Joanne Fortino, Grade 1 teacher at St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School, is hoping her first published book will not only instill a love of literature in her students, but inspire them to continuously practice goodness and respect. “Oren’s Gift” is a poem about a young boy searching for good and a way to restore humanity in the world.
“My book may have many meanings for different people. It is about being more empathetic and kind towards one another in our daily interactions,” she said.
The book, which took about two years to create, was read for the first time on the school’s Snuggle Up and Read Day. The event was in support of Family Literacy Day, which encourages families to spend time reading together.
“It was wonderful to share my poem with the students and parents of St. Bernadette school since it is a community where I have been teaching for quite some time.”
Through playful rhymes and colourful illustrations, “Oren’s Gift” brings to light important topics, without losing its kid-friendly appeal.
“With so many issues going on today in society, the message of the poem is, let’s raise our standards for the way we treat each other and start anew.”
The success of her book has hit international shelves, with copies available in bookstores across the U.K. and Australia.
A surreal feeling, Fortino hopes her students will be motivated by her accomplishment.
Her advice for young writers?
“Create a story from your heart and believe that you can achieve it with your mind.”
“Oren’s Gift” is available at:
Friesen Press (https://books.friesenpress.com/store/title/119734000039737321), Chapters/Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Google Books and Amazon.