bridge of the Edmund Fitzgerald

René Schmidt  

René Schmidt is a proud father, loving husband, retired teacher, and professional writer, author of five Young Adult and teen books. His books on Canadian Disasters have sold over 100 000 copies since 1985 and are found in libraries and schools all across Canada. His fiction novel Leaving Fletchville received excellent reviews and is sold in Canada and the USA. He has also written articles for Canadian Living and other publications. 

SPECIAL NOTE Now that we are at Mid-stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, younger (and older) readers might want to read about previous epidemics in Canada's history. Go to Biological Disasters to read about the Spanish 'Flu, Polio and S.A.R.S., and other medical events and how these tragedies improved Canada's health care. These stories are for you to read and download for free while the pandemic lasts. They were originally published in various Canadian Disasters books. Hopefully when the Pandemic is over you will buy copies of Canadian Disasters to read all the other stories about weather disasters, earthquakes and mine cave-ins, transportation tragedies and disasters at sea.       

René and Shirley live on 40 acres in Wooler, Ontario. Since the Covid outbreak René has stepped back from many social and volunteer activities and is catching up on many of the partly finished fiction and humorous stories he has gathered over the years. Meet his family.    

René and Shirley with Adrian and Daniel (with cat). Adrian is a stone and brick mason in Vancouver (and created the wall behind the family).   Dan teaches E.S.L. in Barcelona, Spain. Shirley and René live in a super-insulated house they built a few years ago.

Below René gives a presentation to students in Etobicoke about professional writing as a career. 

When René worked as a teacher in inner-city schools in Scarborough he was surprised so many students hated reading.  When he couldn't find readable and interesting books in the library he began to write his own using the students' names as the main characters. René often introduced historical facts and narratives into his stories to trick reluctant students into learning about Canada.  

Below, René is talking to students about the mine disasters and child labour laws in Eastern Canada. In the 1800's boys as young as twelve worked (and died) in the Springhill coal mines. 


René was a Forest of Reading Red Maple Honour Book winner. He's with fellow prize-winners Ted Staunton, Sigmund Brouwer, Karen Bass, Alma Fullerton, Rebecca Bender, Kari-Lynn Winters, Robert Priest, Adrienne Kress, Rona Rimler Arato, Heather Camlot, Sylvia McNicoll, Rebecca Anderson Bohner, Irene Luxbacher Nadia Hohn and Marsha Skrypuch (who organized the event) an Author's Booking Service event in Milton. 


René was given a wonderful book launch at Stockdale P.S., his last school. Kathryn Corbett (now owner of Lighthouse Books in Brighton) organized it and a follow-up visit to the Forest of Trees event in Toronto where students from all over Ontario voted Leaving Fletchville second place overall. Above, former students read their favourite parts from Leaving Fletchville.