Award winning author Deborah Hodge was born in Moose Jaw SK and now lives with her family in Vancouver BC. Her dedication to children’s literature is far reaching as she has written many books for kids but also supports literacy in the classroom with accompanying activities and resources. Having been a teacher, Deborah knows the value of support from the literary community in the classroom.
When I asked Deborah if she missed being in the classroom during the pandemic, she replied, “I love visiting schools and speaking to the students, and I have missed that so much over the pandemic. Before I was an author, I was a primary school teacher and being around children inspires me so much! When I taught Grade One, I used to hold weekly cooking lessons with my class, inviting parents in to help, and we made all sorts of delicious food. It was a highlight of our week. I didn’t do any school zoom meetings during the pandemic, but I very much look forward to being back in schools in person again soon.”
Cooking with Bear is a slight variation of Deborah’s past work…it is the first to include recipes that are kid-friendly but still enjoyed by everyone around the table. My granddaughter Lilyanna helped me with two recipes from the book: Bear’s Blueberry Muffins and Hazelnut-Chocolate Chip Cookies (featured in our Recipe section). She felt so grown up making her concoctions and then proudly serving them for dessert.
Before heading to the kitchen, Lilyanna read the book and became quite excited about the creatures from the forest…especially the fox, her spirit animal. The book provides a sense of adventure and anticipation wondering what food each creature would enjoy.
When asked what she likes to cook, Deborah said, “My signature dish is homemade pie. I love baking pies! I make them regularly for my family and friends in every season of the year. And I have taught all the kids in my family how to make pies, which they now often do on their own. This summer, they picked wild blackberries and made a delicious blackberry pie. I feel that pie baking is somewhat of a lost art these days and so it’s been my mission to teach kids how to do it and enjoy it. We didn’t include a pie recipe in the book, because I think it’s better to teach the skill in person – but we contemplated it deeply!”
Children’s books draw in the little ones with the pictures and illustrator, Lisa Cinar, provides a visual backdrop for Deborah’s story. Lisa is originally from Germany and now lives in Vancouver with her dog. Check out Lisa’s work and online shop Draw Me A Lion at her website https://lisacinar.com/ She agrees with Lilyanna that fox is a funny one!
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Images and content used with permission by author and illustrator and published by Groundwood Books.