Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments.
Briony Penn is a well known Salt Springer: an environmentalist, an educator, a speaker and dedicated naturalist. One year she even ran for the NDP in our riding. She is one of the island’s strongest advocates, speaking on behalf of all creatures great and small. Briony Penn is also an author.
Her books include The Kids’ Book of Canadian Geography (Kids Can Press) which is chock full of interesting information about the country’s formation and natural history.
I have really enjoyed reading her book A Year on the Wild Side (Touchwood). This diary is a fun read for anyone interested in nature on Salt Spring. Tied to the seasons, Briony shares her sense of awe and wonder, as well as her knowledge and experience, with the reader as she tells stories about the sex life of salamanders, otter adventures and seals escapades. The book opens your eyes to all of the natural wonders living and occurring right on our own doorstep.
Briony’s latest book, recently launched on Salt Spring, is The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan (Rocky Mountain Books). This book is the official biography of Ian McTaggart Cowan, who is considered “the father of Canadian ecology.” With a foundation of exploring nature around the Vancouver mountains, he became the head and founder of the first university-based wildlife department in Canada. Ian McTaggart Cowan revolutionized the way North Americans understood the natural world and wrote the authoritative Birds of British Columbia. Writing his biography seems only - pardon the pun - natural for Briony Penn.
As with any books by Salt Spring authors, Briony Penn’s books will make perfect gifts for those on your list!
- The Kids Book of Canadian Geography, ISBN 1550748904, Kids Can Press
- A year on the wild side, ISBN 0920663680, TouchWood Editions
- The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan, ISBN 1771600705, Rocky Mountain Books
Margriet Ruurs is a Salt Spring Island author of over 30 books. She runs Between The Covers, Booklovers’ B & B.