OCEANSIDE — Surprise, surprise: when siblings can get along without any squabbling good things can happen.
Meet sisters Julia and Nancy Glen, who are writing a series of children’s books focused on several SoCal communities including their first called “Oceanside Adventures.”
“Each story carries the themes of friendship, inclusion and community. Woven throughout is the history with local attractions and events,” said Julia Glen, the younger of the two, and an artist who resides in Oceanside.
Future books will include such North County cities as Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Vista, to name a few.
Additionally, a percentage of the proceeds from their books will go toward supporting local literacy programs because: “it is a cause close to us both.”
So, how did the idea of writing kids’ books start? Nancy Glen, 60, who teaches high school in Washington State said it was her sister’s idea.
“Julia had the initial idea to create a children’s book as a fun gift to our younger nieces and nephews,” she said. It was a way to share Oceanside with them. The weather and landscape are so drastically different from the Northwest. Also, to actually put them in the book. Each animal in the story is named after children from our family and friends.”
Once they started this project, they knew it could be so much more, Nancy Glen said.
“We brought in the themes of diversity, inclusion, manners and personal safety,” she said. “Our goal is to collect a portion of the proceeds for local literacy programs.”
Nancy Glen said once they started working on the Oceanside book it came together in about six months.
“I wrote the story and then shared it with Julia to edit and make any changes she felt needed to be changed,” she said. “We truly are co-authors; she has the tough, time-consuming job of illustrating. Her artwork is amazing.”
As for the sisters’ first, book “Oceanside Adventures,” Julie Glen explained it is about a young bunny, Colton, who moves to a new home that initially feels very foreign to him. He soon meets wonderful friends who show him all the incredible places that their city has to offer. With each location the history, both past and present, is revealed. It’s all about creating community, Nancy Glen said.
When asked what makes this book stand out from other kids’ books, Julia Glenn said quite a few things.
“Our book is unique in a number of ways,” she said. “It is not only a children’s book with a fun storyline, but a historical journey. Each community will recognize and appreciate reading about their home. When we did author’s visits in local elementary schools, kids were excited to share their experiences and memories from the various locations. Our books take on the themes of diversity, inclusion, kindness and community. We are both proud of that.”
As for what lies ahead, Nancy Glen said the sisters plan to focus on North County for now.
“Our next book will be Encinitas; it should be out by mid-February,” Nancy Glen said. “After Encinitas comes Carlsbad, Vista, Escondido and then San Marcos. It is a way down the road, but at some point, we want to look at our home state of Washington. Our family is from the Tacoma, Puyallup area.”
“My parents really encouraged reading,” she added. “They are both gone now, but I know they would be proud. Even with my own son, a trip to the library was a big event! As a teacher I believe reading/literacy opens up a whole new world to children.”
She added that they grew up in a big extended family in Washington state.
But what about working together — has it been easy or difficult?
“I know not everyone could work with family, but we have done fine so far,” Nancy Glen said. “I think the key is stepping back and taking a breather when things get stressful. A little chocolate doesn’t hurt.”
And they have had a great amount of fun pulling this first book together, too, Julia Glen said.
“The best thing about writing this book is seeing the final product come out so beautiful after all the hard work,” she said. “Having our book in the hands of kids reading what you created is priceless. The hardest part was narrowing down the scope of the book. Especially with Oceanside, there were so many amazing things to add, we couldn’t squeeze it all in.”
The women decided to self-publish the book via printer Steuben’s Press in Colorado and are hoping the book takes off.
“We are doing our best to get the word out and promote our work,” Nancy Glen said. “It has been a fun journey, but a huge learning curve. Because Julia lives in Oceanside, and is much better at technology, the bulk of the leg work has been on her shoulders. I so appreciate all she does.”
In the end the sisters hope their book series inspires everyone to explore their own backyards. “Participate, contribute and enjoy the community you live in,” Nancy Glen said. “Next, go next door and see what’s new.”
If you want to purchase “Oceanside Adventures,” visit www.glencreations.com and find the link to purchase the book on the site as well as a list of businesses that carry the book locally. The cost is $12.95 plus tax for the paperback book which has 42 colored pages.