Readers and readers-in-training of all ages and tastes are being invited to a special Family Literacy Day at the Cochrane Public Library on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
And yes, pass the word around – there will be cake.
At the event, local authors Leta and Nia Taylor (a mother and daughter duo) will read from and talk about their recent children’s book, Cochrane is My Home. There will also be station-based activities and a kid’s puppet show.
Library director Monique Fiedler-Sills said Literacy Day will have a little something for everyone.
“It’s intended for families but all ages are welcome. And once everything is done, around 12:30, we’re going to have cake,” she said.
Cochrane is My Home was created as a mother/daughter collaboration to share their deep appreciation of nature and art. Leta Taylor said the collaboration also allowed for some quality mother-daughter bonding time, as they illustrated all the pictures and wrote the story together.
“I’m a professional abstract artist and I have a studio in my basement and do art classes. My daughter has been working with water colours, and she’s just turned 13, and takes snacks and runs away from me up to her room . . . but we both love art, and we love nature,” she said.
The family moved to Cochrane a year ago from Calgary, and Taylor said they hatched the idea as a way to do something kid-friendly, simple, self-published, and beneficial to nature all at the same time.
With all that in mind, Cochrane is My Home was born. It’s an artistic educational book meant to inspire an appreciation for the bountiful nature found throughout and around Cochrane.
The intention was to show their love and support for the community by creating a children's book. And a portion of the proceeds from books sold go to a local conservation effort.
They will bring be signing and selling the books at the event. It is also available at Found Books in Cochrane, on Amazon, or, in true self-publishing fashion, by going to the Taylor’s home and picking up a copy.
(To contact Taylor, search spacesofarcadia on Facebook and send her a message).
Adding to the other motivations for hosting the upcoming event, Fiedler-Sills said the cake is to celebrate the library’s recent announcement they’re eliminating card and late fees as of Jan. 13.
Puppeteer Ken Bishop, of Friends Forever Puppets, is a multi-talented Edmonton-based artist who also writes books and paints. His puppet performances – including a rousing version of Weird Al Yankovic’s Beat It – can be viewed on Youtube by Googling Kenuppets (his company’s previous name).
Bishop has performed thousands of shows over the decades of his career entertaining children. He performed 16 shows a week for five consecutive years from his castle at West Edmonton Mall.
He also starred on Storytime, a Saturday morning kids program, which aired across Canada on the CTV network (and in multiple countries) for over five years. All of his puppets are original and at one time he owned over 350 characters.
He has written over 100 scripts for television as well as a variety of music videos, and has taught puppetry, character development, and script writing to both adults and students in classrooms and auditorium settings.
Bishop will be bringing Vulter, the Nervous Vulture (he’s afraid of kids), a singing chicken, a bee and a ladybug trying to rollerskate in a buffalo herd, and other favorites.
“I’ll be bringing a talking white board that people go crazy at,” he said.
There will be volunteer audience participation as well.
He said he’s been a puppeteer for nearly five decades now, with no plans of stopping.
“It is fun, I’ve got to admit,” Bishop said. “People ask ‘you’ve been doing it so long, why do you do it?’ and I say if you saw the faces on the kids, you wouldn’t even ask. They just light up.”