Sample Writing

That's Very Canadian! book cover

Crazy About Canada!
Amazing Things Kids Want to Know, 2006

Maple Tree Press, 2006   Distributed by Raincoast

Does Canada have the biggest mosquitoes?
Yes, indeed! Monster, blood-sucking varmints! The biggest, blood-suckingest mosquito in the world is probably Psorophora ciliata, also known as the feather-legged gallinipper. According to an expert on mosquitoes, a gallinipper bite is truly painful! (Note to self: remember not to become an expert on mosquitoes.) We do indeed have these nasty critters in Canada. But the swarms of mosquitoes that can make our lives miserable in Canada’s north are actually a smaller species. There are over 2500 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world.

How did moose get on the island of Newfoundland?
Like most folks, they arrived by boat. It’s too far for a moose to swim! A hundred years ago, two pairs (four moose) were brought to the island. Those moose had calves. Then those calves grew up and had more calves. There are no wolves on Newfoundland to keep moose numbers under control. So there are now multitudinous moosies, all descendants of those first two pairs.

How far can an iceberg travel before it melts?
In 1926, an iceberg was sighted as far south as Bermuda! But most icebergs stay closer to home in cold, Arctic waters. Most of our icebergs come from Greenland, the huge island north of Canada. A small number escape and are carried south by the Labrador current. Iceberg Alley (where the Titanic struck an iceberg in 1912) is the route bergs take as they drift south along the eastern coast of Newfoundland down to the Grand Bank. Once the bergs meet the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream current, you can guess what happens. Within a few months the once mighty icebergs are no more.

Morton’s Irresistible Detour
How do you stop a 10-million-tonne iceberg from ploughing through an offshore oil drilling platform? You lasso it! A ship dragging a floating tow line circles the iceberg. The ends of the tow line are joined together. Then VERY carefully (you don’t want it to tip over), the iceberg is towed away from its chosen path.

What is the name of the school that’s closest to the North Pole? How many children go there?
Umimmak School, in Nunavut, is the most northerly school in Canada. It’s in Grise Fiord, on Ellesmere Island, the Arctic island that’s on the very “top” of Canada. There are 55 students, almost all Inuit. From kindergarten to grade 5, classes are taught in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. Students in grades 6 to 12 do most of their work in English.

Back to writing samples