Squig­gle Tail’s tale

Young au­thor with Burin Penin­sula ties writes first chil­dren’s book based on fa­ther’s story

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY COLIN FAR­RELL LORD’S COVE, N.L. colin.far­[email protected]­erngazette.ca

Not many 17-year-olds can claim to be a pub­lished au­thor at such a young age, but Ash­ley Bon­nell is an ex­cep­tion.

Ash­ley is cel­e­brat­ing the suc­cess of her self-pub­lished chil­dren’s book, “Squig­gle Tail.”

She held a read­ing of the book at the Nan and Pop’s Shop in Lord’s Cove on July 2.

A re­cent grad­u­ate of Holy Trin­ity High School in Tor­bay, Ash­ley told The South­ern Gazette fol­low­ing the read­ing that the idea was inspired by her fa­ther Lester Bon­nell, who grew up in Tay­lor’s Bay.

“(It is) a story that my Dad used to tell my sis­ter and I when we were lit­tle,” she ex­plained. “It fol­lows the story of a young fish and his mom as they go on an ex­cit­ing ad­ven­ture and learn a very im­por­tant les­son.”

Ash­ley is do­nat­ing a por­tion of the prof­its to the Chil­dren’s Wish Foun­da­tion.

“I wanted to be so­cially aware,” she said, “and that’s some­thing that’s a ma­jor part of my life, the Chil­dren’s Wish and my cancer…”

In 2005 Ash­ley and her fam­ily went on a Dis­ney va­ca­tion cour­tesy of the Chil­dren’s Wish Foun­da­tion.

“When I was two and a half I was di­ag­nosed with fourth stage neu­rob­las­toma, which is a ter­mi­nal form of child­hood cancer,” she ex­plained.

Ash­ley spent 11 months in the Winnipeg Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal where she had a bone mar­row trans­plant, as well as un­der­go­ing ra­di­a­tion treat­ment and chemo­ther­apy.

“Af­ter 11 months, I was cancer free and I’ve been in re­mis­sion ever since,” she said.

Ash­ley has not dis­missed the idea of shar­ing that part of her life in a book.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it is some­thing that a lot of fam­i­lies go through and it’s some­thing that there should be more lit­er­a­ture on it,” she said.

Birth of a busi­ness

Ash­ley took an en­trepreneur­ship class in school in which stu­dents had to de­velop a prod­uct or a ser­vice to mar­ket.

“Be­cause my Dad used to tell my sis­ter and I this story it just came to mind as some­thing I could make into a prod­uct, so I asked him if I could write it and il­lus­trate it and he agreed, so I spent all my Easter break do­ing the book,” she ex­plained.

Ash­ley printed the book at a print shop in down­town St. John’s.

From the en­trepreneur­ship class, she took the book to the YMCA En­ter­prise Olympics where she fin­ished third, as well as to the Town of Tor­bay’s busi­ness com­pe­ti­tion where she fin­ished sec­ond.

Ash­ley said in the book, just as her fa­ther did when he would tell them the story, she left the end­ing open, “so there is room to ex­pand if I wanted to do that in the fu­ture.”

She has also con­tacted some pub­lish­ing com­pa­nies to see if she can hook a deal.

Ash­ley is work­ing on some other ma­te­rial, both in the chil­dren’s range and the youn­gadult level, as well.

Burin Penin­sula roots

Ash­ley said that it was her fam­ily’s roots on the Burin Penin­sula that in­ter­ested her in hold­ing the read­ing in Lord’s Cove. Her mother is from Lamaline, as well.

“There’s a lot of fam­ily that I have out here, and a lot of them were re­ally im­pressed by my story, so (Nan and Pop’s Shop owner) Phyllis (Lock­yer) con­tacted me and asked if I would be will­ing to come out and do a book read­ing. It is an awe­some way to pro­mote my book and I thank her for let­ting me come out.”

Ash­ley said that the kids seemed to en­joy the book.

“They seem re­ally happy about the story,” she said.

COLIN FAR­RELL/THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

Ash­ley Bon­nell hopes to con­tinue writ­ing books for chil­dren, as well as young adults.

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