A&E » Arts

Children’s author launches summer reading program


WHO: Julie Lawson

WHERE: Whistler & Pemberton Public Libraries

WHEN: July 4, 7 p.m. and July 5, noon

The Pemberton Library kicks off its Summer Book Club this week with a special appearance by children’s author, Julie Lawson.

The club is for readers aged five to 12, with a Read-to-me club for younger participants. The library keeps track of the books the children read with meetings once a week for discussion and prizes to encourage future reading.

"This year we’re also hoping to create our own computer database in the junior reading room that will list everything by title, what the book was about and if we liked it and why. And then as more people read the book, they can add to it," says Tanya Richman of the Pemberton Library.

One of the best ways to spark a continued interest in reading among youths is to put a face to the words. Although most who participate in the author readings are children who already enjoy books, Richman says these types of experiences can influence a child’s future.

"Kids ask amazing questions, right from ‘how did you become an author?’ to ‘do you have a dog?’" says Richman. "The main thing we hope kid’s will take away from it is that it is an attainable goal. Someone who creates books and creates entirely different worlds are real people. And maybe they’ll say ‘I can do something like that if I wanted to’."

Author Julie Lawson certainly seems to know how to relate to children. Lawson’s dreams of becoming a writer started at a very young age. She continued her connection with youths as a teacher on Vancouver Island and eventually committed to writing full time where she admittedly surrounds herself in an environment that reminds her of a childhood tree fort.

Her adventure fiction works have earned Lawson many awards, honourable mentions and fans of all ages.

"Even as an adult, I find her very enjoyable," says Richman. "She really makes you use your imagination. She creates characters you can identify with and puts the reader right into the story."

Many of Lawson’s books, such as her latest Destination Gold! and The Ghost of Avalanche Mountain, are fictional stories spun around factual places and times. Lawson researches her backdrop to ensure the books are an accurate learning tool as well as entertainment.

"A lot of her stuff is set in the mountains too, so it’s something the children around here can identify with," Richman adds.

Lawson stops in Whistler July 4 at 7 p.m. and Pemberton July 5 at noon. For more information, call the libraries.

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