Thursday, November 27, 2014

Métis author to visit library

David Bouchard calls his passion for stories a gift from his great-grandmother.
As a young boy growing up in Gravelbourg, Sask., the award-winning author and advocate for literacy would visit the elderly woman weekly.

Long after her death, Bouchard is convinced his great-grandmother’s spirit also helped him discover a secret that had long been hidden from him: the Métis heritage they shared.
In his mid-40s, it was a life-changing revelation.
“We believe if you open your heart to your genetic memories, your life will be enriched tenfold,” Bouchard says.
In recognition of his work as an author and a champion of literacy, Bouchard was named to the Order of Canada in 2010.
Many of his books have been best-sellers and award-winners, including a Governor General’s Award. It’s an impressive record for a man with dyslexia who says he never read a book from start to finish for pleasure until he was 27.
But Bouchard says his own struggles with reading have given him a greater understanding of the bitter frustrations faced by children who wrestle with words.
“I tell them that anyone can become a reader,” he noted.
“Just find that one book.”
For the past 10 years, Bouchard’s books have focused on aboriginal themes, with several being translated into native languages.
Typically, each book comes with an audio CD that combines reading and music.
Three of them include performances by the well-known aboriginal singers Susan Aglukark, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Mary Youngblood.
Bouchard’s work usually is classified as children’s literature but he prefers the term “cultural book.”
With poetic language and beautiful pictures, his books are created to be compelling and accessible to readers of all ages—and particularly to students who are struggling.
“What I write are books from my heart that will touch people,” he says.
Bouchard tells students that TV can make them laugh and cry, but books will make them smarter, improve their self-esteem, and bring them success in their lives.
Even for weaker readers, he says, it’s simply a matter of finding the one book they will fall in love with.
Fortunately, the choices today are wider than they’ve ever been.
Join us at the Fort Frances Public Library for an evening with David Bouchard tomorrow (Jan. 15) at 6 p.m.
The event is sponsored by Rainy River District School Board, with refreshments provided by the “Friends of the Library.”

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