An Abbotsford teacher has recently had her first picture book published.
Nikki Bergstresser’s book, Seasons for Stones (published with Brandylane Publishers), was written almost six years ago.
The idea for the story came after Bergstresser’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Her parents lived in Manitoba, and Bergstresser, the mother of two young children, was not able to be there physically to support her dad during treatments.
Bergstresser has always had a connection with her dad through a love of writing and nature, and she decided to paint words of encouragement – along with flowers – for him onto stones.
“Each day of his treatment, he would pull out a small stone and read the word. That would be his word to focus on that day,” she said.
From this, Bergstresser – an elementary school teacher – developed the story about Tilly, a young girl who sees that her neighbour is not well.
Tilly finds a connection with her elderly neighbour through the use of words and a love of nature. Soon,Tilly’s kind ways ripple throughout the neighbourhood, and others lend a helping hand too.
Tilly and her neighbour decide to share the words Tilly painted on stones with others who may need to see them.
The message that Bergstresser would love to give to readers is that the power of kindness, no matter how small, can touch the heart for a lifetime.
“Never forget the importance of having positive words spoken into our lives during difficult seasons,” she said.
She said Seasons for Stones could be a springboard for discussing with children ways as a family to support those who may be facing hard seasons.
Bergstresser is currently working on resources that could be used with her book in the classroom.
“There is so much uncertainty and negativity in the world right now. I want children to be able to know the power of kindness is something that doesn’t change,” she said.
Bergstresser said getting a children’s book published can be discouraging as the industry is filled with rejection, but the highlight has been having her dad and mom hold her book in their hands.
She has two more books being released in the next year.
Saving Heart and Home – about seniors in an assisted-living facility trying to find true love for their beloved nurse – was co-written with Denise Jaden and is planned for release in February 2021 through Melange Books.
In October 2021, Lila Lou’s Little Library will be published by children’s publisher, Cardinal Rule Press.
Bergstresser is getting ready to submit other picture book manuscripts and a middle grade novel set in the Pacific Northwest for possible publication.
Seasons for Stones can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Abbotsford’s House of James or online at nikkibergstresser.com.