Bill and the Fish was not a particularly inspired book. Vocabulary was controlled. The illustrations were mundane. Yet, the year my younger brother took an interest in fishing, that book became part of our cabin life. I can still hear my father’s voice.
“Bill land the fish,” he’d roar in an attempt the make the book sound as interesting as the real life event.
Yet, Bill and the Fish was the book my younger brother would want to hear again and again and again. He would stare at the book with rapt attention as Bill would bait the hook, cast the line, wait patiently, feel the fish nibble, feel the fish bite, reel in the fish, and hold up his prize for everyone to see. That summer, anyone could be reeling in a fish and someone would holler,
“Bill, land the fish!” with exuberance.
Then the proud fish would be held up for the camera and all to see.
That book became part of our lives and is etched in my memory along with happy memories of my brother as a preschooler. Books have a way of becoming reference points for different places and spaces in our lives. Wombat Stew, Noisy Nora and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie are embedded in what I have learned about emergent readers, writing a thesis, and building community in the classroom. The Harry Potter books are intermingled with memories of snuggling up with my own children in front of the fire and reading far beyond bedtime.
Educators who join The International Reading Association have a love of books in common. They are also educators who identify reading as a foundational in their own lives and understand that the act is required not only to succeed in school, but to change lives. The British Columbia Council of the International Literacy Association (BCLCILA – yes we know the acronym is way too long), has found COVID a struggle, much like everyone else in the world. Social connections make the work enjoyable, and ZOOM has been limited in maintaining them. However, we are hopeful. Our focus this Spring is on growth.
We are very excited as a council to be participating in Wild About Vancouver’s Tidal WAV (pronounced “wave”) Outdoor Festival on June 3, 2022 at Ceperley Field in Stanley Park. The modus operandi of WAV is to help people in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver to get outdoors more often for a myriad of purposes. The purpose for BCLCILA is to make face3face connections with educators, children, and parents and celebrate the power of books to inspire outdoor learning and provide answers to questions that emerge from spending time outdoors. Of course, we are also hoping to recruit more members interested in networking and working for literacy outside the walls of the classroom.
The decision to put books in the hands of children at this outdoor festival to inspire outdoors activity and provide information for project based learning has been energizing. This is where the BCLCILA Executive Council members jumped in and created our WAV Working Committee. Linda Klassen, a recently retired principal from Langley, organized promotion of BCLCILA, ordered pens, a banner, and took care of the logistics for the BCLCILA table and tent at the Tidal WAV Outdoor Festival. Larkyn Froese, an aspiring teacher at Simon Fraser University did the site visits and designed several scavenger hunts of different levels to engage participants so they could “earn” their book selection. Garth Brooks took on the huge task of making requests to book distributors and publishers for donations of outdoor learning books to give to children and educators at the Tidal WAV 22 Outdoor Festival.
Gratitude to Larkyn, Linda and Garth.
We have been blown away with the generosity of publishers. They have sent the best of their outdoor learning books to share at the Tidal WAV 22. There are books to inspire imagination, to provoke questioning, to provide information, and to focus attention on using all senses to notice what is happening in the garden, in the forest, in the park and in the ocean. Garth’s condo has become a warehouse for almost $5,000.00 of high-quality books that invite you into stories with poetic language, captivating ideas, artistic illustrations, and fascinating information. Please see the list below for a full list of publishers who have supported us in this project. You have our deepest gratitude.
Larkyn identified the need for graphic novels, sports books, and titles by local authors and artists. My first thought was to call our long-time friend, supporter and owner of Kidsbooks, Phyllis Simon. She has been a big supporter of both LOMCIRA and now the provincial council (BCLCILA). Kidsbooks has become part of the fabric of the Vancouver community and has been able to expand to North Vancouver because staff is knowledgeable about children’s literature and recognizes the importance of matching kids with the right book. I contacted Phyllis with five requests. She responded immediately with “yes” to all of them.
The staff at Kidsbooks will be helping Larkyn in her effort to purchase the books to allow BCLCILA to offer scavenger hunt participants with a full range of titles to choose from. Kidsbooks has also donated gift certificates from Kidsbooks for draw prizes at the Tidal WAV 22 Outdoor Festival. I encourage you to also pick up a bookmark from the tent and find your way to one of the Kidsbooks locations to find or order the books that BCLCILA is handing out on June 3rd at the Tidal WAV 22. I am working on an annotated bibliography that will be posted on both the BCLCILA website and the WAV website. Amazon’s home delivery during covid served a need, but now it’s time to focus on community building and ensuring the relationships between books and readers remains fluid, informed and filled with joy.
I can’t wait to see the delighted faces as children, educators, and community members as they make their book selection after finishing the scavenger hunt. If you plan on participating, please bring a backpack or bag to carry your selection safely home.
Special thanks and appreciation to our very generous publishers and book distributors for their donations.
Thanks also to Phyllis Simon and our friends at:
Your generosity and efforts make the world a better place!