An Alien on Earth?
Author Diane Charbonneau has reached into the minds of children with her books about the Adventures of Eeko, the Friendly Alien; Eeko’s Splash Landing, Eeko Returns to Earth and Eeko and the Nosy Neighbour.
Her inspiration was the 2009 diagnosis of her grandson Xavier with congenital heart disease which required three open heart surgeries between the ages of 2 days and 2 years old. Thankfully the first surgery was a success and Xavier went home 11 days later. Many challenges and stressful moments followed in the next few months. At 4 months, he had his second surgery and a third at 2 years old. The third surgery was touch and go as he had relapses on and off for a few years afterwards. At this point, Diane felt that she needed to do something, so she decided to write a story with Xavier as a character.
This was a bit of a challenge as Diane was more of a technical writer, but she channelled her creative juices to pen her first children’s book. How does one find the inspiration to write a children’s book? For Diane, that was easy - her grandson. The book started with a simple game that she played with her grandson Xavier. Someone starts telling a story and then passes it off to the next person, who adds to it. The plot develops as the story goes back and forth between the people in the room developing into a story created by everyone.
“One evening just before bedtime, Diane started playing the game with Xavier,“This alien came from outer space and crashed in your backyard!” To continue the story, Xavier added “The little alien didn’t crash in my backyard, he splash-landed in my pool”. And that’s how the Adventures of Eeko, the Friendly Alien began.
Diane endeavours to provide a fun and exciting story to capture children’s attention and, also include life lessons.
“I think it’s important to provide my readers with a captivating story and instill life lessons into my books, such as sharing, friendships, problem solving, acceptance of diversity and the value in helping others, to name a few. In her second book, she also included a chapter to ‘bullying’.
A story that was meant to be read to her grandson resulted in the first of three books.
“Eeko’s Splash Landing” was published in 2015.The story starts when Eeko, a young alien splash lands on planet Earth in a backyard swimming pool. He comes face to face with a young boy named Xavier. Although frightened of each other at first, they become friends as they try to figure out a way to repair the spaceship,so that Eeko can return home to planet Zeebot.
Two years later, Diane wrote a second book in the series, “Eeko Returns to Earth”. This time she included her two other grandchildren, Alexie and Max.
“I thought it important to incorporate my two younger grandchildren into the story. Their vivid imaginations have been inspirational in my writing process. There’s lots of adventure and laughs in the sequel as she has developed a unique personality for each character in the continuing adventures. Again, as with all the books, Diane found it important to teach them life lessons along with adventure and fun antics.”
Her second book has Eeko returning to Earth to take his friend Xavier for a ride in outer space and visit his home on Zeebot. Little do they know that Xavier’s younger brother Max and his cousin Alexie are stowaways on the spaceship.
Her third book “Eeko and the Nosy Neighbour”, released in December 2019, introduces her fourth grandchild, Camille to the story.
Eeko’s story continues as he realizes once back to his home planet that Xavier’s dog, Buddy, sneaked on board his spaceship. Now he plans to fly back to Earth to return Buddy, but there’s a problem.Buddy refuses to go unless he can bring his picnut friend, a large flying squirrel- like creature with him, especially when Mrs. Finkle, the nosy neighbour is right next door.
This three-book series, geared for 7 – 12 year olds, is sure to captivate the imaginations of young readers.
Diane is looking forward to meeting you at the Ottawa Book Expo on June 7, 2020 and talking with you about her experience writing the Adventures of Eeko, the Friendly Alien.
Her books are available on her website www.eekosadventures.com as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and her publisher Friesen Press.