Podcast Episode #7 – Feb 15, 2022
In this podcast interview we will be talking to Nancy Rose, a photographer, author and illustrator best known for her book series “The Secret Life of Squirrels” currently based in Hubley, Nova Scotia.
Nancy worked as a Guidance Counselor and Family Studies teacher until she retired in 2016. Nancy grew up in Antigonish, NS, in a family of seven children where creativity was always encouraged and over the years she has pursued a variety of art and craft endeavors in her spare time. She started taking photography seriously in 2007 when she joined Flickr.com where she was inspired by the creativity and talents of photographers from all over the world. Her interest in nature and wildlife, and a storage room full of fabrics, paint, clay and craft materials merged with her photography passion when she discovered the curiosity of the little North American Red Squirrels who raided the bird feeders in her backyard. By making miniature dioramas and squirrel-size props she has created hundreds of scenarios where the inquisitive squirrels find themselves in some rather human-like poses as they search for peanuts hidden in the props. Gradually, the “secret life” of her backyard squirrels emerged. Her first “actor”, Mr. Peanuts, has been followed by a succession of cute and curious squirrels who come daily for peanuts and sunflower seeds and to check out whatever Nancy puts out on the table on her deck. Sometimes she gets a good shot right away, but more often it takes hundreds of photos to get a clearly focused shot that tells the story Nancy has in her head.
In 2013 Nancy’s humorous squirrel photos on Flickr went viral and they have been featured on numerous websites, and newspapers locally and internationally, as well as on local and national television news shows. When some of her amusing squirrel photos appeared in The Toronto Star and National Post she was contacted by a literary agent at Westwood Creative Artists in Toronto. From there her books were born and her followers grew in number. Her fifth book was published in June 2021.
Nancy’s first book, The Secret Life of Squirrels was published simultaneously in Canada and the US in 2014 and has also been published in Japan and South Korea. It is also available in a board book for the youngest readers, and in 2016 available in paperback through Scholastic Books. Merry Christmas, Squirrels followed in 2015, The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story in 2016, and The Secret Life of Squirrels: Back to School in 2018. Oakley the Squirrel – The Search for Z – A Nutty Alphabet Book came out in June 2021 and a follow up about Counting and Camping is at the publishers now. Nancy is currently working on a fourth year of photos (for 2024) calendars with Workman Publishing.
Nancy does classroom visits (live, before covid) and virtual these days, via Zoom or Googlemeet. She is available to read to students of all ages. “I can talk about the roles of author and illustrator and working with a publisher. I show many of my homemade miniature props which appear in the books to show the students that art has many forms. We talk about nature and wildlife, crafting and recycling (The 3 R’s) and the 4 P’s: photography, practice, patience and persistence. After my visits students have often created their own miniatures and written stories to go with them.”
You can follow Nancy’s work and learn more at:
Some Youtube Links:
■ Merry Christmas Squirrels! by Nancy Rose (Little, Brown Young Readers)
■ Merry Christmas Squirrels! read by Patti Smith (321 Read)
■ The Secret Life of Squirrels read by Mr. Kirby’s Neighborhood
■ Squirrel with tissues Nancy Rose “Secret Life of Squirrels”
From your podcast app click on this link to the images which will automatically use your browser.
The Music snippets that you hear in the intro and outro of the podcast is from “upbeat-motivation-corporate” by M-Dewala on Pixabay Music.