Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 5
- Grade: p to k
- Reading age: 3 to 5
With a long list of activities and events to attend, Thomas paints a picture of city life which makes Jessie's world seem a little dull in comparison. When her mother suggests they invite Cousin Thomas to visit their island, Jessie wonders glumly what she could possibly write in her letter that would sound as exciting as zoos, planetariums or video arcades. But as Jessie looks out over her island home, she sees a world of endless variety, from killer whales in the strait and bald eagles soaring overhead to anemones and tiny hermit crabs on the shore. She thinks of countless days spent exploring, fishing, swimming and canoeing. Now, as she bends over her letter to her cousin, Jessie knows exactly what she will write. Told with lyric simplicity, this story is more than a celebration of West Coast life; it is also a reminder of the joy of childhood and the thrill of discovery. In a time when our children's entertainment has become increasingly formal and high-tech, Jessie's Island reminds us of the joy of unstructured play and the pleasures to be found in the natural world around us.
About the authors
Sheryl McFarlane was born in the Ottawa Valley and was raised in Arizona, but the west coast snatched her heart more than thirty years ago. She is the mother of three wonderful daughters who often appear in her books in disguised form. She is the author of four board books and eight picture books, including: A Pod of Orcas, This is the Dog, Jessie's Island and Waiting for the Whales.
Sheryl's books have won and been short-listed for several readers' choice awards, the Governor General's Award, the IODE Award, the BC Book Prize for Children's Literature, and the Mr. Christie Award. Sheryl has toured with the Peter Gzowski Golf Tournament for Literacy, Save the Children, and The Canada Council. She has judged creative writing for The Writer's Union of Canada, The Canadian Children's Book Centre, and the BC Creative Writers' Grant Program, been a writer in residence in many schools, been involved in many young author programs, and has led children's writing workshops for beginning and established writers.
A former teacher, Sheryl provides professional development in language arts for school districts, Early Childhood Educators, Primary Educator Associations and the International Reading Association. She frequently acts as a consultant for publishers on both educational and trade projects. Her first young adult novel was published in the fall of 2006.
Sheena enjoys a very successful 20-year career as a professional artist.
She has illustrated 9 successful children's books including How Sleep Found Tabitha, Going To The Fair and the perennial bestseller, Jessie's Island. Salmon Forest, written by Dr David Suzuki and Sara Ellis was released last spring. She won The Science in Society National book award and has been short listed for the BC Book Prize as well as the Amelia Francis Illustrators Award. Sheena has been featured on CBC radio as well as CH television.
This busy artist is best known for her crisp, colourful watercolors and oils . She combines gallery exhibitions, children's book illustration, and private commissions. She has been invited to teach workshops on the new Queen Mary 2. She has been an Artist in Residence in many school districts and has toured for Canadian Children's Book Center Book Week.
Sheena has exhibited paintings at the Winchester Galleries, The Harrison Gallery in West Vancouver, Quan-Scheider Gallery, Toronto, Pegasus Gallery, The Chateau Whistler, Harbour Gallery, Washington US, and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria .
She has won many awards including the Myfanwy Pavelic Spencer Award. She is an Associate of The Federation Of Canadian Artists. Sheena has been featured on CBC radio as well as CH television.
Sheena has participated in many exhibitions across Canada and in the US. Her work can be found in corporate and private collections throughout the world including: Shell Oil, Chapters Canada, The National Trust Corporation, and the Vancouver Public Library.
She works from her home studio in Sidney on Vancouver Island BC. Her website is www.sheenalott.com.
Sheena is available to do watercolour workshops [all materials provided] and lecture/presentations on the process of children's book illustration. Please contact the artist at email@example.com for more info and fee schedule.