Elmdale’s BookFest finds the fun in fundraising

Submitted by Claus Anthonisen –

What a different kind of meeting! These Elmdale kids really have put the fun back into fundraising. Instead of the usual grim stare of the over-burdened adult, this gathering is filled with the enthusiasm of young voices and the fresh ideas of students who are keener than keen to volunteer their time and energy.

BookFest 2016, Elmdale school’s annual used-book sale is here again, but this year with a bit of a kick from its newly formed BookFest Club.

Last year, festival organizer Peter Laughton and other dedicated parent-volunteers brought well-known authors into the school to read (including Giller Prize nominee Francis Itani), highlighting the festival’s renewed emphasis on literacy.

“This year we decided Bookfest should be more about the kids, so we asked them what they wanted to do,” says Peter.

It turns out they want to do a lot. Alongside the usual mammoth sale of used books, the kids will create a bulletin board devoted to word play which they hope will result in a wall covered with jokes, stories and more. The Ottawa Storytellers have also been invited to engage with Elmdale classes throughout the week. Further, a read-a-thon, led by both kids and adults, will be going on throughout the second day of the sale. Every aspect of the event, from sorting, to shelving, to advertising, to contest running, is going to get an eager boost from around sixty small hands.

“Every year the kids and the community get pretty involved, but this year will be something special,” says Peter. “Well over 20,000 books flow through the school, into the community and even farther afield.”

In the past, these books have gone on to other schools, women’s and children’s shelters, charitable organizations, and even all the way to Kampala, Uganda, for libraries there.


Elmdale’s BookFest 2016 takes place at 49 Iona St., in the school gymnasium, from Friday, February 19 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday February 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit elmdalecouncil.com or email Peter Laughton at elmdalebookfest@gmail.com. Book donations are gladly picked up and can be volunteered by emailing kathclaus@sympatico.ca. Proceeds from the sale go toward Elmdale Public School and local charities chosen by our student-led Elmdale Cares Committee.

Claus Anthonisen is an Elmdale parent and member of the BookFest organizing committee

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