FHASS Author Sarah Tsiang Reads in Nunavut

As part of Canadian Children’s Book Week, Sarah Tsiang, a professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, spent a week in Nunavut, reading in elementary schools from her popular children’s books. Sarah is the author of several books for children, including Warriors and Wailers: 100 Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled, Dogs Don’t Eat Jam, Other Things Big Kids Know, and A Flock of Shoes , which was translated into French and Korean.

Sarah read to kids from Kindergarten to Grade 10, sharing all of her children’s work. Many of the older kids were particularly taken by Warriors and Wailers, fascinated by the different hunting techniques and social structures. Younger children pointed out that the illustration of the northern lights in A Flock of Shoes contained the wrong colours (pink is not a part of the northern lights). All of the children loved listening to the stories, playing games with Sarah, and sharing their own stories with her.

Children’s Book Week is sponsored by TD and aims to foster a love of reading among children and to connect these children to well-loved authors. It is Canada’s largest celebration of books and literacy. Book Week impacts between 35 000 and 50 000 children as well as hundreds of schools, libraries and communities centers from coast to coast. That includes Nunavut.

When asked why she chose Nunavut, Sarah shared that “[she was] desperately excited to see and experience the north and its unique culture. ”

Riding in the back of a truck to get to school

Riding in the back of a truck to get to school

While her audiences in Nunavut know Sarah best for her children’s books, older audiences might know Sarah for her poetry. Her book, Sweet Devilry, won the Gerard Lampert Award for the best first collection of poetry published in Canada. As if that were not enough, Sarah is a unique editor. Her first anthology, Desperately Seeking Susans, brings together Canadian poets with the name Susan (or variation thereof), and her present anthology, Tag : Canadian Poets at Play, is a self generating anthology wherein poets tag one another to write a linked chapter.

Sarah has two forthcoming books. She is currently working on a young adult novel, about a fire breathing orphan and plans to launch a new book of poetry, Status Updates, this fall.

Read Sarah’s own account of her time up North on her blog: http://sarahtsiang.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/td-book-week-my-adventures-in-arviat-nunavut/

Book Week: http://www.bookweek.ca

— Article written by Ian Williams