Illustrator Lena Meszaros, 17, and author Helen Donnelly, of <em>Magpie Mischief</em>. (Special to The News)

Illustrator Lena Meszaros, 17, and author Helen Donnelly, of Magpie Mischief. (Special to The News)

A magpie’s obsession leads to life lesson about the value of friendship in Maple Ridge author’s first book

Author Helen Donnelly was inspired by a trip to Nepal to write Magpie Mischief

A Maple Ridge author, inspired by a trip to Nepal, has just published her first children’s book about the importance of relationships.

Helen Donnelly travelled to Nepal, once in 2015 and again in 2019, and while there visited with students at some of the local schools.

The education assistant, currently at Pitt Meadows Secondary School, noticed, how happy the children were, even though they had very little.

“Not even toilets,” Donnelly remarked.

And, when the first-time author thought about children in Canada, who have the latest gadgets and toys, she noticed they were not as happy as their Nepalese peers.

So, Donnelly dreamed up Magpie Mischief, an inspiring story of two friends who are magpies, but one of them, Trinity, has an obsession with shiny objects.

When Trinity discovers her first shiny object, she is mesmerized by it. But then she finds another one and suddenly the first one she found is not interesting anymore and gets pushed to the side. Then she finds a third and no longer plays with the other two objects anymore. Then, one day, there is a lightning bolt that stops her in her tracks and all her shiny objects fall to the ground and are lost. And it is by losing her greatest treasures when she realizes that friendship is more important.

“This to me is about the value of relationships and how we do get so distracted by the next thing that we buy,” explained Donnelly.

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The book was illustrated by Lena Meszaros, now 17, and a former student at Edith McDermott elementary, where Donnelly used to work. Meszaros first became involved with Donnelly’s campaign to raise money to help the Nepalese students by participating in Chores for a Cause, along with other students at the school.

Another former Edith McDermott student, Justin Cardas, helped her with the formatting and the production of the book.

Donnelly was able to read the book to a couple of the classes at her former school. One student came up to her and told her the story changed his life.

“I no longer buy the latest, newest thing,” he told the author. “I only buy when my stuff is broken.”

Donnelly also mailed the book to her mother in England – where she was born and raised.

Her mother plans to donate it to her former school, Northfield Manor Primary Academy in Birmingham.

Magpie Mischief is available on Amazon.


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