Happy Book Birthday to SLOWPOKE: THE BELL ISLAND MINE HORSE by Heather Smith, and illustrated by Genevieve Simms, out now from Nimbus Publishing!

From the award-winning author of The Agony of Bun O’Keefe, Slowpoke the Bell Island Mine Horse is a heartwarming tale of friendship and family, and offers the gritty story of the mining life — for both humans and horses — in nineteenth-century Newfoundland and Labrador.

Out in Conception Bay, on the northern Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, sits tiny Bell Island, a tight-knit community where iron ore has been mined for centuries. Slowpoke The Bell Island Mine Horse tells the story of eleven-year-old Jimmy, who enters the mine in place of his father, who died in a tragic accident years earlier. To help support his family, Jimmy must overcome his fear of the underground space, the unrelenting darkness, the rumble of tramcars, and the clang-clang-clang of pickaxes. He’s not sure he’s cut out for a miner’s life until one day, his lamplight illuminates a beautiful horse named Slowpoke, with ears soft as velvet. The two soon find they have more in common than they could have dreamed, and when tragedy rears its head again, it’s up to Slowpoke and Jimmy to save the day.

Originally from Newfoundland, Heather Smith now lives in Waterloo, Ontario. Her middle-grade novel, Ebb & Flow, was shortlisted for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award and was the winner of the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Her picture book The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden was recently named the winner of the 2019 Freeman Book Award for Children’s Literature. Heather has written several other books for young people including the award-winning, The Agony of Bun O’Keefe. Heather’s Newfoundland roots inspire much of her writing. Heather is represented by Amy Tompkins.