New book depicts awe of parenthood'Children pull you on to the dance floor of life'
Northern News Services
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Little ones and their moms came out in droves to hear author Richard Van Camp read from his latest book, We Sang You Home, on Saturday at the Yellowknife Public Library.
Richard Van Camp signs a copy of his latest book, We Sang You Home, for Christine Lewandowski and her daughter Evianna Shannon at the Yellowknife Public Library on Saturday. The NWT Literary Council bought 500 copies of the book and Van Camp gave signed copies away for free. - Robin Grant/NNSL photo
"We Sang You Home is about the gift of being a dad, the gift of being a mom, the gift of being a family and the gift of being part of a community," Van Camp told Yellowknifer. "This book was just another opportunity for me to sing to parents and sing to babies and to families."
Illustrated by Julie Flett, the book depicts the wonder and joy new parents feel when they welcome a new baby into the world. Van Camp said he was delighted to work with Flett again. This is the second time as they've collaborated - the two also worked on Little You, Van Camp's second baby book.
After the reading, he autographed and gave away copies of the book for free as part of the NWT Literacy Council's effort encourage family literacy.
"We love the work that Richard does," said Charlotte Upton, family literacy co-ordinator with the council. "I think it is really important to support authors in the North because, in the past, there hasn't necessarily been enough representation. We thought it was a really great opportunity to celebrate Richard, and celebrate families, and celebrate family literary."
Van Camp has written graphic novels, short stories and novels, but he said his baby books are special because they celebrate family. Having his son, he said, was one of the most profound moments of his life.
"He's absolutely beautiful, magnificent, he's absolutely the love of my life," he said. "The joy that he brings every day and the curiosity that only grows - it's a marvel to witness ... Children pull you on to the dance floor of life."
Van Camp also had a message for aspiring writers.
"I think the mistake that we tell writers in high school is that we have to choose one genre, but the truth is the story is the boss," he said. "When I have something on my mind or when I hear about something, the best part of what I do (...) as a story weaver is I get to decide if it is a poem, a short story, a graphic novel, a novella or novel. When a story comes, they tell me what they want to be."
Claudia Haaz, a mother at the event, said her daughter loves the books.
"They're really uplifting stories," she said.
The NWT Literacy Council organized the event as a celebration of Van Camp's 20th book - as well as an opportunity to recognize authors in the Northwest Territories.