Sunday, September 17, 2006

Maude Barlow and Joseph Boyden

Back again. No I haven't been lazy, just away working. Taught a Writing for Kids workshop in Whistler, BC, and did school readings. I had the most wonderful time. I love going into schools to read/talk to kids about books; not just my books, but about books in general. The teacher in me misses all those shiny faces, although not some of the headaches that go along with today's classrooms.

My course was in conjunction with the Whistler Writer's Festival. One of the things I loved about the Festival, and about writer's festivals in general, is the opportunity to hear and meet other writers. Maude Barlow read one of the evenings. What a powerhouse she is; so articulate, and so compelling. She is the National Chair of The Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest citizen’s advocacy organization, and has been a social activist for years. She is also the founder of The Blue Planet Project, which is dedicated to stop the commodification of the world's water. She was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, don't pass it up. But, if you don't get the opportunity, definately read one of her many books; especially Blue Gold: the Battle Against Corportate Theft of World's Water.

I als
o had the pleasure of hearing Joseph Boyden read from and speak about his new book, Three Day Road. I bought the book but have not yet finished it. For those who are feint of heart, please note that Three Day Road is not light reading. Told mainly through flashbacks, Boyden juxtaposes the experiences of two Cree World War I sharp shooters, Xavier and Elijah, with Niska's story of escape from the horrors of Residential School. The title refers to the three day paddle by canoe that Niska and Xavier undertake to get back home from where the train has dropped off the injured and near death veteran. Sadly, it is a journey that Elijah will never be able to make.

I think one of the things I have liked most about this story so far, and it's true that I'm not yet finished, is the implicit message of the healing power of story and of the land that are at the core of this most elequent of novels. And, as far as I can see, reading it is most definately a journey worth taking.

A kids' book review is coming next. I promise.

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