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Renowned author returning to area

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Bad weather stopped him the first time, so award-winning Canadian author David Bouchard will return to the area next week to finish up the tour he started last spring.

“He’s a very engaging guy. He got to meet lots of people around Fort Frances on his first tour and we just thought we needed to finish the job,” said Brent Tookenay, aboriginal education leader for the Rainy River District School Board.

Bouchard will be visiting places he originally was scheduled to speak at, including in Atikokan all day on Sept. 15, at Stanjikoming First Nation on Sept. 16, and then Big Grassy and Big Island First Nations on Sept. 17.

He also is slated to deliver the keynote address at the Seven Generations graduation ceremony in Thunder Bay.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Bouchard now lives in British Columbia. He was a teacher for 18 years and a school principal, but eventually began to write stories.

Alongside writing, Bouchard travels across the country speaking about how schools and communities can improve literacy and get kids reading.

He’s written dozens of books over the years, many with aboriginal and Métis themes, and has garnered various awards, including a Governor General’s Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Red Cedar Award, and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon award.

Bouchard initially visited Rainy River District last year to speak during one of the public school board’s PD days. Afterwards, education counsellors from area First Nations approached Tookenay saying Bouchard needed to be brought back again, this time to speak to parents and community members.

“That’s where it started rolling and it’s really taken off,” he said. “He made a real impact on a lot of teachers and staff members in the Rainy River board, parents, kids, and First Nation communities.

“He had such a positive message and delivers it in such a neat way, a very engaging way, that we felt that this guy can really help us out with our parent engagement, especially with our First Nations, and it would just be fun for the kids to see him,” added Tookenay.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing him back.”

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