New children's book latest project of Stonehammer geopark

A new project by Saint John's Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark aims to get young New Brunswickers interested in the history of energy in the province with the publication of the book Chip and Crystal Experience Energy. 

Hampton writer Trudy Kelly Forsythe penned the story about brother and sister Chip and Crystal, who travel through time exploring what people did before electricity.

"Chip and Crystal are starting out at home in Saint John in modern day and they are curious about where energy all started," Kelly Forsythe told Information Morning Saint John.

"They decide to look that up on the internet and it takes them on a trip across time through all of the history of energy in New Brunswick, starting with coal in the 1600s and then going ... back to today, where there's wind energy and windmills."

The book, which Kelly Forsythe says took a lot of research, includes fun facts on every page. For instance in 1639, Minto was the site of the first coal mine in Canada.

Children inspired story

Kelly Forsythe has written many magazine articles about Stonehammer but said this is the first children's book she has published.

"I've certainly dabbled in writing children's stuff, so it was a bit of a different experience."

Much of her research was completed at the New Brunswick Museum but an advisory committee of children six to 12 years old helped her with the editing.

"They read the book and they made suggestions on ways to improve it to make it more accessible to them," Kelly Forsythe said. "So the glossary that's at the end of the book actually is one of the additions that they had suggested."

Her two young daughters also helped her with the book and it was their favourite series, The Magic School Bus, that inspired her to add time travel to the story.

In the story, Chip and Crystal are sucked into a tablet and transported back to Minto in the 1600s, and then every time they touch something they jump to another time period. 

"I just hope that they enjoy discovery about energy and the history in New Brunswick," Kelly Forsythe said of her readers.

Stonehammer Geopark covers 2,500 square kilometres across southern New Brunswick and stretches from Lepreau Falls to Norton, Saint John and Grand Bay-Westfield to St. Martins.

The UNESCO designation came in 2010, after the discovery in Saint John of a 500-million year old rock formation called a hinge and the discovery near St. Martins of 318-million-year-old reptile footprints.

The book can be downloaded online and will also be distributed to Grade 4 students across New Brunswick.