A retired teacher from Grunthal is releasing her first children's book about her own testimony surrounding bullying.

Susanne Funk is from Grunthal, Manitoba, but she hasn't always lived here. Funk grew up in Germany and moved to Canada when she was 15 years old. 

"I did not like it very much at first. I thought I have to leave my friends and our nice farm. But then I flew back at 18, to get my homesickness cured and sure enough, my friends changed. On the way back, I realized, I'm going home because that's where my family is," says Funk. 

After high school, Funk got her teaching degree. She taught Kindergarten, as well as grade 1 and 2 at Grunthal Elementary for 34 years. 

"The book is about liking one's self, even though one is different. When I first came to Canada, I was already almost 6 feet tall. I also had an accent and not a good handle on English. Most children in the classroom, a lot of them have hangups. So I want them to know if they have a problem situation, that they can reach out to God."

Funk's book, Gifts from Heaven, is geared towards kids ages 5-10. She uses animals as the main characters in it. 

"Children can safely go into their own emotions when they see a giraffe being emotional. I use animals because as a teacher, I've gone to the zoo many times, read thousands of children's books. Whenever I read a book with animals the children were so intrigued and love it."

The main character, Mrs. Zoe, is a giraffe. Funk chose this to mirror herself as she is as tall as a baby giraffe, which her grandson likes to remind her. 

"It's my heart that children know that God is only one breath and prayer away. I would like to people to believe that God has an imagination. In this case, the answer is not that He takes away the situation but He's the one who says, 'I'm right here with you.'"

Funk did a soft launch for Gifts from Heaven on June 23, 2021, but she is hoping to do one in person in the fall at Grunthal Lumber.