Miles, Victoria 1966-

views updated

Miles, Victoria 1966-

Personal

Born 1966, in Canada.

Addresses

Home—North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Agent—Curtis Brown Ltd., 10 Astor Place, New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Children's author.

Member

Children's Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia.

Awards, Honors

Science in Society Book Award finalist and Red Maple Award finalist, Ontario Library Association, both 2005, both for Wild Science; ASPCA Henry Bergh Award for Children's Fiction, 2007, for Old Mother Bear; Chocolate Lily Award finalist, 2007, for Magnifico.

Writings

Sea Otter Pups, Orca (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1993.

Bald Eaglets, Orca (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1993.

Spotted Owlets, Orca (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1993.

Cougar Kittens, Orca (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1993.

Pup's Supper, illustrated by Andrea Tachiera, Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA), 1999.

Wild Science: Amazing Encounters between Animals and the People Who Study Them, Raincoast Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2004.

City Bat, Country Bat, illustrated by George Juhasz, Tradewind (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2004.

Magnifico, Fitzhenry & Whiteside (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

The Chocolatier's Apprentice, illustrated by Lee Edward Födi, Echo Memoirs (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2006.

Old Mother Bear, illustrated by Molly Bang, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2007.

Contributor to Lady Bug, Wild, and Know: The Science Magazine for Curious Kids.

Sidelights

Victoria Miles' nonfiction titles introduce North American children to the basic concepts of wildlife biology. From her bestselling series for Canadian publisher Orca, including Sea Otter Pups and Spotted Owlets, to her fictional biography of a bear in Old Mother Bear, she brings science into the homes of young readers. Along with her science writing, Miles is also the author of the novel Magnifico as well as of The Chocolatier's Apprentice, a picture book describing how chocolate is made.

Wild Science: Amazing Encounters between Animals and the People Who Study Them, which was a finalist for two awards in Miles' native Canada, is part of the respected "Scientists in the Field" series. Wild Science presents the work of the men and women who study animals in their natural habitats, from marine biologists helping to rescue beached whales to scientists who track bats in Arizona. Alongside the description of each scientist are interesting facts about the specific animals they study. "Miles' lively text includes visceral details of what it's really like to work outdoors," wrote Gillian Engberg in her Booklist review of the book. Patricia Manning, writing in School Library Journal, predicted that Miles' "lucid, energetic reportage will be a delight and an inspiration," and a Kirkus Reviews contributor maintained that Wild Science "should be required reading for children with an active interest in understanding the natural world." Noting that it is "beautifully designed and organized," Joan Marshall concluded in Resource Links that the volume's "strength … is that it

will attract young readers to the possibility of working at a job that connects science and animals."

Miles moves to fiction in Old Mother Bear and provides a detailed, realistic description of the birth of three grizzly bear cubs in a wildlife sanctuary in British Columbia. The story follows the cubs from their earliest moments on earth, through their development into rambunctious, tumbling cubs. Following the cubs through their first three years, Old Mother Bear ends poignantly as the young bears journey off on their own while their aging mother prepares for her death. "Without anthropomorphism, the one animal's viewpoint is the drama," wrote Hazel Rochman in Booklist. According to June Wolfe in School Library Journal, by "using matter-of-fact language, the author treats her subjects with genuine respect and obvious admiration." A Kirkus Reviews contributor praised Old Mother Bear as "a beautiful introduction to these awesome animals."

An historical novel set in 1930s Vancouver, Magnifico introduces readers to young Mariangela. Mariangela wants to play the piano, but her Nonna insists that she learn to play the accordion. Despite the charm of her handsome accordion teacher, the girl is more interested in his stories than in learning how to play the less-desirable instrument. As Mariangela listens to the teacher's tales of Italy, she learns why her family wants her to be connected to her roots: the accordion she practices upon used to belong to her Italian grandmother. "Miles's evocation of the place and period is light-handed and persuasive, coming always from the child's eye," wrote Deirdre Baker in a review of Magnifico for Quill & Quire. Noting the depiction of the Italian immigrant experience in Canada, Margaret R. Tassia commented in School Library Journal that "the values and norms of the culture are clearly reflected" in Miles' story. Explaining that the author was inspired to write Magnifico after discovering an accordion in her garage, Nancy Kim concluded in Booklist that "Miles evokes a rich set of images of a particular time and place."

Along with writing, Miles also makes classroom presentations and runs a writing workshop for fourth through twelfth grades. As she wrote on her home page, her motto is: "Use your words for good."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Wild Science: Amazing Encounters between Animals and the People Who Study Them, p. 666; July 1, 2006, Nancy Kim, review of Magnifico, p. 58; April 15, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Old Mother Bear, p. 49.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 2004, Deborah Stevenson, review of Wild Science, p. 176.

Canadian Book Review Annual, 1995, review of Cougar Kittens, p. 561.

Canadian Geographic, September-October, 2004, Carol Hilton, review of Wild Science, p. 114.

Horn Book, July-August, 2007, Martha V. Parravano, review of Old Mother Bear, p. 382.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2004, review of Wild Science, p. 965; March 1, 2007, review of Old Mother Bear, p. 228.

Publishers Weekly, April 2, 2007, review of Old Mother Bear, p. 56.

Quill & Quire, October, 1993, review of Sea Otter Pup, pp. 41-42; May, 2006, review of Magnifico.

Resource Links, October, 2004, Joan Marshall, review of Wild Science, p. 39.

School Library Journal, December, 2004, Patricia Manning, review of Wild Science, p. 164; July, 2006, Margaret R. Tassia, review of Magnifico, p. 108; June, 2007, June Wolfe, review of Old Mother Bear, p. 116.

Washington Post Book World, May 6, 2007, Elizabeth Ward, review of Old Mother Bear, p. 11.

ONLINE

Children's Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia Web site,http://www.cwill.bc.ca/ (March 10, 2008), "Victoria Miles."

Victoria Miles Web log,http://www.magnifico-victoriamiles.blogspot.com/ (February 22, 2008).