Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 8
- Grade: p to 3
A beautiful, beguiling tale about a special bear finding his way in this world.
A young bear rejoices in the beauty of his woodland home, but when he wakes up from his winter sleep he has become a boy in a wilderness of tall buildings. It’s a world run by clocks, where he must learn to fit in, and embark on the adventure of growing up.
Breathtaking art and a sensitively imagined story illuminate how difficult transitions can be, and that staying true to ourselves helps us discover how to be at home in the world.
Irene Luxbacher was inspired to write Once I Was a Bear upon discovering that her son, who is on the Autism spectrum, seems most at home in natural surroundings. “As a result,” she says, “his dad and I started calling him ‘our little bear.’ His powerful imagination, abilities, and sensitivities enlighten me every day.”
About the author
IRENE LUXBACHER est à la fois auteure, illustratrice et artiste. Elle a publié de nombreux livres d’activités artistiques et albums jeunesse dont Le jardin imaginaire de grand-papa, d’Andrew Larsen, mis en nomination pour le Prix du Gouverneur général dans la catégorie illustrations. Irene habite à Toronto où elle travaille actuellement à la création de nouveaux tableaux et albums.
IRENE LUXBACHER was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for her illustrations in Andrew Larsen’sThe Imaginary Garden (Le jardin imaginaire de grand-papa). She has illustrated several other picture books, including Mittens to Share (Une mitaine pour deux), The Heart’s Song (Le grand cœur de madame Lili), as well as her own picture books Once I Was a Bear (Lorsque j’étais un ours…) and Mattoo, Let’s Play! (Viens jouer, Matou!). She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and young son. You can learn more about her work at www.ireneluxbacher.com.
Praise for Once I Was a Bear: “[Encourages] the appreciation of one’s own story and recognizing different experiences of loss and change. Imaginative and poetically resonant.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Irene Luxbacher’s new picture book considers nature’s way of connecting us to ourselves and to others . . . Transitions, transformations, and distinctive perspectives are elegantly evoked in Luxbacher’s signature watercolour, acrylic, and collage illustrations. The text poetically expresses feelings of dislocation, vulnerability, and strength . . . Inspired by Luxbacher’s son, who is on the autism spectrum, Once I Was a Bear tenderly asks the deeply personal yet universal question, “Would others understand me?” — Quill & Quire starred review