BILLINGS — Multiple chapters of Billings resident Nancy Belinak's life inspired her children’s book, "You Can’t Lay an Egg", which teaches children about acceptance.
“I used animals to talk about the differences in people, and we are all given different gifts,” Belinak said on Wednesday. “We really do all have a purpose.”
Belinak grew up on a farm and based the characters in her book on the animals she grew up with.
“The funny thing is, my mom did not like this horse, the hero of this story,” Belinak said.
That horse in the story helps teach other characters, Mr. Rat and Mr. Turkey, valuable lessons. The illustrations that show all of the characters learning those lessons in the book were done by a Billings artist, Becca DeMeyer.
“Hopefully this book, for one child, will tell a story that it's okay if you’re different, you know, shake your tale, shine, but don’t be someone that you are not. Be who you are,” Belinak said.
Belinak also wrote the book to honor her family members and memories from growing up on the farm.
“I have lost my three brothers, and my mom and dad within a short period of time. So, I thought what a great way to make a tribute,” she said. “I hope that my parents, somewhere, will know that it was because of them that we grew up in a wonderful place and they instilled that in us.”
She also took her experiences from decades of work in education to help write the book. She saw firsthand children experiencing feeling different than their peers and wanted to create a way to help change that.
Belinak said she would like to donate her proceeds back to schools to help pay off children's lunch debts.