A stunning picture book set in the Pacific Northwest about an alternative, multigenerational family and their love for their granddaughter, niece and daughter. Ally isn’t able to live with her mother. Instead she lives far, far away, on the other side of the country, with her gram and great-aunt. But one summer Ally goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in the “big city by the ocean” and gets to spend time with her mom. While exploring the shore, watching whales from the boat and dipping into the salty water, Ally finds out something important: her mother loves to swim as much as she does. This is a very personal story. Ally is based on the author’s niece, Jeanie, and Ally’s mother is based on the author’s sister, Sarah, who went missing from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver in 1998. Jeanie is like a seal in the water, and Sarah was just the same, but they never got to swim together. In this story, they do. Swimming with Seals is a story that was written for the thousands of children who long to live with their birth parents and will never fully understand why they can’t.
Maggie de Vries is the author of ten books for children and the award-winning Missing Sarah for adults. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at ubc, runs writing workshops, and coaches and mentors writers. Maggie now lives in Ladysmith, British Columbia. Every summer, she and her husband spend as much time as they can tootling around the Gulf Islands and up the coast in their little old boat, Breakaway. For more information, visit www.maggiedevries.com.
Janice Kun is an illustrator whose work is a distinctive multimedia blend of drawing, collage, digital and photographic elements. Her organic constructions reflect the dynamic energy of nature, combined with the lyricism of music and found street art. Janice is based in Toronto, Ontario, with roots in the Maritime provinces and southeast China.