A children’s book about Canada’s legendary Black cowboy John Ware won two awards in one week.

Howdy, I’m John Ware took home the Heritage Calgary Storytelling Award on Sept. 15.

Two days later the book captured the Alberta Book Publishing Awards' title of ‘Children’s Book of the Year.'

Howdy, I’m John Ware recounts the real-life story of this gifted horseman who blazed a trail of kindness despite experiencing enslavement, war and discrimination.

It features Rookwood’s dynamic comic-style illustrations that captivate and delight children.

The animated version of the story is by far the top-viewed video on Bibliovideo, a Canada Council-funded YouTube channel that showcases Canadian children's books.

“This is so much more than a regional story,” says author Ayesha Clough, a former news reporter who started Red Barn Books to publish western-themed stories from Alberta.

“Our success on Bibliovideo shows there’s a huge appetite all over the country for good stories and diverse stories.”

Ayesha and Hugh shared Howdy, I’m John Ware with 5,000 Calgary-area students through Virtual School Visits during Black History Month in Feb. 2020. They're hoping to do more for children across Canada in Feb. 2022.

The second book in the Howdy series about Alberta pioneers is coming out in Spring 2022 and also features a local history maker.

Howdy, I’m Flores LaDue is the story of the three-time world champion trick roper and ‘First Lady of the Calgary Stampede’.


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