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By Michael Christianson
Author Nora Ryan was back in Dryden last week to read from her young adult book Pihoqahiak – A Polar Bear’s Story.
Ryan’s book was inspired by true events that begin in Canada in the 1980s. During that time nuisance polar bears that came into town were captured and then shipped off to various parts of the world.
“In 2002 there was a group of bears that were actually rescued from a circus down in Mexico and it was told that some of those bears came from Churchill,” explains Ryan. “They were all polar bears that were travelling around the Caribbean in absolutely sweltering conditions. We had actually just returned from the Caribbean ourselves in 2001 when this story was starting to break; we had been living there and I understood those temperature conditions.”
Pihoqahiak is one such bear that strays into Churchill in search of food. Carelessness by the protagonist Jordan leads to the bear’s capture and he is relocated to Germany. When Jordan and his sister Raven discover that the bear has been sold to a traveling circus they set out to rescue him.
Ryan had previously visited the Dryden Library with her children’s book Dragon Quest. She says Pihoqahiak focuses on the relationship between man and wild.
“It’s to examine a complex issue, what our relationship is with animals in the wild and what are our obligations and responsibilities and it’s something that young people will be making maybe some of the most critical choices of about what is going to happen in the future,” said Ryan. “I’m really just putting out people’s view points and perspectives without trying to hammer home a particular lesson.”
You can visit noraryanbooks.com for more information on the author.