Newfoundland wildlife, sites showcased in children’s book

Cory Hurley
Published on June 23, 2014

Dwayne LaFitte is a dad who enjoys sharing bedtime stories with his son.

After years of this nightly bonding with Liam, the desire for books of special meaning got the Mount Pearl man tapping into his creative side. Finding something specific to Newfoundland and Labrador was certainly hard to find for the former Port au Port East man.

Like many households, the nursery rhyme “Over in the Meadow” was well known and used in the LaFitte residence. It teaches many aspects of literacy and numeracy, combined with nature.

LaFitte used the context and narrative to come up with Newfoundland and Labrador’s own version of the rhyme, “Over by the Harbour.”

Through the moose, Newfoundland pony, polar bear, puffin, gull, beaver, Canada goose, cod, harp seal, and fox; LaFitte provides a glimpse into the province’s wildlife. The illustrations of Thérèse Cilia showcases sites and scenes of Newfoundland and Labrador.

These things were very important to LaFitte, whose parents Francis and Avis LaFitte still reside in the small Port au Port Peninsula community where he grew up.

“I think it is important to write about your province and its history and culture,” he said.

While his son, who was two when he started the process of writing the book, is credited with the inspiration for writing the book, Liam also proved helpful as a sounding board for ideas, according to the proud father.

At the age of five, Liam now knows the words by heart and LaFitte has shared it with some of his sons friends.

“It is certainly a humbling experience to be able to now read this to or with my son,” he said. “The reaction from people has certainly been heartwarming. It’s not everyday day a hometown boy gets to have a book he wrote published.”

Writing it certainly wasn’t as easy as it sounds, according to LaFitte. It was challenging to come up with the animals and their habitat — making sure the details were accurate — that fit the rhyme.

He also said getting a children’s book published was not easy. It was about a three-year process.

With the physical book before him, LaFitte now has that blend of Newfoundland and Labrador culture and education he had been looking for in a bedtime story.