Born December 2, 1949, in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada; daughter of Harry G. (an educator) and Edna Elizabeth (a teacher; maiden name, Humphrey) Sherk; married Arthur D. Savage, August 22, 1970 (died, 1981); partner of Keith Bell (an historian), since 1992; children: (from marriage) Diana C. Education: University of Alberta, B.A. (with first class honors), 1971; attended University of Saskatchewan, 1975-77. Hobbies and other interests: Riding, pets, gardening, hiking, photography, singing.
Home—302 Albert Ave., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 1G1 Canada; fax: 306-653-4595. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Greystone Books, Suite 201, 2323 Quebec Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia V5T 4S7, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
News editor of Sun Color Press; editorial assistant for Co-Operative Consumer; curriculum development officer and audio-visual producer at Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College, 1975; freelance writer, editor, and consultant, 1975-84; Government of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, public-affairs officer for culture and communications, 1984-86; Science Institute of the Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, coordinator of information and education, 1986-89. Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, writer-in-residence, 1990-91; conductor of workshops and speaker at schools and libraries. Saskatoon Partnership for the Arts, steering committee member, 1997-99.
Writers Union of Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Environment Society, Saskatoon Writers Co-op (president, 2001—), Saskatoon Nature Society.
Rutherford Gold Medal in English; Governor-General's Medal for Scholarship; Honour Book Award, Children's Literature Roundtable of Canada, 1991, for Trash Attack!: Garbage and What We Can Do about It; Our Choice designation, Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC), 1991, for Trash Attack!, and 1992, for Get Growing!: How the Earth Feeds Us; named to honor roll, Rachel Carson Institute, 1994; Science in Society Book Award shortlist, Canadian Science Writers Association (CSWA), 1994, for Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays, and 1995, for Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights; Bull Duthie Award shortlist, British Columbia Booksellers' Association, 1995, for Bird Brains; Book of the Year Award finalist and Nonfiction Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards, 1996, and Notable Book for Young Adults, American Library Association, 1997, all for Cowgirls; Nonfiction Award finalist, Saskatchewan Book Awards, 1997, for Mother Nature: Animal Parents and Their Young, 1998, for Beauty Queens: A Playful History, and 2000, for Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca; Association of Booksellers for Children Awards commendation, Book of the Year Award finalist and Saskatoon Book Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards, and Norma Fleck Award finalist, CCBC, all 2001, and Our Choice selection, CCBC, 2002, all for Born to Be a Cowgirl: A Spirited Ride through the Old West; Science in Society Award finalist, CSWA, and Children's Literature Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards, both 2003, both for Wizards: An Amazing Journey through the Last Great Age of Magic.
(With husband, Arthur Savage) Wild Mammals ofWestern Canada, Western Producer Prairie Books (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1981, published as Wild Mammals of Northwest America, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1981.
Pelicans, Grolier (Danbury, CT), 1985, revised edition, 1999.
The Wonder of Canadian Birds, Western Producer Prairie Books (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1985, published as Wings of the North: A Gallery of Favorite Birds, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1985.
Eagles of North America, NorthWord (Ashland, WI), 1987, 2nd edition, Greystone Books (Berkeley, CA), 2000.
Wolves, Sierra Club Books (San Francisco, CA), 1988, revised and updated as The Nature of Wolves: An Intimate Portrait, Greystone Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1996, published as The World of the Wolf, Sierra Club Books, 1996.
Grizzly Bears, Sierra Club Books (San Francisco, CA), 1990.
Peregrine Falcons, Sierra Club Books (San Francisco, CA), 1992.
Wild Cats: Lynx, Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Sierra Club Books (San Francisco, CA), 1993.
Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights, Sierra Club Books (San Francisco, CA), 1994.
Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays, Sierra Club Books (San Francisco, CA), 1995.
Mother Nature: Animal Parents and Their Young, Sierra Club Books (San Francisco, CA), 1997.
Prairie: A Natural History, Greystone Books (Berkeley, CA), 2004.
Trash Attack!: Garbage and What We Can Do about It ("Earthcare" series), illustrated by Steve Beinicke, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
Get Growing!: How the Earth Feeds Us ("Earthcare" series), Douglas and Mclntyre (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991.
Eat Up!: Healthy Food for a Healthy Earth ("Earthcare" series), Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1992.
Born to Be a Cowgirl: A Spirited Ride through the OldWest (based on Cowgirls; also see below), Tricycle Press (Berkeley, CA), 2001.
Wizards: An Amazing Journey through the Last GreatAge of Magic, Greystone Books (Berkeley, CA), 2002.
