Lake Cowichan product Teresa Schapansky is being recognized for making a difference in the lives of young readers.
The award-winning Duncan-based author learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom and set to work writing a series that not only provides good access to books for youth aged nine to 12 with lower levels of reading, but to capture their attention with magic and wonder.
The result? The first two books of Schapansky’s Coinkeeper - The Avery Chronicles series have reached No. 1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases section. It’s not the first time her work has seen the top of the charts.
”Some Christmas, an entirely different series altogether, reached No. 2 of Hot New Releases in about a week,” Schapansky noted. “It was written for the adolescent struggling reader. Then I released the Coinkeeper - Book 1 and overnight it went to No. 1 of the Hot New Releases, which is just crazy, crazy, crazy. Book 2 of the Coinkeeper series followed and that was No. 1 as well. All of a sudden they were both best-sellers. I’m in disbelief.”
Schapansky’s Coinkeeper series is a fictional fantasy adventure that follows a grandson and his grandfather through time and space via the use of magic coins. There are three books in the self-published series, all written since December, 2020. She’s busy working on a fourth, with more to follow.
“The sky’s the limit,” she said. “I giggle while I’m writing. It’s so incredible. I giggle while I write it, and I certainly hope that the children giggle as they read.”
This all came about thanks to a conversation with the Young Authors’ Conference organizer’s Jenny Ingram.
“I’m a presenter at the Young Authors’ Conference which is held at the Chemainus Theatre Festival every two years,” she explained.
Ingram went on to explain to Schapansky that there’s a lack of material in classrooms for children aged nine to 12 that struggle to read.
“That’s how it came about in December,” she said. “So I just got my pencil sharpened. We know that there are many different reasons that kids and adults struggle to read, but a lot of kids don’t want to be faced with a great big encyclopedia-like book.
“It’s intimidating. It’s overwhelming,” Schapansky explained. “I took a look at the books I already have and thought, I write like that anyway. I write for kids. I’m not writing anything that they’re not going to immediately understand, so I just created a new series and new characters.”
She did her research, too. “I reached out to various people and organizations for the purpose of each of the Coinkeeper books, and was completely blown away, amazed and very flattered by the responses,” she said. The Bank of Canada Museum provided historical value information about the 1911 Canadian silver dollar and the Royal Mint Museum provided images of the 1911 Canadian silver dollar. The Sncwips Heritage Museum provided historical and invaluable cultural information about the syilx First Nations and in particular, the water spirit. The American Numismatic Society provided information and photographs of and about the 1861 Confederate Half Dollar, and more.
Readers can find Coinkeeper - The Avery Chronicles locally at Volume One Bookstore in downtown Duncan, and at the Askew Creek Bookshop in Chemainus’s public market. They’re also available through Amazon.
Want to read more of Schapansky’s work? The author has also published Some Christmas, Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom and Dager of the Tasman Empire and more for young readers, as well as Memoirs of a Pakhtun Immigrant, the biography of Gafoor Khan, an illegal immigrant and a courageous man who came to Canada for a better life for his family. Visit her website www.teresaschapansky.com to learn more.