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Despite pandemic, author finds novel ways to get her books into kids' hands

Gwen Petreman has had 'a library of books in my home as they have had nowhere to go'
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While everyone is looking at new ways to get their products out during COVID-19, a local author has found a unique way to get her books into the hands of kids while she can’t visit schools.

Gwen Petreman is working on her 17th book and has the time to do so as COVID has kept many indoors and away from social engagements. The author/illustrator writes books that are geared toward kids and learning which would normally see her attend many schools over the course of the year.

“I haven't been able to go to any with them being closed and then opened but with visiting restrictions,” Petreman told BarrieToday. “I now have a library of books in my home as they have had nowhere to go.”

That's when the Barrie woman thought of an idea that could be helpful during the holidays and get books into the hands of children.

“I’m asking parents, grandparents or any family members to describe their child to me: What do they like, what are their hobbies and interests,” she said. “I will choose one of the books that fits their likes and personally address it to them.”

While Petreman wants to get her books out to as many children as possible, she loves the idea of the curious kids as they read the personalized memo.

“It would be so fun for the families to see their kids reading a message from an author who doesn't know them, but sounds like she does,” Petreman said. “It's a fun gift while also incorporating a learning aspect on a variety of topics.” 

Petreman, who is a former English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in Toronto, said she found storytelling worked very well in helping her students learn the language.

“I would tell old folk tales and stories like that; it was a great way to involve the students and they seemed to pick up the knowledge so much quicker that way,” she said.

Each of the signed books can be purchased for $12, plus $3 for shipping and handling. 

Petreman will donate 10 per cent of profits to tree planting.

Anyone interested in purchasing a book in time for Christmas can email