(With Linda Rasmussen, Lorna Rasmussen, and Anne Wheeler) A Harvest Yet to Reap: A History of Prairie Women, Women's Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1976.
Our Nell: A Scrapbook Biography of Nellie L. McClung, Western Producer Prairie Books (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1979.
Cowgirls, Ten Speed Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996.
Beauty Queens: A Playful History, Abbeville Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca, Greystone Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2000.
Columnist and contributor to Canadian Geographic, 1999-2003. Savage's books have been translated into German and French, as well as published in braille editions.
Nonfiction author Candace Savage writes to inform both young audiences and older readers about the beauty and lore of the West. In titles such as Grizzly Bears, Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights, and Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays she focuses on the many animals that can be seen by naturalists young and old on excursions into the Western wilderness. Budding environmentalists have gained insights from Savage's contributions to the "Earthcare" series, while the author's love affair with Western culture and life on horseback is related in both Cowgirls and Born to Be a Cowgirl: A Spirited Ride through the Old West. Savage has also ventured into other subjects in the books Wizards: An Amazing Journey through the Last Great Age of Magic, Beauty Queens: A Playful History, and Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca.
Love of Nature Inspires Nonfiction
Born in 1949 in the western province of Alberta, Canada, Savage moved around a great deal while growing up, living in small towns in the northwestern region near the Peace River, as well as in Edmonton, Vermilion, and Pincher Creek. Her parents, both teachers, encouraged her love for reading and writing, while her explorations out of doors inspired her with a love of nature. While attending the University of Alberta, she met and married Arthur Savage, and also honed her writing skills. Graduating with honors in 1971, she got a job as news editor for a local publication, the first of several publishing jobs she undertook before deciding to focus on writing. In 1975 she left her job at Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College, enrolled at classes at the University of Saskatchewan, and devoted what extra time she had to working on her first book.
Fortunately for Savage, her first published effort, 1976's A Harvest Yet to Reap: A History of Prairie Women, was a collaborative effort. The theme of women's history carried through into her second book, 1979's Our Nell: A Scrapbook Biography of Nellie L. McClung, about a noted Canadian writer. With Wild Mammals of Western Canada—published in the United States as Wild Mammals of Northwest America—which she wrote with her husband, Savage hit her stride as a nature writer, and began what has become a successful career in that field.
Tragically, Savage's husband died the same year Wild Mammals of Western Canada was published, leaving the thirty-two year old writer alone with a young daughter to support. Through the rest of the 1980s she supplemented her writing income by working from 1984 through 1986 as a public affairs officer for the provincial government of the Northwestern Territories, and from 1986 to 1989 for the region's Science Institute.
In 1985 Savage had two books published in succession: Pelicans and The Wonder of Canadian Birds, the latter published in the United States as Wings of the North. With these books Savage began her writing career in earnest. The Wonder of Canadian Birds impressed several critics with its discussion of fifty-five of Canada's most common birds. Books in Canada contributor John Oughton noted that Savage includes "surprising information about even wellknown species," while Richard Perry dubbed the work "entertaining and informative" in his Quill and Quire review. Laurie Bartolini, writing in Library Journal, also had praise for the book, writing that Savage "has an outstanding ability to dramatize avian environment . . . , physiology . . . , and behavior," while American Reference Books Annual contributor Syd Schoenwetter cited The Wonder of CanadianBirds as "one of the best and most attractive books to introduce a favorite person to birds."
Savage has published several other books on birds, among them Eagles of North America, Peregrine Falcons, and Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays. In Peregrine Falcons Savage presents a compelling profile of a threatened avian species, and combines color photos with a text that gives a history of falcons, as well as the story of their fight for survival in the wake of insecticide and pesticide use. The humorously titled Bird Brains is "written with humor, style, and love," noted Edna M. Boardman in a review of Savage's 1995 work for Kliatt. In this work the author examines indicators of intelligence in the crow family—jays, crows, ravens, and magpies—whose members live in social groups and communicate with each other about food sources. Bonnie Smothers, impressed by Savage's work, concluded in her Booklist review that the book includes so many examples of birds' "extraordinary feats of memory, calculation, foraging, and so forth" that the term "bird brain" would be appropriate as a compliment.
