Welcome to Lyn’s Books

Lyn has written 20 books. Check for them at your library, Amazon or your favorite bookstore. Some books are out of print but will be republished in time as Phoenix reprints or e-books.

Here are four titles, “There’s a Seal in my Sleeping Bag”, “Tabasco the Saucy Raccoon”, “The Ring: Memories of a Metis Grandmother” and “Looking for the Wild” that you can buy from this website now while copies last. Click on Shopping to purchase a great read!


Even if you don’t like the pesky raccoons that raid your garbage cans, you will love Tabasco, another animal orphan that goes wherever Lyn goes: smuggled in her shopping bag on seventeen airplane flights, gamboling behind as she attends classes at university, sitting on her shoulders as she shops. Inseparable companions, they go skiing, swimming, hiking, boating, camping and apple picking. They share beds and tents. But much as Lyn loves Tabasco, she knows that raccoons are wild creatures, not house pets. The story of Lyn’s search for a new wild home for her beloved companion will melt your heart. Young and old alike will treasure this book. Purchase in Lyn’s bookstore (2006 Tabasco the Saucy Raccoon. Sono Nis Press, BC.)


Tell Me, Grandmother has come back to life as The Ring with a new cover, new information, and more than 110 additional pictures, both archival and modern, and dedicated to Marion Dowler, who, sadly, died during its production. This book emphasizes the ring that Sam had given to Jane on the day of his funeral and which now can be seen in a special display at Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Such is the magic of books that miracles can happen and you will learn how “Tell me, Grandmother” changed the life of one of Sam and Jane’s grandsons and his family in BC. This book is a must for anyone who lives in Alberta, especially Calgary. Many landmarks in Calgary and the Rocky Mountains are named for Sam and Jane and their families. Purchase in Lyn’s bookstore (2010. The Ring. Lyn Hancock Books.Lantzville, BC, Canada.)


“Nature writing at its best,” said the Ottawa Citizen of this book, Lyn’s personal account of a 30,000 mile journey across North America from Newfoundland to Florida to California to Alaska which culminated in an emotional visit to the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea where Sam, the seal in her sleeping bag, had been born. Lyn and her naturalist friends, among whom were Roger Tory Peterson and Robert Bateman, recreated a similar journey 30 years earlier when Roger Tory Peterson introduced his naturalist friend James Fisher to North America. Lyn and her trip leader, Gus Yaki, naturalist extraordinaire, visit wildlife refuges, bird sanctuaries and remote wilderness, but they also seek oases of wildlife in cemeteries and big cities. Lyn especially seeks out ordinary people who make small but vital contributions to conserve the environment (1986 Looking for the Wild. Doubleday, Toronto and New York).


This best-selling and much-loved personal account of Lyn’s zany but productive life as the wife of a wildlife biologist on the west coast of North America has been updated, expanded and has a new preface to show what happened to wildlife and wildlife habitat since the 1960s of the first edition. And it’s all there with better photos. However, Lyn will let you in on a secret. That great shot of a seal on the cover is not an Alaskan fur seal like Sam. It is a fur seal from Western Australia where Lyn was born and raised and where the book begins. Purchase in Lyn’s bookstore. (2000 There’s a Seal in my Sleeping Bag. HarperCollins, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.)


Lyn Hancock had never dreamed of a married life spent hanging precariously over sheer cliffs, hacking her way through dense forests, or sitting for nine hours in an eagle’s nest atop a two-hundred foot fir tree. Nor had she envisaged playing mother to a household that included sick seals, orphaned cougars and an eagle with an amputated wing…Lyn’s stories of her expeditions with her husband, observing and photographing endangered species of wildlife are frequently hilarious, always absorbing and richly informative (1972 There’s a Seal in my Sleeping Bag, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, USA.)


The cover on the English edition showing Lyn and Sam building a snowman outside their home in Victoria was less dramatic but at least showed the hero, Sam the sick fur seal who washed up on Vancouver Island during his migration south to California from Alaska (1972There’s a Seal in my Sleeping Bag, William Collins, London, England.)



This version of “A Seal In My Sleeping Bag” was first published by Sir William Collins but nobody liked the cover, an illustration of Dave and Lyn climbing the bird cliffs of Triangle Island. The salesman put a green banner around it when hit the stores. (1972 There’s a Seal in my Sleeping Bag, William Collins, London, England.)



Lyn takes Rocky an orphan raccoon with her along the Alaska Highway to Prince William Sound to help bring near-extinct sea otters back to British Columbia. On the way north she and Rocky have adventures with Dall and Stone Sheep, Rock Ptarmigan and Arctic Ground Squirrels; they visit Liard River Hot Springs, Columbia Glacier and Mount Logan. After joining the sea otter transplant, they cruise down the Graveyard of the Pacific in a tiny rubber boat and Rocky has adventures with people like Chief Michael and his family of Nuchatlitz, Salal Joe of Barkley Sound, and Charlie the famous harbour seal of Kyuquot (1977 There’s a Raccoon in my Parka. Doubleday, Toronto and New York.)


This is Lyn’s favourite book and her first writing for a book though not the first published. It is the story of Lyn’s passion for cougars especially for Tom, the blind orphan who started it all. This relationship led Lyn later to study cougars for many years in BC and even in Australia where many witnesses believe that frequent sightings of a mysterious cat could be a cougar (1978 Love Affair with a Cougar. Doubleday, New York and Toronto.)


