Awesome Wildlife Defenders, a junior novel, is the story of eleven-year-old Rebecca, who tries to cope with her panic attacks. Life becomes complicated when she is teamed up with Weird Cedar, on her endangered species project. Her friendship with Frieda is tested when Frieda has to work with Bossy Brianna, the class bully. When Brianna calls Rebecca and Cedar lovebirds, Rebecca is devastated. And, Rebecca and her mom are told their little rental home is being sold. While working on the project of the endangered northern spotted owl, Rebecca discovers that Cedar is kind and a talented artist who carries an enormous burden. When Cedar's father is released from jail, Rebecca wonders what's worse, a father who is in jail or not knowing who and where her father is? Cedar's grandfather takes them to the Raptors to watch a flying demonstration. Rebecca feels the magic when the great horned owl lands on her arm. Is it possible that this unforgettable moment will help her cope with future panic attacks? While staying with his father, Cedar disappears. Rebecca is determined to find him. The endangered species project brings all students together when they sew and sell felt owlets. Will her class raise enough money to adopt twelve endangered species? Will Rebecca and Mom find a place to live or will she be forced to change schools and lose Frieda and her other friends forever?
About the author
Martha was born on a dairy farm in Friesland, one of the northern provinces in the Netherlands. The family used horses for work and play. She trained and worked as a kindergarten teacher and made up stories, puppet plays and songs for her students. In 1981, Martha immigrated with husband, Albert and three children to Canada. They settled in North Bay, Ontario. Albert worked as an engineer, the children went to school and Martha attended Nipissing University to obtain her teaching certificate. After graduating, she took creative writing classes and became a member of the North Bay Children's Writers' Group. She taught kindergarten for many years and today teaches grade one Language Arts, Drama, Music and Computers. Again Martha found herself writing songs, poems and stories for the students.
The members of the Children's Writers' Group, encouraged her to send her manuscripts to publishers in Canada and the United States. In 1995, she published her first novel, A Time to Choose. This war novel is set in Friesland and deals with the Resistance. Martha was delighted when her first book won the Blue Heron Book Award. Martha's dream of becoming a published author had come true. Martha loves student feedback during school presentations.
Their children have grown up and left home. Albert and Martha have nurtured another dream. They always wanted to live off the grid and use solar and wind energy to power their home. In 2004 that dream came true. Together they built an off the grid straw bale home just outside the town of Powassan in Ontario. The house is super insulated, partially built with renewable resources and powered by renewable energy. They are self sufficient except for the propane tank that fuels the cooking stove.
In her new office, overlooking farmers' fields, she feels inspired to write many more stories for young readers.