Nature Writing Comes down to Earth
Although several of Savage's books have focused on airborne creatures, she is equally at home writing about those whose paws are firmly planted on terra firma. In titles such as Wolves, Grizzly Bears, and Wild Cats: Lynx, Bobcats, Mountain Lions, she educates readers about the habits of the West's most common predators, and attempts to show that man can peaceably coexist with such creatures. Wolves, which was updated and revised as The World of the Wolf, blends "stunningly beautiful photographs and a laudatory text," as Gladys Hardcastle commented in a Voice of Youth Advocates review. Grizzly Bears "assembles[s] some of the best photographs ever taken of the great bear," according to John Murray in Bloomsbury Review, the critic adding that the book's greatest contribution "is that it contributes to the larger effort to educate people . . . and to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions" about the giant bears. In her 1994 book, Wild Cats: Lynx, Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Savage performs a similar service for significantly smaller creatures, combining well-chosen photographs with "engaging natural history writing," according to a reviewer for Petersen's Photographic. Several of Savage's books on Canadian wildlife were eventually ranked as best sellers.
Turning her hand to books more specifically geared to young readers, Savage deals with environmental concerns in three titles in the "Earthcare" series.
Trash Attack!: Garbage and What We Can Do about It presents an overview of the problem of what to do with what we do not want, and includes activities young readers can do themselves to help become part of the solution as a certified "Trash Attacker." Recycling and composting are also discussed, and kids are taught to be savvy shoppers by steering clear of over-packaged products. In Eat Up!: Healthy Food for a Heathy Earth Savage sends "a clear message that junk food is 'out' and natural food is 'in,'" observed Quill and Quire reviewer Hickman. To help children understand rudimentary nutrition, Savage has developed the "five N's": Nutritional need; Naturalness of processing and growing methods; Now-ness or freshness; Near-ness, which determines added shipping costs; and Naked-ness, or lack of packaging. Get Growing!: How the Earth Feeds Us expands on the topic of food by introducing young readers to the world of farming. David C. Allison, reviewing the "Earthcare" books for Science Books and Films, wrote that Savage's "effort to inform children at an early age that planet earth has been and is being abused is laudable."
Home on the Range
Savage relives her childhood fascination with all things western in two books: Cowgirls, published in 1996, and the junior version, which she published in 2001 under the title Born to Be a Cowgirl: A Spirited Ride through the Old West. As a young girl, she was caught up in the Wild-West craze, but never had the chance to ride the range except in her imagination. In Cowgirls she brings to life the rough-and-tumble lives of some actual cowgirls—Belle Starr, Annie Oakley, and Calamity Jane, along with Hollywood cowgirls Dale Evans and Barbara Stanwyck, and several less-well-known but equally vivacious ranchers and drovers. Explaining to a Maclean's contributor that the image of the cowgirl "has become a powerful symbol of liberation" for many women, she traveled as far as the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, to discover why. Praising Savage for her committed research and enthusiastic, "peppery commentary," Booklist contributor Donna Seaman added that Cowgirls is "enlightening and enjoyable from start to finish."
Born to Be a Cowgirl recasts Cowgirls in a child-friendly light, simplifying the history of cowgirls and ranching for younger readers. Heavily illustrated with photographs and containing diaries, interviews, and fascinating tales of life in the Old West, Savage describes women who became everything from ranchers and horsebreakers to rodeo stars. Booklist contributor Linda Perkins called the book an "enticing slice of western and women's
history," while Joan Marshall, writing in Resource Links, dubbed Born to Be a Cowgirl an "amazing book about the exciting life of cowgirls on the western plains of North America."
If you enjoy the works of Candace Savage
If you enjoy the works of Candace Savage, you may also want to check out the following books:
Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf, 1963.
Russell Freedman, Cowboys of the WildWest, 1985.
Jim Murphy, Across America on an EmigrantTrain, 1993.
While Cowgirls presents readers with inspirational stories about people pursuing their dreams, Wizards: An Amazing Journey through the Last Great Age of Magic takes readers farther back in time, to a period when going outside the norm often landed one in serious trouble. Using Sir Isaac Newton as an example, in Wizards Savage shows that the early quest for medical and scientific knowledge often led one to be branded a witch or, as in Newton's case, a wizard. While wizards were perceived as relatively benign, not so with their female counterpart, as Savage shows in Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca. A book that January online contributor Linda Richards praised for providing "aesthetic delight along with intellectual stimulation." Witch follows the history of witchcraft from the middle ages—when as many as 100,000 supposed witches were murdered, often by burning at the stake—to the New Age phenomenon known as Wicca. Praising Savage's writing in Witch as a "gentle-yet-authoritative style," Richards added that the book benefits from its author's obviously "exhaustive" research. In Booklist Ilene Cooper found Wizards to be equally well-researched, an "interesting brew" of history and storytelling that illustrates for younger readers how many dabblers, conjurers, witches, and wizards were, perhaps, in fact some of the greatest physicians and scientists of their age.
Biographical and Critical Sources
American Reference Books Annual, Volume 17, 1986, Syd Schoenwetter, review of Wings of the North: A Gallery of Favorite Birds, pp. 597-598.
