New picture book from CBC’s Johanna Wagstaffe seeks to demystify wildfires

New picture book from CBC’s Johanna Wagstaffe seeks to demystify wildfires

Author Johanna Wagstaffe. Photo credit: CBC

Little Pine Cone: Wildfires and the Natural World written by CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaff and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Julie McLaughlin is now available from Orca Book Publishers.

Written for children aged 6 to 8, Little Pine Cone provides a gentle, science-based introduction to wildfires and highlights their important role in the natural cycle of our forests. Jackie, the star of the story, is a Jack pine cone. When a wildfire caused by lightning ignites in Jackie’s forest, she is initially frightened by the flames. But Jackie soon learns that the heat of a wildfire is essential to her lifecycle, as it is only with heat that her seeds can be set free.

Amidst newscasts and headlines about this season’s wildfires, Little Pine Cone is a useful resource for children who may be nervous about the topic. The book focuses on some of the positive aspects of wildfires rather than catastrophizing them, though it also doesn’t shy away from discussing the climate crisis. Wagstaff states, “Wildfires are extreme natural events that will become more frequent and will affect more people, so I wanted to create a feel-good story that also empowers readers with knowledge.” Through science-based learning, readers can find out how communities can safely prepare for and deal with wildfires when they get too close to cities and towns.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Johanna Wagstaffe is the meteorologist and science host for CBC Vancouver and CBC News Network. She is the author of Little Cloud: The Science of a Hurricane and Fault Lines: Understanding the Power of Earthquakes. With a background in seismology, geophysics and earth science, Johanna has covered a wide range of science stories, from the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami to the Paris Climate Change Conference. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Julie McLaughlin is an award-winning illustrator whose work includes commissions for clients from around the world. Her previous books have been nominated for several awards, and she won the 2015 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction for Why We Live Where We Live. Julie resides on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Praise for Little Pine Cone:

“This brightly illustrated picture book explains the life cycle of a pine tree in an age-appropriate and easily understood way…Engaging and attractive. Recommended.” —School Library Connection

“An entertaining and informative addition to any school library collection or classroom. This science-based book is accessible and appropriate for primary-aged readers. Highly Recommended.” —CM: Canadian Review of Materials

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