This Saturday, the 39th annual TD Canadian Children’s Book Week kicks off an eight-day, nationwide event running May 7–14, that sees 29 authors, illustrators, and storytellers participating in more than 400 book-related events across the country. This event, which is organized in coordination with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, is the ultimate author tour. With funding from TD Bank Group, and subsidies from the Canada Council for the Arts, Book Week takes each participant and sends them to a part of Canada they’re not familiar with.
“The unique part of Book Week is that we send the participants outside of their home province,” says Shannon Howe Barnes, program coordinator at the CCBC. “We really try to pick a place that an author has not been, so we can expose them to a new audience, and so the children can meet someone they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet.”
From British Columbia to Newfoundland, and up to Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, authors and illustrators of various genres will tour their assigned region, each person participating in about 15 events throughout the week. And while there will be many school and library book readings, there are also many not-so-typical events planned.
According to Howe Barnes, B.C.-based writer and illustrator Kallie George will be visiting a women’s shelter in Hamilton, Ont., this Saturday to talk about her books, including the middle-grade series The Magical Animal Adoption Agency, with the families there. And for events happening in Nunavut – Canada’s most northern and least densely populated territory – she chose illustrator Gabrielle Grimard to connect with the children.
“That’s probably one of the hardest places to match,” says Howe Barnes. “Illustrators in particular are very good in Nunavut, because a lot of the children are still speaking Inuktitut [an Inuit language], and don’t start learning English until about grade four. So the illustrators are really able to connect with them through their drawings.”
Howe Barnes compiled a list for Bookshelf highlighting a few of the events happening during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week,:
Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m.
Kean Soo, the Ontario-based writer and illustrator of the graphic novel series Jellaby, will be participating in Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore’s Free Comic Book Day festivities with an hour-long workshop on the process of creating a graphic novel.
Sunday, May 8, 7 p.m.
There will be a Book Week launch party at Christianne’s Lyceum of Literature and Art, a center for learning and reading, to celebrate children’s book illustrator Graham Ross’s tour of the B.C. Lower Mainland.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Monday, May 9, 10:30 a.m.
Governor General’s Award-winning author-illustrator Wallace Edwards, creator of the picture book Once Upon a Line, will be reading at the Confederation Centre Public Library to celebrate the launch of Book Week with 100 students from Prince Street Elementary School and the general public.
Tuesday, May 10 and Wednesday, May 11 in the evening
Quebec author-illustrator Gabrielle Grimard will be presenting at two public libraries in Nunavut through funding provided by the Canada Council for the Arts.
South Algonquin, Ontario
Friday, May 13, 10 a.m. and 12:05 p.m.
B.C. fantasy author Danika Dinsmore will be visiting two schools near Algonquin Park that are participating in Book Week for the first time. The schools are so small that she will be visiting with the entire kindergarten through eighth-grade population – about 16 students at Madawaska Public School and 24 students at Whitney Public School – during each of her readings.
Friday, May 13, 6 p.m.
Author Robin Stevenson, from B.C., will be sharing her new nonfiction book, Pride, at the LGBTQ Youth Centre.
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Friday, May 13, 3:30 p.m.
Teen fiction horror writer Judith Graves, from Cold Lake, Alberta, will be at an after-school program at the Wolfville Memorial Library doing a reading focused on Friday the Thirteenth, called “YA Fiction to DIE for.”
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.
Quebec illustrator Geneviève Després, who has worked on many books in both French and English, will be doing a, illustration workshop at the Yellowknife Book Cellar.