Backpacker, April, 1995, Jeff Rennicke, review of Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights, p. 143.
Bloomsbury Review, March, 1991, John Murray, review of Grizzly Bears, p. 24.
Booklist, December 1, 1990, Ray Olson, review of Grizzly Bears, p. 701; November 1, 1992, Ray Olson, review of Peregrine Falcons, p. 475; November 1, 1993, Mary Carroll, review of Wild Cats: Lynx, Bobcats, Mountain Lions, p. 491; February 1, 1996, Bonnie Smothers, review of Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays, p. 905; September 1, 1996, Donna Seaman, review of Cowgirls, p. 59; December 1, 1996, Mary Carroll, review of The World of the Wolf, p. 632A; September 15, 1997, Mary Carroll, review of Mother Nature: Animal Parents and Their Young, p. 189; May 15, 2001, Linda Perkins, review of Born to Be a Cowgirl: A Spirited Ride through the Old West, p. 1742; June 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Wizards: An Amazing Journey through the Last Great Age of Magic, p. 1770.
Books in Canada, December, 1985, John Oughton, review of The Wonder of Canadian Birds, p. 19; December, 1987, Paul Stuewe, review of Eagles of North America, pp. 15-16; March, 1993, Janet McNaughton, review of Eat Up!: Healthy Food for a Healthy Earth, p. 39; December, 1993, Lawrence Scanlan, review of Wild Cats, pp. 15-16.
Canadian Book Review Annual, 1997, Janet Arnett, review of The Nature of Wolves: An Intimate Portrait, pp. 425-426; 1998, Janet Arnett, review of Mother Nature, p. 431.
Canadian Geographic, February, 1986, Monty Brigham, review of The Wonder of Canadian Birds, p. 77; March-April, 1995, review of Aurora, pp. 82, 84.
Emergency Librarian, May, 1991, Joan McGrath, review of Trash Attack!: Garbage and What We Can Do about It, p. 57; March, 1993, Adele Ashby, review of Eat Up!, p. 60; May, 1993, Adele Ashby, review of Get Growing!: How the Earth Feeds Us, p. 61.
Horn Book, July-August, 2001, review of Born to Be aCowgirl, p. 476.
Kliatt, September, 1997, Edna M. Boardman, review of Bird Brains, p. 43.
Library Journal, January, 1986, Laurie Bartolini, review of Wings of the North, p. 93; October 15, 1994, Gary Williams, review of Aurora, p. 85; July, 1996, Daniel D. Liestman, review of Cowgirls, p. 134.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 29, 1987, David M. Graber, review of Eagles of North America, p. 10.
Petersen's Photographic, March, 1994, review of WildCats, pp. 12-13.
Publishers Weekly, November 20, 2000, review of Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca, p. 61; May 7, 2001, review of Born to Be a Cowgirl, p. 248.
Quarterly Review of Biology, September, 1997, Louis Lefebvre, review of Bird Brains, pp. 354-355.
Quill and Quire, December, 1985, Richard Perry, review of The Wonder of Canadian Birds, p. 33; November, 1990, Pamela Hickman, review of Trash Attack!, p. 11; October, 1992, Ted Mumford, review of Peregrine Falcons, pp. 29-30; November, 1992, Pamela Hickman, review of Eat Up!, p. 34; April, 2001, review of Born to Be a Cowgirl, p. 35.
Resource Links, October, 1996, review of Trash Attack!, p. 38; June, 2001, Joan Marshall, review of Born to Be a Cowgirl, p. 30.
School Library Journal, July, 1993, review of PeregrineFalcons, p. 114; March, 1997, review of The World of the Wolf, p. 218; June, 2001, Nancy Collins-Warner, review of Born to Be a Cowgirl, p. 180.
Science Books and Films, April, 1992, David C. Allison, review of Get Growing!, p. 85.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), December 6, 1987, Peter Gorner, review of Eagles of North America, p. 8.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1991, Gladys Hardcastle, review of Wolves, p. 63.
West Coast Review of Books, Volume 16, number 1, 1991, review of Grizzly Bears, p. 68.
Whole Earth Review, summer, 1995, J. Baldwin, review of Aurora, pp. 28-29.
Wild West, August, 1997, review of Cowgirls, pp. 94-95.
January,http://www.janmag.com/ (October, 2000), Linda Richards, review of Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca.
Kaleidoscope6,http://www.ucalgary.ca/ (October, 1996), "Candace Savage."
Saskatoon Publishers,http://www.saskpublishers.sk.ca/ (July 10, 2004), "Candace Savage."