Last week’s Festival of Trees at Harbourfront was … well, it was AWESOME. You’d think a writer could come up with a whole thesaurus’s worth of words to replace that rather tired one, but there isn’t any other word that captures what the whole experience delivered: utter awesomeness. Awesome to sign autographs and chat with long line-ups of keen Silver Birch readers, awesome to hang around with some of the best children’s authors in Canada today, awesome to be paraded onto the stage by my sign carrier and introducer, awesome to look out onto a packed audience of cheering kids whose enthusiasm wasn’t dampened one bit by the grey, drizzly weather.
And it was all, every bit of it, because kids are truly excited about reading.
The Ontario Library Association has done an awesome thing for our children. Their stellar Forest of Reading program is designed to get kids reading and talking about reading. The Festival of Trees celebrations in several cities in Ontario, packed with kids, are evidence that it works. Kids do read! Kids want to read! Kids are eager to stretch their brains to discover new things about their world and about themselves.
Record Breaker, by Robin Stevenson, was the Silver Birch Fiction winner as voted by thousands of students in Grades 4 to 6. Curse of the Dream Witch, by Allan Stratton,The Hypnotists, by Gordon Korman, and Yesterday’s Dead, by me (!), were named as Honour Books. (I still can’t quite believe it, to be honest.)
I also had the honour of attending two Forest-of-Reading-related celebrations in Uxbridge and Ajax last week. Here are some pictures of my sign carriers and introducers.
They, too, were awesome.