Five years ago, Leduc resident Nicole Brook wrote two books. She became so busy with her career and the life she thought she wanted, that she put them on the back burner.
Brook shares what happened next, “I was doing my first entry into [our daughter] Piper’s baby book when she was born, and I went on and on about how I wanted her to always follow her dreams. It finally hit me that I couldn’t be a role model for her if I left my dreams on a USB drive, sitting in a desk drawer.” So out they came.
And Brook’s dream of becoming a writer is about to come true with the launch of her new children’s book series, “The Amazing Adventures of Abigail Andrews” on Saturday, September 27, 2014. Brook invites you to celebrate this free family event at the Leduc Recreation Centre from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. There will be a magic show at 1, followed by crafts, a bouncy castle, games, and face painting by the Abigail’s illustrator, Edmonton graphic designer, Erin Ockochinski.
Abigail Andrews is a nine-year-old third grader whose imagination sends her on amazing adventures. Each adventure is full of fun and suspense, and serves as an excellent tool to help children 8 to 10 years of age improve their reading and comprehension skills at home or at school.
The first books in the series, “Pirate’s Playground” and, “Magical Doctor’s Office,” along with novel studies, will be available for purchase at the launch. Nicole will be happy to sign them.
“Even though kids know what’s real and what’s not,” said Brook, “they value their fiction worlds.” She wants to play on those adventures and bring the readers into one little girl’s world. “I felt that they would strongly relate to a little kid who is brave, confident, and always becomes the hero in the end, no matter what the beginning and middle held.”
Once Brook established the series concept, she admits she wanted her lead character to be just like her—with a huge imagination, and blonde hair and blue eyes. She went back to her Ukrainian heritage and put her in overalls. “I knew this character was going to go on adventures, so it was easy to come up with the name—you gotta love alliterations!”
Brook adds that she hopes kids will learn that they don’t always need the newest technology to have fun. In the first book, “Pirate’s Playground,” Abby has a full adventure with just a stick. She recalls, “…My brother, cousins and I were at our grandmother’s all the time; we didn’t have any video games or iPads.”
“We didn’t even have TV, since Grandma wanted to watch her soaps!” she laughs.
Instead, they went outside, had fun and made memories. In turn, “The Adventures of Abigail Andrews” was born.
Brook said her mother, Terri, was pivotal in developing the novel study guides for the series. “Mrs. C,” as she’s often known by the students she taught at Breton Elementary and Winfield Elementary, has 30 years of teaching experience, many which were focused on Grade Three, and differentiated learning styles. Brook feels privileged to have been in her mother’s Grade Three class and loved the novel studies her mother created. That is when the novel studies helped her develop a love for reading and a love for that style of books—something she also hopes will help parents of children who may need to improve on their comprehension skills.
Brook actually wrote her first book in Grade Three—there was always a part of the novel studies that asked the kids to be the author and write a different section to the books. “I enjoyed it so much that I wrote my own little novel,” said Brook.
“It definitely needs some editing, but I still have it. After that, I always knew I wanted to be a writer.”
What Brook loves most about Abby is what she symbolizes. Abby is a symbol of something powerful that no one can take away or change. It doesn’t matter what is happening in a child’s world, whether good or bad. That child will always have his or her imagination. “Abby might be young, but she is confident, smart and shows children that everyone is important.”
Brook said without the support of her wonderful husband, Brandon, a lot of this wouldn’t be possible. She credits her mother for inspiring her writing, the adventures with her brother and cousins for inspiring the concept, but also, her little girl Piper, for inspiring her to live her dreams.
Do you have any wild adventures like Abby when you play? If you are between the ages of five and twelve, Nicole wants to hear from you. To enter the National Contest, just email her and share one of your adventures at firstname.lastname@example.org and if she picks your adventure (which will be based on creativity), you will be a character in her next book with the same looks, and same name.