By JOSEPH MURPHY
Special to the Wreckhouse Weekly
Lavena Brekkas (Skinner) enjoys coming back to Newfoundland when she gets the opportunity. Originally from Isle aux Morts, Brekkas has been living in Fort St. John since 1995, where she still enjoys a long career as a teaching assistant in a local elementary school. Perhaps it’s her time in the classroom with all of the kids that inspired her to write her new book, “What Physical Distance can Be”, a book about COVID-19 and social distancing.
It’s a very interesting transition from Teaching Assistant to Author.
“I started writing little stories to share with the kids in the classrooms, dealing with all sorts of different topics, such as what kids can do and biblical stories with friends names included,” shares Brekkas.
One day her granddaughter said she thought Brekkas should write a book, because of all of the other stories she’d already written.
“That’s when I got the idea to write my first real book. It’s about what COVID-19 and physical distancing,” explains Brekkas, “And why we need physical distancing, while explaining a number of key terms to help them understand a lot of the language being used today.”
Brekkas explained that the book primarily focuses on Kindergarten to Grade 4, but can easily be enjoyed by children from infancy up to age 12.
“In April, 2020, I was advised that my project had been accepted, and finally, published in May this year. It has been a long process but thoroughly worth it.”
The book is currently available on Amazon, but hard copies are being shipped to Lavena’s brother, Ross Skinner and you will be able to purchase copies locally.
Children have been among the most impacted demographics when it comes to the pandemic and a majority of the literature available continues to be directed towards parents and adults in helping them understand and adjust to the changing pandemic environment. Having a book to help children understand everything they hear on TV and in school is not only timely, but essential to acquaint them with the new normal.
As for further projects, Brekkas replied, “I have eight grandchildren so my goal was always to write a book for each of them. That’s how, “Yoga Me Calm Grandma” came to be. I’m hoping that that project will be published and printed by December of this year.”
Asked if she ever plans to return to Newfoundland for good when she retires, Brekkas shares, “I’m not sure. My husband’s family and all of our kids are all in the Fort St. John area, which would make a move difficult. But, there’s always something special about coming home, so I wouldn’t say that it’s impossible.”