Esterhazy’s Brenda Redman publishes children’s book about mother-daughter bond and the joy of a new baby
May 7, 2021, 10:05 am
When Esterhazy’s Brenda Redman had a restless night thinking about a scrapbook she wanted to put together for her new granddaughter Amelia, she never dreamed that her idea would lead to her becoming a published children’s book author.
But on April 25, just in time for Mother’s Day, Redman officially released her first children’s book “How’s Peanut?” about a mother and daughter’s bond during the course of the daughter’s pregnancy.
The book is not only about the relationship between the mother and daughter as the daughter prepares to deliver her first baby (and Redman’s first grandchild), it’s also an educational book for children that compares the size of the baby to a fruit or a vegetable as it grows during the various stages of pregnancy.
The book is called “How’s Peanut?” because Peanut is the nickname Brenda gave to her granddaughter from the moment she found out her daughter was pregnant.
Redman says the book is based on real experiences between her and her daughter during her daughter’s pregnancy.
“This mom (in the book) is over the moon excited when her daughter calls her up and tells her she is having a baby,” says Redman. “The mom nicknames the baby Peanut right away and from there on there are phone calls every month to see how Peanut is doing. The daughter tells the mom how Peanut is doing and compares the baby to a size of fruit or vegetable. Peanut arrives and is the most perfect baby!”
Redman says she has always loved children’s books.
“I have a strong love for children’s books. When my children were small and we would go to the city, there was always a stop at the book store. More for me than them,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to get home and read it to them. I always dreamed that maybe one day I would write my own.
“When my granddaughter was born, I lay awake many nights thinking of a story for Amelia. After a very restless night, I got up one morning and wrote “How’s Peanut?” in around one hour.
“I wanted to make a scrap book for Amelia and asked Brenden and Nathan, my son and his partner, to read through it and draw the pictures for it. I also shared it with Courtney and Chris, my daughter and son-in-law, around the same time. They all encouraged me to do something with it, and told me to send it to a publisher.
“I was like ‘are you serious?’ I decided to share it with two of my good friends that just happen to both be teachers—Leanne Fraser and Laurel Kentel. I worked with both of them for 10 years at the Churchbridge Public School. They both liked it and encouraged me to send it to a publisher. Than I shared it with my aunt and uncle from Regina who are both retired teachers and they also liked it and encouraged me to see the writer in residence at the Regina Public Library.
“I made an appointment to meet with David Gane. He is a writer of murder and mystery for young adults and he loved the flow of my book and recommend that I get a hold of Heather Nickle from YNWP in Regina. It took me about two weeks to get brave enough to send Heather an email along with my book and within two weeks I heard back from Heather wanting to meet me and go through how to get my book published. She said she liked it.
“She showed me some work of illustrators that she has used and I took down some names. In the end I choose to self publish my book using Heather at YNWP and choose Wendi Nordel from Alberta to illustrate my book. There was a strong connection between myself, Heather and Wendi and everything just clicked from there. I felt I could trust both of them with my work.
“I wrote the book September 2019 and sent it to Heather in December and signed a contract with YNWP in February 2020 with a debut date of Mother’s Day 2021.
“I started working with Wendi Nordell beginning of September 2020 with the illustrations. This was so much fun. Wendi and I would call each other and talk about each page of the book and what I envisioned the pictures to be like. They had to be fun. The conversation between mom and daughter always had to be on our phones and doing something we both liked to do. The mom is a little more crazier than the daughter! You will find us walking our dogs, shopping, in a bathtub full of bubbles, exercising, at the lake, around a campfire.
“Now the challenge was the unborn babies. How do you make them fun? We decided to make them educational. The unborn babies are the actually size of what an unborn baby would be during certain stages of pregnancy. It so neat! At the end, the baby is the size of a watermelon and it takes up two pages. All the pictures had to be colorful. Wendi was busy for two months drawing and painting the pictures. They artwork is amazing. It makes the book come alive and I’m so grateful for this lady and her talents.
“At the end of November Wendi sent all the illustrations to Heather and from there Heather worked her magic in putting everything together. The colors, the printing and the illustrations Heather made it into a book. And I absolutely love it!”
Redman received the first copies of her book a few weeks ago. She says she was shocked to see the book for the first time.
“I told my husband when I saw it ‘Honey it’s a real book. It looks like a real book!’ He said ‘What did you think it was going to be?’ You really don’t know until you have it from the printers. Friesens from Altona, Manitoba printed all the books and I had it in my hands on April 17, 2021. It’s a dream come true. And its been a family affair. All illustrations and proofs were also approved by my children.”
Brenda says she still can’t believe her idea became a real book.
“This has all been like a dream come true,” she says. “I know I always wanted to write a children’s book and now that I have it I’m still in shock. I see my name on the front and go ‘I can’t believe it.’ ”
Redman says the book is very personal to her and her family.
“It was a family affair because there wasn’t anything I didn’t pass by my children or my husband and we were all in this together,” she says. “We’re all so excited about the outcome of it and it’s all for our precious little Amelia, our peanut.”
What does Redman want readers to take away from her book?
“It’s an amazing learning tool,” she says. “Kids can actually see right in front of them what a baby looks like at certain stages of pregnancy and see the size, but at the same time the kids also see the fun in it, the repetition. They can speak along or read along with the book and then see the fun interaction between the mom and the daughter. But not just that, the pictures in the book is what brings this book alive and they will see some fun things in each picture. They’ll see a little puppy, they’ll see bubbles, they’ll see a little duck in the bath tub. They’ll be able to pick up on novel little fun things in the book and learn from them.
“And then for the parents, moms, grandmas, I think they can really relate to the interaction between the mom and daughter, which is so important and that’s what I didn’t want to lose in this book. I wanted them to see that this isn’t just an educational tool, a boring little book about babies growing. This is a fun connection between a mom and a daughter and an unborn baby. Which I think every mom and daughter have but maybe haven’t been able to express it, and this way they can probably even relate to it—relate to talking to the daughter and asking how is the baby doing, what is the baby doing right now, how are you feeling. And relating to the daughter at that 40 weeks state of pregnancy when she’s grumpy and yet you’re so excited. The baby’s coming—yes, yes, yes! I think anyone can relate to it and enjoy it. You don’t have to be a mommy or a little child, I think anyone could really look at the book and say this is a really nice book, this is cool, this is a neat fun story.”
Redman’s book is available in stores and online at Chapters, Indigo, and Amazon, and locally at Vibe Interior Decorating, Sapara’s Drug Mart, and Esterhazy Family Foods in Esterhazy, Create in Langenburg, and Tangliz in Churchbridge.
Redman says she will be willing to do book signings once the pandemic is over and she is already making plans for a second Peanut book about Christmas.