Samantha Beyond sitting and looking directly at camera

Creating a literary connection for Indigenous kids

August 30, 2022
Author: Eric Zimmer

VIU Education student Samantha Beynon is now a published author

What originally started as a “small summer project” for Samantha Beynon has now led to a published children’s book.

Samantha is a VIU Bachelor of Education student who is heading into her fifth year this fall. She says the book, Oolichan Moon, published by Harbour Publishing, will be widely available on shelves as of this October.

“I actually wrote it a couple of years ago, and self-published it,” she explains. 

And while the book “got some attention,” it wasn’t until Harbour Publishing took notice of it and offered her a publishing contract that things began to take off.

“Going through a recognized publishing institution was way better because we were able to add some more illustrations and just improve the quality overall.”

Currently based in Victoria, Samantha is originally from Prince Rupert and is Nisga’a and Ts’msyen. She wrote the book because she wanted to create something for Indigenous children that related to traditional food.

“I reflected back to my own childhood and we didn’t really have any stories on traditional foods. I wanted to give them that,” she adds.

The original of the book was Sisters Learn Traditional Foods, but the name was changed to Oolichan Moon after the contract with Harbour Publishing was signed. 

Cover of Samantha's new book called Oolichan Moon

And while she is on track to complete her Education degree, Samantha says writing is what she loves the most. 

“Writing comes pretty naturally to me, I have a lot of ideas, and it didn’t take me very long to actually write this book,” she adds.

What took more time was the book’s illustrations, which all were done by her first cousin, who Samantha says is more like a sister.

Currently enrolled at VIU’s Cowichan campus, Samantha doesn’t know for sure yet if she’ll pursue teaching after graduation. She currently is writing a business plan to open up an Indigenous café and boutique. Pursuing a master’s degree is also part of her post-graduation plans.

She was drawn to VIU “because of the fact there’s a lot of resources for Indigenous students.”

As for future writing projects, Samantha says she “wants to see how far I can take it. I’m definitely in my happy place when I’m writing and I love it. My brain is constantly going with ideas.”

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