PA Literacy Network to host family fun day in celebration of Saskatchewan heritage

The 2023 Family Literacy Day is all about celebrating heritage, and the Prince Albert Literacy Network is inviting local families down to the Gateway Mall on Saturday for an afternoon of free activities centered around culture and diversity.

From 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., families can participate in a Story Walk of the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum’s Li’l Shadd: A Story of Ujima written by Alix Lwanga and illustrated by Miriam Korner. The children’s book was chosen for its theme of celebrating Saskatchewan heritage and tells the story of an African doctor and his family who settled into what is now the Kinistino/Melfort area. A copy of the book and a deck of cards with games from around the world will be handed out at the end.

“The little boy in the story learns that community and culture may have different things and similar things, and that we do best when we come together as a community and help each other out,” explained Kara Thorpe, Family Literacy Coordinator for the Prince Albert Literacy Network. “For example, he sees the indigenous drums and realizes that, well, they’re different than the African drum, but yet drumming is drumming.”

Other things for families to take part in include an art project organized by the Prince Albert Art Gallery, exploring local artifacts supplied by the Prince Albert Historical Museum, checking out informational displays from the Prince Albert Multicultural Council, and other cultural-based activities supplied by Metis-Nation Saskatchewan.

“Getting together and making traditional foods and learning to cook, and the conversation that happens around the supper table is a part of family literacy,” said Thorpe. “Clothing, traditions and all of those things really do encompass the whole world in which we live in.”

Thorpe said they’re hoping for a big turn out and to have as many families engaged as possible.

“It’s such a great theme this year,” she said. “We’re super excited to get together and learn and celebrate the diversity within our community.”

Families can sign up for a live reading of Li’l Shadd: A Story of Ujima on the Saskatchewan Literacy Network website at https://saskliteracy.ca/shadd/. On Jan. 27 at 10 a.m., the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum will be sharing stories about Dr. Shadd and answering questions.

The live stream will also be uploaded to YouTube so the families that receive a copy of the book after they complete the story walk on Saturday can tune in online to learn more.

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