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Sunshine Coast's Mr. Doug releases book of poetry for kids

In verse and song, kids connect with authenticity
Mr. Doug (known to adults as Doug Naugler) peruses his newly-released book of poetry for children.

The sequel to the debut book A is for Anti-Racist by a Sechelt-based children’s performer will be launched during a live gathering at the Gibsons and District Public Library this weekend. 

Doug Naugler — who goes by the kid-friendly sobriquet Mr. Doug — has newly released A Home For Poems, a softcover collection of life lessons and irreverent rhymes illustrated by Cory Van Ieperen. The books complement Naugler’s prolific musical output, which since 2018 has grown to include eight self-produced albums. 

As a professional music producer, Naugler four years ago embraced the creative freedom of composing for younger audiences.  

“It’s a lot of fun because there are no limitations on what I can do,” he said. “If I want to make a swashbuckling pirate song, I can do that. If I want to make a rap song, I can do that. I did a punk rock version of "Jingle Bells." When you see a room full of kids singing and dancing and laughing, there’s no better feeling, knowing that’s coming from you.” 

Naugler is originally from Saskatchewan, where as a child his septuagenarian grandmother cared for him while his parents worked full-time jobs. Early exposure to Fred Rogers’s Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood whetted his appetite for entertainment doused in straightforward moral lessons. 

Those lessons, Naugler said, are even more vital in an age where children confront existential societal challenges while still in diapers. “In a world where kids are facing down the drastic effects of climate change and discrimination toward the most vulnerable among us,” he said, “we’ve got to give them reasons to be happy and positive and learn that you can make the world a better place just by being who you are, or smiling at a stranger.” 

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Naugler began regular video livestreams titled Mr. Doug’s House. The 50 original episodes featured puppetry, dance, music and stories. Parents typed realtime descriptions of their children’s enthusiastic reactions to Naugler’s hijinks, allowing him to tailor his performance in response. He is currently preparing a proposal for a television adaptation of the online series. 

Naugler’s poems celebrate commonplace routines (“Brush Your Teeth”) and elemental achievements: “You got out of bed today / It’s not easy to do / Sometimes it’s hard to find the strength / I’m so proud of you.” 

The landscape of children’s entertainment is crowded with anthropomorphic animals and digital simulacra. Naugler’s goal as Mr. Doug is to be a real-life character that youth can relate to.  

“In order to be an adult who wins a kid’s trust through your work, you’ve got to make it good, and you genuinely have to care,” he said. “It begins with compassion and empathy and understanding and critical thinking and things that maybe kids are a little more receptive to learning from humans than they are from cartoons.” 

A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Naugler produces his musical recordings singlehandedly. The moment that he completes a track, weary of overexposure, is when his two children clamour to hear the recording over and over again. The experience has spurred him to write music that parents can enjoy too, even on repeated hearing.  

“Enjoying art or entertainment or music with kids should not be a negative experience,” he observed. “It should be fun for everybody.” 

The Mr. Doug book launch takes place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 10 at the Gibsons and District Public Library. Visit for details.