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SALLY COLE: Young writers with a cause

Emma Van Donkersgoed, 8, left, and Gracie Van Donkersgoed, 10, show “The Perfect Pet”, the book they co-wrote, which will be launched Saturday, July 20,10 a.m., at Nabuurs Gardens in Montague, starting at 10 a.m.
Emma Van Donkersgoed, 8, left, and Gracie Van Donkersgoed, 10, show “The Perfect Pet”, the book they co-wrote, which will be launched Saturday, July 20,10 a.m., at Nabuurs Gardens in Montague, starting at 10 a.m. - Sally Cole

Gracie and Emma Van Donkersgoed launch their first book, “The Perfect Pet”, today at Nabuurs Gardens in Montague

When Gracie and Emma Van Donkersgoed were studying art and poetry, this past year, they wanted to develop some new skills.

So, with the help of their mother they have written and illustrated their first book.

Entitled “The Perfect Pet”, they’re launching it at Nabuurs Gardens in Montague on Saturday, July 20, starting at 10 a.m.

“It’s really exciting. I’m happy that people will get to read it,” says Emma, 8, who lives with her family in Valleyfield P.E.I.

The storyline was inspired by a brainstorming session between the sisters and their mother, Anne Van Donkersgoed, where they talked about which animals would make the best companions.

“I chose the elephant and wrote a poem about it. The girls did the rest. It took them a couple of months to finish all the entries,” says Van Donkersgoed, who homeschools her children.

One by one, the girls picked an animal, pondered its qualities and wrote a poem about it.

Here’s one of Emma’s:

“I think I’d like a dolphin

To splash with in the sea.

But if I’m being honest

It wouldn’t live with me!”

And one from Gracie:

“I think I’d like to have a snake

But feeding would be a chore.

I only have one sister.

And it would want much more.”

The soft-covered book contains pictures, both hand-drawn and crafted from fabric and leather.

“We did the illustrations as we went along,” Van Donkersgoed adds.

Then, after the text and illustrations were finished, she presented it to the Montague Writers Group to how her fellow writers what her girls had done.

“Everyone around the table told me we should publish it. . . . Then Tom Schultz, publisher at Wood Island Prints said he would help us. And so, voila, here it is,” says Van Donkersgoed, holding up the newly-printed copies.

The books are $15 each. The girls are donating $2 from the sale of each book to the P.E.I. Chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation. (It’s a way to give back to the organization after it granted a wish for their sister – Sarah VanDonkersgoed – who died in 2014. Also Emma, who was born with a congenital heart defect, and was granted a wish in June 2014.)

Vandonkergoed is pleased with the new skills her children have gained.

“I am proud of all the hard work my girls put into this book. I hope people will enjoy reading it as much as they enjoyed writing it.”

Launch for “The Perfect Pet”

When and where: Nabuurs Gardens, 986 A.A MacDonald Hwy., Montague, starting at 10 a.m.

Copies of the book are available from the P.E.I. Chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation, Nabuurs Gardens, Amazon or by contacting the girls directly at GRandEJ2019@gmail.com.

Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

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