Ginger Wadsworth had been to Yosemite National Park 30-40 times and never saw a bear. That changed as soon as she signed a contract to write a children’s book about bears in the park.
“I told my husband that I really needed to see a bear. We came down from the high country and there were two bear cubs and their mother in front of the chapel. The cubs were in the apple tree that’s there,” Wadsworth says.
Those bears became the inspiration for “Seasons of the Bear: A Yosemite Story” (Yosemite Conservancy, $15.95).
Wadsworth believes it was fate or karma that resulted in the rare sighting. Black bears are naturally shy of people so they roam great distances throughout North America to avoid dangerous encounters with other predators and wildfire.
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Yosemite officials are making efforts to keep its bears wild and free. Between 300 and 500 bears live in the park’s 750,000 acres, which means it is not always easy for any of the 4 million visitors to spot one.
“Seasons of the Bear: A Yosemite Story” is a children’s book, illustrated by Daniel San Souci, that follows two black bear cubs and their mother through four seasons. The cubs split their day between playing and getting into trouble. The mother bear is focused on food and safety.
As part of her agreement with the Yosemite Conservatory, Wadsworth must present the bears in their natural environment. That’s no problem. Her love for the park started more than 20 years ago when she wrote a biography of John Muir.
Wadsworth is a third-generation writer. Her father, Hal G. Evarts, wrote stories for the Saturday Evening Post as well as Western novels. He wanted his daughter to be a teacher. Wadsworth tried teaching, and while she loved working with children, she eventually turned to writing as her profession.
She’s an award-winning author of more than 25 nonfiction children’s books.
“Seasons of the Bear: A Yosemite Story” can only be purchased at the Yosemite National Park until Aug. 9. Then it will be available in stores and at online stores.
Ann Marie Bezayiff spent time as a child visiting her grandparents who lived in Fresno. The former Fresno State student and Sanger resident used her childhood experiences as the blueprint for her book “Between Two Lifetimes” (Torrid Books, $16.99).
Her publication is a romantic, historical fiction story that unfolds in Fresno from 1937 to 1939. Italian immigrants, Giuseppe and Francesca Corgi face the challenges of raising first-generation American children.
Three sisters, coming of age before the advent of World War II, seek love and romance. The problem is they are a crossroads of traditional and new ways of thinking.
Other books of local interest include:
“Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks” (Thomas Dunne Books; $26.99): This is the story of how Mark Woods spent a year visiting America’s national parks. He was able to do this because in 2011, Woods won the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship, a $75,000 award given annually to one writer in the country with a proposal to spend a year in America’s national parks.
His approach to the book is to look at families and the parks.
“Wild Bill & Other Stories” (Outskirts Press, $30.95): Author F.W. Canning III writes about his life growing up during the Great Depression and his days as a cattleman, almond rancher and partnership in a rafting company while living in the Fresno area.
All proceeds from the book go to the Bill and Barbara Canning Integrity Fund to support youth leadership programs.