REALTORS Care®: REALTOR® pens picture book, donating proceeds to B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation

Our top-performing REALTORS Care® article for August highlighted a REALTOR® from Vancouver who created a children’s book, with proceeds from each book sold benefiting the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. Geraldine Santiago was inspired to create such a book following the birth of her first daughter, who required extended medical care. This popular REALTORS® Care article was published on Aug. 22, 2017. You can also raise awareness for your favourite charity by sharing your own inspiring story.  

Shortly after the birth of her first daughter, Geraldine Santiago picked up a pen, an old coil notebook and began doodling.

It was an outlet for the artist; something to keep her busy while her daughter was being cared for at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital for a serious, potentially life-threatening viral infection.

“She was five days old and had a seizure right in front of the nurse. They did all kinds of tests – aggressive treatments like spinal taps – to try and rule everything out. They really wanted to make her better,” said Santiago, who is now a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside.

While her daughter was attached to a maze of tubes and monitored in the hospital for several months, Santiago would draw to keep her spirits up.

Little did she know at the time of her daughter’s birth that those drawings would be the birth of Luisa and the Magic Star, a picture book for children to learn the value of friendship while recognizing Canada’s achievements in space.

Twenty-one years later, Santiago’s daughter is healthy and is able to witness her mother’s first children’s book launch.

Because of the positive impact the professionals at B.C. Children’s Hospital left on the Santiago family, Geraldine decided to donate half of her book’s proceeds to the hospital’s charitable foundation.

“I’ve always wanted to give back,” Geraldine said. “It was never intended to go this far, but it has and I can do some good with these drawings.”

What makes Luisa and the Magic Star a must-have for children’s storybook collections is its focus on Canadian accomplishments in science and space. Canadiana is featured prominently in both poetry and illustrations throughout the story including the Canadian flag, maple tree, the International Space Station’s Canadarm, and a guest appearance by Dr. Roberta Bondar.

The primary character, Luisa, is a curious young girl based on Geraldine’s oldest daughter. She begins a fictional quest after finding an injured baby star which leads her through a series of attempts to help it return home.

“Luisa is a genuine and amiable character who is relatable to young readers,” Santiago said. “She is inquisitive, can problem solve and shows creative thinking and strength in character by asking help from her mentor, Dr. Roberta Bondar.”

Available now, “Luisa and the Magic Star” is available, in both English and French, at Indigo Chapters and other book stores.

Matt Day brings his experience as a nationally-recognized multimedia journalist to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Matt provides professional writing, digital media and communications support to CREA and assists in developing engaging social media content. He is regularly featured in the CREA Café where he provides interesting and entertaining content for REALTORS® to enjoy. Matt is a professional photographer but has dreams of becoming a rock star. He also enjoys mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and using the Oxford comma.

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