When Blakelee Schnurch picks up a good book, it’s hard to get her to put it down.
The eight-year-old can often be found with a novel in her hand, reading books at school during recess or before bedtime. She usually has two or three books from her favourite authors Roald Dahl and David Walliams, nestled in her backpack in case she finishes the one she’s currently reading.
“She’s always amazing us with all the stuff that she does,” said Blakelee’s mother Joelle, adding it’s always difficult to get her to sleep at night. “She always asks for one more chapter … Reading is so important.”
Now, the Grade 3 Quadra Elementary School student has reached a new literary milestone — her first book has been published as part of the Greater Victoria Public Library’s Emerging Authors Collection.
Blakelee’s book, Boo, the Monster, which she wrote and illustrated, is about a blue monster who gets lost in the woods one day and on his adventure, meets a fox.
The young author wrote the book in three months a few years ago, but it wasn’t until this year when she was at the library’s Centennial Branch in Saanich when Blakelee, Joelle and her grandmother came across the emerging authors collection online and decided to apply on a whim.
“I was excited,” said Blakelee of having her first book published and put on display at the library.
Blakelee is one of 114 authors and 147 books from around Greater Victoria who are featured in this year’s Emerging Local Authors Collection.
The collection offers books written by authors of all ages, spanning a variety of genres, from fiction to romance, poetry and non-fiction, to cookbooks, picture books, and stories about people’s travels.
Rina Hadziev, collections and technical services coordinator with the library, said the collection has helped connect local authors to a wider audience in the three years its been running. In previous yeas, the books have been checked out an average of 10 times while on display.
As for Blakelee’s book, it has a simple, but powerful message.
“Just don’t get lost in the woods,” she said.
This year’s collection features books published between 2012 and 2016, including self-published independent and small press works, and will be on display at the library’s Central Branch for one year.
For more information on the books in this year’s collection visit gvpl.ca.