Brian A. Connolly Books
About the Author
Brian A. Connolly graduated from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania where he received the Finnegan Award for Poetry. He completed his graduate work at State University of New York at Oswego and Cortland, Elmira College and UMass at North Adams. In addition to being a Project Adventure teacher, Mr. Connolly taught creative writing in NYS public schools for twenty-eight years before moving to Bend, Oregon to write. He was the loving father of Nathan and Heather Connolly. Bradley's Christmas Adventure, a children's book of his illustrated by Gina Diamanti, was published in 1990. Wolf Journal, his first novel was selected as a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. A study guide for Wolf Journal was published in 2005. His short stories and poems have appeared in many literary magazines from Maine to Washington. Mr. Connolly grew up in Port Allegany, Pennsylvania, the setting for Not Far From Town. As an avid wolf watcher, he spent three months each summer and one month during the winter helping field biologists spot wolves and report wolf behavior in Yellowstone National Park. It was his observations of the Druid Peak Pack, the Slough Creek Pack, the Agates, the Molly Pack, the former Geode Pack and the Leopold Pack that inspired Wolf Journal.
Mr. Connolly lost his courageous battle with cancer in June of 2013. His daughter, Heather, is now working to carry forth his ideas through promotion of his novels. Her goal is to have them incorporated into the basic curriculum in schools across the country to teach science through literature. His hope was that his writing will continue to educate and inspire children to connect with nature for years to come.
Download Arlie and Papa in Yellowstone, an essay written for the The Yellowstone Park Foundation.
Alphie, a Yellowstone wolf pup
When three month old Alphie, a wolf pup of the Lamar Pack, woke up from a long nap, he discovered that he was alone. His pack had moved to their high country rendezvous at Opal Creek accidentally leaving him behind to face the wild valley on his own. He was lost and frightened. His tiny howls attracted a grizzly and a mountain lion.
After facing many dangers during long days and longer nights, Alphie is rescued by an old wolf returning to the pack. Grandfather becomes Alphie’s protector and teacher. Their meeting marks the beginning of a long friendship that weaves its way through all of the exciting adventures that Alphie experiences during his first year as a Yellowstone wolf pup.
Alphie, a Yellowstone wolf pup is a verbal map of the northern range of Yellowstone National Park. Beautifully rendered sketches fill in the details. The story introduces young readers to this special wilderness and wild places in general. Wandering the Lamar Valley, with book in hand, a reader should be able to locate Druid Peak, the Ledge Trail, the rendezvous site, Jasper Bench, Chalcedony Creek, as well as other landmakers in Alphie’s Territory.
Not Far From Town
Each of the stories in Not Far From Town is set along the upper Allegheny River in northern Pennsylvania. The rural landscape with its creeks, forests, hills and sky, is woven into the fabric of the characters' lives. Sebastian Baxter laments the loss of Cornplanter's people as he drives his old station wagon in the middle of the night along the Allegheny River near Kinzua before the new dam drowned the land. She who has no name endures sorrow with the help of Portage Creek and the trout who inhabit that stream. While fishing Skinner Creek, Old Man Corbin talks quietly of his long dead wife who was as much a part of nature as the wildflowers and the trees. Clara Hill lives up Bear Creek. The young widow has chosen to live alone on the edge of the wilderness. She feels that life in the wild is more real than the alternative, and she believes that nature can heal those who take refuge there. The orphan teenager Lily takes refuge there. She wonders if her deceased mother was ever happy: "Does sorrow drown joy or is joy a rock over which sorrow flows?" And so it goes as the stories unfold. The reader, immersed in the natural world and a witness to very human struggles, will discover in these stories a joyful melancholy like a sky filled with storm clouds through which the sun might break.
Wolf Journal: A Novel
Wolf Journal, the young adult novel adults should read, is set in the Allegheny Mountains of northern Pennsylvania. Jimmy Warren, a farm boy, finds wolf tracks in the snow. No wolves have been in these woods for a hundred years. The tracks lead him deeper into his passion for nature guided by Hawk, an old Susquehannock storyteller.
Along the way, Jimmy falls in love with the beautiful Sherry Woolman who shares his love of the wild. As a school project, Jimmy keeps a journal on wolves. In order to protect the wolf he's discovered, Jimmy writes about him as if he is fiction. The Tanner brothers, a derelict pair of would be bounty hunters, threaten to destroy the perfect balance of nature that Jimmy has found. Wolf Journal is a journey into the natural world where intricate details, like the imprint of a wing in snow, tell a larger story, one of endangered species, an endangered planet, and the human spirit that strives to understand and protect.
In 2014, Wold Journal was taught at Haviland Middle in Hyde Park, New York in conjuction with Wolf Conservation Center's Interdisciplinary Service Learning Curriculum (http://nywolf.org/curriculum). The book ws used to teach lessons in English, Science and Math to 250 7th graders. Mr. Connolly's daughter attended the kick-off event and spoke to the kids about the legacy her father left with his writing, after which, the kids were treated to an amazing visit from one of the Wolf Centers ambassador wolves. Watch this video for more information: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs7rKN4Ued4)
Wolf Journal: A Study Guide
This study guide is the academic companion to Brian Connolly's Wolf Journal.
Allegheny River Christmas & Other Stories
As Christmas gifts for family and friends, Brian Connolly and his two young children created the five stories in Allegheny River Christmas & Other Stories. Each story draws the reader gently toward the true meaning of Christmas, which exists in the heart, not the purse. Your child will meet interesting characters in each of the stories. Peter fails to earn enough money for Christmas gifts, but finds something more valuable. Laura goes looking for Christmas when she discovers there will be no Christmas at her house. While gathering groundpine in the mountains to make an evergreen rope to decorate his house, Bradley gets caught in a winter storm and takes refuge in Dead Man's Cave. Tommy invites Pennsylvania Gus, a hobo storyteller, to Christmas Dinner, but his parents tell him he must uninvite the stranger they call a tramp. Sarah has a powerful dream about a white bear which she feels is somehow connected to her mother who is in the hospital in a coma. Allegheny River Christmas & Other Stories is a book that will grow with your child. Young children will enjoy the beautiful illustrations while you read the first few stories to them.
Older kids can read the later stories to themselves.
Hawk: A Novel
An old box truck transporting wolves for release in the Adiron-dacks crashes onto the ice covered Allegheny River. Some of the wolves do not survive; the rest escape.
Rumors of the pack’s whereabouts reach Hawk, an old Susquehannock storyteller, who, along with his young friend Jimmy, undertake a journey through the Allegheny Plateau to locate the wolves.
In four days time, they plan to meet up with Sherry, Jimmy’s high school sweetheart. Each evening, at Jimmy’s beckoning, Hawk tells a story: Wind Wolf’s story, the story of his vision quest, the story of his lost wife and daughter, as well as others, which when woven together comprise the forces that forged his character.
Hawk and Jimmy meet Reba Snow, an irascible, large woman who lives alone in the woods in a school bus. Even though she prefers to shoot first and ask questions later, she does help the trackers find the wolves. Storm clouds gather on the horizon as evidence is uncovered that poachers are on the Plateau looking for black bears. Hawk and Jimmy fear that the poachers might discover the wolf pack and do them harm.
They never imagine the real tragedies they will find in the woods.