Sydney Sunderland, 18, didn’t set out to be a published author when she took on her Capstone project last year, but here we are.
Mark R. Isfeld graduate and freshman at Thompson Rivers University has written and illustrated a children’s book, titled I’m everything in between.
The book hits the market next month.
“We had to do a capstone project for our graduation, so I decided to do a children’s book,” said Sunderland, who turns 19 later this month. “At first I didn’t really intend to publish it, I just wanted to share it with a few teachers and maybe the school library, but it just kept going up and up (momentum).
“It started as a simple school project, but I realized that I felt really passionate about the subject the book is about…. After finishing it, I received a lot of feedback from my teachers and peers , encouraging me to publish it, so I ended up sending my copy of the book to several publishers, and one of them liked it.
I’m everything in between is described on the publisher’s website (Rebel Mountain Press) as a book that “… shines a light on children who don’t fit stereotypical gender ideals.” This book celebrates children and their gender identification by sending a positive message that regardless of their biological sex, there is nothing wrong with feeling like a girl, there is nothing wrong with feeling like a boy and there’s nothing wrong with feeling like “everything in between”.
Sunderland says there is a personal angle to the book.
“There is a kind of personal connection to it; when I was growing up, I didn’t necessarily know what gender identity was, but I definitely presented myself in a different way than how a typical little girl would dress and everything,” she said. . “I got negative comments and backlash at times because of it, and it definitely affected me when I was younger, so hopefully the message can be passed on to any kids who might feel that way, because I know I would really appreciate something like that.”
Her mother, Becky Sunderland, said the book shows a side of Sydney that everyone who knows her sees every day.
“The strength that she’s always had in her own character and knowing who she is is spectacular,” Becky said. “Then wanting to share that and the confidence she has in herself, and showing other kids that it’s okay to literally be yourself; that star shines so brightly within her.
According to British Columbia Curriculum GuideCapstone is “an opportunity for students to further develop and showcase their strengths, passions, and learning journey to a relevant audience. As a celebration of their learning journey, the Capstone is a place where students are encouraged to share their successes in and out of school, including their thoughts on developing core competencies, their contributions and aspirations, and their post-graduation plans.
Sunderland said she didn’t fully buy into the concept at first and only reluctantly took part because she had to. The finished product turned out to be a lasting heirloom.
“At first, before I knew what I wanted to do, I was like ‘oh, this is a waste of time, why are we doing this?’ But sometimes it can turn into something bigger, which I think is part of the idea of the Capstone. It can turn into something you can do at the post-secondary level, if it’s something you’re passionate about.
Sunderland said that while she has no immediate plans for another book, she hasn’t ruled out the possibility either.
“I’m not sure about that. Maybe I hope to create more books in the future. I don’t think it will be the only one. But I don’t have any plans at the moment.
Sunderland had a busy freshman year at Thompson River University. She is studying for her Bachelor of Arts and has been a regular on the pitch for the TRU Wolfpack football team.
“It was mainly the football program that brought me here, of course,” said the former Riptide football player. “We had a difficult season, but I enjoyed it a lot and the team is really great.”
The release date of the book is March 15. Pre-orders are now being accepted at bit.ly/3oAPhhz
It will be available locally at Laughing Oyster Book Shop in Courtenay.
authorComox ValleyGood News