Saturday 15 March 2014

Kids Get Books! Lots of Books! - Reading at Guildford Public Library in Surrey, B.C.

89 children from two schools, Holly and Hjorth Elementary, near the Guildford Public Library got a surprise when they trekked over for an hour's worth of stories on March 11. First, I read a few of my stories, published and unpublished, where the illustrations were projected to the wall. The last story I read was The Love Ant. Then each child got a free copy of the book! One child, rather sadly, said he didn't like the story. He returned the book, so I gave him a copy of The Ugg and the Drip. He flipped a few pages and nodded approvingly.

The two schools are part of an effort the city is taking to support early literacy in an area where 36% of the early year's population is identified as being vulnerable, as determined by UBC's Human Early Learning Project. This made me feel a lot better about giving away so many books.

The reaction made the trip and the giveaway all worthwhile. The kids were great – attentive and funny, occasionally blurting out hilarious statements in response to the stories. The teachers got the end joke of The Love Ant before the students did, but the kids quickly figured it out and burst out laughing or shared their surprise and/or distaste for the story's ending.
This event is a bit of a delayed book launch for the Love Ant. The illustrations for the book are part of the mural in the children's department. The story was told orally for 13 years, the librarians telling it to children and children to each other.

Special thanks to Sara Grant, Melanie Boyle, Amy Ashmore, the National Public Readings Program (Canada Council and Canada Writer's Union) for funding half the flight and the reading. Also thanks to Susan, Namrit, and the teachers!