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Home Arts ‘When the Trees Crackle with Cold’ story walk an ‘exciting opportunity’ to work with northern artists

‘When the Trees Crackle with Cold’ story walk an ‘exciting opportunity’ to work with northern artists

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‘When the Trees Crackle with Cold’ story walk an ‘exciting opportunity’ to work with northern artists
Miriam Körner and Bernice Johnson-Laxdal hold copies of their book ‘When the Trees Crackle with Cold’. The Northern Saskatchewan duo will take part in a live reading as part of Family Literacy Week on Jan. 27. -- Submitted photo.

The Prince Albert Literacy Network (PALN) plans to figuratively embrace the cold when they kick off Family Literacy Week on Saturday.

The organization has a book walk organized inside Gateway Mall featuring ‘When the Trees Crackle with Cold’ by the Northern Saskatchewan duo of Miriam Körner and Bernice Johnson-Laxdal.

PALN family literacy coordinator Kara Thorpe said working with the North Sask. duo has been fun. She’s hoping that enthusiasm will rub off on families taking part in the event.

“It’s really exciting and neat to be able to work with them (Miriam and Bernice) one-on-one,” Thorpe said on Tuesday. “As a group of organizations working together, we’ve been able to actually talk one-on-one with the author and illustrator, and they’ve given us permission that we typically don’t get when we just pick a random book from the book shelf.”

Saturday’s kick off will feature other family centred literacy activities, but the story walk is the main attraction. Thorpe said they’ve been popular events in the past, and with COVID-19 still a concern, they’re a hands-off activity families can safely enjoy indoors.

“We’d love to do some more hands-on, get-our-kids-in-and-playing kind of activities, (but) it is this COVID world that we’re living in,” she explained. “It is a safe and fun activity for families to come in and do. We know from afar to be able to have a chat with the families and get to meet some kids, and it’s self-guided, so the families can extend how they’re doing and take their time at it, which is kind of neat.”

Körner and Laxdal will also be available for a virtual reading of the book on Thursday, Jan. 27. The livestream starts at 10:30 a.m., with a question and answer session with the duo to follow. A replay will be available on YouTube later in the day.

The livestream is open to viewers across the province, with more than 10,000 people registered for the event. Prince Albert residents can view the reading online or at the Family Resource Centre in Gateway Mall. Visit www.saskliteracy.ca/crackle to register.

The event will feature stories from Bernice Johnson-Laxdal about her childhood growing up in Île-à-la-Crosse, which helped inspire the book. Körner, who drew the pictures, will also answer a few questions.

Families who participate in the story walk on Saturday will receive a family activity kit, which includes a free copy of the book.

Thorpe said the theme of this year’s event is ‘learning through the great outdoors.’ The PALN wants to focus on teachable moments, and how any time spent with family is useful for passing on knowledge from one generation to the next.

Thorpe said that can happen in simple activities like tobogganing or star gazing, even though books might not be present.

“Those types of things are all ways that families can engage together,” she explained. “There’s great intergenerational learning in just being able to hang out together as a family in those little moments, and that is what we’re hoping to get across. Family literacy is about hanging out together, (and) learning together in those everyday moments.”

For more information about the Prince Albert Literacy Network visit www.princealbertliteracy.ca.