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The Alberta book community celebrated I Read Canadian Day this February, and in the midst of pandemic isolation, it brightened the local book scene online, sparking several one-of-a-kind moments.
I Read Canadian Day is a national day of celebration of Canadian books for young people. This year’s event was the second annual I Read Canadian Day and took place on February 17th. On this day, Canadians are encouraged to take fifteen minutes to read a Canadian book together, whether it be at home with their families, at school, or at their local library or bookstore. The purpose is to raise awareness of Canadian books and celebrate the richness, diversity, and breadth of Canadian literature. Participants can share their experience on social media, with #IReadCanadianDay.
So how did Albertans celebrate this year?
Connor McDavid, hockey all-star and captain of the Edmonton Oilers, sporting three Canadian hockey-themed reads on Facebook, including: Roughing and Puckster’s First Hockey Game by Calgary-based author Lorna Schultz Nicholson, and Stick Pick by Edmonton-based author Stephen Sandor.
Dallas Hunt, Cree author and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta, giving a shout out to Edmonton’s Glass Bookshop and supportive work they’re doing in cultivating an Indigenous literary community.
Red Barn Books, one of Alberta’s local publishers, getting recognized in the Globe & Mail’s list of kids’ books to help celebrate I Read Canadian Day, for their picture book Howdy, I’m John Ware. Plus, producing this sweet video of a couple young friends of the press reading from another one of their picture books, Rocky Mountain Rangers, which is written by Banff National Park-based band The Wardens. Marcus adds some amazing sound effects while Tasha reads.
Analog Books, Lethbridge’s local independent bookstore, discussing I Read Canadian day with their local news station, in front of a beautiful backdrop of local books.
The mayor of Lethbridge, on Twitter, reading from Switchback, by local author Danika Stone. Danika is most recently the writer behind the Waterton mystery series, which is published by Alberta’s Stonehouse Publishing.
Alberta senator Paula Simons, posting her I Read Canadian picks.
Plus, amazing teachers celebrating I Read Canadian Day in their classrooms, and a multitude of Canadian children’s book recommendations flooding social media from Alberta libraries and bookstores, such as this great list from the Edmonton Public Library.
I Read Canadian Day was created as a collaboration between the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC); children’s author Eric Walters; CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers); and the Ontario Library Association (OLA.). This year, Communication-Jeunesse and Canadian School Libraries (CSL) also joined the steering committee, helping the event reach more French-language Canadians and school librarians.
Exciting things happen when Albertans support local books, who knows what will get spotted next year!