Touring In: Prince Edward Island
Genre: picture books
Ideal Audience Size: 30-90
Maximum Audience Size: 250
Grades: Kindergarten-Grade 5
Special Equipment: Computer and projector.
Kindergarten to Grade 7: Author/Illustrator Presentation (60-90 minutes)
Caroll gives an interesting and detailed background to her stories and illustrations using cameos inserted within photos throughout her introduction. This unique method describes where she lives, and explains how she became a writer/illustrator. She also talks about her closest neighbors, the Tatchet People, who live 10km away. Using a photo tour of Old Fort Village on Babine Lake, BC, she brings her audience into an authentic long house with the smell of smoked salmon and FN music. Caroll describes to the children the exciting world of special regalia, dancing, and feasting on traditional foods that comprise the celebration of the salmon harvest.
When the winter turns bitter cold and the ice is three feet thick Caroll travels south following the migration of the Gray Whales. During a chance encounter with a mother whale and her newborn baby, Caroll was enchanted. Striving to learn all she could about this 19,000km migration of the gray whale a new story was envisioned. By this time, the audience is excited and ready for an animated reading of Whale Child.
After the tale is told, Caroll dives into the glossary of Whale Child. Describing the astonishing creatures of the Pacific Ocean, she captivates her audience. Taking time to answer questions, inspired by this comprehensive introduction to the Pacific West Coast, the children leave with a new understanding of the amazing world we live in.
Grades 3 to 5: Drama Production (120 minutes)
This program is presented in two parts:
Part one is a drama workshop of 1 hour and 30 minutes. This lively and exhilarating class gives the children an opportunity to participate in the reading of Caroll’s book. First, meeting with a class of 20-25 students, she gives a quick read of the story and casts the characters from the book. Directing the students by using a written blocking system, (a predetermined location of actors on stage and the plan of their relative movement during the story), the next 30 minutes fly by as the children participate and learn their parts. This teaches the students how to pantomime a story as it is read.
Part two is a drama presentation of 30 minutes starting with the exciting re-enactment of Caroll’s book by the students. In front of their schoolmates, the students act out the story while it is read. It is Caroll’s belief that every child has an important part to play. There is no single star but a galaxy of stars. As a finale, Caroll reads the glossary of the book and introduces the actors who played the part. This gives an interesting angle to the understanding and comprehension of an often neglected part of a book… the glossary.
Grades 8 to Adult: Children’s Book Workshop for Illustrators and Writers (60 minutes)
This informative workshop gives an overview of how to write and illustrate children’s books and Caroll’s method of composition. Starting with all the different levels of books for young people, Caroll explains how important it is to create for the appropriate audience. The workshop also integrates the many facets of production. Covering the vocations within the publishing world Caroll explains how the author and illustrator are just spokes in the wheel. The class also describes different ways of getting published.
Whale Child (Heritage House Publishing, 2016)
The Brothers of the Wolf (Heritage House Publishing, 2014)
The Salmon Twins (Heritage House Publishing, 2012)
The First Mosquito (Heritage House Publishing, 2010)
The First Beaver (Heritage House Publishing, 2008)
After 20 years of teaching elementary students about the culture of the NW Coast First Nations People, author and illustrator Caroll Simpson retired to operate a remote fishing lodge with her husband Helmut, on Babine Lake in the northern interior of British Columbia. Her closest neighbours are the Tatchet People who live 10 km away. The Tatchet have resided in the area for generations, harvesting moose in the spring and salmon in the fall, with the salmon passing right by Caroll’s Ookpik Wilderness Lodge. Remarkably, these salmon have travelled 450 km. from the Pacific Ocean to spawn in the Morrison River nearby, and they provide the inspiration for her book The Salmon Twins, published in 2012. At this wild and lovely location Caroll’s lifelong interest in native art and history has flourished. In the off season she writes and illustrates books for children that celebrate the legends and art of the Canadian Northwest Coast First Nations People.
There are no roads to Ookpik Wilderness Lodge. The only access is twenty-five kilometers by boat or floatplane in the summer, or snowshoes in the winter. Fly fishermen bring their families and join Caroll and Helmut on this remote lake, to experience the wildlife viewing and fantastic fishing. In the spring and early summer they are greeted by millions of mosquitoes that are welcomed by the hungry trout who have waited all winter long, to feast on them. Caroll celebrates their prominence in The First Mosquito, published in 2010. Then when all the fishermen have gone home, and the winter cold turns the lake into thick ice covered with a deep blanket of snow, Caroll pours all her energy and time into what she loves best….writing and illustrating children’s books.
It was in late fall when she began her first book, The First Beaver, published in 2008. As she was bringing out her paints each day to work on the illustrations, she saw Beaver come home from his night’s labour, and when she was cleaning her paintbrushes at day’s end, Beaver was heading off to work. On many evenings, Caroll watched Beaver swim through the black water of the night, casting ripples across the surface while the movement caught the light of the moon. She became enchanted!
In all of Caroll’s books the stories are enhanced by the vivid colours and vibrant details of her illustrations. By using recognizable plants and animals, she makes the pages come alive while at the same time inspiring the imagination of her young readers.
Caroll calls on the curiosity of her readers by introducing supernatural creatures and unusual natural creatures into her books. These intriguing ‘Super-naturals’ are woven into her stories to amaze and create wonder. All her books intertwine family devotion with being true to ones self.
