Martin Springett thinks reading helps build character.
Admittedly, as the author of Kate and Pippin, An Unlikely Love Story, he’s a bit biased. But he’s also got a pretty good point.
“It’s been shown quite clearly, the more you read, the more empathetic you are, the more likely you are to be a good citizen,” he said Friday, one of several authors taking part in this year’s Festival of Trees honouring Canadian children’s writers.
His story, which earned a regional Silver Birch Award in Thunder Bay, tells the love story of a real life dog named Kate and a deer named Pippin, who pal around, best friends for life.
To them, it’s normal, even though dogs and deer don’t usually get along.
“They have no idea what’s going on,” Springett said. “They’re just doing the things we love them for, being a dog and being a deer.”
Rookie authors Brit and Kari Trogen, who captured a regional Silver Birch Express award for their debut, Margaret and the Moth Tree, were in awe of the number of students who filled the CLE Coliseum, having taken part in the Festival of Trees Forest of Reading program, voting for their favourite books in four separate genres.
“This is our very first book and I’ve never seen so many readers at once,” Kari Trogen said.
Marsha Forchuk Skyrpuch, who penned Making Bombs for Hitler, another Silver Birch winner on Friday, said spending time with young readers is what makes her job so special.
Authors conducted workshops with the students most of Friday afternoon, spending time talking about their craft, their books and inspiring young minds to take up books.
“I love reading and this is a dream come true for us authors to be here with you,” she said.
Festival co-ordinator June Rysinski said the annual event, in its second year in Thunder Bay, called it a fabulous day for students and authors.
“it’s important to do an event like this to celebrate books and really get to feel the joy of reading,” Rysinski said.
“And that’s what really matters. We want our children to read.”
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