Storywalk® in Westmount Park features Dawson teacher’s book
To experience the best hug in the world, you have to know “How To Catch A Bear Who Loves To Read.”
This is the premise of a young, imaginative, book-loving girl in the children’s book How To Catch A Bear Who Loves To Read by Andrew Katz, an English professor at Dawson College, and Juliana Léveillé-Trudel, illustrated by Gemini Award-winning animator Joseph Sherman. The book was co-written and simultaneously published in English and French (Comment attraper un ours qui aime lire).
The book’s main character, who already has many animal friends in the forest by her home, has an adventure that leads her to a bear who lives in a tree house with an impressive library.
Andrew has four nieces and nephews and has been self-publishing picture books for them for years. Creative Writing and Children’s Literature are two courses that Andrew teaches. In both classes, Andrew submits manuscripts of books by his students to students in a 3rd year Illustration class who complete the books with illustrations and animations.
“In the Fall of 2016, How to Catch a Bear Who Loves To Read was thrown into the pile along with all my own students’ stories for the Illustration students,” Andrew said. In the spring of 2017, a version illustrated by Dawson graduate Naomi Le Guédard was submitted to a publisher for consideration.
The book was published in November 2018 and is Andrew’s first published book. This past summer, the Westmount Library featured the book in their annual Storywalk®, an outdoor installation in Westmount Park . “The whole book is there on a series of laminated panels,” Andrew said. “People can walk along under the trees, on the path near the library, and read it on their own or with their kids.” The Storywalk® will remain up until the end of September.
Andrew is in the final stages of working on his next book, entitled I Just Want to be Super! “This book was written for my nephew, who was four years old at the time. It is about a sweet wonderful kid who simply has lots of energy. How to celebrate and channel this energy is the central theme.”
Children’s psychology is a pet interest of Andrew’s. “What is going on in these little minds that are so new to this world? I try to understand kids and the challenges of growing up,” he said. “Childhood shapes who we are as adults. I want kids to recognize themselves in the stories I write and to feel good about who they are trying to become.”
For those who are interested in pursuing writing, Andrew’s advice is to “find a writing community. It has been the difference for me between writing and not writing.”
Andrew will be leading Dawson Daycare’s 4-5 year-old group to the Story Walk on Friday, Sept. 13 at 10:00 a.m. and anyone interested can join too.
Global News featured Story Walk and Andrew earlier this summer:
“Writing With Four Hands In Two Languages”:
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre also published an article by Andrew and Juliana, entitled “Writing With Four Hands In Two Languages,” in their summer magazine about the creative process of co-writing a book with someone who speaks a different mother tongue.
- Feature article: “Writing With Four Hands In Two Languages”