A Nanaimo man has been nominated for a provincial award that celebrates the creative work of children’s authors and illustrators living in B.C.
Although the book was published September 2021, international sales were just released in March and have reinvigorated his work.
City Day, which took approximately one year to complete, tells the tale of forest animals that follow humans back to the city after a summer of camping. The animals have an adventurous day running around imitating human customs. In the end, they teach an important lesson about respecting nature.
The concept of the plot, Brucker said, dawned on him while people watching.
“I was sitting in a coffee shop one day, just watching everybody in a big frenzy going up to the counter, and I thought it would be funny if a horde of animals came out of nowhere and started doing the same thing,” he said.
Seeds of the story also gradually planted themselves when Brucker heard of wildlife encounters in urban settings, such as an elk with a full set of antlers wandering into, and getting stuck inside of, a Banff store.
Although City Day is a product of Brucker’s illustrative and storytelling skills, drawing remains his passion.
“I studied animation in school, so the drawing part is what I love. The writing part was a lot of fun too,” he said. “Writing is sort of a challenge for me. I’m not a traditional writer. I do write a lot of things, but it’s not really my strong suit.”
Writing, however, is not new to him, nor is his dedication to storytelling.
In 2002, Brucker painted, printed and bound, all by hand at his home, approximately 100 copies of his first book, Twenty-Five Guests and a Frog Named Farley. In 2015, through an online independent self-publishing service, he was able to retouch and sell the book online, where it can now be purchased through www.amazon.ca.
Brucker’s illustrations can also be seen in Hickory’s Problem written by Marilyn Helmer, and Ice Journey written by Glen Downey.
Although Brucker said he enjoys working on children’s books, he is currently developing an unnamed graphic novel; the early illustrations of which can be found on Instagram under his username ‘towherethewildthingsare’.
Since the 2021 winners of the Chocolate Lily Book Awards were announced this May, Brucker said he will likely learn of his final standing for City Day in spring 2023.
In the meantime, copies can be purchased online at www.amazon.ca.