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Book on diversity and beliefs out in print

What started as a university assignment five years ago has turned into a passion project for Airdrie-based writer Katie Mackrory.
Book launch
Airdrie author and social worker Katie Mackrory is holding a celebration Jan. 26 to launch the publication of her book Little Tommy Big Beliefs, which helps young children learn about various belief systems.

What started as a university assignment five years ago has turned into a passion project for Airdrie-based writer Katie Mackrory. Mackrory’s book, Little Tommy Big Beliefs, introduces children to belief systems different from their own through easy-to-understand text and bright, colourful illustrations. It tells the story of a curious little boy named Tommy who is grocery shopping with his mom when he comes across people wearing various religious symbols. Tommy’s mom teaches him why people wear the symbols, and how the symbol is a part of that faith. “I just really felt – to do the book justice, to do the story justice – it needed to be in paperback, and it needed to be redone in a lot of ways,” Mackrory said. “I told my husband, ‘OK, we’re doing this;’ it was eating away at me.” Mackrory initially wrote and illustrated the book herself in 2014 and distributed it as an eBook. Since then, she’s had children of her own, and said she realizes how important the messages of the book are. “I [know] how difficult it is for me to explain someone else’s beliefs. I found myself getting stuck on, how do I teach my daughter to speak this way, to use these words and show respect and kindness,” she said. “That did inspire me to give parents the language around how to teach this. “I see [the book as a way of] starting a conversation. I have friends who say it started a really fantastic conversation with their kids.” Once she decided she was going to self-publish the book, Mackrory said, she hired a freelance illustrator and had the book professionally edited. Since debuting in print in August 2018, it has been available at a number of smaller, niche retailers – including Homegrown House and Pantry Inc., and Sorso Espresso and Wine Bar in Airdrie. In the spring, the book will also be available at Indigo bookstore at CrossIron Mills mall in Balzac. It can also be purchased online at Ultimately, Mackrory said she’d like to see the book in school libraries – and has begun discussions with various school divisions to achieve that goal. While the book is appropriate for children of all ages, she said, it is mostly geared towards those in grades 1 through 3. An official launch of Mackrory’s re-imagined book is being held Jan. 26 at 11 a.m. at Homegrown House and Pantry Inc. on First Avenue N.W. Children are invited to attend, according to Mackrory, and take part in a special child-friendly toast and Little Tommy children’s craft. Mackrory will also read an excerpt from the book. For more information, visit - With files from Allison Chorney

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