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Former Truro woman has tenth children’s book published

Jan Coates, who grew up in Truro and now lives in Wolfville, recently had her ninth and tenth book for young readers published. Her most recent works are a picture book and a middle-grade novel. CONTRIBUTED
Jan Coates, who grew up in Truro and now lives in Wolfville, recently had her ninth and tenth book for young readers published. Her most recent works are a picture book and a middle-grade novel. CONTRIBUTED - Contributed
TRURO, N.S. —

Jan Coates uses her imagination to create fascinating worlds for young readers.

Coates, whose maiden name is Mingo, grew up in Truro with a love of reading. She now writes, and her ninth and tenth books were published this year.

“My books have all been children’s books so far,” she said. “I have a great imagination and I’m always seeing things that give me ideas.”

Her new picture book, ‘Dancing with Daisy,’ was inspired by hurricanes and the bond between children and grandparents.  

“I wondered what it would be like if a hurricane asked you to dance,” she said. “Josée Bisaillon did the illustrations and she did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit.

“I’m working on learning to illustrate and I’m really enjoying that.”

‘Say What You Mean’ is a novel aimed at those aged 10-14. It tells a story of a book who rescues a dog who turns out to be a fairy dogmother. The dog then grants his wish to be able to read minds. The book also deals with mental health issues and homelessness.

“Saw What You Mean began years ago with a man I saw sleeping in a bus shelter when I was working in Toronto,” Coates said. “He stayed in my mind all those years and became a character.

“I don’t set out do social justice issues but there are elements of those in my novels.”

She often does readings at schools, hoping to encourage a love of reading.

“I was always an avid reader and I remember climbing the stairs at the library to get to the kids’ section,” she said. “To get a library card you had to print your own name and I remember that as being very significant.”

Coates was a teacher for a short time but when her children were young she wanted to be home, so she made and sold toddler clothing. When her children got a little older she got serious about writing but her first book wasn’t published until 2005.

“I can’t imagine not writing now,” she said. “I’m always working on a few manuscripts that are at various stages.

“I read almost exclusively kids’ books too. I find adult novels so meandering.”

She noted that because picture books don’t have many words, every word is important, and writing them can be more time consuming than people expect.

“Holding a book you’ve written in your hands is a special feeling,” she added. “Sales figures are showing ebooks are not the death of real books, and that’s great news.”

Coates’ books can be purchased through independent book stores, Coles, Chapters, Amazon and from the publishers. ‘Dancing With Daisy’ is publishes by Running the Goat Press, in Newfoundland, and the publisher for ‘Say What You Mean’ is Nevermore Press, in Lunenburg.

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