New picture book is a unique collaborative effort 

By Bella Crysler – 

Joyful, inspiring, colourful. That’s how Ms. Smid, an English and creative writing teacher at Nepean High School, describes her third and most recent children’s book: T-Rex Girl. It’s a 300-word picture book about a shy little girl named Ting who finds her inner roar when she creates a dinosaur costume. 

“After rescuing a friend from a scary situation, Ting realizes that true courage can’t be disguised,” describes Ms. Smid. Although the book was created for children, the story touches upon important subjects such as loneliness and bullying that older readers can also appreciate, and maybe even use as a resource when discussing these topics with young children. 

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The inspiration for T-Rex Girl came from Ms. Smid’s daughter. When she was only five years old, she drew a picture that eventually came to life as the story’s main character. The original drawing is even included in the published book.

Another special aspect of T-Rex Girl is that four Nepean students and graduates were involved in its creation. Ko-Chi Chen, who is currently an Algonquin College student studying animation, did the artwork. 

Hanna Carkner-Botte did the book’s layout, Maya Kumar designed the cover, and Kat Truong took the author and illustrator photos. “I think it’s incredible that four young women got paid publishing credentials before they graduated high school,” says Ms. Smid. The group recently hosted a book launch in the Nepean High School library, which was attended by many members of the school community.

Ms. Smid is already brainstorming ideas for her next book. “I have a novel that is in round two of major edits. I also have a vague new picture book idea – something fictional about sound waves.” 

Her love of writing is clear, whether it’s teaching it to others or focusing on her own writing projects. 

“Margaret Atwood once said, ‘A word after a word after a word is power.’ That sums it up for me: I love words,” says Ms. Smid. “I love picking ideas from the lovely mess of imagination and pinning them to a page in the form of words. There is true power in that and it fuels me every day.”

T-Rex Girl is published by Peanut Butter Press and is available for purchase online at

Bella Crysler is a grade 12 student at Nepean High School.


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