Barbara Nickel

Snowforest (July June August September 2021)

Late July in Snowforest, a new national park campground, kids biked past our site, exploring, looping as our kids used to do in other campgrounds, and as decades ago we did too.

In the gorgeous bathroom complex no more stalls; each toilet housed in its own high-ceilinged room where you could read about the Coeur d’Alene salamander, endangered in other parts, discovered here.



Late June we dared not go outside. Stood by the fan by the sink pitting sour cherries. Sweat that shower after shower wouldn’t wash; nights no longer cool, craving rain.

When weeks later it came there was a joyous run, catching it on the tongue, pleasure of the hour that didn’t last long.



Late August we drove by Lytton, that town minutes burned, record heat everyone knows but can’t imagine.

Charred remains out of sight down in the valley so you could almost drive by as if it didn’t happen.



Late September, the rain won’t go away. Routine now lush green, hummingbird across the glass where you stand at the sink forgetting that sweat. Startles close:

You forget Snowforest. You forgot. You forget.


Ash had fallen in the night.

(Remember the pale flakes
on the freshly hewn
picnic table, carried
on the wind from some un-
extinguishable fire.)


Dear Peter, Dear Ulla has been selected as a finalist for the 2023/2024 Chocolate Lily Book Award. 

Barbara’s poem “Three-in-One,” originally published in Grain Magazine, has recently appeared in Best Canadian Poetry 2024  (Biblioasis) edited by Bardia Sinaee.

Check out Barbara’s 45-minute teaching video on Creating Believable Characters for the BC and Yukon Book Prizes’ In Class video library.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla was a finalist for the 2022 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla has been nominated for the 2023 Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Young Readers Choice Award).

The Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards (MYRCA) has nominated Dear Peter, Dear Ulla as a 2023 Northern Lights (Grades 7-9) finalist!

Essential Tremor reviewed in The Vancouver Sun. Read full review here.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla is reviewed and “Highly Recommended” in CM (Canadian Review of Materials)! Read the full review here.

View All News

Author Visits

Interested in booking Barbara to visit your school or library? Choose from a wide range of presentations, from poetry workshops to readings of historical fiction.

Learn More