As if the fast-paced job of an elementary principal is not enough, Quesnel’s newest published author, Angelina Gauthier, recently self-published her first book, What Kind of World Would It Be?
Gauthier has been writing since she was three years old, when she would tell the tale, and her dad would type it on his Royal typewriter. A love of writing was instilled in her by her father, Heldor Schafer, and her mother, Teresa, was key in broadening her love of literature through stories and song. After years of writing stories, articles, a first career as a journalist/reporter and more than two decades as an educator, Gauthier’s dream of publishing a book became reality last month.
“I am such a picture book geek,” says Gauthier. “My office is filled with them; at home and at work. I have been writing children’s stories for so long, I decided this was an opportunity to write one with a current message I wanted to share.”
This book wasn’t one that had been written on scraps of paper and stored away for years, but was inspired by her recent work as an elementary school principal.
“My students and staff know my passion is kindness,” says Gauthier. “We promote it at our school, create the conditions for kindness, and encourage students to think about how their actions impact others. I had been looking for new books on kindness and couldn’t find one that had the message I wanted.”
What Gauthier did come across was a self-published author in Alberta, who was offering a course on publishing a picture book.
Gauthier took the course, which shared the steps in self-publishing a book.
“I have been writing children’s stories for many, many years, but haven’t been successful in securing a publisher,” she says. “Self-publishing made my dream reachable.”
The story emerged last spring. A phrase — “If everyone acted just like me, what kind of world would it be?” — had been something Gauthier had shared with her students, and she was inspired to make it the central message. It first started as a poem, and then evolved into a children’s book.
“The book encourages the reader to use kind words, respect others, lift others up, be accepting and accountable for their actions,” she says. “It reminds us that our actions and words are choices.”
After completing the story, Gauthier then did the search for an illustrator. After many emails and inquiries, Gauthier finally found her collaborative partner in freelance illustrator Hayley Moore.
“Hayley and I haven’t ever met,” says Gauthier. “She is from North Carolina, and we did all of our communication online. Hayley is an enthusiastic, young woman starting out in the field of children’s illustration, and she is extremely collaborative and open to feedback. She truly brought my story to life with her bold illustrations.
“The students are really drawn to her characters.”
The feedback for What Kind of World Would It Be? has been extremely positive.
“Many students, educators, community members, friends, family members and parents have supported my book by purchasing a copy, even those who don’t have young children at home,” says Gauthier. “I am extremely grateful for the support and hope that families, teachers and the community find value in the message.”
Gauthier will be reading her new book at the Quesnel Public Library this Saturday (Dec. 14) at 10 a.m., followed by a book signing. What Kind of World Would It Be? is also available in e-book and paperback on Amazon.
— Submitted by Angelina Gauthier