Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Writing, with Jane Drake and Ann Love

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On Writing, with Jane Drake and Ann Love

Jane Drake and Ann Love talk to Open Book about using writing to encourage youth to engage in environmental and social activism. Their newest book, Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming an Activist was released this month with Tundra Books.

Open Book:

Tell us about your book, Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming an Activist.

Jane Drake & Ann Love:

Over the years we have written many non-fiction books dealing with social and environmental issues, such as climate change, recycling, protection of the boreal forest and pollution in the arctic. These books reflect our life interest and support of social justice causes. We have personal experience and friends, family and associates who are in the front line of effecting change — so we not only know good stories but we know the nuts and bolts of making change happen. We decided to write a book to combine these experiences and Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming an Activist is the result. We aimed the book at late elementary/early high school aged kids, which is when we first felt the passion to help make the world a better place.


What was your first publication?

JD & AL:

Take Action was published in 1992. An environmental book for kids, it features the issue of endangered spaces and species with examples and suggestions of ways to help.


How did you research your book?

JD & AL:

We began Yes You Can! with a series of lunches: dining out on the stories of change-makers. We focused our discussions on deconstructing their personal journeys and on identifying the sequence of steps and hurdles they encountered to move forward their causes. After much eating and digesting we came up with nine steps through which most change-makers walk.


What Canadian authors inspire you? Why?

JD & AL:

Joseph Boyden speaks from the northern bush where part of our hearts lie. Alice Munro weaves complex and wonderful stories that seem to come from a deep shared past. As for kids books, we love the early childhood board books of Marthe Jocelyn — non fiction at its most pure — and the teenage soul revealed by Marnelle Tokio.


What are you reading right now?


The Encyclopedia of Pestilence and Plague


The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity …wanna know why? See the next question!


Do you have upcoming projects in mind?

JD & AL:

In several of our recent books we’ve taken a subject and looked at it from the world and point of view of a kid — Sweet: the Delicious Story of Candy and Talking Tails: the Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets. Now we’re using this pattern for a book about pandemics, then and now.

Jane Drake and Ann Love are sisters and co-authors who have shared a life-long interest in the environment and the wild: “As kids, our parents led our family vacations into wild places — we spent more time looking for shorebirds in sewage lagoons than most Canadians would ever admit to.” Their writing for children has always had a focus on natural history and environmental-action. They are interested in making children more observant of the natural world. Together they are the authors of many award-winning books, including their most recent, Cool Woods: A Trip Around the World’s Boreal Forest; Snow Amazing: Cool Facts and Warm Tales; Trash Action: A Fresh Look at Garbage and Sweet! The Delicious Story of Candy. They have been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Red Cedar Award, the Norma Fleck Award for Nonfiction, the Hackmatack Award and the Silver Birch Award. Ann Love is one of the founding members of Pollution Probe. Both are married, have three children and live in the Toronto area.

For more information about Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming an Activist please visit the Tundra Books website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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