By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 6, 2024.
A local author and illustrator’s new children’s book has been named a finalist for an Eric Hoffer Award.
The award, named in honour of the late American philosopher, is “one of the largest international book awards for small, academic and independent presses.”
Constance Douglas continues her stories with “Choose Your Road to Happiness with Shnoogy and Kruddy.”
Douglas said her story of Shnoogy and Kruddy began long before publication of the book.
“My most recent book stems to the very beginning of creating Snoopy and Kruddy. And that was back and actually originally in 2005 for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the radiology waiting room. I did up 11 canvases portraying a story with no written words,” said Douglas.
Douglas she recently received word her book had made it to the finalist list.
“Outstanding writing is what they’re looking at, and they look at it in children’s books and in novels or all the different genres, and mine would be in the children’s books.”
Douglas self-published her book and has done all the illustration, formatting, and design on her own.
She described the purpose and lesson behind her book:
“It was acts of kindness and, also to empower children with awareness that they always have inside of them, no matter how bad things are, that little light, and they can always turn to that little light inside of them. And they are the only ones capable of igniting it,” she said.
Douglas said her inspiration for her story was inspired from a family she did murals for in their home who had a child battling brain cancer.
“I had already started these canvases for the hospital inspired by family with a young boy with brain cancer. And I just observed them. I worked in their home as a muralist for a few weeks and saw how connected they were and how they took nothing for granted.
“And I just thought I want to go do something for parents and family members who are going through this every day, not knowing if their child is going to see another day,” said Douglas.
She shared her own personal struggles with multiple sclerosis and how sick she became from it.
“I got sick, and I lost my ability to function. I was married at the time and told my husband, the most important thing in this life for me is to leave this world knowing that I did something of significance to help others.”
Douglas said her road to recovery came from serving others who were struggling.
“I really felt empowered or strengthened or healed by the focus of kindness. And by taking my focus off of myself and giving something to others that I felt had a harder time than I did,” she said.
Douglas book was published on Amazon the first week of November.
Douglas also performs puppetry for kids with puppets of characters from the book. She said Shnoogy is the captain of positive feelings and Kruddy is the captain of negative feelings.
Douglas said she hopes children are impacted from her book with a better understanding of light and happiness.
“I’m hoping it makes their life throughout their life lighter, and easier, happier and better.”