Last weekend, Junior School readers hit the road to Nanaimo to help celebrate the Island’s annual Children’s Book Fest. After reading and voting on stories for the Red Cedar Awards this year, the Book Fest – which brings hundreds of children to Vancouver Island University each year – provided an excellent opportunity for students to meet their favourite Canadian authors and illustrators.
Leading up to the trip, the students met weekly to discuss the books they read and to research the authors they were going to meet. Each of the 28 students had to read at least five books that were Red Cedar nominees in order to vote on this year’s Red Cedar winners.
Mrs. Diana Nason, the Junior School librarian, leads the weekly Red Cedar meetings in the library and chaperones the trip every year. “The students especially looked forward to Bill Slavin. He was excellent with the kids and he drew a cartoon along with his autograph in each of their books.” Bill Slavin is this year’s Red Cedar non-fiction winner for his book Transformed: How Everyday Things are Made.
At lunch, the students took a break to enjoy some bubble-blowing, face-painting and bookmark-making. Afterward, they participated in workshops with author Sarah Ellis and laughed with Simon Rose during a discussion about his comical science-fiction novels.
The Vancouver Island Children’s Book Fest was started by the teachers, librarians and booksellers of the area to provide an opportunity for kids to read and meet with Canadian authors. The Red Cedar Award is the Young Reader’s Choice Award in BC. Every year students in Grades 4 through 7 are encouraged to read fiction and non-fiction books from a list of Red Cedar nominees to promote literacy in BC.