Brad Bird has worked as a journalist for three decades, most recently for the Oceanside Star in Parksville on Vancouver Island. An award-winning writer, Brad has written books about walks with his wife in England, his family’s history, pro hockey, canoeing, and his war-veteran father. Each is a celebration of life. Scroll down to learn more about Brad’s books and find links to purchase them online, or at your local bookstore.
Footloose! - 2011
It was a tough year for newlyweds Brad Bird and Karen Stewart. Karen’s mother died, and then Brad’s father. Raccoons invaded their home through the cat door, carpenter ants feasted on their deck and the rain in Parksville, B.C., Canada, never seemed to end. In an effort to inject some good cheer, Brad suggests they fly to England and spend some time walking and camping. It turned into a wonderful journey of discovery, not only of each other, but also of Brad’s family in Driffield, whom he met for the first time.
Footloose! lets the reader journey with the couple through rain, mud, and glorious sunshine. Later they visit Karen’s people in Bavaria and do some walking there as well. Brad sets the stage with background about his upbringing and days at the Winnipeg Free Press, and finishes the book with the story of a fundraising walk through parts of Manitoba and North Dakota in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This is a humourous and heart-warming book in which free spirits will discover like-minded friends. Two hundred pages.
My Dear Boy - 2010
My Dear Boy is a history of one of Canada’s oldest families, the Birds. It tells the story of James Curtis Bird arriving from England at York Factory in 1788, and how he married in the “country way” a native woman who bore him many children. Among them was Jimmy Jock Bird, a famous Metis interpreter and trapper who joined the Blackfoot tribe and became a war chief. The life of Dr. F.V. Bird, Brad’s grandfather, is included.
My Dear Boy takes its title from the opening words Brad’s grandmother used in her letters to her sons in the Second World War. The 611-page volume is actually three books in one. The first, Ground War, describes his Uncle James Mackenzie Bird’s contributions as a soldier with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in the Italian Campaign. Mack relives in graphic detail the fighting and killing that had to be done at the time.
The second section, Air War, looks at his father Clayton Bird’s life as a Halifax bomber pilot in 1943-44, and is told to a great extent by the many letters he wrote home. A bonus are the letters to Clayton, from girl friends, trapper friends and even an RCMP recruit, which paint a colourful picture of life in war-time Canada.
Section three is Brad Bird’s memoirs from his days as a war reporter. He has
covered conflicts in Western Sahara, Kosovo, southeast Turkey and Georgia-Chechnya, and his writings bring to life ordinary people as well as soldiers caught up in the fighting. In short, My Dear Boy tells the story of the Bird family’s contributions to the defence of Canada and war reporting from 1915 to 2000.
No Guarantees, 2008
Often humourous, always entertaining, No Guarantees is a classic Canadian story of how a prairie boy achieves his dream of playing professional hockey. The son of an auto mechanic and nurse, Don Dietrich was born in Deloraine, Manitoba in 1961. He joined the Brandon Wheat Kings as a rushing defenceman and was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1980, eventually playing with Tony Esposito, Doug Wilson and Denis Savard. You'll laugh at his antics in the big city and feel his pain as he fights John Wensink.
After retiring from hockey in his 30s, Don struggled with alcoholism, Parkinson's disease, and an agressive cancer. Doctors gave him limited time. But using the same positive approach that got him so far in professional sport, Don researched his new "enemies" and faced them. His story is one of determination to live life to its fullest despite illness, injuries, and the politics of pro sport. No Guarantees tells how a prairie boy develops a winning attitude and overcomes all obstacles to find peace of mind and happiness. It will inspire young and old alike.
Me and My Canoe Me and My Canoe, 2006
In the summer of 1991, after three years as editor of the Opasquia Times in The Pas, Manitoba, Brad took to the wild rivers and lakes of northern Manitoba for a journey that would lead all the way south to New Orleans, 4,900 kilometres or 3,000 miles, along the Saskatchewan River, Lake Winnipeg, the Red River, Minnesota River and finally the famous Mississippi.
In Me and My Canoe, Brad and paddling partner Mark Bergen brave storms, a dog attack on Brad’s cat Athena, being arrested at the border, and a freak Halloween blizzard in Minnesota, as well as ice on the Mississippi River, which almost claimed them.
Through it all they keep smiling, often amazed by the generosity and kindness they encounter from ordinary folks in Manitoba and the United States. As he does in all his books, Brad brings to life the nobility of the common person in Me and My Canoe, which is largely about the people they meet. In the end, Brad journeys north to York Factory to complete the north-south transcontinental paddle – some 6,000 kilometres or 3,700 miles! For adventurers, this 148-page book is a must read.
Nickel Trip, 2004
In sharing his experiences as a bomber pilot in the Second World War with Brad, his youngest son, Fl./Lieut. (Ret.) F.C.C. Bird paints a vivid picture of wartime valour and a young man's dream of flight. Appointed generously with photographs and documentation, Nickel Trip’s 192 pages bring to life Canada's war effort through the eyes of a young Metis Prairie boy from Boissevain, Man.
Nickel Trip (the Canadians’ name for a crew’s first operational trip) also examines the difficulties of adjustment to civilian life that so many veterans experience. After a stint in retail, F.C.C. Bird jumps at the chance to return to the Air Force in the early 1950s and, with the support and love of his wife Doris, raises a family of five and serves his country with distinction. More than an autobiography, this is a primer on how to live a good life.
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