Karen Autio

Children’s Author | Editor | Presenter | Sensitivity Reader for Disability Awareness


Crwth Press ISBN: 978-1-7753319-0-2


June 2019 Word Award in the category Books – Specialty (Finalist) for GROWING UP IN WILD HORSE CANYON


Using GROWING UP IN WILD HORSE CANYON in the Classroom: A Teacher's Experience

Selected for the CanLit for Kids Winter 2019 Elementary Package – Grades K-6 - Extra Titles – Upper Elementary

Finalist sticker. Picture Books   Growing up in Wild Horse Canyon Growing up in Wild Horse Canyon
Paintings © Loraine Kemp
Karen heading into Wild Horse Canyon

GROWING UP IN WILD HORSE CANYON explores Okanagan history by focusing on Wild Horse Canyon in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park (south of Kelowna, BC) and its vicinity. This narrative nonfiction picture book, with illustrations by Loraine Kemp, includes natural and social history.

In a hidden Okanagan canyon, a ponderosa pine tree sprouts and begins to grow. Seasons pass and the tree's growth becomes a measure of human history in the Okanagan Valley, from First Nations quests to fur brigades, horse wrangling, secret wartime commando training, and the firestorm of 2003.

Richly illuminated by realistic paintings, maps, and historical images and informed by a timeline, historical notes, and index, this fascinating book interweaves First Nations history with European settlement and the natural history of animals and plants. While broad in its scope, the story is intensely personal, following the thread of one tree growing in one sheltered and sacred space. This book is a unique approach to history that will delight readers of all ages.

Author-Illustrator School and Library Presentations

"I read your book after school and it’s so wonderful! I cannot believe how much Science and Social Studies curriculum content it speaks to. So much rich language and complimentary illustrations about living things and local Indigenous culture. I know Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon will quickly become a central resource book in my classroom for students and teachers alike. Middle school students (Grades 6-8) will enjoy your book as well. With all the facts and historical information in the back, it certainly lends itself to also being a resource for teachers and students at a higher level. Thank you for this gift!"—Nadine Siever, Grade 3 teacher, Rose Valley Elementary, West Kelowna, BC

"Wow! So impressed by your obvious wealth of research and care in weaving a fascinating historical thread… brought to life by Loraine K’s illustrations that capture the Okanagan so vividly. (Again, the countless hours that clearly went into this – mind blown.) Congratulations on producing a book that takes on the mountainous task of encapsulating Okanagan history in an hour of reading…and summits! This truly belongs on every Okanagan bookshelf."—Jim Failes, Kelowna, BC

"What a valuable book this is to children, teachers, the Okanagan people and history-lovers alike! All ages will value it!"—Eileen Holland, retired elementary school teacher, Coquitlam, BC