Julia Cieskulowska’s inspiration for her book, Sarah Stem Saves the Bees – a book for girls aged 2-6 – may have started at a young age, growing up in one of Kitchissippi’s housing cooperatives – Dovercourt Housing Cooperative near Carling and Kirkwood.
She comes by her talent honestly – both parents are writers. Her mother, Danuta, writes poetry; her father, Stan, is working on a book about martial arts. Together, they own and operate a family business on Churchill. Stan is a goldsmith, Danuta is the manager and promoter of their business.
The Cieskulowskas celebrated their 23rd anniversary in Canada this year. As refugees in Austria from Poland during the communist regime, Canada was the first country to respond to their immigration request and the family arrived in 1991 – Danuta carrying the unborn Julia.
Cieslukowska says her inspiration also comes from her background in international development. She is currently working on her master’s degree at the Norman Paterson School of International Development.
“I was able to travel, mainly to Africa,” she says. “It opened my eyes to how much gender inequality still exists in the world. The book depicts a heroic girl who believes in herself. She’s a good role model.”
“It’s a powerful book that tries to address a lot of issues – the over representation of the male race and Caucasians in societies, as well as environmental issues,” says Cieskulowska.
Her older sister, Joanna, says she is incredibly proud of her sibling. “She managed to write a book but also because when she puts her mind to it, she did it so fast,” says Joanna. “She had the idea in May and here it is – November.”
Mother, Danuta Cieskulowska, says that her Julia worked very hard on the book. She took a course on writing children’s books, and used what she learned to modify the subject to suit a young audience.
“She has effectively marketed and promoted her book, using social media,” says Joanna. “It’s a beautiful book,” she adds.
The launch for Sarah Stem Saves the Bees took place on Nov. 16 at the Dovercourt Recreation Centre. There was plenty of food and drinks, a book sale and a reading by Cieslukowska to a young audience, accompanied by puppeteer, Donna Bourgeault.
Proceeds of sales will go toward the printing of an additional 100 copies, to be donated to disadvantaged children.
To make a donation, visit Julia Cieslukowska’s Facebook page: facebook.com/sarastemsavesthebees.