Parker, Marjorie Blain 1960-
PARKER, Marjorie Blain 1960-
Born March 2, 1960, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; daughter of William Ross (a lawyer), and Sandra Joan (a language arts teacher; maiden name, McDonald) Blain; married Jay Gordon Parker (a gas and electric distribution designer), September 27, 1986; children: Steven Maxwell, Casey Blain, Rachel Faye. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Calgary, bachelor of commerce (management information systems), 1982. Religion: Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Walking, cooking, reading, traveling, skiing.
Home—9194 East Evans Pl., Denver, CO 80231 Agent—Melanie Colbert Agency, 17 West St., Holland Landing, Ontario L9N 1L4, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].
Arthur Andersen, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, information systems consultant, 1982-86; Price Waterhouse, Denver, CO, information systems consultant, 1986-88; Software AG, Denver, technical software support, 1988-2002.
Authors' Guild, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers, Colorado Council of the International Reading Association.
Henry Bergh Children's Book Award, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Mr. Christie's Book Award Silver Sea, both 2002, and KIND Children's Book Award, National Association for Humane and Environmental Education, 2003, all for Jasper's Day.
Jasper's Day, illustrated by Janet Wilson, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
Ice Cream Everywhere!, illustrated by Stephanie Roth, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.
Hello, School Bus!, illustrated by Bob Kolar, Cartwheel Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Hello, Fire Truck!, illustrated by Bob Kolar, Cartwheel Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Hello, Freight Train, illustrated by Bob Kolar, Cartwheel Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to children's magazines.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
If I Could Be, illustrated by Cyd Moore, for Dutton (New York, NY), publication expected 2005; A Paddle of Ducks, illustrated by Wendy Bailey, for Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), publication expected 2005.
After Marjorie Blain Parker won her first ribbon for a poem published in the school bulletin during third grade, she became hooked on writing. Yet many years passed before this native Canadian returned to creative writing. After graduating from college with a business degree, she worked for an accounting firm, and in 1986 she moved to Denver, Colorado, with her American husband. Shortly thereafter, she took a correspondence course in writing for children. "I needed a hobby since I had to leave all my friends and family behind in Canada," Parker wrote on her Web site. "I really enjoyed the writing and many of my pieces were published in children's magazines."
Parker's commitment to writing decelerated with the arrival of each of their three children, but once the kids were all of school age, she resumed her professional writing career. "In 1999, inspired by a writer friend, I decided to go for it," she continued. "My goal was to get a manuscript accepted before I turned forty." To this end she wrote stories, joined a critique group, and attended writers' conferences. Her first children's work Jasper's Day, an award-winning picture book about boy's last day with his beloved dog, appeared in 2002. The family of Jasper, a golden retriever suffering from cancer, celebrates the day with meaningful activities before taking him to the veterinarian to be put to sleep and later interring him in the backyard. Several reviewers suggested that Jasper's Day would be useful for bibliotherapy, including a Kirkus Reviews contributor, who remarked favorably upon the author's "exquisite sensitivity" in telling the story. Finding "the difficult situation …described gently, but realistically," School Library Journal critic Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst thought the story might help children experiencing similar situations. Whitehurst also expressed concern that children with healthy pets might find the story "upsetting" and thus recommended that parents consider this before sharing the book with their children. Writing in Booklist, Ilene Cooper thought that the author expressed clearly the difficulty in seeing a pet die, but noted that the book offers "a celebration of life that will remind children to make the most of every moment with those they love."
With more books on the way, Parker once noted that she "loves the writing life" and "hopes to establish a body of work worthy of the respect of book lovers and the literary community."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Jasper's Day, p. 769.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2002, review of Jasper's Day, pp. 1397-1398.
Resource Links, October, 2002, Heather Hamilton, review of Jasper's Day, p. 8.
School Library Journal, January, 2003, Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, review of Jasper's Day, p. 110.
Marjorie Blain Parker Home Page,http://www.marjorieblainparker.com (July 7, 2003).