Duncan’s own Teresa Schapansky is on a mission to solve a serious issue for young readers.
“Students between the ages of 9 to 12, in particular with a low reading level, don’t have access to proper books in the classroom,” said the children’s author.
It’s an issue felt at schools across Vancouver Island.
Jenny Ingram, a teacher at Cowichan Bay’s Bench Elementary school, says the supply for lower-level books is so slim that some students are stuck reading outdated short stories that have been photocopied.
“I think it can be embarrassing for them if they’re reading photocopied sheets and everybody else has a nice book and a cover,” said Ingram.
After consulting with many local educators and reading enthusiasts, Schapansky put together a plan and has been writing non-stop since December 2020.
In less than two months, the mother of three has written and self-published four books within a new series titled Coinkeeper — The Avery Chronicles.
Schapansky describes the series as a fictional fantasy adventure that follows a grandfather and grandson as they use magical coins to travel through time and space.
“They’re high-interest, low vocabulary,” said Schapansky. “The font is bigger, there are more paragraphs on each page so the student isn’t overwhelmed with a huge block of text.”
Despite relying solely on Facebook and word-of-mouth marketing, Schapansky’s work rose the ranks on Amazon’s Hot New Releases section.
“I was bouncing off the walls and running around in circles,” the author said.
More important to her, the books are now available and ready to help local children improve their literacy and explore their imagination.
“If they discover there’s magic in books it motivates them to keep trying and not give up,” said Ingram.
And as long as there’s a need, Schapansky will keep on writing.
“[It’s] very rewarding, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Schapansky’s books are currently available at Askew Creek Bookshop in the Chemainus Public Market and the Volume One Bookstore in Duncan.
The Coinkeeper series can also be purchased on Amazon.