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Gregory, Nan 1944-

Gregory, Nan 1944-

Personal

Born 1944, in Boston, MA; married; children: one son. Education: University of British Columbia, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Kayaking, drawing, watercolor painting, clowning.

Addresses

Home and office—Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Career

Professional storyteller, 1984—; children's author, 1995—.

Member

Writer's Union of Canada, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers, Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Children's Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia, Vancouver Society of Storytelling.

Awards, Honors

Book of the Year for Children Award shortlist, Canadian Library Association, Ruth Schwartz Award shortlist, Our Choice Award, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Mr. Christie's Book Award, 1996, and Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize, 1996, all for How Smudge Came; Book of the Year for Children Award, Canadian Library Association, 2000, for Wild Girl and Gran; Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize shortlist, and American Library Association Book of the Year shortlist, both 2003, both for Amber Waiting; Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices selection and Best Books for Kids and Teens selection, both 2008, both for Pink.

Writings

Moon Tales (sound recording), First Avenue Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1989.

How Smudge Came, illustrated by Ron Lightburn, Red Deer Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 1995, Walker (New York, NY), 1997.

Wild Girl and Gran, illustrated by Ron Lightburn, Red Deer Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 2000.

How Music Came to the World and Other Stories (sound recording), Vancouver Society of Storytelling (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2000.

Amber Waiting, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, Red Deer Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 2002.

I'll Sing You One-O, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Pink, illustrated by Luc Melanson, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2007.

Adaptations

How Smudge Came was made into a motion picture, written, directed, and produced by Hilary Jones-Farrow, and released by Kineticvideo (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1997.

Sidelights

Canadian Nan Gregory is a professional storyteller and the author of a number of award-winning works, including How Smudge Came and Pink. Gregory has performed in such diverse places as nursing homes, libraries, theaters, schools, museums, and parks. Her storytelling career has taken her across Canada and the United States, as well as to Japan and New Zealand. Additionally, Gregory is an accomplished artist who works in fabrics and paints.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1944, Gregory grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She earned her bachelor's degree in theater from the University of British Columbia and became a professional storyteller in 1984. Gregory now makes her home in nearby Vancouver, and when she is not writing or storytelling, she enjoys taking long kayak trips along British Columbia's coast with her husband in the summer.

After working as a professional storyteller for ten years, Gregory was inspired in 1995 to try her hand at writing. The result was How Smudge Came, which won numerous awards. How Smudge Came is the story of Cindy, a developmentally disabled young woman, who finds a puppy and decides to keep him. She names the dog Smudge and takes him with her to work, where she is a cleaner at a hospice. The other workers, as well as the patients, love having the dog around. However, at the group home for adults where Cindy lives, she tries to hide Smudge, fearing that they will not let her keep him. Eventually, the supervisors do find the dog and take it to the animal shelter, assuming that Cindy is not capable of taking care of it. Cindy is heartbroken and tries to reclaim the dog at the shelter, only to be told to return the following week. When she goes back, the dog has already been claimed. The story ends happily when Cindy finds out that Smudge has been taken in by the hospice staff members, who allow Cindy to keep the dog there.

Calling the book "a beautifully constructed story," Horn Book reviewer Sarah Ellis observed the similarities between the dehumanizing restrictions the group home placed on Cindy and the prison-like atmosphere of the animal shelter where Smudge was taken. However, Ellis noted, Gregory provides a third place, that of the hospice, "where all the nonessential rules and regulations fall away." It is only in this environment, according to Ellis, that Cindy can finally "hear her own voice, the capable voice that tells her what she knows…. Friendship, respect, kindness. In the presence of an animal, we discover what is essential about ourselves." Writing in Booklist, reviewer Hazel Rochman claimed that How Smudge Came is unique in that the author shares the story from the perspective of a mentally challenged person rather than from a friend or relative, noting that the book "is remarkable in telling it as Cindy sees it." Rochman went on to comment favorably on the book's "wonderful ending, both surprising and convincing."

Five years later Gregory produced her next book, Wild Girl and Gran. Initially unsure about her grandmother coming to stay with her family, Wild Girl takes to Gran, a colorful creature herself, and the two spend hours together enjoying games in the outdoors. However, Gran's health begins to deteriorate, much to Wild Girl's dis- tress as she feels helpless to stop it. Eventually, Gran must check into a hospital, where she eventually dies during the winter. Saddened by her loss, Wild Girl accompanies her mother on a walk in the spring to spread the dead woman's ashes among the wild flowers. Together, Wild Girl and her mother share stories about Gran, and slowly the youngster realizes how much Gran meant to her mother as well.

