Kathy Stinson & Cornelia Oberlander Visit Crofton House


Imagine having the chance to meet the author of a biography you were reading, and the person the biography was about, too? That’s what happened for a group of Grade Six students in Vancouver on the last morning of my Book Week tour.

When I asked Cornelia Oberlander (about whom I wrote in Love Every Leaf) if she’d like to join me in meeting an audience of adults or young students, she did not hesitate for an instant in choosing the students. If there’s one thing she’s more passionate about than the environment and her profession, it’s sharing her passion with young people who might one day become landscape architects. (Cornelia is herself one of Canada’s leading landscape architects, born in pre-Hitler Germany, and still active in her profession.)

I had hoped, when the Canadian Children’s Book Centre gave me my first choice as to which area of Canada I would like to visit, that there would be an opportunity for Cornelia and me to do something to promote together what we’ve come to think of as “our” book. But I never imagined what a fantastic time we would have doing it.

Staff at Crofton House had introduced the girls to Love Every Leaf with the reading of several excerpts in the days before our visit. I got our session started by asking Cornelia a few questions, then turned it over to the girls for theirs. Each girl, their teachers said, had a question for each of us, and were coached to preface their question with, “I have a question for Kathy,” or “I have a question for Cornelia.”

And such intelligent and thought-provoking questions they asked; they really didn’t need me to get things started at all. They asked about the effect on project plans of tough economic times like we’re experiencing now and about being female in a male-dominated profession. They asked about the challenges of writing biography and how the writing of various genres differed. Cornelia and I could have happily spent the whole morning with this avid group of bright young students.

We signed lots of copies of Love Every Leaf for the girls before Cornelia had to leave for another appointment and another group came into the library (to hear and talk about the Our Canadian Girl, Marie-Claire books). I have no doubt that more than a few Grade Six girls will have left Crofton House that day inspired to consider a career in landscape architecture – or perhaps in writing. I hope that some of them (or their teachers, or Jane Green of the BCSLA, who was also there) will see this post and be inspired to comment on this memorable visit! (And maybe post a photo? I know there was at least one camera there.)

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. kathystinson on November 25, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for sending the photos, Trish. I'm not sure now that there was actually a way for you to add them, but I remembered how to do it and picked one. A nice reminder of a terrific hour! Thanks again!

  2. H Detlef Kammeier on August 25, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Dear Madam,
    sorry, this is not about your blog, but in the hope of finding a postal address for Ms Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. I have tried in vane to send her a letter to the old University of British Columbia address but teh letter came back. Could you kindly find a valid address for her? I have a letter for her as I just learned that her husband passed away late last year. I have known both Oberladners since 1983 but I just do not have any address (postal, or e-mail).
    Thanks for responding by e-mail
    HDK (Professor, AIT, Bangkok, Thailand)

  3. Kathy Stinson on August 27, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Dear Professor Kammeier,

    I am sure Cornelia will be pleased to hear from you. Her address is:
    1372 Acadia Road
    Vancouver BC
    V6T 1P6

    Cornelia and I recently made presentations at the 75th anniversary conference of the CSLA. She misses Peter greatly, of course, but you will be happy to know that she seems to be as full of vigour and passion for her profession as ever.

    Kathy Stinson

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