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Oatway writes books that meld Canadian history with fun adventures
By Zachary Roman
What would you say if you could talk to a dinosaur?
Caledon author Lisa Oatway asks kids this question when she's doing a presentation on her book, The Dinosaur Encounter: The Alberta Episode. It's a tale that's about facing your fears and the power of collaboration, but it's also a lesson in Canada's history — in this case, the history of dinosaurs that used to live in what's now Alberta.
Oatway also has another book, The Harbour Explosion: The Nova Scotia Episode, and a third book in the works. Her plan is to write one for each of Canada's provinces and territories, and she's calling the collection of books the Blue Crescent Moon Series.
On March 17 at 10:30 a.m. Oatway will visit the Caledon East branch of the Caledon Public Library. She'll give an interactive presentation and read a passage from The Dinosaur Encounter, which is geared towards kids ages eight to 12.
A mom of four, Oatway first began telling stories when she was on road trips with her family, to make the drives interesting. While Oatway's kids are now all grown up, she never lost her love of storytelling. After retiring from a career in project management, Oatway began her new journey as a writer.
Oatway has found that there are many things about Canada's history that aren't taught to kids in school.
“It kind of sparked the initiative to write about Canadian history, because it is so rich,” said Oatway. “I started off by picking one province, a significant historical event, and writing a story around that to educate and entertain at the same time.”
Oatway has visited museums in Alberta and Nova Scotia, the two provinces she's set her books in so far. Having been to the places she writes about, Oatway said it's truly a benefit as it provides a background for her research. A lot of research is done before Oatway begins writing a book, since her books have such a historical focus. Oatway also draws inspiration from her family in her books, and the four kids in her stories are loosely based on her own four kids when they were younger.
“Write what you know, right? It becomes meaningful and it just flows,” said Oatway.
She explained a major theme in The Dinosaur Encounter is overcoming fear. “Fears are nothing other than things you need to conquer,” said Oatway.
The CPL reached out to Oatway earlier this year and asked if she was interested in doing an author talk with them, to which she happily obliged. Oatway had an opportunity to do a similar engagement last summer, sharing her book with students in Grades 3 to 6 at a summer camp.
“It was thrilling. It was just so rewarding, that interaction,” said Oatway. Kids were asking her questions all about her book, and Oatway would answer and encourage the kids to think of how they would write a book of their own.
For her author talk at the CPL, Oatway is bringing along a presentation with her book. She said the presentation is going to be about engaging the imaginations of the kids in attendance.
“I want these kids to know that they can think and dream and imagine things, there's no boundaries on that,” said Oatway.
When kids ask, “How come you're doing this?”, Oatway tries to engage that curiosity and ask them how they would write it differently.
Oatway is looking to publish her next book in June and shared with The Citizen the next province to be featured will be Ontario. After her third historical fiction novel, she's considering taking a break with the series to explore some new ideas she has.
“[Writing] started off as a hobby… it's now my career,” said Oatway.
Post date: 2023-03-15 19:23:16
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