Don’t Call The Office in the TriCity News

Coquitlam student co-writes book with stepmom
Madison Reaveley, 9, penned a children’s book about her frustrations — and joys — with having a blended family.

Don'tCallTheOffice in the TriCityNews

Madison Reaveley is a Grade 4 student at Leigh elementary in Coquitlam and has a large family that adores her.

But sometimes they get in her way.

Because she comes from a blended family, Reaveley is picked up and dropped off from school by a host of relatives: Her mom and dad, step-parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents all make sure Reaveley is looked after.

Typically, on their way to collect her, they get stuck in traffic so they call the school secretary. As a result, Reaveley has to sit in the office to wait for them. And that bums her out because she’d rather be playing outside with her buddies.

In January, when her stepmom telephoned the school secretary to say she was running a little late, Reaveley piped up. She had had enough.

On the drive home to West Vancouver, Reaveley explained to Megan Williams her frustration. Williams agreed to not call the school — even when she was two minutes behind. The pair also agreed to write a story based on Reaveley’s experience of having a blended family.

Over the course of two months, they sketched out the plot — in the same style as Canadian children’s author Robert Munsch — for a new book, aptly titled Don’t Call The Office.

They also hired a friend’s daughter to illustrate the publication. Cathryn John, a New Westminster resident and a student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, worked with Williams and Reaveley to create the colourful characters and scenes (it was also her first time to work on a children’s book).

And, at John’s suggestion, the trio also created a companion colouring book.

Williams then used her experience as a self-published author (Our Interrupted Fairy Tale, 2014) to get the finished product to the printers and to market it.

Yesterday (Monday), they stopped by The Tri-City News’ office for their first interview; last night, they were featured on the radio station CKNW and, on Saturday, they’ll make an appearance on the Global News morning show. It will be followed by the book launch at Chapters Metrotown from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (a Chapters Coquitlam unveiling is set for this fall).

Reaveley said she enjoyed writing the 24-page book with her stepmom and she plans to show it to her class when the academic year restarts.

Williams also said Don’t Call The Office fills a publishing gap: Most books about blended families are self-help and geared to adults. By contrast, theirs is a story co-written by a child, for children.

Already, Williams has contacted School District 43 to see if the book can be available in Tri-City school libraries. And she promised another story about about the protagonist, Cameron Parker, and her big, blended family is on the way.

• Don’t Call The Office and its colouring book are available via meganwilliams.ca, Amazon and Chapters/Indigo.

jwarren@tricitynews.com

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