Author Joel Sutherland from Ontario visited Barriere on May 6 during the 38th annual TD Children’s Book Week held May 2-9.
Sutherland is a Librarian, and holds a Masters Degree in Library and information Studies from the University of Wales. He is involved with a number of children’s programs that contribute to what he comments is his greatest professional satisfaction – which is getting children involved in and experiencing the pleasure of reading. As a young person he was fascinated with ‘ghostly stories’ in history, which eventually led him to become an author of five books of Canadian “Terrifying True Stories.”
Sutherland’s bright and lively personality soon captured the attention of the Brriere Secondary grade 8 students who met with him at the library that day. His audience seemed to be a bit blasé at the start of the presentation, but they soon showed a lively interest when Sutherland read a story from one of his books that came close to home; a tale about the old Tranquille sanatorium in Kamloops.
The kids became fascinated with the story, especially those who had visited the place recently since it became a museum. It was surprising to see the excitement and participation of the students when Sutherland told them about how he came to find that story, and how studying the details of history of that place was at times quite gruesome. It would not be surprising to now see many of these young teens signing out the book from the library.
Part of Sutherland’s presentation introduced the students to story writing. He offered a written outline of a story that was not known to the students with spaces left to insert words. The group was asked to give adjectives and other parts of speech to be inserted into the story. What fun that was for all concerned.
When this activity was completed, Sutherland then read the new story which had been titled ‘A Halloween Party’. The group laughed and commented with great enthusiasm on what they had helped to write.
Author Joel Sutherland certainly captured the young teen’s interest in reading books and perhaps even kindled the urge to write stories themselves some day.
A standing ovation for Sutherland as he departed the library certainly demonstrated the group’s appreciation of this interesting author’s visit to the Barriere Library.