A lot of publishers would happily surrender a hefty advance for the right to publish a new book by Robert Munsch. Taya Kendall, a Grade 3 pupil in Guelph, Ont., was granted that privilege for free.
Taya makes her debut in the book business Thursday with a self-published edition of Braids, a story by multi-million selling kids favourite Munsch. But the 8-year-old upstart is already demonstrating the acumen and no-nonsense temperament required in the publishing world.
In January, Taya met Munsch at a reading at the Guelph Public Library. The famed Canadian children’s author was struck by the young girl’s resemblance to a character in one of his unpublished stories, about a young girl who reluctantly allows her hair to be braided but is ultimately pleased with the result. Munsch granted Taya permission to use the story in the school newspaper she had launched earlier that month at Sir Isaac Brock Public School.
“I felt like the happiest person on earth,” Taya recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!’ It’s a Robert Munsch story and he’s so popular. Then I thought that a lot of Robert Munsch stories are books so this should be a book too.”
The Taya Kendall edition of Braids features 28 illustrations by students from her school
Initially, the $10 book will be sold in 17 Ontario outlets, with all of the proceeds going to Children of Bukati, a program to enable AIDS orphans to attend school in Butula, Kenya.