Local Author Erin Lee Releases New Children’s Book

Krystine Therriault - Seaway News
Local Author Erin Lee Releases New Children’s Book
Local author and kindergarten teacher, Erin Lee, holding her new book, Benjamin and the Backyard Beast. (Photo : Carrie Couturier from CC Squared Photography)

Just in time for Christmas, local teacher and author Erin Lee is releasing her third children’s book, a rhyming story titled: Benjamin and the Backyard Beast, illustrated by Abira Das. The book officially launched on Monday, December 12, 2022.

The new book set along the St. Lawrence River Valley is based on a true adventure that the author went on when she was four years old. This memory from her Canadian childhood has stayed with her for years and she is excited to preserve it and share it with her young readers.

“Dad came home and said, ‘I found a moose in the woods’, and I remember it like it was yesterday,” she told Seaway News, explaining that her family lived on a hobby farm in the country with trails in the backyard, “I was the only other person in my family who wanted to go find it. The sun was setting, it was the end of the day and we saw the moose right before we were about to give up.”

Benjamin is Lee’s first boy protagonist, and in the 68-page book Benjamin and his dad come across several other animals during their search for the moose. In addition to the story, the book also contains an educational bonus pack with guess the footprint, animal facts, animal vocabulary, comprehension questions, and a search and find activity.

Along with her books, Lee creates products that are directly based on the stories to create a hands-on learning experience for families. For Benjamin and the Backyard Beast, she collaborated with Peek-a-Boo Mini Creation to create kids and adult hats featuring Canadian animals.

“My students really inspire me to write. I write for them, I write about them, and I try to inspire a love for reading. I also develop teaching resources and activities that teachers can download and use in their classrooms,” explained Lee, who currently teaches Kindergarten at Central Public School, ” I’m really trying to write about important messages – life skills, social skills, and academics.”

Because story takes place along the Saint Lawrence River Valley (the homeland of the Haudenosaunee, or Mohawk), Lee teamed up with the Akwesasne Freedom School and the Native North American Travelling College to add a land acknowledgment and a component about the Haudenosaunee to her book.

In addition, Akwesasne artist Bruce Boots depicted his view of all the animals in the story. Below each animal is the Mohawk translation, provided by the Freedom School. For every book purchased $1 will be donated to the Akwesasne Freedom School.

“I sincerely thank the organizations who have worked so hard to make this happen,” said Lee.

Erin Lee’s books are available on her website, Amazon, and in a variety of in-store locations including the Winchester Makers Hub, Red Cart Books, Cornwall and SDG libraries, and Kids Korner.

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