At the Top of the List

My terrific publisher Heritage House created this fitting image for Lost on the Prairie

Dave and I were enjoying some ice cream at Sargent Sundae last night when my phone dinged. John Toews the events coordinator for McNally Robinson Booksellers had sent an e-mail with the bestseller list that would appear on Saturday in the Winnipeg Free Press.

My novel Lost on the Prairie has been in the number two or three spot on the list for the last month and the fact that he was sending me a notice meant my book was still on the list. I was happy about that but………..I could not believe it when I opened the attachment John had sent. For the first time Lost on the Prairie was number one on the bestseller list of books for kids.

Lost on the Prairie was a project I worked on for six years and to see its story resonating now with so many people is incredibly rewarding. I received an e-mail this week from a grandmother who had read the book and then bought copies for all of her grandchildren. So many grandparents have contacted me to say they have either bought the book for their grandchildren or are reading the book together with them. Grandparents were certainly not my target market for the novel, but I think their enthusiasm for Lost on the Prairie is what’s motivating many children to read it and enjoy it.

Two grandparents who are well-established Canadian authors have written endorsements for the book and I am so grateful.

Larry Verstraete at the launch of one of his books

Lost on the Prairie had my attention from the first line to the last. I loved the plot, the characters, the quick pace, the details incorporated that made the time period come alive, the rich language and clever phrases that often made me chuckle… In short, I loved everything about the book. Kids and teachers are going to love it, too. and I hope the book has a long and happy life on the bestseller list where it surely belongs.

Larry Verstraete’s seventeen books for children have garnered many awards. His latest novel Coop the Great was a 2020 honour book for the Young People’s Choice Award in Manitoba and will soon be available in Germany with Merlin Verlag Publishers.  

Beryl Young is a British Columbia children’s author who has been an inspiration to me

Lost on the Prairie is a terrific read and full of great adventures. The author really lets you get inside the hero Peter’s head.  I was holding my breath in so many places in the book including when Peter almost missed the train in Winnipeg.  I really admired the research that was done to make the story authentic. I loved that Mark Twain is in the book as a real person. I also liked the combination of fiction and real-life and the family photos that were included.  I look forward to the author’s next book. 

Beryl Young is the award-winning author of novels, picture books and biographies for children.  Her latest book Show Us Where You Live Humpback was just released in May 2021 by Greystone Kids. 

I am loving the fact that so many people are sending me photos of the book in different places and spaces. Randy read my book on a canoe trip.

Pam used battery-powered LED lights to finish reading the book when the power went off in Steinbach last weekend.

Perry read the book in his garden in Halifax.

My brother’s secret book elf putting my book in a Little Free Library at Strathmillan School in Winnipeg

I mentioned in my last post that my brother Ken was buying copies of Lost on the Prairie in Victoria and putting them into Little Free Libraries there. Now he has hired a book elf in Winnipeg to do the same thing.

My book on the shelf at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach.

My friend Debbie sent a photo of the book on the shelves at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach. I am so happy that copies of the novel are now for sale in my hometown.

Erin Unger was kind enough to do one of her famous author interview sessions with me on her blog mennotoba.

Nicolien Klassen- Wiebe did a lovely piece on Lost on the Prairie in The Canadian Mennonite.

John Longhurst from the Winnipeg Free Press interviewed me and his article about my book should be in the paper before my upcoming launch.

On Wednesday I was excited to share news about my book with nearly a hundred other children’s artists and illustrators at the June meeting of CANSCAIP a professional organization for Canadian children’s authors which I have belonged to for many years. I was thrilled when Kathy Stinson a well-known children’s author put a comment in the chat that my book sounded like a good one.

Of course, with pandemic restrictions in effect, I can’t take a photo of my book on the shelves at the Winnipeg Public Library but I did note their copies of the book have 13 holds on them so that’s encouraging.

This afternoon I will be doing a dress rehearsal for the official launch of my book online with McNally Robinson Booksellers which will be happening on Wednesday June 16th at 7 pm. I hope to see you there. You can join the event through the link on the McNally Robinson website.

I will do another post about my book in about ten days. If you want to keep up with my latest book news till then you can check out my author website

You can read all my posts about Lost on the Prairie here.


Filed under Lost on the Prairie

4 responses to “At the Top of the List

  1. Looks good at the top, MaryLou. Congrats!! You must be flying high. Hey. . . I’m pretty sure you said the launch was on Wednesday the 16th not the 17th? Please confirm. Thanks!


    • Dear Gabe,
      Flying a little too high it seems. Just getting ready for my launch practice session with John Toews at McNally’s. Thanks for catching this error. I’ve fixed it. You are right it is the 16th. So looking forward to your book coming out and your launch Gabe.


  2. Deane Ramsay

    How wonderful! Keeping an eye out for this in Seattle WA…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Does It Get Any Better Than This? | What Next?

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