Canoeman Joe

In the early 20th century town of Ely, Minnesota, Joe Seliga taught himself to build wood and canvas canoes. What began as a life full of curiosity and adventure grew into a passion for the land and its people. Joe loved wild places, cherished his close-knit family, and found joy in using his hands to create a thing of beauty and utility. Along the way he forged a tradition of respect for the wooden canoe: if you take care of it, it will take care of you. This biographical picturebook celebrates Joe’s life with canoes as well as his self-reliance.

Joe Seliga (1911-2005) was a master builder of wood-and-canvas canoes in Ely, Minnesota. His canoes are used as part of a wilderness experience that teaches respect and integrity to young adults. An amazing thing about the legacy of Joe Seliga and his canoes is that you can still practice the culture of canoe camping across the border country in a wood and canvas canoe, and still repair or build these lovely boats at camp shops and boat building schools from Maine to Minnesota.  But, according to author Robin Radcliffe, Joe was far richer than his canoes might suggest and the biographical format used in this story helps bring the character of Joe to life and celebrates his remarkable “can do” attitude.

Watch the book trailer here!

Canoeman Joe book trailer from Consie Powell on Vimeo.

About the Author

Robin Radcliffe was born and raised in Wisconsin and grew up paddling the wilderness waterways of northern Minnesota as a boy and young man in a blue Seliga canoe, number 390. He eventurally met Joe and came to respect his remarkable skill and the heritage his canoes represent. Robin attended the University of Wisconsin at River Falls and obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Today, Dr. Radcliffe leads an international research program to conserve the endangered rhinoceroses of the world. His first children’s book, entitled The Hornless Rhinoceros (US Fish & Wildlife Service, 2015), made the short-list for the 2016 Green Earth book award.

About the Illustrator

Consie Powell, her husband, and their Newfoundland dogs all live and work in a bright and cozy off-grid house in the far-north woods of Minnesota. Visit her website at



Hardcover Original
32 pages  I  11.00 x 8.50 in.
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-7328540-0-0
Pub date: July 9, 2019

Distributor: IPG. Visit IPG’s website for more information and ordering.
Individuals can order via IPG,, online, or contact your local, independent bookstore.
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741

Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights & publicity contact Dede Cummings, publisher: