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On Tour

April 16, 2009

The Beauty of Standing Alone
Posted by Katarina Jovanovic

Katarina Jovanovic

On the way from Terrace to Hazelton. I won’t even try to describe the setting. The natural beauty disappears in our cameras. It does not convey in words or pictures, can be only looked at: sturdy mountains covered with thick layers of snow; tall, skiny trees silently by the road; transparent, frozen river.

Finding John Field Elementary School brings back the reality. A small school by the road, surrounded by fields and mountains. Everybody gets fast and busy to host the BC Book Prize authors. The children enter the library: K1-Grade 3. One of the teachers mentions that some children have a challenge to concentrate for a longer period of time. The story goes interactively: we are all involved. Even though some children are restless, they are all participating one way or the other. Everybody is eager to ask questions and we even have to extend the reading to give everyone a chance. The grade 3 students want to stay when the others have already left. We look at the pictures again. Why so many eyes around the carriage when the kings shouts out that he has goat ears? I know, says one boy, because everybody is looking at him!!

I am presented with a small handmade creation: an art work of John Field school students. The native culture teacher shows enthusiastically the other items in the classroom: native language exercises on the board, old stories,children’s work…
In South Hazelton Elementary we have vivid discussions throughout the story: how does it feel when you have a secret? what is self-concept? what happened to the king to make him look so different and much happier at the end of the story?

Later that evening, at the BC Book Prize event at the Hazelton public library, one of the visitors is a student from South Hazelton Elementary. She came to our reading with her mom and two other children to hear the story one more time.
” She told me all about today” mom said, ” how thrilled she was to meet the ‘real author’ and she explained me about the idea of the story as well: how important it is to like yourself the way you are; she understood everything!”

The beauty of inspiring children and the beauty of the mountains on the bright day in Hazelton - even though I am a writer, I don’t find the right words to express it.
That evening I also learned that the name of that mountain translated to English is: Standing Alone. 

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