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Children's Fiction Native Canadian

Catching Spring

by (author) Sylvia Olsen

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Apr 2004
Native Canadian, Post-Confederation (1867-), Camping & Outdoor Activities
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2004
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2004
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


The year is 1957, and Bobby lives on the Tsartlip First Nation reserve on Vancouver Island where his family has lived for generations and generations.

Bobby loves his weekend job at the nearby marina. He loves to play marbles with his friends. And he loves being able to give half his weekly earnings to his mother to eke out the grocery money, but he longs to enter the up-coming fishing derby. With the help of his uncle and Dan from the marina his wish just might come true.

About the author


  • Short-listed, Red Cedar nominee
  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily nominee
  • Short-listed, SYRCA Diamond Willow nominee
  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice

Excerpt: Catching Spring (by (author) Sylvia Olsen)

Bobby skipped down the stairs. Bright yellow posters hung on the posts on either side of the dock. Dan handed him a stack of the yellow papers. Bobby read the top one carefully. He traced his finger over every word: "Kids. Fishing Derby. August 30, 1957. First Prize: New Bike."

Librarian Reviews

Catching Spring

This short Orca Young Reader with simple vocabulary offers a life-affirming glimpse into life and childhood on a reserve. It’s 1957 and Bobby is a ten-year-old Aboriginal boy living with his mother and nine siblings on the Tsartlip Reserve near Brentwood Bay on southern Vancouver Island. His dad is seldom around and money is tight. However, his mother and the children knit sweaters to sell in Victoria and Bobby also proudly works at Dan’s Marina on Saturday mornings to help with grocery money. Fishing is Bobby’s favourite thing in the world. When the Marina Kids’ Fishing Derby is announced, he yearns for the $5 entry fee, a boat to fish with and time off from his Saturday job to join in the contest. If Grandpa were not in the Nanaimo Indian Hospital, he would have made sure Bobby could enter the Derby but now Bobby feels there’s no hope. Ultimately, the first prize blue bicycle is awarded to him thanks to his hard work, dedication to his job, some luck and the kindness of his uncle and his boss.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2007-2008.

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