Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)

Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

A graphic designer from Nanaimo is putting a Canadian spin on the alphabet in her first children’s book.

Amy Pye, who hails from Nanaimo and studied design at Vancouver Island University, recently released G is for Grizzly Bear, a Canadian-themed illustrated alphabet book for children. Letter associations include D is for Doughnut and Z is for Zamboni.

“I really enjoy creating characters and Canada has so many interesting symbols that can be turned into characters,” Pye said. “You’ve got your beaver and your bear and your hockey player and I felt like it lent really well to creating this kind of story.”

It’s a project she started a few years ago, but it was put on hold when Pye, a single parent, became pregnant with her daughter.

“Now that she’s a year and a half and we’re doing that whole story time bedtime thing I picked it up again and it motivated me to get it done,” Pye said. “I’ve always enjoyed illustration and drawing and so it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

Pye said it was difficult to choose illustrations to go with each letter and suspects that “I’m sure my friends got sick of me” due to her continually bouncing ideas off of them. While the book is aimed at children, Pye said she learned a few things about Canada as well during her research.

Having published her first children’s book, Pye is already at work on her second. Next month she’s releasing Bruce the Silly Goose, a COVID-19-conscious book that aims to encourage children to wash their hands and wear masks in a way that makes that behavior “a little bit more fun, more normal.”

Pye said writing and illustrating children’s books gives her the chance to have fun with her art outside of her work as a graphic designer.

“I’ve been designing on the Island for over 15 years and I do marketing and branding and websites so it’s creative but it’s creative in someone else’s parameters,” she said. “So this is kind of my outlet on the side in my ‘free time’ to get some creativity flow going.”

G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet is available in Nanaimo at The Children’s Treehouse at Country Club Centre mall, Island-ish Lifestyle Boutique at 5299 Rutherford Rd. and online.

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