THREE FORKS — Love, bound through the pages of a book, told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old: Three Forks student Ella Delger tells the story of adoption with the help of a furry friend.
In "Coco Goes To Africa: A Story About Adoption," Ella guides the reader through growing a family. Coco the Koala takes a trip, with his family, to pick up his new brother in Ethiopia. Though nervous, Coco and his new brother Dagim turn fast friends and show that love overpowers distance.
Ella, along with her grandmother, began writing when she was in 4th grade.
“I wanted to make Dagim feel better about being adopted,” Delger said. Dagim was not just a character in her book, but her real-life adopted cousin.
When Dagim was two years old, Ella's aunt and uncle traveled to Ethiopia and traveled back with a new family member. Dagim and she became quick friends, Ella quickly being dubbed "my Ella."
Dagim and his family have since moved to California, and as a parting gift, Ella gave him Coco, her stuffed Koala. With a desire to share Dagim’s story, she began drawing pictures through the eyes of Coco the Koala.
Stevie Delger is Ella’s mother—Dagim’s aunt—and notes that Ella wanted to be sure that other adopted children felt the love and affection from their new family like Dagim did.
“Ella really stemmed her ideas from what Dagim—or any child—must be feeling while going through adoption. How terrifying it must be for anyone, especially someone like Dagim who was two years old,” Delger said.
Ella began drawing pictures of Coco traveling to Africa to Dagim’s adoption. She was eight years old when she and her grandmother began writing, editing, and drawing pictures for her book.
The original idea for the book was as a simple gift to Dagim’s family and potentially donating some copies to local libraries.
Ella’s mother Stevie and father James self-published the book, and eventually, the story was picked up by IngramSpark: Self-Publishing Book Company and is now being sold worldwide, translated into different languages, and loved by countless children.
Ella is eager to write a series of books featuring Coco, capturing the adventures of a Koala and his new brother.