Pleasant Memories of Book Week

A few people caught me out with my Home Sweet Home post last week. I wasn’t really home yet; I followed up my Book Week tour with a visit with friends in B.C. But I really am home now, and I’m busy with Book Week follow up, writing reports and so on. Here’s the “mini report” that may also appear at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre site. Thanks to the CCBC for the chance to gather these happy memories, and to Richard Chase, who co-ordinated such a successful tour for me.

TD Canadian Children’s Book Week

I first toured for Book Week in 1983, half my lifetime ago. With enthusiasm to share The Man with the Violin and fond memories of earlier travels, I applied to tour again this year. As the date of my flight to Calgary approached, however, I became filled with trepidation. Did I have the stamina to pull me through 18 sessions in 5 days, along with the socializing and travel involved?

Thanks in no small part to the readiness of audiences everywhere who engaged so thoughtfully with me, my books, and the “Read to Remember” Book Week theme — yes!

After hearing an excerpt from Marie-Claire about the flooding that took place in Montreal in 1885, grade 5-6 students in Calgary told their own stories of flooding in their city last spring, of a typhoon in the Philippines, and of other natural disasters they’d experienced.

Following a reading of excerpts from What Happened to Ivy, grade 7-8 students in Vulcan told stories of people they knew with disabled siblings and the impact of their special needs on the families.

Grade 4 students in Granum wanted to know why so many people had to die in the Marie-Claire stories. (“Only in the first two!” I assured them.) A grade 9 student at the same school engaged me in a lively discussion of Stephen King books.

After a great discussion with grade 1 students in Lethbridge of the carefully observed differences they observed between the original Red is Best and the anniversary edition, one girl cheerfully asked if I’d written any romance books.

The last school on my itinerary welcomed me with the sound of Joshua Bell music being played through the speakers in the space where I’d be meeting with students — Joshua Bell being, of course, the real “man with the violin”. A lovely end to a lovely week, and I may just have to apply to tour again, when I’m again an eligible candidate.

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson

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