Jacqueline Pearce reads from her new children's chapter book

Burnaby author tells story of 1948 Fraser flood in kids’ book

Jacqueline Pearce spent 10 years catching up with the history of the 1948 Fraser River flood. Now history is catching up with her.

Jacqueline Pearce spent 10 years catching up with the history of the 1948 Fraser River flood that swamped much of the Fraser Valley from Chilliwack to Mission. This week, with the river surging to its highest level in 30 years, history is catching up with her.

Pearce just released Flood Warning, a children’s chapter book about a young boy’s adventures on his family’s farm in the Fraser Valley and his heroic effort to save their Guernsey cows when the river rose to its second highest level in recorded history. Then, the river poured through damaged dikes to cover more than 200 square kilometres, displacing 16,000 people and damaging $20 million worth (1948 dollars) of property.

Tuesday, looking out over the river, swollen by spring runoff and heavy rain and now lapping at the uppermost rocks along Burnaby’s Fraser Foreshore Park, Pearce couldn’t help but marvel at the irony of the timing for her ninth book, and the serendipity of history.

“It looks so peaceful,” she says. “I can definitely imagine the power of the water.”

That’s because in gathering material for Flood Warning, she had immersed herself in the place and time of the great flood of ‘48.

She scrounged through archives and old news clippings. She went to Agassiz to talk to locals who went through the flood. She toured their farms and visited the town’s graveyard.

She even learned about the popular radio hero of the time and confirmed The Lone Ranger had reached young listeners in the Valley.

That particular attention to detail is a point of pride for Pearce, who’s also written fictional stories about artist Emily Carr’s childhood and the internment of Japanese-Canadians on Vancouver Island during WWII.

And while only a minute portion of her research might make it into her books, it all helps her create a context that transports her young readers back in time and right into her characters’ adventures.

“You often don’t hear about the children’s stories in historical events, you just hear about the adults,” says Pearce, a Burnaby resident for the past 15 years. “Kids empathize and imagine themselves in all kinds of different situations. They’re excited to share their own similar experiences.”

Though the current concern about the Fraser is unlikely to equal the devastation of 1948, Pearce says there are still valuable lessons for kids to learn from her book as they visit the rising river with their parents, or maybe watch news reports on television.

“They can see how people work together to overcome adversity,” says Pearce. “Kids can feel they’re not alone, that they can help in big situations even in a little way.”

To learn more about Jacqueline Pearce’s children’s books and where to find them, go to www.jacquelinepearce.ca

 

Just Posted

Fraser-Cascade school district hosts by-election to fill void left by passing of Tom Hendrickson

Advance voting begins on July 17, with general voting on July 27

Okan brings Cuban rhythm to Harrison Festival of the Arts

The Cuban band from Toronto will be performing a concert and holding a workshop

Sts’ailes drum making coming to Harrison Festival

The workshop has been happening for years, bringing Indigenous teachings to the festival

Transparency, dialogue key to UBC Dairy’s open house

The annual Agassiz event invites the public to come learn about dairy farming and research around it

Chilliwack lagging real estate sales mirrors provincial trend

Forecast for 2019 is a drop from 2018 but a bounce back predicted for 2020

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read