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Newmarket author releases children’s book inspired by Main Street

Elena B. Mihailov's book Ella and the Lost Teddy tells the story of Ella, a little girl who finds an abandoned teddy bear and instantly falls in love

When Newmarket’s Elena B. Mihailov was a child, she chanced upon the most perfect stuffed animal. Soft, huggable, and unimaginably inviting, there was just one problem: the toy had been abandoned, with no owner in sight. Unable to return the bunny, it soon became Mihailov’s favourite toy.

Memories of that childhood treasure have inspired Ella and the Lost Teddy, Mihailov’s first ever picture book for children aged two to eight.

The book tells the story of Ella, a little girl who finds an abandoned teddy bear and instantly falls in love. Trouble arises for Ella when she’s forced to face a tough decision: should she keep the teddy, or return it to the rightful owner?

Featuring watercolour illustrations by Moldovan artist Aliona Bereghici, Ella and the Lost Teddy teaches children that making good choices can affect their lives in positive ways.

“It’s a story about kindness and compassion, and I’m sure it will encourage children to make good choices,” said Mihailov.

When choosing the setting of Ella and the Lost Teddy, Mihailov looked to the rich history of Newmarket’s Main Street for inspiration. The road’s charming shops, old architecture, and friendly small-town feel all contributed to the rainy, cozy atmosphere of the illustrations.

“Moving to Newmarket was the best decision ever,” said Mihailov, who has lived in the town with her husband and three children since 2012. “Main Street is my favourite place to walk. I just love our little town.”

To prepare for Ella and the Lost Teddy, Mihailov took a course on children’s writing and enrolled in the University of Toronto’s creative writing certificate program. Though she’s already a published author, having released a collection of poems in Moldova, her native country, Ella and the Lost Teddy is Mihailov’s first book for children.

From start to finish, Ella and the Lost Teddy took a year to create, and was self-published and released by Mihailov in March.

“I was so excited through it all,” said Mihailov. “I just wanted to hold the book as soon as possible.”

Ella and the Lost Teddy is available on Amazon, through Mihailov (email [email protected] for free local delivery), and at Newmarket’s Metropolis Mercantile + Café for $20 a copy.