Coteau Books acknowledges and mourns the passing of children’s author Mary Woodbury. Mary published eight titles with Coteau, including the best-selling Polly McDoodle Mystery Series, Jess and the Runaway Grandpa, (a Silver Birch finalist and Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice selection) and two YA titles, The Ghost in the Machine and Flight of the Tiger Moth.
For many years Mary was “the hardest working writer in Alberta”, undertaking annual promotional mailings to every school in the province, and continually doing school visits and conference presentations. An accomplished poet and memoir writer, Mary was also a cofounder of the Alberta kids’ book publisher Hodgepog Books.
Mary Woodbury toured twice for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week, first in 1999 and then again 2007. During her last Book Week tour Mary travelled to northern Ontario visiting schools and libraries in Bruce Mines, Heyden, Richard’s Landing, Sault Ste. Marie and Thessalon. At the end of her tour, Mary said “I came home to Edmonton with a lighter suitcase (having sold most of my books) and a lighter heart. I felt younger than I’ve felt all year at my desk. I was well-nurtured, well fed, and well cared for by everyone. I was reminded once more why I do this thing. Everyone needs stories.”
Mary will be greatly missed by her husband Clair, and their large family, as well as by the Alberta, and the Canadian, writing community. The Canadian Children’s Book Centre will also miss Mary Woodbury and the many wonderful stories she wrote for both children and teens.