Kids' Books

Hey Canada!

Tundra Books, 2012   Sample Writing

Hey Canada! book cover

Hey Canada! takes the form of a cross-Canada blog penned by 9-year-old Alice, reporting from the back seat of the car. The other participants on this epic trip include her cousin Cal, who is an eight-year-old fact dispenser, their grandmother, who likes to sing opera (although the kids wish she didn't), and an escaping hamster. Their trip takes them from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Long Beach on Vancouver Island, and north to the Arctic.

Cal almost falls in the Atlantic Ocean while trying to taste it. His favourite part of Canada is the escalators. Alice learns about the Canadian Shield and wonders, "Where's the sword?" She insists on seeing the Big Moose in Moose Jaw. She gets nervous around grizzly bears.

The kids giggle at gift store souvenirs, get car sick, invent a new dinosaur called Aliceosaurus, and slide on their bums down a snow slope in the Rockies. Gran dances a jig at a Cape Breton ceilidh and demands to be fed cookies. She says she never knew that traveling with a hamster could be so much trouble.

Readers will journey from coast to coast to coast, grinning all the way. Additional features include Cal's Tweets and "Historical U-Turns" (Cartoon versions of famous battles and other important events), Gran's lame poems, lots of photos, playful illustrations by Milan Pavlovic and colourful maps of Canada.

Crazy About Canada!
Amazing Things Kids Want to Know

OwlKids Books/Maple Tree Press, 2006   Sample Writing

Crazy About Canada! book cover

What the critics say about Crazy About Canada!
The team of Vivien Bowers and Dianne Eastman has done it again. They’ve produced yet another book that is humorous, lively and interesting. This fourth title in a series about Canada features the author herself and her sidekick, Morton, as narrators. Their role is to answer some of the hundreds of questions they’ve received from children across Canada…

Readers can use this book in a number of ways: they can dip into it to mine interesting tidbits of information with which to impress friends. (For example: “Did you know that the Canada-U.S. border runs through an opera house in Quebec? The stage is in Canada while the seats are in the U.S.”) With its extensive index, they can also use it as a project resource and as a springboard for further writing about Canada. Whatever use readers make of this book, they’ll find it an enjoyable read.

Quill & Quire

That's Very Canadian! An Exceptionally Interesting Report About All Things Canadian, by Rachel

OwlKids Books/Maple Tree Press, 2004   Sample Writing

Great Book: Canadian Toy Testing Council, 2005
Finalist: Silver Birch Award

That's Very Canadian! book cover

What the critics say about That’s Very Canadian!
Written from the perspective of a young girl who has been given an assignment about Canada by her teacher, this book is fun, captivating and informative. Rachel, with the help of Moose, Goose and Bucko Beaver, shares her findings about Canadian symbols and what it means to be a Canadian…

Bowers’ sense of humour (humour with a “u”) is evident throughout the book, not only in the main body of the text, but also in the amusing little comments made by the moose, goose and beaver in the corners of the pages. For example, Rachel suggests that, if she were to design a new coat-of-arms that reflects what Canada is all about, it would consist of Inuit and Native symbols, artic animals, two crossed hockey sticks and the motto, “We shoot, we score!”….

No wonder this book is part of the “Wow Canada” series. Bravo, Vivien Bowers!
Highly Recommended.

CM Magazine, Manitoba Library Association

Only in Canada! From the Colossal to the Kooky

OwlKids Books/Maple Tree Press, 2002   Sample Writing

Finalist, Diamond Willow Award, Red Cedar Award, Rocky Mountain Book Award

Only in Canada! book cover What the critics say about Only in Canada!:
A delightfully fact-filled tour of what's fascinating and unique about this diverse country. The book is simply jam-packed with weird and wonderful tidbits about geography, history, wildlife and "unboring" Canadians. From the educational (e.g. how plate tectonics carved up Canada) to the heroic (e.g. the story of Terry Fox) to the downright gross (nose bots are large hairy flies that lay their eggs in the nostrils of caribou), readers will delight in this work. Narrated by Moose and Goose (symbolically Canadian), the book presents a wealth of information in a wonderfully innovative format that offers something for everyone. It is visually pleasing with a variety of picture images (including black-and-white and full colour photos and cartoons) as well as maps and time-lines mixed into the lively, easy-to-read text. This volume is a welcome break from the more traditional "all about a country" books and could be used for reports or leisure reading. It stands above all others in its genre and is a must-have for any Canadian library.
School Library Journal

Wow Canada! Exploring this Land
from Coast to Coast to Coast

OwlKids Books/Maple Tree Press, 1999     Sample Writing

Winner, BC Book Prize (Sheila A. Egoff Children's Prize), Information Book Award (Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada), Red Cedar Book Award, Hackmatack Children's Choice Award
Finalist, Mr. Christie Award, Canadian Science Writers Association Award, Libris Award, Alberta Reader's Choice Award
Best non-fiction children's book of 1999 as rated by Quill & Quire magazine

Wow Canada! book cover

What the critics say about Wow Canada!
"Wow Canada! is a scrapbook cum journal of a car trip across Canada written from the perspective of a 12 year-old boy named Guy. As the narrator, Guy describes places, flora, fauna and experiences with a terrific sense of humour and in a language that young readers can easily relate to. Sidebars with information about Canada's nature and history are written in the same tone with such titles as "Exceedingly Weird" and "According to Mom." The colourful illustrations, which include slides, postcards, memorabilia, photographs and drawings, are wonderfully designed to make each spread exciting and inviting but not overwhelming. As with all trips, many places go unvisited. So author Vivien Bowers cleverly includes a section titled "Things We'll Do and Places We'll Go Next Time" at the end of each chapter. These features, along with the writing and illustrations, make you want to hop in a car and start exploring Canada right away.

In addition to a clever visual at the end of the book, there is an extensive index and three pages of basic facts about the provinces and territories (including Nunavut). The factual information includes the origin of the name, symbols, land size, population, major cities and industries, topography and climate. This section as well as the rest of the book is a great resource for school projects. Wow Canada! truly lives up to its name." 
Quill & Quire, December 1999

"This is probably the best Canadian travel book written for pre-teens. Presented as a narration by 12-year-old Guy, who is on a cross-country car trip with his parents and younger sister Rachel, it is a delightful West-to-East odyssey touching on Canada's most famous sights and attractions. Filled with facts, simply related history, engaging tales and colour illustrations presented as souvenirs, postcards and slides, Wow Canada! is guaranteed to stimulate a youngster's urge to explore the country." Globe and Mail, January 29, 2000

Crime Science: How Investigators Use Science to Track Down the Bad Guys

OwlKids Books/Maple Tree Press, 1997   Sample Writing

Winner, Canadian Science Writers Award 
Finalist, Silver Birch Award, Red Cedar Award
- Information Book "Honor" Award (2nd place), Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada
- #2 non-fiction children's book of 1997 as rated by Quill & Quire magazine

Now Revised
Crime Scene: How Investigators Use Science to Track Down the Bad Guys

Maple Tree Press, 2006

Crime Science book cover What the critics say about Crime Science:
"A fascinating topic treated superbly helped place Crime Science high on more than one list of year-end favourites. Q&Q reviewer Mary Beaty praised the author's extensive research, noting that Vivien Bowers had interviewed pathologists, coroners, graphologists, police computer system managers, and a host of others. Real crime cases are mixed with hypothetical ones, and cartoon-style graphics add to the appeal, and the inclusions of international and U.S. cases gives the book marketability and international scope." 
Quill & Quire, February, 1998
Crime Scene book cover

Revised edition!

Vivien with spyglass