3 minute read

Heather L. Sander (1947-) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1947, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; Ethnicity: "Scottish." Education: University of Saskatchewan, B.A., 1967, Dip.Ed., 1969; University of Victoria, M.A., 1985.

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Orca Book Publishers Ltd., P.O. Box 5626, Station B, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8R 6S4.

Writer and school councillor. Victoria School District, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, elementary school councillor, 1987—.

British Columbia School Counsellors' Association; Victoria Writers' Association.

Robbie Packford: Alien Monster, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2003.

Make Mine with Everything ("Robbie Packford" series), Orca Book Publishers (Custer, WA), 2004.

Whatever Happened to My Dog Cuddles? ("Robbie Packford" series), Orca Book Publishers (Custer, WA), 2004.

A native of western Canada, Heather L. Sander is the author of a series of humorous children's books that includes Robbie Packford: Alien Monster and its sequels, Make Mine with Everything and Whatever Happened to My Dog Cuddles? In the series opener, sixth grader Robbie does not want to believe that his new friend is really an alien from the planet Kerbosky, but the fantastic chain of events that unfolds in Robbie Packford: Alien Monster forces him to face the unearthly reality. Robbie is transformed into an reptilian-looking creature with amazing powers after being exposed to a secret formula belonging to this now-questionable "friend," and soon finds himself aboard a space shop and enlisted in a crusade to save planet Kerbosky from nasty killer robots. Noting that the "killer-robots-conquer-the-world plot has been used countless times," School Library Journal reviewer Elaine E. Knight nonetheless credited Sander for adding "a touch of wry humor as Robbie continually tries to balance his human and monster nature." Teresa Hughes, reviewing Robbie Packford: Alien Monster for Resource Links, stated that although Sander's novel "is short enough for the reluctant reader who is intimidated by larger novels," the humorous space adventure is"still interesting and funny."

Sander told Something about the Author: "I've researched my career as a kid's writer for a long time. First I was a kid. Then I had them. When they grew up and were more or less unavailable for research, they produced grandchildren. (Hooray!) In the meantime, by a clever scheme, I managed to get paid by the public school system to continue my research as a teacher and elementary school counselor where I could invite children into my office or wander through classes at silent reading time and quiz kids at will as to what they were reading. In a recent values exercise, a lot of Grade Six boys rated good books at the bottom of their list, so I'm still working on that one.

"I've always been a fantasy and science-fiction fan since you don't have to be bound by the laws of physics and if you get tired of one planet you can try another. My science-fiction reading passion fell neatly between two other reading periods in my childhood; horses, where I wished I could have my own and keep it in the backyard, and archaeology, where I dreamed of sailing across the Pacific in a papyrus boat like Thor Heyerdahl. I started with Tom Swift and graduated to Isaac Asimov. As an adult, reading HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy in one go while sick at home with a high fever was a mind-altering experience. I've never been the same since.

"Robbie Packford: Alien Monster, for kids aged eight through twelve, considers the following important question: What would happen if that new kid in your class was actually telling the truth when he said he was an alien?"

Biographical and Critical Sources


Canadian Review of Materials, October 1, 2004, Mary Thomas, review of Make Mine with Everything.

Resource Links, December, 2003, Teresa Hughes, review of Robbie Packford: Alien Monster, p. 20.

School Library Journal, September, 2004, Elaine E. Knight, review of Robbie Packford: Alien Monster, p. 217.

Additional topics

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