Buried Treasure

 Fifteen year old Jesse is in trouble with the law. His mother was killed in a car accident a year ago and is father is cold and distant. To get him out of the city his father sends him to stay with is aunt and her family in a small port town on Lake Erie.
Jesse’s job at his aunt’s, is to “babysit” his cantankerous grandfather, who has a strong streak of kleptomania and a store of tales about buried treasure on Needle Point. Jesse meets a mysterious girl, Eliza, who’s mother has recently committed suicide, and despite wanting otherwise, finds himself strangely drawn to her. As the summer progresses, Jesse discovers there is indeed buried treasure, as he, Eliza and his grandfather learn to help each other. Buried Treasure is a story of bereavement and the healing power of love.



  • 1999/2000 “Starred Our Choice Award” – Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
  • Nominated 2001 Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award.



“This is a stock lonely kid resolves his problems story. What sets it apart are the fine characterizations and strong writing. All the characters are interesting and believable and the reader cares what happens to them.”

— Quill and Quire
April 1998



Author’s Comments

One of the most frequent questions an author is asked is where did you get the idea for your story. I am always at a loss to answer because the story comes from so many places. I think Buried Treasure was born with the grandfather. Shortly after my dad died, I was looked at his war medals and remembering his “when I was in the war” stories. Stories that left me no further ahead knowing what exactly he did in the war.
When I hear my brothers talk about my dad, I realize that their relationship with him was much different than my own. Theirs was less physically and emotionally demonstrative. I also began to see the expectations fathers place on their sons, starting with the basic carry on the family name expectation to career and family, expectations passed on from father to father. Thus, was Jesse’s dad born.


This story is also about loss and coping with that loss. Midway through writing Buried Treasure, my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was revising the story when she died and the ending saw radical changes as I coped with my loss through Jesse. I had a friend who’s father committed suicide and I began to discover that there are many losses people experience. She kindly shared hers with me.


There are so many layers to a person; we are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, but when the layers are stripped away we find the core of our being, the buried treasure that is ourselves. It takes some digging and there’s always more to find!


Buried Treasure was written with the town of Port Stanley, a small port town on Lake Erie as the guide for the fictional town Jesse went to. I lived in Goderich, a port town on Lake Huron for nine years and I am sure it has found its way into this book. Needle Point is a fictional aspect of Long Point, Ontario, also on Lake Erie. I have, of course, taken many liberties with both town and Long Point in my story. What I wanted to get across by using “Needle Point” is to promote awareness of the need to conserve our unique, wild areas.


Suggestions for Further Reading on Long Point:


Lore and Legends of Long Point 
by Barrett, Harry B.
Pioneer Sketches of Long Point Settlement by Owen, E. A.
Long Point: Last Port of Call by Stone, Dave