Sharing A New Story - Author Ashley Vercammen reads to children gathered at the Wawota Public Library from her new book Little Big Sister / Big Little Brother. Vercammen says that she is hoping to reach out to more of her young readers through events like this at local libraries in Saskatchewan.

Last week, author Ashley Vercammen had the opportunity to share her latest book with a group of children at Wawota Public Library.
Vercammen explains that her decision to begin writing grew out of a desire to publish engaging books for children which could also become resources for English language learners. “I was teaching English as an Additional Language class online and struggled to find books that addressed Canadian topics that were not protected by copyright for online classes. So, I decided to write and publish my own books.
“These are children’s books, but I try to make the books engaging for all ages and various abilities. Part of my goal is to create books that can be enjoyed by EAL learners and native English speakers simultaneously.”
Vercammen’s most recent book Little Big Sister / Big Little Brother tells the story of two siblings from two different perspectives.
Little Big Sister shares the perspective of a girl who has an older brother with special needs. When the book is flipped around, Big Little Brother is told from the perspective of an older brother with special needs, and a forgetful little sister that tries to help him.
Vercammen says that the story (which is based on her relationship with her siblings) is indicative of the stories that she likes to tell with her books.
“Anybody that knows me can tell you I love to talk about my siblings. I want to show representation without merely ‘checking a metaphorical box.’ I hope to continue to write books that are accessible for kids but introduce new and complex topics.”
She decided to reach out to public libraries and offer to share her story with young readers in different communities.
“I joined the Saskatchewan Library Guild and reached out, offering to come to libraries and do an author reading and received a lot of responses.
“The first four libraries I toured (Pangman, Bengough, Wawota, Carlyle) are all in Southern Saskatchewan. Although I would like to branch out – Southern Saskatchewan is where I was born and raised. So, I thought it was an appropriate place to start. And I already have plans to return to the area at the end of January.”
Sarah Weatherald (Wawota Public Library) says that Vercammen’s visit to the library was very well received.
“When we saw that Ashley had reached out to libraries, we decided to bring her in for an author reading. It worked out very well since we were able to have her visit during Saskatchewan Libraries Week.
“We had a very good turn-out for the event. The Grade 1 and 2 students came out for the afternoon, along with some younger neighborhood children. Altogether, we had 29 kids in our little library! So, it was a full house!!”
Although Weatherald notes that some of the children might not have fully understood that Vercammen had written the book that she was reading to them, she says that the response was very positive.
“The book tells a nice story that the kids enjoyed. Ashley also interacted with the kids very easily.
“Some of the kids were able to relate to the story as well. Several of them picked out little details in the pictures and they were all keen to ask questions. A number of the kids were also eager to talk about their own brothers and sisters after they heard the story!”
Vercammen says that she was very pleased with the response that she received during her visit to Wawota.
“I told my husband that each library I’ve visited has been my favourite for a different reason. The visit to Wawota was absolutely amazing! The kids were so comfortable in their environment. They had wonderful questions and were eager to share who is in their family.
“I hope that my visit sparked conversations among the students, families, and teachers, about people with special needs, families, and maybe even conversations about becoming an author!”

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