How the students in New Brunswick brought Canada Reads home
The youth of Fredericton, N.B. became the unofficial spokespeople of Canadian literature for one week. Four high school students defended four books in their own edition of Canada Reads when they appeared on CBC's Information Morning in one of several regional events in the lead-up to the battle of the books.
Throughout the week of March 19, they participated in these roundtables under the banner of Young Fredericton Reads. While the titles they chose differed from the Canada Reads shortlist, they were on the same quest to answer which of the four was 'the one book to open your eyes.' CBC's Canada Reads 2018 will be hosted by Ali Hassan and will air from March 26-29, 2018.
Young Fredericton Reads also took a democratic approach to the selection of a winner. By following the debates on air and online, the public cast a vote for the strongest book and student argument on CBC New Brunswick's Facebook page.
Riel Nason's YA novel All the Things We Leave Behind comes from a local writer, but Juliette Tristant-Akret argued that it dealt with a far-reaching issue. She interpreted the plot about an anxious child that goes missing as a story that "tackles so many issues and so many things that relate to everyone, like mental illness, family dynamics, grief and loss and learning how to cope with those things."
The theme of independence drew Sarah Kelly to Danielle Younge-Ullman's YA fiction Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined. Ingrid, the protagonist, is sent to a camp for troubled adolescents by her mother as a test of endurance. Kelley finds these trials inspirational: "The story follows the path of Ingrid finding her strength and resilience."
Patricia Forestell, however, expressed her support for a Canada Reads 2018 longlisted novel. S.K. Ali's YA fiction about love and religion, Saints and Misfits, spoke to Forestell because it features a 15-year-old character who "struggles to find herself in her society."
Jake Dow defended Richard Wagamese's Indian Horse and its story of a residential school survivor coming to terms with a life after trauma. "It's his journey out of that darkness through hockey," Dow summarized, "with some twists and turns along the way."
At the end of the week, Canadians declared Tristant-Akret's defence of All the Things We Leave Behind the winner of Young Fredericton Reads.
Tristan-Akret spoke to its author about the ideas that led her to the creation of All The Things We Leave Behindand her interview can be heard below.