Award-winning children’s book author Michelle Mulder wanted to feature Victoria – their hometown – as central to the plot.
A handful of their latest tale, Up for Grabs, are – as the title suggests – up for grabs in little free libraries in the region.
Mulder is an author of multiple books for children, including The Vegetable Museum, Home Sweet Neighborhood, and Every Last Drop. The Vegetable Museum was selected for New York Public Library Best Books and OLA’s Best Bets, and Mulder’s non-fiction has won two Green Earth Book Awards.
Local landmarks appear throughout the pages of Up for Grabs and the cover, illustrated by award-winning local artist Julie McLaughlin, includes Craigdarroch Castle.
The book launched with a scavenger hunt and now remaining books are scattered in book-sharing boxes across the Rockland neighbourhood and as far as kids on bikes might venture.
“Yes, it’s a launch gimmick, of course, and it gets people out exploring in their neighbourhood and meeting people and stuff,” Mulder said. “I love that the launch concept covers one major theme of the book.”
A fan of placemaking, Mulder’s latest story focuses on Frida, 13, and a handful of new friends as they explore and make new friends.
“They wind up going around cross-pollinating little free libraries … and get to know the city quite a bit that way,” the author said.
Frida is accustomed to travelling the world, and she loves going to galleries. She’ll bring her art supplies and draw whatever’s on the walls and whatever takes her fancy, Mulder explained. At one point, Frida finds herself at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and gets a tour of the vault.
“Which I was lucky enough to do when I was researching the book,” Mulder said.
Aside from searching among the more than 350 book exchanges across Greater Victoria, Up for Grabs is available at the usual places in local book shops and online.