Valerie Nielsen, writing in the Canadian Review of Materials, called Wild Girl and Gran "a beautifully written story, the text closer to poetry than prose." Resource Links critic Heather Farmer commented on Gregory's use of "poetic language, contrasts, and repetition to create a story of exhilaration and uncomfortable reality and to illustrate the healing and empowering qualities of both nature and imagination." Farmer went on to recommend the book to readers looking "for a gentle, expressive story about death," while Quill & Quire contributor Sherie Posesorski deemed it "a beautifully apt metaphor for parental love as a safety net encouraging children to take risks and be adventurous."

A youngster's daydreams are the focus of Gregory's picture book Amber Waiting. Amber has just finished her morning session in kindergarten and is waiting for her father to pick her up. He is often late arriving, so Amber imagines flying him to the moon and telling him that she'll "be right back." Her father arrives an hour late and "smiles his famous smile" in an attempt to

make her feel better. But Amber needs to let her father know how lonely and scared she was. Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan called Amber Waiting "a subtle, sensitive picture book," and remarked that when the father is able to understand his daughter's pain, "their exchange is beautifully related … and children will find its emotional truth enormously satisfying." Writing in Publishers Weekly, a critic suggested that the "words and [Kady MacDonald Denton's] pictures do an equally fine job delivering this winning message in ways that both children and parents will understand—easily."

I'll Sing You One-O, a work for young adults, concerns twelve-year-old Gemma, a foster child who has been living happily on the Anderson Farm since the age of four. When the farmstead is sold, Gemma is forced to live with her aunt, uncle, and twin brother, none of whom she has ever met before. Unable to adjust to her new surroundings, a frustrated and homesick Gemma vows to return to the farm. After reading a book about saints, Gemma decides to assist a homeless woman in the hopes of acquiring a guardian angel that will reward her good deeds. Gemma's actions have unintended and even dangerous consequences, however, and her life is further complicated by a series of troubling nightmares.

"Gregory works a number of threads here, including a complex psychological mystery rooted in Gemma's past," remarked Quill & Quire reviewer Maureen Garvie, the critic adding that Gregory's debut novel "makes for an intense, and at times hair-raising, read." "Gemma's remarkably believable point of view allows readers to see her own raw emotions," Faith Brautigam stated in School Library Journal, and Phelan praised the "vivid portrayals and emotional nuance demonstrated throughout the story." Janis Flint-Ferguson, writing in Kliatt, also applauded Gregory's debut, commenting that "the characters are realistically portrayed and are not always likable, but the themes of family and identity are well developed." Flint-Ferguson described I'll Sing You One-O as "funny, poignant, and ultimately bittersweet."

A youngster envies her three well-heeled schoolmates and their seemingly perfect lives in Pink, "a tale that will capture children and adults alike," noted Jeannette Timmerman in the Canadian Review of Materials. Vivi yearns for the amenities that belong to Merillee, Miranda, and Janine, a trio of girls she calls the "Pinks" because they live in nice houses and adorn themselves in pink dresses, shoes, and coats. Unfortunately, Vivi's father, a truck driver, and mother, a cleaning woman, simply cannot afford the things their daughter desires. When Vivi spots a wondrous bridal doll dressed in pink in a store window, she becomes determined to own it. She earns the cash to purchase the doll by running errands for her neighbors, but when she mistakenly tells the "Pinks" about her plans, she must learn to cope with a tremendous disappointment. "Written with subtlety and tenderness but not a whiff of sentimentality, this picture book quietly depicts Vivi's intense long- ing," observed Phelan, and Susan Prior, writing in Resource Links, called Pink "a story about wanting something very badly, and for that reason, most children will probably be able to relate to it." As a Publishers Weekly contributor noted, Gregory's "heartrending reminder of what's truly important in life will likely linger."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Gregory, Nan, Amber Waiting, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, Red Deer Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 2002.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of How Smudge Came, p. 1262; May 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Amber Waiting, p. 1659; August 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of I'll Sing You One-O, p. 77; October 1, 2007, review of Pink, p. 57.

Canadian Review of Materials, May 23, 1997, Leslie Millar, review of How Smudge Came; p. 1262; January 18, 2002, Valerie Nielsen, review of Wild Girl and Gran; April 25, 2003, Alison Mews, review of Amber Waiting; August 31, 2007, Jeannette Timmerman, review of Pink.

