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The Salmon Bears—Giants of the Great Bear Rainforest

ISBN: 9781554692057
Format: Paperback
Price: $18.95

Extensively illustrated with Ian McAllister's magnificent photographs, The Salmon Bears explores the delicate balance that exists between the grizzly, black and spirit bears that inhabit the last great wilderness along the central coast of British Columbia and their natural environment. Key to this relationship are the salmon that are born in the rivers each spring, who then go out to sea as juveniles and return as adults to spawn and die, completing a cycle of life that ensures the survival of not only their own species but also virtually every other plant and animal in the rainforest.

In clear language suitable for young readers, the authors describe the day-to-day activities that define the lives of these bears through the four seasons. But this is also very much the story of the Great Bear Rainforest—a vast tract of land that stretches from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border and contains some of the largest stands of old-growth forest left on the West Coast. The Salmon Bears focuses on the interconnectedness of all life in the rainforest and makes a strong case for the importance of protecting this vital ecological resource.

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The Salmon Bears is ERAC approved. ERAC is a consortium of British Columbia public school districts and independent schools that work together cooperatively. The goal is to ensure that BC K—12 schools have access to appropriate learning resources. ERAC approval is a rigorous, criteria-based evaluation process. Using BC classroom teachers as evaluators who have been trained by ERAC means that products have met ERAC standards and are appropriate for use in BC classrooms. Read the ERAC evaluation of The Salmon Bears.


  • 2011 BC Book Prize—Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize nominee
  • 2011 CCBC Best Books
  • 2011 Silver Birch Nonfiction Award nominee
  • 2010 CYBIL Award nominee
  • 2010 Quill & Quire Best of the Year
  • 2010 Resource Links "The Year's Best"


"A fascinating book about the black, Spirit and grizzly bears of the Great Bear Rainforest... This book should be placed in every elementary classroom in North America." BookLinx — January 30, 2012

"The exceptional qualities of the Great Bear Rainforest will begin to captivate young readers on first glimpse…Each turn of the page brings you face to face with the bears…An engaging and valuable read. With so much at stake, its urgent messages are worth repeating for every generation. Highly Recommended." CM Magazine — April 16, 2010

"Has something for all ages." The Vancouver Sun — March 27, 2010

"This excellent book…[has] a sprightly narrative that takes the reader through a year in the life of a bear…The illustrations for this book, a plentitude of photographs…are nothing short of gorgeous." The Globe & Mail — April 3, 2010

"Read's conversational text and McAllister's excellent photos provide a perfect framework for this evocative look at the big bears of the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia, and an intriguing investigation of its ecological pattern of dependency…Superbly readable, informative, and attractive, this book provides a clear picture of a pristine environment and its major inhabitants." School Library Journal — July 1, 2010

"Plentiful, well-captioned photographs capture bears and other animals in this lush landscape…The attractive format, with plenty of good-sized color photographs, and the informal, inviting tone make this a solid choice for browsers as well as school reports." Booklist — June 1, 2010

[Starred review] "A thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read. The text's kid-friendly, informal tone helps steer the way through a mass of information…The Salmon Bears shines a spotlight on a precious national treasure and makes an impassioned case for protecting its future." Quill & Quire — June 1, 2010

"Close-up shots of bears in the wilderness are endlessly fascinating…An engaging book, written in a chatty, friendly tone that would be pleasing to read aloud." Canadian Children's Book News — July 1, 2010

"Spectacular, appealing photographs appear on almost every page, enhancing the fact-filled dialogue. The bears look almost friendly and very photogenic!...Written in an appealing, lyrical style, this excellent book is appropriate for both early intermediate readers and older research students...This text should prove to be a popular addition." Resource Links — June 1, 2010

"Illustrated with stunning photographs of the wolves and bears that live in the Great Bear Rainforest on the western edge of Canada...[Sea Wolves and Salmon Bears] would be useful for classroom units on animals, ecology, [and] wilderness conservation." Canadian Teacher — November 1, 2010

"Incredible photographs and captivating text will enthrall nature lovers ages nine and up, including adults. A must read about these fascinating Canadian bears." The Barrie Advance — December 7, 2010

"In addition to learning a lot about bears, readers will gain knowledge about the ecology of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia...McAllister's photography is spectacular." PSLA Top Forty — June 1, 2011

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Get the Books

/ Great Bear BooksOrca Book Publishers

Purchase The Salmon Bears, The Sea Wolves, The Great Bear Sea and Wolf Island. Available in print and digital editions. Discounts available for schools and libraries.

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Teachers’ Guides

Use Great Bear books in your classroom? Download our teacher guides for The Salmon Bears and The Sea Wolves.

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Nowhere Else On Earth


A hands-on guide to the magic and majesty of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, with suggestions for activism in any community.

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