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Camelia Airheart visits Spring Street Academy in Amherst

AMHERST – Promoting a book on the road can be a tough slog, but for three New Brunswick authors it’s fun.

“We have a lot of fun doing it,” said Odette Barr.

Barr, along with collaborators Colleen Landry and Beth Weatherbee, were at Spring Street Academy on Saturday to give a live performance of their latest children’s book, Take off to Tantramar.

The three authors are also teachers in New Brunswick, and Take off to Tantramar is the second in a series of books featuring a Canadian Goose named Camelia Airheart.

“We chose a Canada Goose as the main character for a reason,” said Barr, the illustrator of the books. “They fly to all parts of Canada., so we can have her visit every province, which is our ultimate goal.”

“There will be a book for each province and territory eventually,” added Weatherbee, who is originally from Amherst.

Their first book was called Follow the Goose Butt Camelia Airheart.

“We’re working on a third book called Follow the Goose Butt to Nova Scotia,” said Weatherbee.

The authors started their collaboration in June of 2014.

“We went to a workshop that was put on by the New Brunswick Teachers Association,” said Landry. “Before we got to the workshop we had the idea for the character of Camelia and her summer vacation. We said let’s try to write a book and we did.”

Barr does all the illustrating, but the writing of the book is very much a team effort.

“We agree on every word. Sometimes they come very easily and sometimes we work half an hour on one word and it might get edited out before the book is published anyway,” said Landry.

They are fond of the characters in the books and have become quite attached to them.

“We’re always thinking about it in some way,” said Landry.

They spend a lot of time traveling to promote their book.

On Friday they’re off to St. Thomas University to give a presentation of Take off to Tantramar to student teachers.

“We want to show people how to use the books in the classroom because, ultimately, we want the books in the classrooms,” said Barr.

The say the books have gained traction and have been well received.

“It seems to appeal to a wide age group,” said Weatherbee.

About 70 children attended Saturdays event, which was part of Family Literacy Day.

“It’s part of the Together We Can project with Maggie’s Place, the Cumberland Adult Network for Upgrading (CANU), and the library,” said Bev Estabrooks of CANU. “We do this event, as well as at the Highland Fling, and Saturday workshops at Maggie’s Place. It’s funded by the province.”

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