Two sisters who grew up in the Battlefords have teamed up to produce a children’s e-book.
The book is The Hill by the Lake, written by Linnea Bargen-Koehn and Natahna Bargen-Lena. Both are from North Battleford, though Linnea lives in Nova Scotia now and Natahna is in Edmonton.
In speaking to the News-Optimist, Natahna said the idea for the book came about late spring or early summer last year.
“We write a lot in our own time, we’re creative a lot in our own time, so doing something together like this has always been kind of a dream,” said Natahna.
Linnea came up with the idea, and said it was based on their growing up outside of the Battlefords.
“I always had like vivid memories from our growing up here in Saskatchewan, and particularly there’s this lake that we would always go to called Horseshoe Lake,” Linnea said.
“It has a hill and a little secluded lake, and usually there was nobody there. That was always our favourite — driving up there and then climbing up the big hill, and seeing the lake from the top of the hill.”
According to the promotional material on their website, Bargen-Koehn “excavates her own personal memories of a perfect day spent at a hidden prairie lake as seen through the eyes of a child. With multimedia, collage-styled artwork by Bargen-Koehn’s own sister, Natahna Bargen-Lema, the two create a piece of eLiterature that is equal parts whimsical and intricately detailed.”
“What this book really touches on is kind of how the ‘everyday’ is really magical for children,” Natahna said. “This is a place that we would go to all the time as kids.”
For the art part, Natahna said she leaned more on the collage style. “What I think is cool about the collage style is we take images that are from photography, and specifically, actually, our dad took a lot of photos when we were growing up. Most of them are from my dad and the ones he took from that time in our lives. A few of them, when we had to fill in the gaps are from Linnea’s and my own collection.”
They were able to get the book launched because Natahna had launched an e-publishing company, Party Trick Press. The idea behind the company is to put out “stories that are exciting and fresh” and revolutionize the e-book experience.
About half the proceeds from the sales are going to a non-profit called “Reclaiming Our Roots” run by Chenise Hache and James Doucette, which focuses on land-based learning and community stewardship for urban indigenous youth.
The e-book is available to buy at partytrickpress.com. A purchase includes the eBook (.pdf), a printable coloring page (.pdf), and two iPad screensavers.