Horn Book, September-October, 1996, Sarah Ellis, review of How Smudge Came, p. 632; July-August, 2006, Anita L. Burkam, review of I'll Sing You One-O, p. 441.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2003, review of Amber Waiting, p. 467; July 1, 2006, review of I'll Sing You One-O, p. 678; July 15, 2007, review of Pink.

Kliatt, July, 2006, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of I'll Sing You One-O, p. 10.

Publishers Weekly, April 7, 2003, review of Amber Waiting, p. 64; July 16, 2007, review of Pink, p. 163.

Quill & Quire, February, 1996, review of How Smudge Came, p. 41; December, 2000, Sherie Posesorski, review of Wild Girl and Gran, p. 29; September, 2006, Maureen Garvie, review of I'll Sing You One-O.

Resource Links, April, 1996, review of How Smudge Came, pp. 157-158; August, 1997, Nan Gregory, "From Passion to Story," pp. 256-259; April, 2001, Heather Farmer, review of Wild Girl and Gran, p. 3; April, 2003, Antonia Gisler, review of Amber Waiting, p. 2; December, 2006, Gail de Vos, review of I'll Sing You One-O, p. 34; February, 2008, Susan Prior, review of Pink, p. 2.

School Library Journal, August, 2001, Susan Hepler, review of Wild Girl and Gran, p. 147; July, 2003, Grace Oliff, review of Amber Waiting, p. 96; October, 2006, Faith Brautigam, review of I'll Sing You One-O, p. 156; November, 2007, Ieva Bates, review of Pink, p. 92.

ONLINE

Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers Web site,http://www.canscaip.org/ (August 15, 2008), "Nan Gregory."

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"Gregory, Nan 1944-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gregory, Nan 1944-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/gregory-nan-1944-0

"Gregory, Nan 1944-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/gregory-nan-1944-0

Gregory, Nan 1944-

GREGORY, Nan 1944-

Personal

Born 1944, in Boston, MA; married; children: one son. Education: University of British Columbia, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Kayaking, drawing, watercolor painting, clowning.


Addresses

Home Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Office 4143 West 15th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia V6R 3A4, Canada.


Career

Professional storyteller, 1984; children's author, 1995.


Member

Writer's Union of Canada; Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers; Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable; Canadian Children's Book Centre; Children's Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia; Vancouver Society of Storytelling.


Awards, Honors

Book of the Year for Children Award shortlist, Canadian Library Association, Ruth Schwartz Award short-list, Our Choice Award, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Mr. Christie's Book Award, 1996, and Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize, 1996, all for How Smudge Came; Book of the Year for Children Award, Canadian Library Association, 2000, for Wild Girl and Gran; Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize shortlist and American Library Association Book of the Year shortlist, both 2003, both for Amber Waiting.


Writings


Moon Tales (sound recording), First Avenue Press (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1989.

How Smudge Came, illustrated by Ron Lightburn, Red Deer Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 1995, Walker (New York, NY), 1997.

Wild Girl and Gran, illustrated by Ron Lightburn, Red Deer Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 2000.

Amber Waiting, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, Red Deer Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 2002.


Adaptations

How Smudge Came was made into a motion picture, written, directed, and produced by Hilary Jones-Farrow, and released by Kineticvideo (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1997.

Sidelights

Professional storyteller Nan Gregory has performed in such diverse places as nursing homes, libraries, theaters, schools, museums, and parks. Her storytelling has taken her across Canada and the United States, to Japan, and to New Zealand. Although she was born in Boston, Massachusetts, Gregory grew up in British Columbia. She earned her bachelor's degree in theater from the University of British Columbia and became a professional storyteller in 1984. Gregory calls Vancouver Island home, and when she is not writing or storytelling, she enjoys taking long kayak trips along British Columbia's coast with her husband in the summer.

After working as a professional storyteller for ten years, Gregory was inspired in 1995 to try her hand at writing. The result was How Smudge Came, which won numerous awards. How Smudge Came is the story of Cindy, a developmentally disabled young woman, who finds a puppy and decides to keep him. She names the dog Smudge and takes him with her to work, where she is a cleaner at a hospice. The other workers, as well as the patients, love having the dog around. However, at the group home for adults where Cindy lives, she tries to hide Smudge, fearing that they will not let her keep him. Eventually, the supervisors do find the dog and take it to the animal shelter, assuming that Cindy is not capable of taking care of it. Cindy is heartbroken and tries to reclaim the dog at the shelter, only to be told to return the following week. When she goes back, the dog has already been claimed. The story ends happily when Cindy finds out that Smudge has been taken in by the hospice staff members, who allow Cindy to keep the dog there.

