Introducing Judy Everson's "Chippy's Adventures: The Curious Little Squirrel"
Judy Everson, a local Indigenous author, has published her newest book "Chippy's Adventures: The Curious Little Squirrel" just in time for the holiday season. This story details the heart-warming story of how two unlikely characters — a timid squirrel and a kind-hearted grandmother — develop a friendship with one another, showing that anyone can be friends regardless of their differences.
With three books under her belt, Everson is becoming a well-established writer within the Calgary and greater Southern Alberta community. Her writing career began before the age of 10, when Everson was encouraged by her teacher Mrs. Miele and her parents to use her talent for storytelling and writing to share imaginative tales. Over the years, Everson's writing has shifted to telling the stories from her community. Now, more than ever, she sees the value in sharing Indigenous stories told from an Indigenous perspective.
"I want my parents to be proud of me for sharing the stories that come from our community, because a lot of times people are telling our Indigenous stories [instead of us]." —Judy Everson
Over the coming years, she hopes to develop a collection of books that touch on traditional stories, teachings, and ways of knowing from her community to share with a wider audience and help develop a collective understanding. Unlike her parents and grandparents, who had low-literacy skills due to the residential school system, Everson has the means and the drive to make her vision a reality. With the help of her children, who illustrate her books, she is quickly growing this collection and hopes to write another book by springtime.
"Before writing a book about the residential schools, I need to heal first. I'm still not strong enough to get the word out, but I go on healing walks with my daughters and our community to honour the victims." —Judy Everson
When asked if she'll ever write on the residential school system, Everson says that she will, but needs to time to heal and process everything her grandparents and parents went through. With the help of her family and her parents' blessings, Everson describes how this book will retell their experience while highlighting the strength and resiliency they had. Even though these stories are hard to tell and relive, Everson says that by not forgetting what happened is a way of honouring the victims.
With each book purchase, a portion of the proceeds are donated to a local charity. Everson's two other charity books are "The Brave Little Princess" and "Little One Discovers His Calling One Feather at a Time." You can keep in touch with Everson and follow her journey on Twitter and her website.