I Read Canadian Day a ‘wordy’ Celebration

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

On February 17, libraries and book lovers across the country celebrated I Read Canadian Day. Initiated by author Eric Walters, it is a national day of celebration of Canadian books for young people, to celebrate the richness, diversity and breadth of Canadian literature.

If you have a baby or toddler in your home, Little You by Richard Van Camp is a beautiful board book. Babies and toddlers will delight in identifying the baby on each page and the rhythmic text is a comforting love song to the baby joining the family.

One of my favourite Canadian picture books is Stegocumulus by Hilary Leung and illustrated by the County’s own Niall Eccles. Panda and Parrot see clouds very differently – one sees the science behind the cloud formations and the other imagines all types of fantastic images in the clouds, and this story highlights the way that even though they see the world differently, they can come together in friendship. Joanna, the library’s children’s coordinator, recommends the picture book Carson Crosses Canada, by Linda Bailey. As she notes, many of us are yearning for some adventure and this quirky story about a woman and her dog going on a road trip across Canada does not disappoint.

Joanna also recommends Broken Strings by Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer, which is a thoughtful book about family heritage and the toll of trauma. It is good for older readers ready to expand into tough topics. Educational resources coordinator Julie also suggests an Eric Walters title – Don’t Stand So Close to Me. One of the first children’s books tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, Julie explains that it’s funny, relatable, and an excellent commentary on our current world situation. In the book, thirteen-year-old Quinn and her friends can’t believe their luck when spring break is extended an extra two weeks—even if it’s because of some virus. But when the impact of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic becomes apparent, everyone, not just the students, has to learn to adjust to their new reality. In an effort to find some good in all this uncertainty, Quinn comes up with an idea that she hopes will bring the entire community together. Julie and Joanna were delighted to virtually visit schools to share Canadian books on I Read Canadian Day, and continue to share Canadian stories throughout the year.

These are just a few of the many Canadian titles available at the County of Prince Edward Public Library. Drop by any branch for more suggestions. If you’re browsing the shelves, you can look for the red maple leaf label that we put on every Canadian book! We will celebrate Canadian books for adult readers through the County Reads Authors Festival this spring – mark your calendar!

We’re excited to present the annual County Reads debate online on April 22, bringing passionate readers together to defend their choice of Canadian title. More details about this will come.

-Liz Zylstra