A New School and the Snowball Effect

I am honoured and delighted to announce that a new elementary school in Whitchurch-Stouffville will be named Barbara Reid Public School. The new school will open in September 2017.

Growing up in Toronto in the 1960’s, few of the books I found in my school and public library were written or illustrated by Canadians, or published in Canada. Books that inspired me were written by people from far away, or long ago.

Much has changed! Thanks to passionate creators, publishers, librarians, teachers, booksellers and support from organizations like The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, The National Reading Campaign and ABC Life Literacy (to name a few), bookshelves are filled with outstanding Canadian books that reflect our culture and diversity. Millions of school children have had the opportunity to meet and interact with real live authors and illustrators. Young readers find themselves in our stories and take part in award programs. Our books are winning awards at home and around the world, and reaching international audiences.

A snowball starts out small, but once it’s rolling it builds upon itself and grows in size and importance at a faster and faster rate. I am very grateful for the pioneers who started the process that has brought Canadian Children’s Literature to where it is today. I am proud to know there are schools named for Jean Little, Robert Munsch and Phoebe Gillman. I have had the good fortune to know and learn from each of these brilliant Canadian authors, and had the opportunity to visit students at the Phoebe Gilman School library. Most of all, I am thrilled to be part of the snowball effect and determined to keep the ball rolling!

Thanks to this vast community of supporters, and the York Region District School Board for their recognition and celebration of Canadian Children’s Literature. Imagine what today’s young readers will contribute!

The snowball effect; illustration from Perfect Snow