The Printed Press

Local Seagull Becomes Kid Lit Star

By Heather MacBeath, Digby Courier

Digby, NS - From her own childhood escapades in Smith’s Cove and listening to her aunt Mary Lou first introduce her to the mischievous bird, Roberta Heembrock was enthralled by the adventures of a little herring gull named ‘Oscar’.

However, it wasn’t until years later that Heembrock typed the last words of Oscar’s adventure. Sitting in her home office in Calgary, the Nova Scotia native put the finishing touches on her first children’s book, Oscar the Herring Gull.

“I first knew I wanted to write this story when my Aunt Mary Lou first introduced me to Oscar, a herring gull, otherwise known as Jethro, when I was eight or nine. She would tell me all kinds of stories about his antics and escapades,” Heembrock said.

She didn’t become an author right away, but first followed in the footsteps of her parents and became an elementary school teacher.

It was only time until she would put pen to paper to tell the wonderful stories of her seafaring friend. Now, the mother of two teenagers transcribes those long lost adventures of the little herring gull named Oscar into her youthful dream.

Much of Oscar’s adventures recount sentimental details about Heembrock’s childhood growing up in Smith’s Cove and later spending the summers there with her husband and daughters.

“Aunt Mary Lou became ‘Grammie Sara’ in the book. My girls, Sara (Sam) and Natalie entered the story as I remembered them, as little girls running the beach, collecting sea heather and shells and chasing the sea gulls.

“I have family, friends and the beautiful sea to enjoy and be with. I couldn’t think of a more wonderful place to write a children’s story about,” she said. Oscar the Herring Gull will be featured on ‘EarthCare, An Environmental Education Partnership’ and will be accompanied by a full lesson plan that teaches the importance of energy conservation, waste reduction and water conservation.

Although Oscar the Herring Gull is Heembrock’s first children’s book, she has also published Why Kids Can’t Spell: A Practical Guide to the Missing Component in Language Proficiency, a resource reference book for parents and educators who have an interest in and a concern for children’s spelling ability.

Heembrock launched her new book Aug. 5 at the Admiral Digby Museum and has a second launch scheduled for this Saturday at Mad Hatter Books in Annapolis Royal from 1-3 p.m.

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