It’s been 130 years on Aug. 5 since giantess Anna Swan passed away, but she’s coming back to life thanks to a children’s picture book biography.
Anne Renaud, who lives in Quebec, wrote ‘The True Tale of a Giantess’ on the Tatamagouche native, her second featuring the life of Swan.
“I had written a non-fiction book on Anna Swan that was published in 2013 by Cape Breton University Press,” said Renaud, from her home. “The book did well and was nominated for a few awards, and after that book, Kids Can Press had approached me about writing another one for a slightly younger audience. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to revisit the subject.”
Renaud had spent a few years researching Anna Swan, and after mulling the idea of the second book, she decided to forge ahead.
“I warmed up to the idea and I’m very glad I did,” she said.
The book, which is illustrated by Marie Lafrance, is geared toward the five- to eight-year-old group. Scholastic has purchased the French rights to the book, and both the English and French versions will be available in September.
“That’s the trend right now,” said Renaud, about the age group. “Picture book biographies are very popular so the timing was very good.”
It was while she was researching another topic for a book that Renaud stumbled upon Swan, of whom she had never heard.
“I saw a picture of Anna on a website – Curious Canada – that has interesting stories of Canadian history. I filed the idea away and eventually I went back to her. I was fortunate enough to connect with Dale Swan, who is an amazing source of information.”
With the release of the first book on Swan, Renaud was able to travel to Tatamagouche for the book launch, but the author isn’t sure if there will be a local one for the picture book biography. She’s thrilled, however, to see it published in both languages, something that hasn’t happened with others.
“I think children, when reading this, what they’ll find fascinating is the fact that she was challenged by her height, but that didn’t stop her,” said Renaud. “What struck me also is that for a woman of her time period, she led a full, wonderful life. She travelled the world, she met fascinating people, and she earned her own living. That’s what I find remarkable – she did so with such grace.”
She said she hopes children who read the book will realize there are ways of overcoming every challenge they encounter, and they can find themselves living a life as big as they are.
The book is available for pre-ordering on Amazon’s website, and will be available in most book stores when released. The book will also be marketed extensively to schools and libraries, says Renaud, so it should be widely available for children when released in September. The French version will be released in October.
For more information on the book, visit http://www.kidscanpress.com/products/true-tale-giantess.