This book is dedicated to the principal, staff and students of Monterey School in Victoria where Gypsy, an orphan gibbon ape was raised for a year in a grade six classroom. It is as much written by the children in the class as it is by Lyn so all ages can appreciate this heartwarming story, one of the first books ever to be written about gibbons. Gypsy inspired Lyn to go to Simon Fraser University to study primatology and one of her professors wrote the introduction. But Gypsy is not the only star in this book. You will also meet Scarlett the Talking Macaw, Bubu the Bear, Pixie and Pete the Coatimundis and a fun cast of real animal characters that soon will have books of their own (1979 An Ape Came out of my Hatbox. McClelland and Stewart, the Canadian Publishers, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.)


One of the kids in Lyn’s class at Monterey also wrote a book of her own about Gypsy. Joan called it “Guess Who Goes to My School”. Lyn’s Canadian publisher didn’t want to have the words ‘school’ or ‘classroom’ in the title as he thought that only kids and teachers would read it but Lyn’s American publisher thought that Gypsy in the Classroom was just fine. This is a book for all ages, a book to make you laugh and make you cry, but you will also learn a lot about your nearest relatives (1979, 1980 Gypsy in the Classroom, Everest House, New York.)


For 25 years with camera, notebook and backpack, Lyn hitchhiked her way across Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut by float plane, boat, dog-sled, truck, skidoo and on foot, following wherever adventure beckoned. “Winging It” was her way of life. She took chances, talked to strangers, and changed her plans on a whim to reach the most remote places on the planet. With an entertaining, highly personal writing style, and superb photographs, she records her discoveries of the people, the communities, the wildlife and the land itself. She still does (1996 Winging it in the North. Oolichan Books, Lantzville, BC, Canada).


Lyn uses her wide experiences living and traveling in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to present Canada’s Outback in all its aspects -land, history, people, communities, government, economy, culture and recreation, communication and tourism – in simple words and arresting photographs. It is part of the “Discover Canada” series. Also in French (1993.Northwest Territories. Grolier Ltd, Canada and the United States.)


A full colour view book of photographs, map and text based on Lyn’s life in the Northwest Territories when it still contained Nunavut (1986.Northwest Territories: Canada’s Last Frontier. Autumn Imgaes, Fort Nelson, BC. Canada)



A full colour view book with colourful text and photographs based on Lyn’s wanderings while she was living on the Alaska Highway (1988. Alaska Highway: Road to Adventure. Autumn Images, Fort Nelson, BC. Canada.)



Lyn’s insider guidebook on British Columbia and Alberta is different from other guide books. Her choice of sights, lodgings, restaurants and activities is based on personal experience as a resident of a land she loves. She picks out the most memorable things to see and do (2001. Western Canada: Travel Smart. Avalon Travel, Emeryville, California, USA.)



Work became fun for Lyn and her friend and colleague Guenther Krueger as they explored their home port and took an active part in talking to port workers such as sailors, longshoreman, fishermen, boom men, and computer operators. They even rode a stacker amid pyramids of coal at Roberts Bank and loaded make-believe containers onto a ship. Lots of colourful photos and a text based on personal experience (1998. Vancouver: A Port City. Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis, USA.)


This is the story of Sam and Jane Livingston, the first settlers of Calgary, as told by Grandmother Jane to her grandson, Dennis Dowler. Dennis was the father of two of the children in Lyn’s class in Victoria. Dennis’s wife Marion asked Lyn to help write their family history. Sam was a gold prospector, buffalo hunter, trader, farmer, and colourful raconteur whose bust greets visitors at Calgary Airport. Jane was a Metis girl from the Red River Settlement in Manitoba. This book is a history and a mystery. How did Grandmother Jane get that unusual ring she twists around her finger as she answers her grandson’s questions? Many people are searching for first editions of this rare book (1985. Tell Me, Grandmother. McClelland and Stewart, Toronto, Ontario. Canada).


Lyn’s personal stories and photos of wildlife adventures on the islands of BC’s West Coast (1970 Wild Islands, Hancock House, Saanichton, BC.).



More stories of wildlife adventures along BC’s wild coast, including Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (1974.Pacific Wilderness, Hancock House, Saanichton, BC.)



Lyn’s spur-of-the-moment trip by rubber boat from Great Slave Lake along the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean at a time of great change. Later Lyn would live for a decade in Fort Simpson on the Mighty Mackenzie or Deh Cho River (1974. The Mighty Mackenzie. Hancock House, Saanichton, BC, Canada).


Lyn has used her experiences of living and traveling in the Yukon to write and photograph this colourful book for schools. It covers the land, the history, the economy and the people. It is part of the “Hello Canada” series (1996. Yukon. Lerner Publications Company. Minneapolis and licensed to Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Markham, Ontario, Canada.).


Lyn is proud to be the author of the first book written on Nunavut, Canada’s Inuit territory born in 1993. In colourful words and pictures it describes the land, the history, economy and people of this unique land above the treeline. It is part of the “Hello Canada” series (1995 and 1997.Nunavut. Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis and licensed to Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Markham, Canada.)


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