Author and educator Carolyn J. Morris released the latest book in her children’s Railfence Bunch series just in time for this year’s maple syrup run. Tapping for Sap continues the journey of curious characters Chick and Duckling as they discover the maple syrup making process.
A resident of Beeton, Ontario, Morris grew up on a farm in Simcoe County and brings her agricultural roots into her stories. This is Morris’ sixth book in the Railfence Bunch early literacy series. The books are geared for birth to age seven.
Morris has taught for more than 30 years at the preschool, kindergarten and primary levels. Her books use rhyme, rhythm and repetition to engage young readers and help them hear the word sounds and build confidence. She hopes when parents read the books, children join in with the repeated chime on each page for an interactive, fun story time.
Children can handle big words, like agriculture and evaporation, if they understand the context. “Books are a great way to introduce a new topic and the quicker you can engage your students the more exciting it becomes to explore whatever it is you are talking about,” the author says. Watercolour illustrations by Richard McNaughton bring her words to life and show products needed in maple syrup production like the spile and bucket.
“My Christian life overflows in my writing,” Morris says. She can see that God’s plan for her storytelling passion started at a young age when she sang to herself while doing farm chores.
Morris realized she wanted to write when she received a laptop for Christmas in 2006. On Boxing Day, she started writing her first book, Mourning Dove. The book introduces 11-year-old Billy, who visits his grandparents’ farm for the summer while grieving the loss of his father. The subsequent Spruce Valley short novels – there are four so far geared to ages eight and up – follow Billy and other characters in their returns and adventures on the farm.
Morris created her own publishing house, Railfence Books, with the tagline “Read your way back to the country,” capturing her desire for young families to teach their children about agriculture. “It was a very important part of my childhood and I have a great appreciation for farmers,” she tells Christian Courier.
She enjoys the opportunity to travel and share her books with people who might not otherwise get to a library or book store. Each spring Morris continues a personal tradition of bringing baby chicks or ducklings on author presentations to classrooms, churches, libraries, book stores and retirement residences. Children and seniors take delight in holding and watching the birds, and Morris tells stories.
In the fall, Morris participates in the fall fairs, ending at the Royal Winter Fair in November. One of her Spruce Valley books, Chickadees at Christmas, is often read at church functions and to seniors’ groups.
Morris has been visiting maple syrup producers and many are selling Tapping for Sap alongside their maple syrup in the sugar shacks. Tapping for Sap and Morris’ other books can be purchased at book stores or online at railfencebooks.com as well as Chapters, Indigo and Amazon. To inquire about an author presentation, contact Morris via the website or call 905-729-4899.