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First-time Carstairs author makes most of COVID

Anne Strilchuk fulfills life-long aspiration to pen children's book
MVA Anne Strilchuk
Carstairs resident Anne Strilchuk shows off her two new books, Curious Tom Gobbler and The Worm and the Caterpillar. Dan Singleton/MVP Staff

CARSTAIRS — Local resident Anne Strilchuk has always wanted to write books – and now she has written not one but two, thanks in part to the COVID pandemic.

A former librarian in Carstairs for 22 years and a journalist since age 13, Strilchuk, 74, recently self-published two children’s books: Curious Tom Gobbler as well as The Worm and the Caterpillar.

“These are my first two books and it’s very exciting,” Strilchuk told The Albertan. “This is what I’ve done during COVID, published the two books.”

“COVID has been really good to me,” she added with a chuckle. 

The books are best suited for children ages one to 12, she said.

She explained the storyline of each, starting with Curious Tom Gobbler.

“I used to be a teacher aide, and one of our field trips with kindergarten was to the Diamond Turkey Farm, which used to be east of town. So, that’s where I based my little turkey,” she said.

“He comes into town because he is very curious about the whole world. He wants to know what’s going on and no one on the farm can tell him.”

Here’s an excerpt from the book: “He came to a yard where he spotted a little girl swinging slowly back and forth on the swing. Her name was Annabelle. She looked very sad. CT (Curious Tom) wondered why she was sad. He slowly stepped towards her and looked up at her face. She looked down at him and at first was a bit afraid. But then she became curious about where he had come from. This felt incredibly wonderful to CT.”

As for the The Worm and the Caterpillar, she explained, “The worm loves everything about life but he can’t climb; he can’t see the world from above. He meets the little caterpillar and that’s the rest of the story.”

Strilchuk enlisted the help of her cousin David Matley, who provided all illustrations for both books.

“When COVID came in 2020, I thought I want to do something with my stories, so I sent an email to my cousin and asked him if he would like to do illustrations for these books,” she said. 

“He replied that he was not busy and he said he would do the illustrations. So I sent him my story and that night he sent back three illustrations. The pictures make the book.”

Strilchuk and Matley worked on the project with Tellwell Publishing in Victoria, B.C.

The books are available on the Barnes & Noble website or can be purchased in person from Strilchuk by calling 403-337-3555.

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