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Forest of Reading/Festival of Trees

By: Ashley Prince

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to volunteer at the Festival of Trees event at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The Festival of Trees is basically the Woodstock of book festivals for children and tweens. This event runs for three days and schools come from all over and celebrate Canadian children`s authors and illustrators.
There were awards ceremonies to celebrate the different categories of children and youth authors as well as entertainment, games, food, and the kids can get a book autographed with their name from their favourite author which is something they can keep with them for the rest of their lives.

Encouraging children to read and enjoy reading is something that is integral to a successful future. This festival lets them meet the person who wrote the characters they can relate to and allows them to have a fun filled day with their classmates.
The entertainment was amazing. Scott Cooper was there and sang songs about each of the novels nominated. He has always written the songs and went around to the elementary schools to sing them but this is the first year that he was actually and entertainer at the festival and he was incredible. They also had a poetry slam and aboriginal dancers with a positive message about the earth.
Volunteering at the festival was one of the best things I’ve ever done professionally. Seeing how excited the kids were to be there and how involved they were with the festivities was a truly humbling experience. Reading truly is alive and well with today’s youth.

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