Daughter’s love of flying inspires St. Catharines mom’s children’s book

Sheri Burke’s 10-year-old daughter Stella loves to fly.

That, along with the St. Catharines family’s trip to Japan in 2019, inspired Burke to write a series of books called “Stella’s Stories From Around the Globe.”

The first she published, “Stella’s Stories From Around the Globe: Japan,” chronicles the seven-year-old girl’s trip to Japan.

Burke said his daughter took Japanese lessons and once there they climbed Mount Fuji together.

“He’s following our route,” Burke said. “When I sat down to do some of the work on it, I asked Stella to sit with me and I was like, OK, what about this experience? How would you rate it and what were your favorite parts of Japan? And so it was fun because she was part of the creative process.

The second book, “Stella and Lizzy Take Flight”, is about Stella’s friendship with an aerobatic pilot, who shows her the ropes.

Burke said the story for this book is inspired by Stella’s real-life friendship with a pilot at the Niagara District Airport.

“It’s more about local travel this time and it follows them both flying which is great and really the impetus behind it is to teach young people, especially young girls, about flying” , she said, “just because piloting is still such a male-dominated industry or profession.

The book teaches radio communication, weather and how to read some of the aircraft’s instruments.

Something Burke wanted to do when creating these books is to add a way to expand their universe beyond the pages.

Along with the book, she created a blog on her website, Stellastories.cato flesh out the stories.

“I love books, but they’re static objects and they don’t necessarily change over time,” she said. “While I wanted to couple the series with blogs. So the first one I did was about learning the Japanese language because Stella was taking Japanese lessons and I was helping her in part. So I I thought, OK, well, why not make this available to other young children who want to learn some travel-ready Japanese? None of us are native speakers, but to think, how do I get it? ‘help practice her Japanese, get her to blog and then share it with others so that other people’s children can learn Japanese if they want to.’

As for the sequel to “Stella’s Stories,” Burke said she would like to write one about her trip to the Arctic, and take Stella to France and write one there.

Burke’s books are available online at most major retailers.

It also rents space at The Duke co-working space in St. Catharines on Saturdays from 1-3:30 p.m. for those who wish to meet her and purchase a book in person.

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