One of my first-born's favourite books when he was small was Roy MacGregor's The Night They Stole Stanley Cup from The Screech Owls series. He owned a bunch of other titles too but that's the one I recall. We had an audiobook version featuring players like Mats Sundin and Doug Gilmour reading which was produced by Frontier College and he listened to it semi-religiously.
We went through a period of years where the boy was obsessed with hockey. Hours and hours of his days were devoted to playing hockey in the parking lot with anyone willing to join in. He did play one year of ice hockey but since he was a Vancouver boy and hockey and soccer are both winter sports there we asked him to choose one. He chose soccer. No more Stanley Cup dreams, it was all about the beautiful game for the next phase of his life.
All this is by way of saying that I was very pleased to see Tundra Books reviving the Screech Owl series and even more pleased that they're letting me give away the first set of six books that are being released this spring - including The Night They Stole the Stanley Cup. We're giving the books away on Kristen Den Hartog's Blog of Green Gables where I've written a guest post about getting boys reading. Pop over and leave a comment if you'd like to be entered in the draw. Meantime, here's a great post by Roy MacGregor on 49th Shelf about writing the Screech Owl books.
I had never written for children, did not read children’s books— had not read many as a child, even, as I much preferred comic books. But Doug Gibson, then publisher of McClelland & Stewart, wanted to talk to me. M&S had heard from librarians and teachers that the reasons boys did not read much was because there were few books out there on subjects that fascinated active boys. He wanted me to consider writing hockey books for kids.Mine is just one of a number of kids (both boys and girls) who grew up on these books. Many of them may have kept on playing hockey and (better still to my way of thinking) many of them may have also kept on reading. My son did get to have his moment with Stanley Cup after all. A group of uncles and cousins brought the cup across the bridge from PEI to Nova Scotia via limo a few summers ago after his cousin - just a few year's older than he was - was a member of that year's winning team. The kids ate their breakfast cereal out of it. Not a scenario we could have dreamed up all those years ago when he was reading about the thrilling if barely credible adventures of a bunch of Canadian boys.