Seeing the world through the eyes of a child rather than an adult can have its benefits. Laws of physics don’t exist, every living (and perhaps non-living) creature can speak and is sentient, and the world itself is filled with magic and abstract wonder.
But then, it can be, because it’s a fairytale, and your imagination is the architect of your own reality, as well as its own characters.
It’s the same path that Sooke-based author Shailie Dubois chose to follow from start to finish with her first and newly-published children’s book, Dani, a story that fuses fantasy and spirituality into one tale.
“It’s about an imaginative young girl who starts her spiritual quest in her backyard, where she meets some colorful characters along the way who help her to overcome her worries and fears and doubts, and to realize that all the beauty she sees around her in nature is, in a way, a reflection of who she is,” Dubois said, who also painted all the book’s illustrations.
Dubois naturally gravitates towards working with children, having worked in daycare and teaching music to youth, all the while fascinated by their stories and imagination.
Originally from Barrie, Ont., Dubois moved to Sooke about a year ago, where she gave in to her lifelong desire to write and draw, inspired and driven by the local scenery.
The importance of connecting with nature is a big theme in Dani, as Dubois wanted it to be, allowing readers to look within and see what’s going on. Through that process, she hopes the book will inspire kids and adults alike to see how they’re connected to everything.
“I like when you can take an underlying message at surface value, but has a deeper element that could detract from it,” she said. “That’s what I look for in anything, whether it’s books, movies or artwork. There’s always something deeper going on.”
Facing the Sooke Basin, Dubois refers to her backyard as a source of constant inspiration, thanks to the countless variations of colors and the occasional marine animal that swims by.
No word yet on what her next piece will be, but she said chances are it will remain within the fantasy-magic realm.
The book is available in two places in Sooke: South Shore Gallery, Well Read Books and online, at shailiedubois.com.