On the morning of October 1, 2018, I participated in a very memorable cross-country exchange that took place between me and an audience assembled at the Brampton Public Library in Ontario. From my home office in Vancouver, sitting at the same desk where I wrote every page of my three books, Below, Above, and Beyond, I had the very distinct privilege of being the first author to partake in First Book Canada’s inaugural digital reading celebration. And what fun it proved to be!
The event was the launch of a pilot project to provide eBooks to middle and high school students, many of whom do not have books of their own to read and enjoy. With over one hundred attendees, it was also a chance to teach participants how to easily access additional electronic reading materials through their local library, all in an effort to reinforce the value of books and everything they have to offer.
In my own life, I learned the joys of reading from an early age, and now, as an adult, I look back and realize just how much of a positive influence books have had in shaping the person I am today. Books were always more than just pure entertainment. They broadened my understanding of our world, and I developed a keen appreciation for different ideas, people, and cultures, to which I would have otherwise never been exposed.
For you see, I grew up in the rural outskirts of a B.C. town called Chilliwack – a Stó:lō First Nations word meaning “quieter water up the river” – where my family’s home was built beside a gurgling creek and surrounded by forests. With no neighbours in sight, and only one channel on television, I had plenty of time to invest in my imagination. But credit must certainly go to my parents for regularly reading to me when I was child, and for taking me to the library every week to find whatever story my heart could desire on the written page. Books always brought me so much pleasure.
I felt that same sense of joy and satisfaction during my live video link with the Brampton Public Library, with so many enthusiastic faces greeting me on the screen. I was especially impressed by everyone’s questions – not just about the books I had written, but what motivated me to write in the first place, and which novels from my youth had the most lasting impact over the years.
I am truly honoured to have experienced this unique opportunity to help promote a love of literature among Canadian youth, so thank you again to First Book Canada for the invitation to be part of such a successful celebration. I’m certain the audience went away feeling inspired to incorporate more reading into their lives, and to take advantage of the many library resources, where so many amazing books are just waiting to be discovered!
Jason Chabot is the author of three books in The Broken Sky Chronicles: Below, Above, and Beyond (available across North America from HarperCollins Canada and Turner Publishing Company in the US), and he is currently working simultaneously on his fourth and fifth titles in the series: Years Before (Book 4) and Months After (Book 5). Besides creative writing, he enjoys hiking, playing classical piano, ballroom and Latin American dancing, and caring for the fish in his saltwater aquarium. To learn more about Jason, please visit his website, and follow him on Facebook or Twitter.