Ravens and crows and jays - oh my!

Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2000

The intelligence of ravens, the mystery of the aurora and the history of witches are all fair game for writer Candace Savage.

The Canadian author has more than 20 books to her credit, ranging from award-winning children's books to popular natural history portraits of America's big predators. This weekend she delivers three varied presentations in Juneau.

``Much of her writing makes science accessible to people. She specializes in writing about predators, particularly large predators -- wolves, wildcats and bears,'' said Mary Irvine of the Alaska State Museum. ``She's written books especially for kids, too, and is known as a children's author and educator.''

Irvine, who has read Savage's work, said her book on ravens, ``Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Ravens, Crows, Magpies and Jays,'' was especially good. Savage will focus on this topic at a presentation at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Alaska State Museum.

Savage will present a program for kids and adults, ``Eat or be Eaten: A Look at Predators,'' at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Mendenhall Valley library. Savage will share the spotlight with Kira, a falcon from the Juneau Raptor Center.

She'll also give a series of short readings and share her thoughts on writing at a presentation titled, ``Writing to Learn: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Non-Fiction,'' at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Egan Library at the University of Alaska Southeast. All three of Savage's Juneau presentations are free.

Savage studied English and was a graduate of the University of Alberta in 1972. She wrote for small newspapers early in her career, and worked as an educator in the Northwest Territories in the late 1980s.

Her first two books, published in the mid-1970s, dealt not with science but with pioneer women of the early West. She returned to this theme in 1996 with ``Cowgirls,'' selected by the American Library Association as one of the year's notable books for young adults.

She's written about beauty queens, eagles, pelicans and peregrine falcons. She authored a series of books on large predators, including her 1988 book, ``Wolves,'' which has sold more than 200,000 copies in six editions.

Her most recent book for adults, scheduled to be published this fall, is ``Witch: The Wild Ride from Wicked to Wicca.''

Savage lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her Juneau presentations have been underwritten by a collaboration of nine local groups, including UAS, the public library, the Raptor Center and Audubon Society and Rainy Day Books.

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