Book Talk

Local authors Jennifer J. Bergin and Ruth Latta have come up with entertaining stories for young book lovers. Mom and dad will be happy with these tales too.

Jungle Jim and Jungle Jen in the African Savannahs

Reading is particularly fun for the kids of author Jennifer J. Bergin. Thanks to their mom, Matthew, Owen and Jessica aren’t just readers, they’re storytellers.

Her book, Jungle Jim and Jungle Jen In The African Savannahs, explores the wonders of nature and wild animals. And each time Jennifer does a public reading, naturally it’s a family affair. Her husband Bruno Bellefeuille goes along to read with her and one of the three kids gets to be the narrator. How wild and wonderful is that for a kid? The youngest, Matthew, is 10 and he had the opportunity to narrate his mom’s book for his entire class at school last year. “I am happy to say it was wildly popular with 28 nine-year-old children,” Jennifer reports.

The part-time chiropractor and part-time cartoonist/author is also full-time mother to Owen, 15, and Jessica, 13, who have also taken turns as the book’s narrator. The first in a series, Jungle Jim and Jungle Jen In The African Savannahs is geared to kids aged six to 14 and it’s available at Chapters and Indigo stores as well as through online retailers. Though the story is fictional, its facts are true.

“I was so moved by the Planet Earth and Life documentaries, I wanted to share this excitement with children through stories where facts about animals and geography could be learned in a real, fun way,” the author explains. Certainly, the details are particularly fun for her own kids, who get to help bring the stories to life.

The next title in the series, Jungle Jim and Jungle Jen In The African Rainforest, will be available this fall. The ISBN for Jungle Jim and Jungle Jen In The African Savannahs is 978-1-4525-5314-6.

The Songcatcher and Me

Award-winning Ottawa writer Ruth Latta has produced a number of books, including novels, collections of short stories and non-fiction works. Her latest is called The Songcatcher and Me. Written for teens and young adults, it’s set in 1957 and tells the story of Sheila, a 14-year-old girl who feels stuck living with her grumpy uncle and tired grandmother at their failing country store. This is the kind of book you’ll feel good about buying for the young person in your life. It’s available from and from The ISBN is 978-1-927481-36-3.

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