Bannatyne-Cugnet, Jo (1951-)

Best-selling children’s author Jo (Elizabeth Jo-Anne) Bannatyne-Cugnet was born on July 19, 1951, in Estevan and grew up in that city. She completed a BSc in Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan in 1974, and started work in Weyburn as a public health nurse. Bannatyne-Cugnet wrote to learn for herself and to teach her four sons about life on a prairie farm. She has been most successful in collaboration with Yvette Moore of Moose Jaw, the illustrator for A Prairie Alphabet, A Prairie Year, and Heartland, A Prairie Sampler, which have sold nearly half a million copies and won several awards. Other books include two novels for young children, one of which was translated into French, and a picture book on new Canadians. Regina composer Elizabeth Raum was inspired by Bannatyne-Cugnet’s work to write a symphony for children, “A Prairie Alphabet Musical Parade,” which has been recorded by the Regina Symphony Orchestra. Following early retirement from nursing in 1994, Bannatyne-Cugnet continues to write but spends considerable time doing volunteer work for community, social service and arts organizations.

Bob Ivanochko