Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon
By Karen Autio
Illustrated by Loraine Kemp
Pub Date: October 15, 2018
In a hidden canyon in British Columbia’s Southern Interior, a ponderosa pine tree sprouts. Seasons pass as the tree grows, witness to generations of human history in the Okanagan Valley, from First Nations quests to fur brigades, horse wrangling, secret wartime commando training, to the firestorm of 2003. Richly illuminated by maps, illustrations, and historical images and informed by a timeline and historical notes, this fascinating book weaves First Nations history with European settlement and natural history. By following the thread of one tree growing in one sheltered and sacred space, award-winning author Karen Autio gently explores patterns of colonization that will resonate with readers all over North America.
"Centering “Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon” around the image of the ponderosa pine speaks to what we often take for granted, our sense of place including the splendor of what has taken place before us as well as what will happen after. The stunning illustrations interwoven with the historical content breathe life into the people and place this book represents. The message of this story reminds us that the Okanagan is enriched with history, but it remains our responsibility to care for the land and each other to ensure the seeds of new generations are a reflection of the beauty that surrounds us all." – Jordan Coble, Wesbank First Nation member and Cultural and Operation Administrator, Sncəwips Heritage Museum
Karen Autio has long been intrigued by Wild Horse Canyon. The tales of syilx/Okanagan people trapping wild horses there piqued her interest. She started researching the history of the canyon and got hooked on exploring what had happened in the area over the past few centuries. When Karen imagined a ponderosa pine living in the canyon for more than two centuries, this book began to take shape. To learn more about Karen’s other books for young readers, visit www.karenautio.com
Loraine Kemp has loved being an artist since she was barely old enough to hold a pencil. Living in the Okanagan Valley all her life and observing her equine friends have given Loraine an edge for creating realistic renderings of her beloved home environment and its inhabitants. To learn more about Loraine’s artwork and writing, visit www.lorainekemp.com.