Media Release

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Two days. Four trees. Six Awards. 6,500 kids! Amount of bookish fun expected? Unquantifiable!

TORONTO, May 5, 2008 ----- Programme partners International Readings at Harbourfront (IRAH) and the Ontario Library Association (OLA) are delighted to present the 2nd annual Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™, May 21 to 22, 2008. Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™, a series of Ontario-wide children’s choice award programmes, plants itself at Harbourfront Centre for the second time, presenting two action-packed days of readings, award ceremonies, workshops, activities, and other exciting entertainment.

Included in the Forest of Reading® awards are: Blue Spruce Award™ (Kindergarten – Grade 2); Silver Birch Express® (Grade 3 – 4); Silver Birch Fiction® (Grade 4 – 6); Silver Birch Non-Fiction® (Grade 4 – 6); Red Maple Award™ (Grade 7 – 8); and White Pine Award™ (Grade 9 – 12).

In 2007, 4,000 students from across Ontario descended upon the Harbourfront Centre site for Forest of Reading® to celebrate more than 60 nominated authors/illustrators during a one day festival. This year the festival has grown into two days, drawing more than 518 schools, approximately 10% of all Ontario schools, and 6,500 students.

Geoffrey Taylor, Director of International Readings at Harbourfront, said: “The expansion of Forest of Reading® into a two-day event provides even more young readers with the opportunity to participate in what will now be the largest children’s literary event in Canada.”

On May 21, the Blue Spruce Award™, presented in the Brigantine Room, features more than 10 authors and illustrators nominated in this category. Authors and illustrators include: Mélanie Watt (Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend), Jeremy Tankard (Grumpy Bird), Kari-Lynn Winters (Jeffrey and Sloth), and Ben Hodson (Jeffrey and Sloth). Students attending the Blue Spruce Award™ ceremony will also have the chance to meet a life-sized Franklin the Turtle, participate in a scavenger hunt to win “gummy worm” prizes, and use recycled materials to create images from this year’s nominated books.

Also on May 21, the Red Maple Award™, presented on the Sirius Satellite Radio Stage, features nominated authors such as Kenneth Oppel (Darkwing), Glen Huser (Skinny Bones and the Wrinkle Queen), Eric Walters (Safe as Houses) and Matthew Skelton (Endymion Spring) to name a few. Students attending the Red Maple Award™ may also choose to travel back in time with Matthew Skelton and delve into medieval life with an exhibit from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), test their target abilities in a competitive water-shot game with friends, come aboard one of three tall ships located on Harbourfront Centre’s dock (Kajama and Toronto Brigantine, Inc.) or learn bat trivia with Darkwing author, Kenneth Oppel.

The White Pine Award™, also May 21 on the Sirius Satellite Radio Stage, includes nominated authors for Forest of Reading®’s older crowd, such as Guy Gavriel Kay (Ysabel), Holly Bennett (Warrior’s Daughter), and Don Aker (The Space Between). Budding authors can get up close and personal with Don Aker as he answers questions about the writing process and shares secrets about writing his 2008-nominated novel, The Space Between; illustration fans can join Kagan McLeod in the Marilyn Brewer Community Space for an interesting and informative Q&A session on writing and illustrating graphic novels; keen poets and lyricists can learn the ins and outs of spoken word poetry with three-time Canadian Urban Music Award-winner, Dwayne Morgan.

On May 22, fans of the three Silver Birch Awards® – Silver Birch Fiction® (Sirius Satellite Radio Stage), Silver Birch Non-Fiction® (Brigantine Room), and Silver Birch Express® (Sirius Satellite Radio Stage) – have the opportunity to hear a plethora of their favourite nominated authors including, David Poulson (The Vampire’s Visit), Deborah Ellis (Jakeman), Charis Cotter (Kids Who Rule), Jacob Berkowitz (Jurassic Poop), Veronica M. Charles (The Birdman), and Tom Schwarzkopf (Danger at Mason's Island). Silver Birch Award® enthusiasts can also meet some of the Toronto Metro Zoo’s finest exotic birds, try their hand at canoeing and kayaking with Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre in the Natrel Pond, and be amazed by the astonishing acts of Zero Gravity Circus performers.

S&B Books Ltd. is the official wholesaler of Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™. They will be located in the International Market Tents on the west side of the Harbourfront Centre site. S&B Books Ltd. is a wholly owned Canadian company serving the requirements of library systems across Canada for over 20 years.

York Quay Centre
Harbourfront Centre
235 Queen’s Quay West
Toronto, ON M5J 2G8


Since its inception in 1974, International Readings at Harbourfront (IRAH) has hosted more than 5,000 authors from 100 countries, including fifteen Nobel Laureates. Our season includes the weekly International Readings at Harbourfront (IRAH); the annual International Festival of Authors (IFOA) (October 22–November 1, 2008), including YoungIFOA (October 28–31, 2008); the annual ALOUD: a Celebration for Young Readers (2009 dates TBC); and Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™ (May 21–22, 2008).

The Ontario Library Association (OLA) creates programmes, advocacy and promotion for its 5,500 members in primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and public libraries across Ontario. The mission of the OLA is to foster free public access to information, and to promote Canada’s history and culture through the programmes and services of the libraries of Ontario.

Lindsay Gulin:; 416.973.4395
Becky Toyne:; 416.973.5836
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