Do you know the true story of Winnie-the-Pooh? Long before Winnie and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood came to life in A.A. Milne’s classic stories, Winnie was a real bear who journeyed from Winnipeg to London with a young soldier named Harry Colebourn. Author Lindsay Mattick—the great-grandaughter of Harry Colebourn—tells the full tale in the New York Times bestselling and Caldecott award winning children’s book, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. Lindsay will read and sign copies of her book at Fairytale Town on September 16 and 17 at the ScholarShare Children’s Book Festival.
What was your inspiration for writing Finding Winnie?
This story has inspired me ever since I was a kid. The idea that a small gesture on the part of my great-grandfather would go on to have such a huge ripple effect is powerful. I always imagined telling my own child this story one day and when I found out I was pregnant with my son Cole, that was the motivation I needed.
What did you enjoy most about writing Finding Winnie?
I loved the process of watching the text come to life through my illustrator’s (Sophie Blackall) incredible illustrations. It was a very personal and moving journey to watch the story come to life in such a powerful way.
Winnie-the-Pooh is beloved by children and adults the world over. For you, though, Winnie is part of your family history. What was it like growing up knowing about the real Winnie?
I have been proudly sharing this remarkable story since I can remember and have always felt grateful to have it as part of our family history. I have delighted in the fact that one of the world’s most beloved fictional stories came about in small part, because of a true story—a love story—between my veterinarian great-grandfather and his pet bear.
What was your favorite book to read as a child?
I loved many books but a few standouts would be The Giving Tree, The Velveteen Rabbit, and The Little Mermaid.