René Schmidt is author of Young Adult and teen fiction and non-fiction books. His series on Canadian Disasters has sold over 100 000 copies and can be found in most libraries and schools across Canada. His fiction novel Leaving Fletchville deals with racism and continues to receive excellent reviews in Canada and the USA. René has also written articles for Canadian Living and other publications.
SPECIAL NOTE For research purposes in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, readers might want to read René's previous brief but accurate accounts of epidemics through Canada's history, such as the Spanish 'Flu, Polio and S.A.R.S. These stories are free to download while the pandemic lasts.
René and Shirley live on 40 acres in Wooler, Ontario. Meet his family.
René and Shirley with Adrian and Daniel (with cat).
Below René gives a presentation to students in Etobicoke.
René taught in inner-city schools in Scarborough and was surprised so many students hated reading. He began to write his own stories using the students' names as the main characters. René used his writing to introduce historical facts and narratives to help reluctant readers learn more about Canada.
Below, René describes mine disasters and child labour laws in Eastern Canada. As he demonstrates, boys as young as twelve worked (and died) in the Springhill coal mines in the 1800s.
René won the Forest of Reading Red Maple Honour award for Leaving Fletchville. He's with 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 attended a wonderful book launch at Stockdale P.S., the last school he taught at. Kathryn Corbett (now owner of Lighthouse Books in Brighton) organized a follow-up visit to the Forest of Trees event in Toronto. Leaving Fletchville won second place overall. Former students read their favourite parts from Leaving Fletchville.