Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Family Literacy Day celebrated at Matthew Halton High School

David Poulsen with student Blake Coombs
Mary Coombs photo
Toni Lucas - Matthew Halton High School celebrated Family Literacy Day on Friday, January 27 with a range of events including a story writing workshop and free reading time.  One of the highlights off the day was a session with prolific Alberta author David Poulsen, who read from his latest book, 'And Then The Sky Exploded', followed by an informal question and answer period and book signing session.

Bear Snores On dramatic presentation

Another highlight the finale of the day. when grade 7 drama students performed three dramatic presentations:  'Bear Snores On', 'The Absolute True Story of the Three Little Pigs', and 'Click, Clack, Moo Cows Type', based on popular children's books.

David Poulsen explained in his latest book the hero finds out his grandfather worked on the Manhattan Project, and wants to understand more about what happened and see if he can make amends for the part in history his grandfather had played.  He travels to Japan on a school trip where he meets a  survivor of the nuclear bombing.  "He starts to understand her suffering, and listens to her story."

Many queued in line to talk to Poulsen and to purchase some of the many of his titles he had on hand.    Student Blake Coombs chose the book 'Numbers', which tells the story of a student who has a charismatic anti-Semitic teacher who denies the holocaust happened.  Coombs was intrigued by the historical aspect.  The storyline carries a subtext of developing and exercising independent critical  thinking.

Poulsen has a catalogue of 24 titles he has written.  "I have written for almost every age.  I have kind of covered the whole gamut."  He visits between 80 and 100 schools per year, "Getting kids pumped about reading and writing."

He had some advice for those who would like to become authors. "The first step is to read.  I don't know any authors that don't read constantly. Read - number one, write -  number two.  And don't give up.  Those are the three, because it is tough.  You are going to get those rejection letters."

In attendance to encourage continuing reading was local Librarian Janice Day from the Pincher Creek & District Municipal Library.  She encouraged students to obtain a new library card as it is free to students, with parental consent.

Dramatic presentation (L. Heine photos)

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