Skip to content

Sault author tackles hard topic in children’s book

'Needle and Thread' by Jan Thompson aims to help children cope with loss of a loved one

The death of a family member is never an easy event to go through or discuss, especially when trying to help children cope with the loss.

However, the Sault’s Jan Thompson chose dealing with bereavement as the topic of her first book, a children’s book entitled Needle and Thread

“It touches on the loss of a grandparent,” Thompson said.

The book involves the family relationship between a female giraffe named Nie-Nie, which the author compares to a four-year-old girl, her mother and grandfather.

“Her mother can fix anything with a needle and thread. Torn ball caps, torn shirts, so by repeating the refrain ‘needle and thread’ throughout the book it’s gently demonstrated to children how ordinary everyday moments can become precious everlasting memories and a true source of comfort at a time of loss.”

“She feels her mother can fix anything, and she ends up being able to help Nie-Nie with her sadness (when her grandfather dies) using her needle and thread.”

Thompson said Needle and Thread draws on real life, as one of her family members was diagnosed with a terminal illness in 2020.

She began writing the book in March 2021.

“Writing the book was therapy for me. It doesn’t have to be all about grief. It can be about the memories, immortalizing a person. There can be comfort there.”

It can also be therapeutic for others, Thompson said.

“It’s a good feeling when you can provide comfort while entertaining readers with a story.”

Needle and Thread was illustrated by Chad Thompson of British Columbia.

The two are not related, the author said.

“The illustrations are fantastic. I’m so happy with the illustrator.”

Thompson said she has two other book ideas in mind but is currently concentrating on marketing Needle and Thread.

She also said Nie-Nie will return in future children’s stories she plans to write.

“I like Nie-Nie’s little family,” she chuckled.

Thompson retired from her career as a marketing and administrative assistant at IG Wealth Management in the summer of 2020 and took an online course in children’s book writing.

“People always saw me as a creative person. I always enjoyed writing projects when I took them on but I never considered it to be something I would do, and if I did, I thought it would be a novel, but writing a children’s book took hold of me.”

“It’s easy for me to draw inspiration from memories of story time with my daughter when she was young. Sometimes we would read a book and other times we would just make up a story together. We’d laugh and giggle, cuddle and hug, and at times we cried as we immersed ourselves in a story,” Thompson said.

“Books can be magical, a place to discover and imagine, to find comfort and peace. Books are for sharing and inspiring.”

Just less than a month after Needle and Thread was released, Thompson said “feedback’s been really good. Reviews have been good.”

In a word of advice for others considering writing their first book, Thompson said “I wouldn’t hesitate to attempt it. Don’t give up. Keep trying. Take courses. That helped me a lot when I had the ideas but really didn’t know how to bring it all together.” 

“I love talking to others. I love to hear the stories other people have to share. I should keep a physical notepad but I do retain and it’s great to have those conversations (keeping them in mind for possible future books),” Thompson said, listing Robert Munsch, Dr. Suess and Beatrix Potter among her favourite children’s book authors.   

Self published and released Dec. 17, 2021, Needle and Thread is available through websites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as Thompson's own website.