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Canadian Kids' Authors Offer Online Storytime As COVID-19 Response

Young readers won't get bored with these videos.

Canlit is stepping up for Canadian families staying at home, by bringing their books to life online for young readers. The long “school holiday” has inspired Canadian kids’ lit authors to record themselves reading from their books for virtual storytimes, which are sorely needed videos, as many bookstores and libraries aren’t viable options for kids during this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not to mention the schedules parents hope to keep for their little ones.

Here are some of our favourite kids’ lit creators keeping children engaged online:

Catherine Hernandez hosts 20-minute morning storytimes on Facebook Live. The Scarborough author’s been especially great at making kids feel special with name shout-outs, as well as encouraging families to show love towards those who the pandemic hits hardest.

Another a.m. option comes from Flamingo Rampant, a publisher known for its LGBTQ+ books. They’re also hosting daily morning readings, from their catalogue.

An annual literary event in Brampton, Ont., the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), is presenting a week of live online readings. Hernandez, as well as fellow kids’ lit authors Jillian Tamaki and Danny Ramadan, are some of the headliners expected to read from their books.

FOLD founder Nadia L. Hohn is set to read from A Likkle Miss Lou.

Author Amy Leask gives a spirited reading of her book If You Met A Yeti.

Middle grade, YA writers join in

Teen readers will appreciate storytimes by legendary young adult (YA) author Kenneth Oppel, who penned the Silverwing series. He’ll be reading from his catalogue, which spans all ages.

Detective fiction writer Wendy McLeod MacKnight will be reading chapters from her books geared towards middle schoolers on Instagram.

Libraries, bookstores are still life-savers

Calgary Public Library recently kicked off “Storytime at Home,” a Youtube series where a librarian reads and sings to viewers.

Many Canadian libraries have video backlogs worth combing through. Richmond Hill Public Library has a musical playlist where kids can sing songs from their favourite books with librarians.

Authors are teaming up with their local libraries for storytimes, like My Goat Gertrude author Starr Cunningham.

Montreal-based publisher and bookstore Drawn and Quarterly is posting daily storytimes, featuring books with notable artistic content.

Doodle with kids’ lit artists

Kevin Sylvester, author of the Neil Flambé series, shared how he draws the books’ protagonist.

Little artists might love some pizzazz on their masterpieces. Author and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi offers daily illustration collabs on Twitter, where parents can send their kids’ drawings to get doodled on by Ohi.

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