Parents, teachers, and children alike will love examining the illustrations and exploring the glossary placed at the end of each book to augment their understanding of northwest coast legends, art and animals. The glossaries provide an excellent reference for teachers and parents, while the plot lines within each story are universal and include recognizable themes such as family loyalty and love. In short these books are written and the illustrations are hand painted with fascination, love, and respect for First Nations art and history, and for love of the flora and fauna of the Pacific West Coast.
Teachers of grades 1 to 5 are always looking for respectful, age-appropriate materials to use during aboriginal studies, and Caroll’s books will really help to fill that gap. Children from ages 5 to 11 will find much to enjoy in the imaginative stories and beautiful art painted in Caroll’s unique Northwest Coast style in her books, The First Beaver, The First Mosquito, The Salmon Twins, Brothers of the Wolf and Whale Child.
Praise for Caroll Simpson
A fantastic voyage through the interconnected worlds of nature and spirit! As a marine biologist, I was enthralled by the depictions coastal life, from the great Pacific Northwest to the lagoons of Baja California. Highly recommended as a fun and informative adventure for young readers.
—Daniel Cartamil, PhD, Marine Biologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
“What a brilliant way to breathe life back into our wounded culture! Prior to contact, our children were taught important life lessons through stories. Caroll has captured the essence of this through her beautifully illustrated books and her masterful ability to take the stories to the stage where she has yopung people play the different charictors….”
—Rayanne Charlie, Drama Teacher and Chief Robert Charlie, Burns Lake Band
“I recently took part in one of Caroll’s presentations in a small country school in Northern British Columbia. From the moment we walked in the door of the elementary school until we left, Caroll had the teachers, staff and students under her spell. Her positive energy is fed with the reading of her book, and her explanation of the overall history of every element that she refers to in her books.
Caroll has a way of making every student believe that their contributions and questions are so important and worthwhile. She is an excellent educator and I believe students anywhere would be enriched by any part of her presentation.”
—Connie Scott, Retired Teacher and Administrator
“Without any hesitation I highly recommend Caroll Simpson for any Meet the Author or Young Authors program. Besides being one of the most creative people working with children I have met in thirty-one years of teaching, her topic is culturally significant. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are always enriched by the variety of writers and artists who further our cultural understanding of those who were here before us. Her book, with its beautiful illustrations and decorative borders, is a storehouse of information and an excellent springboard for children’s writing. I am thankful to Caroll Simpson for giving us this unique and invigorating opportunity.”
—Tracy Hagel, Third Grade Teacher for 31 yrs.
“Caroll’s management of the students was exemplary. There were many special needs students as well as several gifted students in our mixed classes, and yet there was adequate challenge and interest for all. I would highly recommend Caroll as a visiting author for schools and would love to have her come back to visit our school anytime.”
—Mrs. Jan Ernst, Third Grade Teacher for 25 yrs.
“I was amazed at how even my quietest students were up at the front acting out their parts! I have had a few parents say that they wished they could have spent the day with us because their children went home so excited about the day. As a teacher, I was thrilled how well organized it was and really enjoy myself as well. What a great day!”
—April Illés, Kindergarten teacher, Francoise Lake Elementary
“My class had the privilege of acting her book out for the rest of the school. It was a great experience for every student. Everyone enjoys Caroll’s stories. Her commitment to keeping Aboriginal stories, art and culture alive is commendable.”
—Danny Henkel, Grade 3/4/5 Teacher
“Caroll Simpson’s presentation was entertaining and educational. Students learned some of the basic realities of First Nation life. The tale included references to the grease trails and candlefish and salmon. The supernatural beings fit nicely into the Grade Seven Social Studies themes. The mythical creatures have attributes similar to those of the characters in classic Greek Myths. All in all, it was an enjoyable presentation which kept the students interested and engaged.”
—Peter Roberts, Grade 5/6/7 Teacher
“Caroll, …Your art and stories have captured the spirit of our First Nations. We have enjoyed your talk and slides very much.”
—Andrea Brimmell Chair, Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable
“ Caroll Simpson visited our school and inspired the students with her awesome presentation and contagious enthusiasm. Caroll is an authority of the First Nations legends. Her book is filled with native legends that fascinate the children, and draw insatiable curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning. Our students were so engaged in her lesson that the time went fast. They asked several questions, and were inspired to draw and read more about the First Nations culture. They learned native symbols and beliefs that gave them a glimpse of a very unique way of life. Best of all, the children were able to recall details that normally would be easily forgotten. This shows that Caroll made a lasting impression on the children. We highly recommend Caroll Simpson to your school.”
—Susie Rialp, Selkirk Montessori School (Victoria, BC)
“Simpson has used just enough text to tell the story while drawing in readers. The wise use of text and strong story provides a good balance to Simpson’s colourful and resonant paintings, the result of years of study and practice… Each double-page spread of this colourful picture book includes a painting by Simpson which depicts the flora and fauna of the region as well as details of everyday life, such as traditional clothing, totem poles, and activities… Recommended.”
—Chris Laurie, Youth Services Librarian, Winnipeg Public Library (Winnipeg, MB)
“…Simpson has taught Native art and drama for many years, and is passionate about sharing stories of geography, art, and the impact of the First Nations people of North America.”
—Dawn Potvin, reporter, Houston Today (Houston, BC)