When a snowstorm hits, a boy who dreamed of a snow day has to spend the night at school with his classmates.
That’s the story behind “Snow Night,” a debut children’s book written by retired Crawfordsville teacher Julie Bergfors, who drew on her own experiences in the classroom for the tale.
“I would ask kids sometimes what are some things we might do [if becoming stranded by a snowstorm at school] and how they would feel about it, so a lot of their feelings are in the story,” said Bergfors, who taught first grade.
Bergfors teamed up with best friend and artist Anne Parks for the book, which was published in November by Canada’s FriesenPress. A retired marketing and communications professional now living in West Lafayette, Parks had more time for painting after the art shows she usually enters were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over Zoom, Parks would come up with the pictures as Bergfors described her classroom. Parks usually paints with oils, but for the book she switched to a French technique that’s a cross between watercolor and acrylic.
“You notice I mainly do landscapes and animals,” Parks said in a FaceTime interview, motioning to her artwork on the walls in her home, “so painting children was a real challenge for me, but I love challenges.”
The story follows a boy named Michael who falls asleep one night dreaming of a snow day, but wakes up to sunny skies and clear roads. His mother sends him to school in snow boots anyway.
The snowstorm moves in during the day and the school turns into a playground, with relay races up and down the halls, before everyone is reunited the next morning.
But do they have to turn around and go back to school?
“They get to go home because it’s a weekend,” Bergfors added.
The story aims to teach children how to cope with unexpected events.
Bergfors and Parks will sign copies of the book Nov. 29 at Athens Arts Gallery. Pre-registration is stongly suggested as there will be a limited amount of people allowed at a time. The times are 1 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Participants are asked to call the gallery or email the director at email@example.com to sign up. Include a name and the number of children and adults.
Copies of the book are available for purchase from Amazon, the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County or directly from Bergfors and Parks.
Their next project is called “Crazy Hat Day,” a children’s story about a school spirit day.