My favourite thing about TD Canadian Children’s Book week it that I have the opportunity to visit so many different groups of kids in a short time in a part of the country I would likely not get to. Certainly I will visit Nova Scotia for a summer holiday but stepping inside a classroom won’t occur so quickly again. Then there’s that moment when you’re in the thick of a presentation, or perhaps you’re reading aloud from your favourite scene in a book and you look around and there’s this sea of faces raptly paying attention, eyes riveted to you. Love it.
The first school I visited was Bluenose Academy which using my Ontario sensibility meant I should not wear jeans as it would probably be a private school. Lesson learned: in Nova Scotia public schools are often called academies, as was Inverness Centre of Education Academy, later on in the week.
When I’m asked to present to younger students, grade two or three, I worry because my books for this age group are out of print. At first I handed out copies (gratis) to ensure that once I got the students all excited about the story, they’d be able to read it. A pleasant surprise is the libraries and schools still stocked Project Disaster (Scholastic). In the last school I visited the principal, Joyce Lively, had read the entire story to the whole school.
I love that teamwork, first the Canadian Children’s Book Centre organizes a tour, the coordinator in the province arranges dates with schools who apply, then the educators prepare by gathering the author’s books, borrowing, begging and sometimes buying, and reading to the students. When I step into the library, the literacy circle becomes complete. The author visit works and the kids get wildly excited about the creator, the book and reading. Take that Youtube! The readers will inherit the world.