senior youth illustrator, brings detailed and sensitive interpretations to the words penned by elder author Marie. A book that can be discussed at many levels, it may have best appeal to an audience aged 7 to 14 years.

katie.jpg Katie – Illustrated by Jenna Fraser

A death, an accident, a fire and a modern day wicked step-mother all make for a captivating and heart warming story of self-determination. Katie, victimized by a situation of family, is portrayed by Jenna’s detailed and sensitive drawings. Jenna herself struggled to draw a figure in a wheelchair, not something she has been asked to do before. Her illustrations are remarkably empathetic in their plain pencil renditions. The story, by Senior Marie Firth, tells a tale that still plays out in modern day life. This book is suitable for children 10 to 14, as it deals with some tough subjects that growing up often tosses at our door unexpectedly.

mrsfirthandsean.jpg Sean McMahon – Illustrator

Sean McMahon was born in Vernon, BC in 1994. He attended Kidston Elementary School, where he became involved with the Meadows School Project in Grade 7 with Sharon MacKenzie. Sean is passionate about drawing, building, and playing his trumpet. His future career aspirations lie between animator, architect, and jazz musician.

the_visitors_from_quark.jpg The Visitors From Quark – Illustrated by Sean McMahon

This story flew out of author Marie Firth’s head just like the spaceship that whisked along to bring her comical and confused characters to Planet Earth. Can you imagine being from outer space, landing on Earth — totally not aware that it happens to be Hallowe’en? These Quarkians find themselves in some very humourous, and a few dangerous, situations as they trip through the trick-or-treating crowds. Do you think they won the costume contest at the community party? Sean McMahon’s own love of the humourous and unusual, has come through in his delightfully comic interpretation of the characters in black line drawings. It is hard to believe that just a line could convey so much expression… mmm, could Sean be one of them?

gods_go_on_strike.jpg The Gods Go On Strike – Illustrated by Sean McMahon

The rain falls, the lightning strikes and the thunder rumbles… but alas, it is just the Greek gods having a little bowling game in the Heavens. This story couched in metaphor, will delight audiences from 5 to 12 years of age. A wonderful starting point for a study of mythology, or for a simple puppet play, Author Firth has captured the Gods at their best. Sean’s clear line drawings create templates for the whimsical story line.

kiraandmrsfirthcolor.jpg Kira Urbas – Illustrator

I am 14 years old and I live in Coldstream BC. I go to school at Kalamalka Secondary and I am in grade 9. I enjoy many sports such as skateboarding, skiing, and mountain biking. I also enjoy school and of course I like to draw. I participated in The Meadows Project during grade six, 2006, and it influenced my life in many ways. It changed the way I treat seniors. Whenever I see a senior, I smile and say hello. I believe that The Meadows Project breaks the stereotypical block between young teens and seniors. I chose to illustrate this book because I know that its the little things like this, that make the seniors extremely happy and keeps us connected.

brenda_bear.jpg Brenda Bear – Illustrated by Kira Urbas

This is the tale of a young bear, sent off by her mother and her brothers to find her way on her own in the forest at winter’s onset.  She meets a sympathetic ant who gives her some good advice. That leads to the discovery of one more important friend, one who will change her fate in the snow threatened forest forever. Kira Urbas’ sensitive and detailed illustrations capture the soft spirit of Brenda, and her friends, in both the full colour and black and white edition.

illustrator.jpg Laurel Salé-Hook – Illustrator

I am 14 years old and am currently in grade 9 at W.L. Seaton Secondary School in Vernon, BC. I really enjoy writing short stories and have considered it as a future occupation for a while now. I play the flute, and music has been major part of my life. I have just finished my second season with the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan, playing music from the classical era. When I’m not doing either of these things I enjoy cross-country skiing and spending time with friends. I was not involved with the Meadows School Project, although that never kept me from recognizing the youth in everybody, even the ones within whom you don’t expect to find any.

little_lost_fairy.jpg The Little Lost Fairy – Illustrated by Laurel Sale-Hook

Have your plans ever not quite worked out the way you thought they would? Well, that is what happens to Crystal, the ‘wanna-be’ fairy. She slips into a series of surprising events that eventually lead her not only to her dream, but to a whole new set of friends. This fantasy, suitable for younger readers, shows that friends can help you not only confront your fears, but overcome them. And after all, friends are what dreams are made of, aren’t they? We all can conjure up visions of a fairy, but Laurel’s drawings capture Crystal’s sweet and delicate human nature.

marieanddevin.jpg Devin Prizmic – Illustrator

My name is Devin Prizmic. I live in Vernon, B.C. and I am 12 years old. I live with my mom, Alison and my dad, Ray. We have two cats – Mr. Magoo and Zipper. Zipper is playful, Magoo is not. Drawing is one of my favourite hobbies but I like sports just as much. I play baseball and hockey and I like them both equally. I did the Coldstream Meadows Project in both grades 5 and 6, once with Mrs. MacKenzie and once with Mrs.Helm. My experience with the seniors was unforgettable. Everyone should get this wonderful opportunity in their school career. This is the first story I have illustrated. It is a very tough job but I had a good time doing it. I owe some of the credit to my cats, because all the drawings of Mr. Cat were inspired by photographs I took of my cats, Magoo and Zipper!

mighty_mouse.jpg Mighty Mouse – Illustrated by Devin Prizmic

You may have heard of a school of fish, but have you ever heard of a school of mice? Every class has someone who is the smallest, and this is a story of how the smallest mouse turned out to have the bravest heart of all those in his school of mice. Irwin battles his size issue and a menacing cat to bring peace to himself, and to his classmates. A story structured for the young at heart, Devin’s illustrations capture wonderfully the treacherousness of Mr. Cat and the adventurous nature of tiny Irwin.

marieandscottstussi.jpg Scott Stussi – Illustrator

I am nine years old and live in Coldstream, B.C.  I go to Kidston Elementary School and am in grade four. I enjoy cross country skiing, drawing, writing stories and learning about countries and their histories. When I grow up, I’d like to be an author or an artist.

clarence_the_crow.jpg Clarence the Crow – Illustrated by Scott Stussi

What do birds like to do almost as much as fly? Well, eat of course. This story, delightfully illustrated by Scott, shares the adventures of two young crows, forced out of their family nests and on the hunt for food. One can only admire the birds’ resourcefulness as scavengers of our planet. A strong respect grows between these two ‘bounty hunters’ as they make their future together, and every young reader  will be looking at their recess snack through different eyes.

little_lost_duckling.jpg The Little Lost Duckling – Illustrator Scott Stussi

Scott delights us with his second round of illustrations for Marie’s stories. This story is a reminder to all pet owners out walking their animals, that wild animals can easily become victims of domestic animals. Two park visitors help a duckling separated from its family, seek refuge from a curious dog, and in the end, everyone is better off for the experience.  This is a primary reader story with a message for all ages.

nightowl.jpg Night Owl Copies and Prints – Publisher

2811 – 44th Avenue, Vernon, BC, V1T 7P4

Phone 250-558-0084

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