Joseph Simons was born just after his Dutch immigrant parents left the post WWII economic chaos of the Netherlands. They came to Canada prepared to farm, his father having taken an horticultural degree before they left Europe. They arrived at the famous Pier 21 in Halifax, as had a million others since 1945, all hoping for a better life. For a while, they shared a farm with Joseph's uncle and aunt; then his family got their own in Beachville, Ontario--population 900, the site of the first baseball game in North America. Truly! Check out the museum about it!
Joseph was not a good student, and mainly dreamed away his days, yearning to get home and ride his horse over the wooded hills, or play hockey on the frozen pond out back, or go fishing. Not that he shirked chores like milking cows and generally helping out. Being the oldest child of eight, he was a beacon of light to his siblings.
The big change came after Joseph met Karen, now his wife, who wanted to be a writer. Although he'd been a voracious reader all along, it hadn't really occurred to him that books must be written. Books were just commodities to be consumed, weren't they? A truck driver, Joseph burned up the roads and churned out the stories, at least in his mind. When Karen won a graduate scholarship in B.C., he sat down with the first computer euphemistically called a laptop, and began to type. Two years later, he won the Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Award!
Joseph has always been interested in history, and when Karen's dad told him a story of a homemade doll, he couldn't resist the urge to explore its history. Plus he had to find out why the story ended the way it did. Over the next ten years, Joseph worked at it from time to time. Now it too has won an award. Hopefully the sequel will come faster. At this rate, he may never get to pen his magnum opus.
Karen and Joseph live happily with their little white dog in their little stucco house among the immigrants of Little Italy, Edmonton. Joseph works as a teacher's assistant with special needs kids in a junior high school. He does many school visits with his book, and has read to or workshopped with over 1300 kids at over 20 schools in the past year!