A local resident and former North Grenville councillor recently published a new children’s book inspired by his grandchildren.

Jim Bertram has been writing almost all his life. He often made up stories as a child for his younger siblings, and started writing poetry in high school. As an adult at the start of his long teaching career, he also wrote several children’s books to help students learn French. “My first assignment as a teacher was grade four French immersion,” Jim remembers. “I wrote the stories to teach them vocabulary.”

It was the arrival of his first grandchild that inspired him to write and publish his first children’s book in his retired life. Seven years ago, he published Artie’s Great Day for his grandson Mateo, which has since made it into schools as well as the North Grenville Public Library.

When his granddaughter Leona was born, he wanted to do the same for her and came up with the story for Lalionne and the Sunbeam. With poetry sprinkled throughout, it is a story about a little blue pixie who lives in the woods and her race against the sunbeams to save the forest from unbearable heat. Beautifully illustrated by Jim’s son-in-law, printed by Coba Studios in Merrickville and bound by Smiths Falls Bookbinding, it is a truly local production.

Jim says he enjoys writing children’s stories because he loves seeing the look on the kids’ faces as they escape into the words and pictures on the pages. “I love connecting to their world of imagination,” he says. “Sometimes I think I have barely grown out of childhood myself.”

Lalionne and the Sunbeam was not written for commercial reasons, and Jim says he has given away about 20 of the hardcover books to charity. If you are interested in a copy of the book, you can contact Jim at 613-989-2424 or [email protected].


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