Show­case: Tak­ing It Across Canada

A colour­ful se­ries of books that are en­ter­tain­ing, ed­u­ca­tional and, best of all, al­low you to be creative!

More of Our Canada - - Contents - By Bar­bara Janman, Cal­gary

Meet an au­thor who cre­ated an ed­u­ca­tional and fun se­ries of Cana­dian travel books that help you to con­nect with your sur­round­ings.

Ed­u­ca­tion and learn­ing have been in­cor­po­rated into my life for the past 60 years or so. Travel and be­ing Cana­dian are two ad­di­tional pas­sions near and dear to my heart. In 2015, after a fu­tile search for Cana­dian-based creative gifts for my great-nieces, Tyler-ann, Dyl­lon and Morgyn, I had an epiphany—i could cre­ate a book es­pe­cially for them about Al­berta, their home prov­ince. It would take them on a fun, creative jour­ney and they could sub­tly learn more about their en­vi­ron­ment.

When I think of Cana­dian girls, I don’t think of princesses or fairies, I think of in­tel­li­gent, ca­pa­ble, creative, am­bi­tious young women. I wanted a book they could re­late to.

My first thought was, “How hard can this be?” My mom used to say, “If you want to, you will.” With my fresh idea in mind, I em­barked on a new path of learn­ing and dis­cov­ery, for my­self and for the kids. It was never my in­ten­tion to take this project pub­lic, nor for it to be­come so large in scope. I am an in­tro­vert, and yet, here we are, tak­ing it for­ward, one step at a time. Soon we formed a com­pany, Colour­ful Trav­els Inc., and our se­ries of books is called Sights of Canada.

The cre­ation of these books has been a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence for me and for my part­ner and hus­band, Bill. He is my sup­port sys­tem and cheer­leader. The chal­lenges of the print and pub­lish­ing world, ma­noeu­vring through the chan­nels of pub­lic ex­po­sure and of di­rect and in­di­rect sales have been quite the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We have met the most mar­vel­lous and help­ful peo­ple. Our faith in hu­man­ity has been con­firmed. After “Al­berta” was com­pleted, my new mis­sion was to cre­ate seven ac­tiv­ity books which would be en­ter­tain­ing

and ed­u­ca­tional, would al­low ev­ery­one to write their own story and be creative, and would pro­vide a keep­sake of their Cana­dian ex­pe­ri­ences. I have two more books left to cre­ate which will com­plete this se­ries—the Prairies and Que­bec.

The Sights of Canada ac­tiv­ity books take you on a jour­ney of places, events, an­i­mals, birds and, in some cases, even in­sects in each re­gion of our ma­jes­tic coun­try. To para­phrase Wil­lie Nel­son’s 1980 coun­try clas­sic, “On the Road Again,” you might be in­tro­duced and di­rected to places that you’ve never been and you’ll see things you might never see again.

The nar­ra­tives that ac­com­pany the images in­clude po­etry, sto­ries, facts about the pic­ture and some­times ad­di­tional places to see nearby. The ideas for my sketches come from friends, places I have per­son­ally trav­elled to, my child­hood years grow­ing up on the farm in south­ern Saskatchewan, as well as from think­ing about places I would like to visit in the fu­ture.

These multi-pur­pose books are ac­tiv­ity books de­signed to al­low each per­son, young or ma­ture, to be ar­tis­ti­cally ex­pres­sive, creative and ac­com­plished, and to re­mem­ber trips and fam­ily times while trav­el­ling. When com­pleted, each book will make a very per­sonal keep­sake. Cur­rently “The Prairies, Man­i­toba & Saskatchewan” is on the draw­ing board, with plans to pub­lish be­fore Christ­mas, 2018.

Each book may touch on ge­og­ra­phy, his­tory, po­etry, nat­u­ral con­ser­va­tion, cul­ture, flora and fauna. These fun ac­tiv­ity books are de­signed for self- ex­pres­sion or as gen­er­a­tional in­ter­ac­tive books, al­low­ing grand­par­ents to strengthen the bond with their grand­chil­dren and pass down their in­cred­i­ble sto­ries. They may be a source of stim­u­lat- ing con­ver­sa­tion, of cre­ativ­ity or sim­ply of calm­ing mind­ful­ness. The pic­tures can be em­bel­lished and per­son­al­ized by each in­di­vid­ual. You might want to write and record the five Ws: who, what, where, when, why and of course, how, for var­i­ous images in your book. Hu­mour makes a won­der­ful ad­di­tion when wo­ven into your jour­ney. We launched the first three books and hosted a colour­ing meth­ods pre­sen­ta­tion at the Kerby Cen­tre, a se­niors ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion in Cal­gary. The books were very well re­ceived—the se­niors loved chat­ting about the places they had trav­elled to or lived in, and they learned new meth­ods of colour­ing and mak­ing their pic­tures more pro­fes­sional. We have also en­joyed pre­sent­ing our books at home–school con­fer­ences, where they have been re­ceived with en­thu­si­asm. Teach­ers have sug­gested the books could be­come re­source ma­te­rial in the pub­lic ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem. We are work­ing on those av­enues of dis­tri­bu­tion. Re­cently, while pre­sent­ing at the Cal­gary Stam­pede, I was asked if I would con­sider trans­lat­ing the books into an­other lan­guage for our Asian tourists; I am con­sid­er­ing the idea and now do­ing the re­search. I can only imag­ine where that road will lead! I don’t think my bucket list will ever be com­plete. Around ev­ery cor­ner, ev­ery new day, a new idea presents it­self and a new dis­cov­ery awaits. Re­tire­ment has re­warded me with the joy of cre­ation. I’m ex­tremely thank­ful for all the new ex­pe­ri­ences and won­der­ful peo­ple who have joined our team to make my epiphany a re­al­ity. I hope the rest of my re­tire­ment con­tin­ues to be as re­ward­ing and stim­u­lat­ing as the past sev­eral years have been. ■

Bar­bara’s mul­ti­pur­pose ac­tiv­ity books are all about peo­ple hav­ing fun while they travel.

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