New Brunswick Author Portal

Shirley  Downey
Categories: Female AuthorsAnglophone AuthorsPoetsAuthors of Juvenile Fiction;Fundy Coast

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Shirley Downey grew up in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, graduating from the local high school. After a career in banking she retired and devoted her efforts to Early Childhood Literacy, starting the Born to Read program in New Brunswick in 1991 – a program which became a Provincial Program in 1998 serving all newborns in our province. Working with this program, she began writing books for young children, her first being Mud Muddelicious Mud which she and artist Phoebe Ann Magee donated to the Born to Read program. She has been involved in many areas of Early Childhood Literacy and is presently serving on the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick Board.

How has New Brunswick influenced your work?

The children of New Brunswick and their future are of great concern to me. All my writing is in response to what I perceive to be in their best interest. I want children to grow up with a love of language and really enjoy the fun of words. I have discovered that children respond to poems that are rhythmic and amusing. Although many of the poems have lessons to teach, they are introduced in a way that is enjoyable to children.

What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?

What really excites me is to be speaking to a group of children who can remember the Mud book (that is what they call it) that they received in their Born to Read bag and quote their favourite poems.

Literary Prizes

Order of New Brunswick - 2009
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal - 2002
Lieutenant Governor's Early Childhood Literacy Award (Children’s Poetry) - 2000

Featured Publication

Fishes in the Seas, Poems for Maritime Kids


Sparkling silver is the sea
On a clear and starry night.
And the waves begin to shimmer and dance
In the beams of the pale moonlight

The fish down below
As they swim to and fro,
Start to move to an ancient tune,

And they don’t wonder why,
Way up in the sky,
There’s a smile on the Man in the Moon.

Find this author in the New Brunswick public libraries catalogue.

Source(s): Author