Herald and Journal, Jan. 22, 2001

What writer Douglas Wood can't do

By Lynda Jensen

Writer and composer Douglas Wood can't seem to write children's books without catching the attention of adults.

This may be related to his successful children's book What Dads Can't Do, which is being read by students at Howard Lake Elementary.

The students have been studying Wood's written and musical work in preparation for his visit as an artist in residence, 10-10:45 a.m., Wed., Jan. 31 and Thurs., Feb. 1 at the Howard Lake Elementary School. It is open to the public.

The following is a sample of What Dads Can't Do:

"There are a lot of things regular people can do . . . but dads can't," Wood wrote. "They can't cross the street without holding hands. They can push, but they can't swing. And they can't go to sleep without checking under the bed for monsters or getting a good-night kiss. But no matter what, a dad can't stop loving you."

The book, printed this year by Simon & Schuster, joins numerous other books written by Wood, for both children and adults.

Other books written by Wood include: Granddads' Prayers of the Earth, Fawn Island, Rabbit and the Moon, The Windigo's Return, and Old Turtle.

Many of his books incorporate legends from native peoples such as the Cree, Ojibwe, and Menominee Indian tribes.

"Students are learning about him, reading his books, listening to his music and learning some of this songs," commented Vocal Music Teacher Dawn Kalvig.

"He will use music and storytelling to stimulate the students writing while he is here," she said.

Kalvig is instrumental in Wood's visit, since she wrote for the grant that is paying for a portion of his residency.

The $1,000 grant was given by the Central Minnesota Arts Board.

For all of his achievements, Wood's story is even more interesting because he started out as the poorest reader in his class and he hated school, according to Wood's background literature.

Adult books written by Wood include Paddle Whispers, and Minnesota: The Spirit of the Land. Paddle Whispers is a non-fiction book about personal insights while traveling by canoe in the North Country. It includes original pen and ink artwork.

Among his many honors are the Christopher Medal, ABBY Award, International Reading Association Book of the Year, Minnesota Book Award, Midwest Publishers Association Book of the Year, Parent's Choice Award, Barnes and Noble Star of the North and Story Telling World Award.

Wood is almost as handy with a pen and canoe as he is with writing a song, since he is a composer as well as a writer.

One of his songs include "Deep Woods, Deep Waters," a musical piece that blends the natural sounds of the North Woods with six- and 12-string guitars, piano, fiddle, and the banjo.

To get more information about Doug Woods, contact his Web site at www.douglaswood.com.


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