Author Loree Dittrich tapped into a real-life childhood experience for the basis of her exceptional first literary children’s offering called No Home for a Pigeon.
The book was also illustrated by Joy Bickell.
Dittrich, who currently lives in Calgary but was raised in Stettler, said she has always had a passion for writing and she is thrilled to see the book come to fruition.
The story follows Sammy, a bald, featherless baby pigeon, who fell off the water tower and was adopted by the Streit family while they spent their summer at Buffalo Lake. “It’s a true story from 47 years ago,” she said, adding that readers will discover a story about connections and the bonding that happens between people and creatures. “Themes also touch on loving and having to let go.”
Dittrich, a mom to four daughters and a grandmother to nine, is passionate about the written word, and finds the art of writing a life-giving experience in and of itself.
“I remember writing as a child of nine or 10 years of age,” she recalled. “I still have my first diary. At that time, I wrote for fun – about bowling, boys or school,” she added with a laugh. “I would spend hours in my room reading and writing poetry.”
Humanitarian topics proved most interesting as time went on, including those touching on such subjects as war, peace and poverty.
“After high school, I moved away to Edmonton, got married and had my first of four daughters. And my passion for writing remained,” she said. “Some of it was deeply personal, and still is. But I started to share it more and test the waters. People seemed to enjoy it.”
The family eventually relocated to Calgary where they have lived for the past 30 years. Through good times and bad, Dittrich has found writing to be more than just a source of joy and inspiration.
“The power of the pen has often been my saving grace, and very therapeutic,” she said. “My head and heart have always been home to many stories and things in life that have inspired me.”
Eventually in 2015, the concept of a penning a book was sparked and along came No Home for a Pigeon.
“From there I found an illustrator, worked more on my manuscript and followed my dreams of writing my first book,” she explained. “It’s a tribute to my almost 85-year-old mother Ellen Streit, a legacy for my children, grandchildren and all those who know me,” she said. “The story took place about 47 years ago at Buffalo Lake where my family spent many summers, and our store there served as the (community) hub. It’s authentic, and rooted right here in the heart of Alberta.”
Indeed, the story is told in a very accessible, heartfelt way.
There is no question as to Dittrich’s ability. And for Dittrich, first seeing her book in her hands was something of a dream come true. “It was a little piece of heaven,” she said, reflecting on the memory. With the book, she also wants young readers to think back on their own sets of happy memories and favourite places. She also wants the themes and the inevitable realities of of ‘letting go’ to resonate with youngsters, too.
“It gives me great joy to write for children because I have four of my own. I was also a nanny for over 15 years. I found this little tool called a pen at an early age. Without it, I’d probably be a sinking boat in a stormy sea. It’s been very therapeutic throughout my entire life. I don’t know any other way to say it.
“I love children as well. I find they are so keen and so eager to learn – they are just like sponges. I’d like to visit more school libraries and other reading places in the future as well to help challenge children to spend more time reading and a little less time on their devices.
”I want to help keep the love of reading alive.”
￼ For more information about the book, or on how to purchase a copy, email Dittrich at firstname.lastname@example.org and include a note in the subject header about a book inquiry.