Sheila Burnford was a British Canadian author, best remembered for the classic children’s book, The Incredible Journey about three animal pets traveling in the wilderness, which inspired the feature film Homeward Bound. The book won both the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award and the ALA Aurianne Award in 1963. That same year, the book became a bestseller after the hit Disney film, of the same name, was released. The film was remade in 1993 as Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.

Burnford followed up with three titles of non-fiction, including One Woman’s Arctic, an account of her activities (dog sledding among them) on the Canadian Arctic Island of Baffin, and two more books for young readers. In 1978 she published Bel Ria, her final book, which drew on her experience as a volunteer ambulance driver during World War II. It tells the story of a dog and the extraordinary attachments he makes to the people he encounters during his perilous journey from occupied France to besieged Britain.