Category Archives: Illustrated Books

Coola & Grinder turn 20!

Thanks to Covid I hadn’t had a chance to visit my favourite grizzly bears in a long time. I finally saw them yesterday and they look fantastic. They seem to be handling this heat wave well, spending lots of time in the ponds. They turned 20 this year which might be old for a bear in the  wild but because they receive such good care at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife they could live another 20 years. I sure hope they do. I have spent many hours viewing these bears and the experience never grows old.

I was also delighted to see that Grouse Mountain is selling lots of copies of our book The Grizzlies of Grouse Mountain to the many visitors who venture up the mountain. Those visitors will be able to share the wonderful story of how the refuge was built to house the two orphaned bear cubs. My co-author and I donate all our royalties to the Grizzly Bear Foundation so it’s a win for grizzly bears, too.


Hibernation is over! Hurrah!

Coola and Grinder – the grizzly bear residents of Grouse Mountain – have just woken up from their 19th hibernation. This year they hibernated for 144 days. Don’t they look happy to be out in the spring air?

But they must wonder, where are all the people? Most years thousands of tourists  flock to this mountain resort to view them,  to feel their magnificent presence and to learn the importance of protecting this species. But this spring the resort is closed due to the coronavirus. Hopefully we’ll be able to go see them again soon. In the meantime, if you want to know more about these two bears and their journey to Grouse Mountain, you can read my book, The Grizzlies of Grouse Mountain (The True Adventures of Coola and Grinder,) co-written with Rae Schidlo and illustrated by Linda Sharp.

I’d be happy to mail you a copy. Order it here:

(photos courtesy of Grouse Mountain Resort)

It’s the end of the line…

The End of the Line General Store in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, is a local gem. It’s very popular with hungry hikers and mountain bikers. After exploring the adjacent trails they can treat themselves to hot and cold drinks, snacks, casual lunches and ice-cream. But it’s so much more than that! It’s also a treasure trove of local art (for purchase) old-style toys (the kind that don’t require batteries), penny candy (I think they might be 7 pennies now), corner store type groceries, an array of novelty items and, best of all, books by local authors! And now they’re also carrying The Grizzlies of Grouse Mountain by yours truly (with Rae Schidlo and Linda Sharp). Continue reading

The Grizzlies of Grouse Mountain

Written by Shelley Hrdlitschka and Rae Schidlo
Illustrated by Linda Sharp

This beautifully illustrated children’s book tells the remarkable story of two orphaned grizzly bears who were saved and brought to Grouse Mountain as cubs, where they now live in a protected wildlife refuge and serve as unofficial ambassadors for their species.

Coola and Grinder are two adult grizzly bears living at the “peak of Vancouver” on Grouse Mountain. For the past eighteen years they have been among the mountain’s biggest attractions. People from all over the world flock to see these magnificent creatures, who live in a five-acre wildlife refuge that simulates a grizzly bear’s natural habitat. Contrary to popular belief, the bears are not brothers; they were brought to the mountain as orphaned cubs born on opposite sides of the province—Coola hails from Bella Coola, and Grinder (named after the Grouse Grind hiking trail) was born near Invermere.

The Grizzlies of Grouse Mountain tells the heartwarming and inspiring tale of Coola and Grinder’s life on the mountain, their distinct personalities, and their important role in teaching wildlife rangers and scientists about grizzly bear behaviour. Written for young school-age children, this book presents facts and entertaining anecdotes about the bears in a clear and engaging way, and imparts valuable lessons about the importance of wildlife conservation. This richly illustrated book will foster children’s love of wildlife for years to come.

Available April 16, 2019

Heritage House 2019


“Through this inspiring story, we have a rare opportunity to learn more about the orphaned grizzly bears of Grouse Mountain and to develop a deeper understanding of their life and habits. Readers can see the value of protecting this magnificent species and the importance of conserving wilderness habitat for bears. Rich illustrations and a touching narrative make this book a wonderful resource for any young reader.” (Deborah Hodge, author of West Coast Wild)

“The remarkable lives of these two gentle giants are superbly described by the authors, while the beautiful illustrations perfectly capture the bears’ myriad facial expressions. Grinder and Coola have taught thousands of people that, despite some obvious differences, they really are a lot like us.” (Dr. Ken Macquisten, D.V.M. Managing Director/Veterinarian, Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife)

The story is clearly and touchingly presented, enhancing knowledge about the lives of these fascinating animals. Large rich illustrations are striking and appealing, capturing the distinctive features of each bear, complete with winsome eyes and expressions. This is an excellent introduction to the lives of grizzly bears that will provoke enthusiastic discussion. (Canadian Children’s Booknews)

* Starred review in The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s BEST BOOKS Guide for kids & Teens 2019

This lucky girl is wearing one of Grinder’s claws around her neck.

Rainbow Reunion

Written by Shelley Hrdlitschka
Illustrated by Julie Fox

Rainbow Reunion is a playful beach romp that celebrates cultural diversity within one family.

Levi the Lifeguard is confused when all the families that approach him are looking for the same woman but they all know her by a different names.

What do you call your Grandmother?

Read more here:

Contact the author for signed copies.

Reader Responses:

“It is so beautifully rendered, story and illustrations.” (Nonie Lyon)

It’s s big hit!!!! He (6 year-old Carter) really loved it.  It  started a wonderful discussion  about how she could be the Grandma to all those kids.  It was so good that I could say it was like our family. He thought that was great. He was very interested in all the little details in the illustrations too, the different little animals, etc. Lots going on in those pictures and I noticed he actually spent a long time studying them, more time than he spends with most books.
As predicted he loved the repetition of the description of the Grandma.
It’s a book we will read many times. (Susan Chubb)

I just picked up the book and read it with a huge smile on my face and tears in my “Nana” eyes!! It’s delightful and beautiful and sweet and…gorgeous!!! I love it and am so honoured to have a copy to share with my wee Georgia (one day) and my Rayna next time she’s visiting. You see, I can soooo relate as I am her Nei Nei but go by Nana now. She is half Chinese! So many of our friends have mixed grands now and so your beautiful book is very timely and precious. We are living in a Rainbow world now, for sure! I hope that you will become a Grandma/Nana/Nonna/Oma/Bibi…one day too! There’s nothing like it! (Diana Kendel Wilkes)

It is a delightful story enhanced by the colourful, captivating paintings.  I like how the story not only celebrates cultural diversity in a natural setting but also demonstrates that there is more than one way to be a hero. (Julie)