Book review: 'Can't is Merely a Contraction for Can Try' offers encouragement

By Wendy Jessen

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, May 7 2013 9:30 p.m. MDT

"CAN'T IS MERELY A CONTRACTION FOR CAN TRY," by Nelladet Stettler, illustrated by Brian Hailes, BookWise Publishing, $14.95, 48 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Every person has trials in their life. Sometimes, it may feel as if they can't be overcome. One mother inspired her daughter to believe and understand that "can't" is a different contraction than the traditional combination of "can" and "not."

"Can't is Merely a Contraction for Can Try" by Utahn Nelladet Stettler, with illustrations by Brian Hailes, is an inspiring short story based on true events that illustrates the power of changing "can't" into "can try." Overcoming trials through perseverance is possible. Stettler's mother taught her this concept, which sustained her in the midst of deep despair and struggles in her life.

In this metaphorical journey, Stettler uses the analogy of a red car traveling a road with many curves, rocks, fallen trees and steep climbs to demonstrate life. The driver of the car, Nellie, relies on her mom for support, even after her mother passes away. Sometimes it seems as though the road is too rough or impossible to travel, but by having trust in herself and remembering the lessons her mother taught, Nellie finds that making it to the peak is attainable.

Stettler hopes this short story not only helps those who have gone through similar hard times — such as breast cancer and death, but also anyone who needs some encouragement in their journey.

Though this book contains pictures and is written like a children's book, it does contain mature themes and may not be suitable for young children. However, it can serve as a valuable teaching tool with older children and adults.

Some of the profits from this book will be donated to breast cancer research and also an arts and humanities memorial scholarship that is set up in Stettler's late mother's name.

Stettler will be signing books Saturday, May 11, at 5 p.m. at the Layton Barnes and Noble, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive.

If you go ...

What: Nelladet Stettler book signing

When: Saturday, May 11, 5 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton

Web: barnesandnoble.com

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Wendy Jessen is a Southern Utah University graduate and a stay-at-home mother of six. Her email is wendyjessen26@gmail.com and she blogs at mormonmomofsix.blogspot.com.

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