Celebration of Authors, Books and Community (CABC) is a joint initiative of the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts and School District No. 46 (Sunshine Coast) that brings writers into Sunshine Coast classrooms to talk about books and writing and encourage students to express themselves through both the written and spoken word.
Since its inception in 2007, CABC has organized over 120 school visits to Sunshine Coast schools with 80 Canadian writers who encouraged, supported and inspired 14,000 students (cumulative attendance) as writers, readers and storytellers.
Stories build community and here’s a wonderful story to illustrate just that. In Feburary 2019, author Robin Stevenson visited eight elementary and secondary school stories to talk about inclusion, the history of Pride, and LGBTQ+ rights. Students at Gibsons Elementary School were inspired to request that a rainbow crosswalk be painted at the entrance to their school to show that it is an inclusive and welcoming place for all. With the support of their classroom teacher, they eventually met with the Principal, the Superintendent and Manager of Facilities. They attended a staff meeting, met with the PAC, visited every classroom to explain what they were doing and why, and raised the funds to paint the crosswalk. The rainbow crosswalk is now in place, just two months after Robin Stevenson’s visit. Well done, Gibsons Elementary!
Over 1,000 Sunshine Coast elementary and secondary school students had the opportunity to meet with Canadian authors Mark Winston, Robin Stevenson, Nicola Campbell, and Mahtab Narsimhan during the 2018-19 school year to learn about a wide range of issues including the generations-long effect of residential schools on communities and families, plant medicine, elders and teachings, bees, inclusion, Pride, LGBTQ+ issues, immigration, and what it’s like to grow up in places like Mumbai. All of the authors also talked about the practice of writing. The most oft repeated advice: 1. Write every day, even if it’s only a paragraph. 2. Read, read, read.
Sunshine Coast students were listening. Over 600 pieces of writing were submitted to the 9th edition of Coastal Voices, an adjudicated anthology of writing by Sunshine Coast students. With 103 stories and poems on 44 pages, this will be the largest anthology yet. Parents, families, students and teachers will celebrate the launch of the anthology at a special event in the Festival Pavilion on Thursday, June 6 at 4 p.m. The public is welcome to attend. Coastal Voices celebrates the achievements of the young writers in our community and reminds us all about the power of a story that is shared and heard.
Edmund Arceo of ZOOM Magazine has donated his time and expertise to design Coastal Voices since its inception.