BLACKSTONE – When Erica Dutilly was growing up in West Warwick, she collected teddy bears.
While most children have one or two, Dutilly said she had teddy bears from all over the world, brought back from trips or given as gifts.
“Kind of like you have the Christmas ornaments from your vacation,” she explained.
Now, that interest has inspired a children’s book. In November, the Blackstone resident published “Ted D. Bear’s Story,” a book about one bear’s journey to discover his roots.
Dutilly, a preschool teacher, said the book actually started as an assignment back in high school. The story of Ted D. Bear made it pretty far in a young writer’s contest, she said, and she held onto it in case she ever wanted to return and revise it.
“A couple years ago, I’m like, you know what? This is the year. So I took it and I wrote it up again,” she said.
Dutilly sent it to Dorrance Publishing Company, which accepted the cheerful story about the curious bear. Production was slightly delayed due to COVID-19, she said, but eventually, the book arrived, complete with colorful illustrations and her name on the front cover.
“I didn’t even think it would get that far. I didn’t think I would even hear back from somebody,” she said.
Dutilly said the book is ideal for children in preschool through 2nd grade, and hopes local teachers can use it as a resource in their classrooms. She recently worked at Woonsocket Head Start but took the year off while her husband goes through cancer treatments.
She added she would like to do another children’s book again soon.
“Ted D. Bear’s Story” is available online from www.dorrancebookstore.com as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.