Kids say the darndest things and sometimes those words can prove to be inspirational – especially if your mum is a first-time author searching for the elusive title of her children’s book.
“I have two children and they have always used the word ‘ouchy’ for anything that is painful or sore,” said Tetyana Kelly, after realising her long-held dream of writing a book for kids.
A surgeon at The Canberra Hospital, the self-published author told Region Media she began toying with the idea of writing a book 10 years ago.
Titled Dr Ouchy and Nurse Piggy, the story is centred on two characters who are always ready to help when someone is sick.
She said characters and ideas ebbed and flowed until Dr Ouchy came to life as a female doctor who lives in a treehouse in the middle of a magical forest overlooking a majestic ocean.
Neighbour Nurse Piggy is always nearby to help save unwell animals from trouble.
In this tale, a baby shark with a sore tooth needs their help so the race is on to save the troublesome tooth fiasco in the nick of time.
Tetyana said she often works with children in her job as a plastic surgeon registrar and has plenty of ideas for an ongoing series of adventures featuring the good doctor and her sidekick pig.
She says it was also important to empower the lead character as a female.
“I wanted to make sure there were some gender stereotypes reversed by having the doctor as a female figure,” Tetyana said.
“As a female surgeon, I am often mistaken for a nurse as people will kind of look through you and assume you are a nurse. So I thought, let’s put a female figure into a lab coat and make her a doctor.”
Tetyana has been working in Canberra for more than two years after moving from the Central Coast where she found a gifted illustrator in Cat Soper who created the 26 images for the 24-page book.
“Cat also works for a pre-school so she really identified with what I was trying to achieve. She did an amazing job.”
The book is self-published after Tetyana had approached an endless number of publishers in the highly-competitive field of publishing books for children.
Published on 15 March, the book has had some early sales online via Amazon, “mainly to family and friends,” Tetyana said.
The book will soon be available in hard copy following a launch in Canberra either at the end of April or early May.
“It’s an awesome feeling to finally have the book ready, especially for the people who knew about the idea 10 years ago and they can now have a copy,” she said.
“To see that it’s available worldwide is great and my hope is that lots of kids will be able to see it.”
Tetyana also said the book is more about her own childhood and less about the trauma she sees in surgery, especially after a busy period during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hopefully, this book will be the first in a series about Dr Ouchy,” she says.
You can order copies of the book via the Amazon website, or find it in good book stores in Canberra. It will also be available via the ACT Heritage Library and public libraries.