Mary Alice Downie

Mary Alice Downie has written and edited more than two dozen books for children and adults: picture-books, novels, anthologies, and folktales. ABC Acadie, her most recent book, is for the younger set.  Early Voices: Portraits of Canada by Women Writers 1639-1914 (Dundurn 2010) is suitable for high schools.

Mary Alice has given readings and workshops across Canada ranging  from a one-room library in a fishing village in P.E.I., a temporary city in Sundance near James Bay, to an entire school of 170 children in a Boy Scout hut in Newnham, Cambridge.


Select  Bibliography

ABC Acadie (Quarry Heritage Books, 2014)Book cover - ABC Acadie

Our Rascal John (Quarry Press, 2014)

A Pioneer Alphabet (Tundra Books, 2009)

Alison’s Ghosts with John Downie (Lorimer, 2008)

A Song for Acadia/Une Chanson pour l’Acadie (Nimbus Books, 2004)

Scared Sarah (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2002)

Bright Paddles (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1999)

Our Rascal John book cover

Chanson pour l'AcadiePioneer Alphabet









Canadian Children’s Book Centre “Our Choice” awards for various books

Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Ontario Heritage, Laidlaw Foundation, Exploration, Multicultural Directorate

Praise for ABC Acadie

“This book is a perfect way to re-introduce early fluent readers to the letters of the alphabet, while at the same time exposing them to educational and fun vignettes outlining the history of “les Acadie” and their relationships with the Glooscap and Mi’kmaq people. Primitive “folk art”, which is still common in the Minas Basin area today, has obviously inspired the whimsical illustrations by Anne LeBlanc, which perfectly capture the various characters in the text at their proudest and weakest moments.” – Isabel Rankin

“This is an excellent book because it is both entertaining and educational, and profusely illustrated by an artist whose ancestors have lived the story. The history of the Acadian Canadians and the Mi’kmaq Indians is one we should all know, and Mary Alice tells it in a memorable and often amusing way.” – Jill Gilliand

“This book should be in every elementary school across the country. If it’s not in your school, ask for it. Or buy it for your children. The Acadian story is an important one in our Canadian heritage, and it’s never too early for our children to learn about it. In fact, a lot of adults will learn something from this book–and have fun in the process!” – Sandra Phinney

Praise for A Pioneer ABC

“A Pioneer ABC is a sweet natured book…the book conveys a feeling of the beauty of rural life, the satisfaction of self-sufficiency, and –above all-the strong bonds of family affection.”
-Quill & Quire

“Mary Jane Gerber’s museum quality artwork perfectly showcases Mary Alice Downie’s alphabet book, A Pioneer ABC….Unique, imaginative, and a brilliant approach to children learning their alphabet…”
-MBR: Children’s Bookwatch

“…this beautifully illustrated picture book is an excellent resource focusing on the Pioneers… Artistically, this book is a brilliant example of creating an alphabet book aimed at younger children. The illustrations boast exquisite colours and fine detail…This is a delightful book…”
-Children’s Book News