A class at École Cobble Hill takes part in ‘Drop Everything and Read!’ Why not try the idea yourself? (Submitted)

Column: Reading is one of the best forms of entertainment: flexible, portable, and fun

Check out a public library, or buy yourself a book, but do it. Reading is great entertainment.

If anyone asks me what I like to do for entertaiment, reading is always high on my list.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved the chance that reading gives me to just let my imagination run free, sailing its own seas, chasing its own visions, and interpreting things its own way. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been disappointed when a movie version of a favourite story just doesn’t measure up because it couldn’t be as personal as my own vision.

I read everything I can get my hands on, even the 20-year-old copies of Readers’ Digest you find in some waiting rooms.

The Cowichan Valley School District, never backward about being forward when literacy is concerned, has got into the act recently, encouraging Valley folks with a campaign called Drop Everything and Read!

On Oct. 23, students and staff from around the district participated in a special day to celebrate International School Library Month by taking a break to read for 20 minutes.

According to some data they share on their website, “82 per cent of surveyed parents and children said parents are kids’ number one source of encouragement to read books for fun. Teachers and school librarians are next. On top of that, 86 per cent of kids ages six to 17 are currently reading, or have just finished reading, a book for fun. And, on average, kids have read 23 books in the last year.”

However, as children get older, reading for fun starts to lose out to other activities, but I can say, from a lifetime with the written word, that I still love reading and plan to continue to enjoy those quiet moments letting my imagination run free.

If you haven’t read a book lately, go stick your nose in one and enjoy!

***

While we’re on the subject of books, it’s (sigh) the pre-Christmas season already. One good thing about that is that we begin to see new books coming out by or including local authors. A recent one, Chicken Soup for the Soul’s A Book of Christmas Miracles includes a story by Crofton’s Jean F. Ballard entitled ‘The Year the Animals Brought Christmas’.

Check it out in this recently released book that benefits Toys for Tots.

***

The Cowichan Valley’s Rebecca Hazell is another local author and artist who’s recently come out in print. Her children’s book, which she both wrote and illustrated, is called The Sweeper: A Buddhist Tale.

Promotional material for the book says it is inspired by Buddhist tradition. “This original story tells how Padme, a young servant girl, meets the Buddha as she is sweeping her master’s house. When she laments that she is so busy that she would never have time to meditate, the Buddha gives her the instruction to ‘sweep and clean.’ This simple mindfulness practice transforms Padme’s life, and when she encounters the Buddha many years later, he teaches her how to send compassion out to others.”

Meet Hazell and take a look for yourself at Volume One Books in Duncan this Sunday, from 1-2 p.m.

***

And, all you authors out there, if you have a new book or one you’re hoping to sell this Christmas season, send me a brief note about it, with your data, and I’ll include a big list in an upcoming column.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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