Shannon Szabados pens new children’s book “Every Bunny Loves to Play”

The Olympic goaltender also illustrated her first book!

Shannon Szabados is used to writing hockey history. But now she’s writing - and illustrating - something new: a children’s book titled “Every Bunny Loves to Play.”

Her debut into publishing is about a bunny who just wants to play sports, but faces criticism from other people. The bunny’s journey through the book is sure to resinate with anyone, as the messages transcend sports while being approachable for children and full of adorable animals. She quite literally drew from real life as she notes on the book’s Facebook page that the house in the book is based on her parents’ home, and her dog makes a few appearances as well.

Szabados was kind enough to answer a few questions from The Ice Garden about her newest venture, which is available for purchase.

The Ice Garden: What inspired you to write a children’s book?

Shannon Szabados: Painting and drawing have become a hobby of mine and something I enjoy. I put one of my paintings that I did for [my daughter] Shaylyn’s room on Twitter and someone had asked when my children’s book was coming out. At first I laughed and thought it was crazy, but as I started receiving kids books from people during my pregnancy I thought about it more and more. I started to read through the books and they were cute, but most of them were just words that rhymed, nothing that really provided a learning opportunity for my daughter.

I got to thinking, what better way to provide a fun learning opportunity for her than to write her a book myself!

TIG: What was the process of writing and illustrating like for you?

SS: It started out as a fun summer project while I was pregnant. I thought about what I would want to teach Shay in a book format, from there I started crafting the words. Anytime something came to me I’d write it down in my notes. Eventually I had a whole bunch of lines for the book that I’d go over and over in my head, tweak it here and there until I finally had a finished product.

From there, I started the illustrations. I came up with the characters, which you can learn a little more about on the Every Bunny Loves to Play Facebook page. Every day I’d spend hours drawing. I would scan them and bring them to life on the computer. It was a combination of drawing and computer editing. By no means am I Picasso, but it turned out better than I had imagined! The process was definitely a lot harder than I had imagined.

TIG: Is this something you ever saw yourself doing?

SS: No, never!! That’s why I think I enjoyed the process so much. It was a new challenge and as an athlete that’s something I think we’re always looking for. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone because when I started I had no experience and no idea what I was doing so I had to learn it all from scratch. I am proud to say the entire book from start to finish was done completely on my own!

TIG: What do you hope the impact of “Every Bunny Loves to Play” is?

SS: I hope this book provides both parents and children a learning opportunity based on today’s world. I chose a bunny as my main character because a bunny is just that, it doesn’t have a defining gender, race, abilities, disabilities, sexual orientation, its just a bunny that we can all relate to.

The world is plagued by so many ideologies these days. I wanted to send a message to everyone reading that no matter what life throws at you, and it will throw things at you, you are in control of your own destiny. It’s also about getting outside and letting kids be kids and allowing them to grow from their experiences.