Ann Smith-Kenny, in the throes of her independent study of art at Acadia University, never expected to have a shot at publishing her work so soon but life, she said, is full of chances.
Smith-Kenny recently returned to school and in a twist of fate, ended up illustrating her first children’s book, If I Had A Chance, while working with friend and writer Marci Lin Melvin.
All proceeds of the book are being donated to Canadian Tire Jumpstart, a charity which aims to help families across Canada through sport.
Melvin, who works as a judge in Bridgewater, contacted Smith-Kenny and asked her to illustrate the book.
“So, she gave me a chance!” explained Smith-Kenny. “Sometimes, life is serendipitous.”
And for her part, Melvin said she was thrilled to both give back through writing and to work with her friend.
“She’s a remarkable artist and her illustrations have brought the book to life,” said Melvin, adding that If I Had A Chance is available in English and French .
Melvin explained the book can be picked up at 53 different Canadian Tire locations throughout Atlantic Canada.
Cashiers will be asking people in store to make a five dollar donation to Canadian Tire Jumpstart to help finance sports for children.
In exchange for the donation, customers are given a copy of the book.
At this time, almost 1,000 copies of the book have been sold at the Bridgewater store.
“It’s a great deal for people because it’s a beautiful, hardcover book and makes for a wonderful Christmas present. All the money raised goes to the local Jumpstart chapter,” said Melvin.
Melvin said the book has already reached the goal of raising $25,000 in Atlantic Canada and added she hopes Canadian Tire Jumpstart will decide to roll out the book across the country.
Smith-Kenny also said she is happy to help the local community.
“It took me from my comfort zone, I learned a lot and it feels good that others benefit from something I love to do. It was simply a win-win,” she said.
“I am thrilled that the proceeds go to charity.”
The idea behind the book is that children can accomplish anything if given a chance.
As a mother of three and a teacher, Smith-Kenny said she drew on her own experiences for her illustrations.
“The nostalgic snippets of my own children, as well as working in an elementary school, provided a great study of these developing minds and bodies as they motor through space,” she said.
The book is the fourth Melvin has written to help raise funds for Canadian Tire Jumpstart.
Melvin covered all publications costs of the book as part of her donation to the charity.
Although If I Had A Chance represents Smith-Kenny’s first published foray, she said the feedback has been heartwarming.
“I’m truly amazed,” she said.
And thanks to Smith-Kenny and Melvin, kids across Atlantic Canada will have a chance to participate in sports.