Children's book by Great Falls woman aims to help families coping with loss

Children's book by Great Falls woman aims to help families coping with loss
"Philly, Isaac, and Gus Swinefeld: Montana's Three Little Pigs."
Posted at 12:30 PM, Apr 20, 2021

“This is about the adventures of the three little pigs in Montana,” Charla Bunker said, describing her children’s book. Bunker is a teacher, an EMT, and now a published author with a book available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The book is called, "Philly, Isaac, and Gus Swinefeld: Montana's Three Little Pigs." Bunker explained, “It’s based on two characters, Johnny Sowell and Big T., who happen to be my husband and his good friend. They hunt and fish and trap together, and so that led into this story.”

The real story though, however, is what inspired her to write the book. “My daughter was pregnant with our grandson, Yukon. He was full-term and was born sleeping, which is a way to say he was deceased when he was born — or stillborn,” Bunker said.

All proceeds from the book sales will go to the Ramsey Keller Memorial, a non-profit agency supporting Montana families dealing with the loss of an infant. “The Ramsey Keller Memorial reached out to our family in a way that was amazing. Not just with financial donations, but with emotional support,” said Bunker. "This has given me such an insight into things and I think everything in life happens for a reason. Although I wouldn’t wish the loss of a child on anyone, this is a great way to pay it back and pay it forward.”

Kori Keller, the memorial's executive director, said she was elated when she learned about Bunker's plan. "It's so fun when someone catches our vision and believes in us and then does something unreal to support us. It's so humbling,” said Keller.

After the stillbirth, Bunker’s daughter Tavie Hitchcock suffered a miscarriage early in her next pregnancy.

But as the saying goes, the third time was the charm: “We did get our 'rainbow baby.' That’s what they call them. His name is Lance and he’s a year and a half now,” Hitchcock said. She also has a seven-year old daughter. “She talks to Yukon in the sky. She has a special star in the sky that she talks to,” said Hitchcock.

She said knowing her mother is helping others is an amazing feeling: “I feel like this book can fit so many different genres of people, from reading it to little kids to all age ranges, I think, will get some joy out of reading this book,” Hitchcock said.

She’s made lots of connections with other mothers through the Ramsey Keller Memorial and plans to participate in the Run for Heaven’s Sake event in Billings in May.

WEB EXTRA - extended interview: