Shirley Parenteau gained an adventurous nature by growing up on the northern Oregon coast, the next to youngest of five brothers and sisters. After years of writing outdoor magazine articles, she discovered she loved connecting with children, especially through picture books. Her six granddaughters are a continuing source of inspiration. So are preschool and primary grade children, whose enthusiastic answers to “What should the bears do next?” give interesting insights into their worlds.
Bears on Chairs sprang from a granddaughter’s play in a bookstore. This book led to Bears in Beds in 2012, Bears an a Bath in 2014, and Bears and a Birthday in 2015. Shirley’s daughter-in-law Miwa is from Japan, so it was especially fun when a Japanese publisher printed the first two bears books in that languageThe first was ranked ninth among favorite children’s books published in Japan in 2011. A performer read the book to a teddy bear during a popular children’s television show in Australia, and TV rights have been sold in Japan.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. My father was an Oregon logger. When I was in the third and fourth grades, we lived in temporary housing on the Siletz Indian Reservation while Dad worked nearby. My mother, who wrote for newspapers, became good friends with many of the Siletz women, some of whom wove her name (Olive) into beautiful baskets they made from reeds.
2. When my husband and I moved from Oregon to California, we lived on a crowded street, but a few years later discovered a hundred-year-old farm for sale. We spent months repairing and restoring and have been here long enough that it’s time to do most of it all over again. My office is in the one-time parlor with a big bay window taking up most of one wall overlooking a pomegranate orchard. If this old house is surprised to have a computer and printer installed in the parlor, it does a good job of putting up with them.
3. I once won a hot-air balloon ride from a drawing at a shopping mall. The balloon, named Rainbow, carried my husband and me from a nearby park right over our old farm. I took some great pictures looking down at our house and surrounding tree-filled forty acres (seven of them ours) surrounded by blocks of new houses. It didn’t feel as if the balloon was rising, but looked from the balloon as if the park was falling away from us. We rode like a cloud on the wind and when we sailed into the country, sent cows below racing for their barn.