From right: Author Jenni Desvaux and illustrator Aura Vanderwal attend the pre-launch of their book, The Very Last Monster Book, at the MAC in Parksville in January of this year. — Submitted by Mark Desvaux

Parksville author dies before seeing her children’s book published

‘A beautiful final chapter in a heartbreaking but inspiring story of Jenni’s life’

Parksville author Jenni Desvaux woke up one day with the first three stanzas of a world of disappearing monsters in her head.

“I knew that was something special, so I got up really quickly and wrote them down really fast, and then the next sort of materialized over the next six months,” she said during a previous interivew with The NEWS on Jan. 6 at the MAC.

Billed as an art exhibit and pre-book launch, children arrived dressed as monster trackers with their parents and grandparents in tow to read Desvaux’s book page by page, and search out the monsters hidden in the original artwork by Desvaux’s friend and illustrator, Aura Vanderwal.

That Jan. 6 event, however, was more than just a unique way to gain an audience for an as-yet published book. “Jenni was already terminally ill and the exhibition was as much for her to see a life-size version of her book, as we knew she would never get to hold it in her hands,” said her husband, Mark Desvaux.

Though Jenni passed away, a successful crowdfunding campaign launched in October has funded an initial, limited edition run of her book, with more than 1,000 copies sold on pre-orders alone, said Mark.

“As a family, we have been overwhelmed and so grateful for the support of the Oceanside community in making Jenni’s dream a reality,” Mark said.

“In particular, the Oceanside Moms have been a huge part of this legacy through their efforts.

“Jenni never got the chance to hold her book in her hands, but it warms my heart to know our three children will, and maybe one day their children. To see this book in print is a beautiful final chapter in a heartbreaking but inspiring story of Jenni’s life.

“Before she passed, Jenni said in an interview that she hoped that one day her book will reach children worldwide. We now hope to make this dream a reality.”

Mark is holding another exhibit of the book at the MAC (MacMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMilland St., Parksville) on Dec. 2 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 3 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. where the book will be for sale ($25), and those who have pre-ordered the book can pick it up, while participating in another search for monsters.

Illustrator Aura Vanderwal will also be there to greet the young monster trackers.

For more information, or to register for the event or purchase the book, go to lastmonsters.com/book-launch-exhibition.

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