St. Thomas University students, Lars Schwarz and Maggie Cronin, launched their children’s book, Mysteries & Legends Book 1: Monsters.
The book explores monster legends throughout Canada and the rest of the world. It describes creatures like mermaids and giants, as well as Canadian myths like Ogopogo, a serpent from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, or Old Ned, a sea monster that lives in Lake Utopia, New Brunswick.
The end of the book encourages readers to question information, fact check and think critically about where information comes from.
“Part of the goal of the book was to have kids really start questioning their sources,” said Schwarz.
Schwarz said this is a book he would have liked to read as a child.
Both Schwarz and Cronin work for the Calithumpians, a theatre troupe based in Fredericton. Paul McAllister, owner of Monster House publishing, approached the Calithumpians to write this book. Schwarz and Cronin co-authored the book with Collin Flanagan, Gaby Rutter, Talia Kennedy, Will Pacey, Madeline Messenger and Max Kerr.
Schwarz said the Calithumpians have experience writing for younger audiences. They put on plays in Officer’s Square throughout the summer for families.
He helped write a play about Stewart Little, a little mouse who learned how to stand up to a big cat corporation. Schwarz also wrote about historical figures like Acadian heroine Francoise-Marie Jacquelin.
Cronin said she remembers the joy of the first days they started working on the book.
“It was quiet, all you could hear was the tap, tap, tap on the keyboards.”
The book was illustrated by Kaitlin Hoyt. Cronin said the process of creating the book was exciting as they got to see their words be brought to life through art.
They received copies of the finished book in August.
“I’ve never gotten anything really published in print, so getting something physical is really cool,” said Schwarz.
While Schwarz said it was a lot of fun to work as a group, he would like to work on an original story idea. He said he would like to write another children’s book, possibly with Cronin once more.