First Book Canada is a program that is devoted to bringing books and other materials to students in Canada who might not have access otherwise. Its mission “is to transform the lives of children in need by improving access to educational opportunities” says its website.
Through a partnership with BMO, $1,000 has been made available for the grade 1-3 students at Granite Ridge Education Centre to provide new books for the kids to have fresh reading material for the summer.
On Tuesday morning (June 12) another First Book sponsor, Annick Press, sponsored a visit to the school by one of their authors, Kingston’s Sarah Tsiang.
Tsiang is the author of children’s books, poetry, non-fiction and Young Adult novels. She talked to the grade 1 students, surrounded by the stacks in the library/resource centre of the school. She talked about her books, and about how she is motivated and inspired by her own children to come up with story ideas.
She then read one of her books, Sugar and Snails, which is a fanciful re-dress of the stereotypes embodied in the old children’s rhyme about what girls and boys are made of. In the rhyme, girls are made of “sugar and spice and everything nice” and boys “snips and snails and puppy dogs tails”. Sugar and Snails celebrates the way hte original rhyme puts disparate items to fanciful, comic effect, but takes away the gender divisions. Boys and girls can be made of any three things. Her reading went over well with the students and she the asked them to say what they would like to be made of.
The session ended with Sarah Tsiang taking questions from the children about writing and he life.
As the school year draws to a close, Kathy Charles-Botham, the grade one teacher at GREC who organised the event and got the grant from BMO, said the project marks a fitting end to a successful year for her students.
”We have seen so much growth in our students’ reading this year and hope that having these books available to them, will foster their love for reading and encourage them to read over the summer. We were thrilled to have our guest author Sarah Tsiang here to share with us, her experiences and present on her new, fabulous book, Sugar and Snails. Sarah’s presentation was engaging, interactive and inspiring! We learned about her writing process, how she researches and prepares, about her various books and different text features, all at a level that our grade 1-3 students could relate to. We are grateful for this celebration of reading day.”
The teachers are preparing to hand out the books this week, after carefully considering which will be the most appropriate, in terms of subject matter and reading level, for each child.