Calling the book "a beautifully constructed story," Horn Book reviewer and noted children's author Sarah Ellis observed the similarities between the dehumanizing restrictions the group home placed on Cindy and the prison-like atmosphere of the animal shelter where Smudge was taken. However, Ellis noted, Gregory provides a third place, that of the hospice, "where all the nonessential rules and regulations fall away." It is only in this environment, according to Ellis, that Cindy can finally "hear her own voice, the capable voice that tells her what she knows. . . . Friendship, respect, kindness. In the presence of an animal, we discover what is essential about ourselves." Writing in Booklist, reviewer Hazel Rochman claimed that How Smudge Came is unique in that the author shares the story from the perspective of a mentally challenged person rather than from a friend or relative, commenting that the book "is remarkable in telling it as Cindy sees it." Rochman went on to comment favorably on the book's "wonderful ending, both surprising and convincing."

Five years later, Gregory published her next book, Wild Girl and Gran. Initially unsure about her grandmother coming to stay with her family, Wild Girl takes to Gran, a colorful creature herself, and the two spend hours together enjoying games in the outdoors. However, Gran's health begins to deteriorate, much to Wild Girl's distress as she feels helpless to stop it. Eventually, Gran must check into a hospital, where she eventually dies during the winter. Saddened by her loss, Wild Girl accompanies her mother on a walk in the spring to spread the dead woman's ashes among the wild flowers. Together, Wild Girl and her mother share stories about Gran, and slowly the youngster realizes how much Gran meant to her mother as well. Resource Links critic Heather Farmer commented on Gregory's use of "poetic language, contrasts, and repetition to create a story of exhilaration and uncomfortable reality and to illustrate the healing and empowering qualities of both nature and imagination." Farmer later went on to highly recommend the book for readers looking "for a gentle, expressive story about death." A Quill and Quire reviewer wrote, "The essence of Wild Girl's and Gran's special bond is encapsulated in the image of Gran sitting at the base of a tree knitting while Wild Girl, astride a stout branch, takes flight into the wild, wide world of the imagination."

Amber has just finished her morning session in kindergarten and is waiting for her father to pick her up in Amber Waiting. He is often late arriving, so Amber imagines flying him to the moon and telling him that she'll "be right back." Her father arrives an hour late and "smiles his famous smile" in an attempt to make her feel better. But Amber needs to let her father know how lonely and scared she was. Booklist 's Carolyn Phelan called Amber Waiting "a subtle, sensitive picture book," and remarked that when the father is able to understand his daughter's pain, "Their exchange is beautifully related in both words and pictures, and children will find its emotional truth enormously satisfying." Writing in Publishers Weekly, a critic suggested that the "words and [Kady MacDonald Denton's] pictures do an equally fine job delivering this winning message in ways that both children and parents will understandeasily."



Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS


Gregory, Nan, Amber Waiting, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, Red Deer Press (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), 2002.

PERIODICALS


Booklist, March 15, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of How Smudge Came, p. 1262; May 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Amber Waiting, p. 1659.

Horn Book, September-October, 1996, Sarah Ellis, review of How Smudge Came, p. 632.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2003, review of Amber Waiting, p. 467.

Publishers Weekly, April 7, 2003, review of Amber Waiting, p. 64.

Quill & Quire, February, 1996, review of How Smudge Came, p. 41; December, 2000, review of Wild Girl and Gran, p. 29.

Resource Links, April, 1996, review of How Smudge Came, pp. 157-158; August, 1997, Nan Gregory, "From Passion to Story," pp. 256-259; April, 2001, Heather Farmer, review of Wild Girl and Gran, p. 3; April, 2003, Antonia Gisler, review of Amber Waiting, p. 2.

School Library Journal, August, 2001, Susan Hepler, review of Wild Girl and Gran, p. 147; July, 2003, Grace Oliff, review of Amber Waiting, p. 96.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gregory, Nan 1944-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gregory, Nan 1944-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/gregory-nan-1944

"Gregory, Nan 1944-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/gregory-nan-1944