Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 9
- Grade: 1 to 4
Seasons Before the War by Bernice Morgan (author of acclaimed historical novels Random Passage and Waiting for Time) is a delightful, unsentimental remembrance of growing up in St. John's, Newfoundland just before the city, and the world, changed irrevocably with the advent of WWII.
This slightly fictionalized telling explores the delights of every day and of each season: how Bernice and her siblings played and passed their time — watching the fire trucks put out fires at the dump, going for messages at the local shops, listening to stories by the kitchen stove — and the bigger moments of starting school, and anticipating Christmas. Charged with the bright wonder of a child's view, the book nevertheless contains the shadow of change; although mentioned only in the book's title, war and its implications for childhood hang quietly over all.
Painted illustrations, by acclaimed UK-based illustrator Brita Granström, beautifully capture the sweet nostalgia of Morgan's words and the joys of childhood. Soft and playful, yet detailed and accurate, the illustrations add immeasurably to the book, making it as much an art book as a storybook. With exceptional production values, beautiful paper, and thoughtful design, this is a book to be shared between generations, and to be treasured.
About the authors
Bernice Morgan (b. 1935), a life-long Newfoundlaner, lives in St. John's. Her stories have been published widely in literary journals, and in 1996, she was named Newfoundland Artist of the Year for her writing. Her novel Waiting for Time (Breakwater, 1994) won the Thomas Raddall Award for Fiction, and Random Passage (Breakwater, 1992) has been developed as a TV series. "Poems in a Cold Climate," which first appeared in The Fiddlehead, is from her collection, The Topography of Love (Breakwater, 2000).
Born in Sweden, Brita Granström is an award-winning painter and children's book illustrator. She has exhibited her artwork extensively, both on her own and in group shows. With her husband and illustration partner Mick Manning, she has illustrated dozens of children's books, many of which have received, or been shortlisted for, prestigious awards; including the Nestle Award (Smarties Prize — Silver) and the English Association Award (five wins). Their work has twice been shortlisted for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the largest international award in children's literature. She lives and works in Berwick-on-Tweed, England.
- Long-listed, BMO Winterset Award