As I sit down to write my very first blog entry, I can’t help but feel a bubbling mix of excitement and nerves. Hi there, I’m Kendra Barberstock (Paul), I am Mi’kmaw and a proud member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation, and I am embarking on an incredible journey—launching my first children’s picture book! I’m thrilled to share this adventure with you all, and I promise to keep it as down-to-earth as possible.

The seed of this dream was planted long ago, back when I was a young teenager, captivated by the magical world of writing poetry, short stories, and creating art. Little did I know then that my love for stories would turn into a passion that would shape my life profoundly. Until recently, I considered writing just a hobby and over the years I have created many stories that I only shared with my family. Becoming an author wasn’t something I always thought was possible; it’s taken me years to finally see my true passion for the creative process and gather the courage to share my stories with others. I’m only a couple of steps away from officially launching my book!

The idea for my children’s picture book came to me one sunny afternoon while watching my eldest daughter play in the yard. Pregnant with my second child, I reflected on the placenta ceremony we did just under the pine tree on the hill. The story started forming in my mind, and the illustrations unfolded like a vivid film. I just knew I had to turn it into a book—a book that would bring a heartwarming feeling to families all around and teach children about their connection with the land and all of creation.

Now, let’s be honest here. Even with the excitement buzzing inside me, there’s a part of me that wonders if I’m ready for this. Doubts creep in like uninvited guests, asking questions like, “Am I good enough?” or “Will people like my work?” But I remind myself that every author, no matter how accomplished, had to start somewhere. So, with a deep breath and a heart full of hope, I’m diving in.

Creating my first children’s picture book was not only about crafting a beautiful story; it was also about learning the art of illustration. I’m no professional artist, but I believe in the power of creativity, and I’ve decided to take on the challenge of illustrating my own book. With countless hours sketching storyboards and learning how to use Adobe Illustrator, I found a style that I truly love. Before this project, I gained valuable experience as a freelance illustrator for my friend and fellow author, Pamela Devonshire, who offered me an opportunity to illustrate not one, but three books! I truly believe that experience has brought me to where I am today. Thanks for believing in me Pam!

One of the most rewarding parts of this journey has been the support I’ve received from family and friends. Their encouragement fuels my determination to keep going, even when the going gets tough. A special shoutout to my grandmother, Darliea, who has been an inspiration as a Mi’kmaw entrepreneur and fellow writer, and my husband, Brandon, my #1 supporter from day one. He’s the kind of partner who always has my back, no matter how wild my dreams may seem.

The road to publishing had its challenges. I sent out query letters to publishers, anxiously waiting for a positive response. Believe it or not, I did receive an offer from a publishing house, and I thought “Yes! This is it. I’ve made it!”, but we ended up going our separate ways because they couldn’t take on the project with the current illustrations and it was important to me that my story and illustrations stayed together. I’m not going to lie, parting ways was hard, and I did think about offering up my copyrights to my manuscript, but every time I thought about my vision becoming someone else’s, I remembered why I started this journey in the first place—because I have a story to tell, and my voice deserves to be heard.

So, as I continue this path of launching my first children’s picture book, I promise to keep my feet firmly on the ground. This blog will be my creative outlet, a place where I can share my progress, my ups and downs, and the lessons I learn along the way.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure. Together, we’ll celebrate the magic of storytelling and the joy of creating something from the heart. And who knows, maybe one day, you’ll flip through the colorful pages of my children’s picture book “Gathered, Together and Connected Forever”. As we move forward, let’s take this journey one step at a time, holding onto wonder and determination as our trusted guiding stars.

Written by : kendrabarberstock