The Gleaner

Une Affaire de Famille launches a children’s book

On a damp October night, a handful of children with parents in tow gathered in the Little Green Library in Huntingdon to listen to a story. This reading was special, because these children were listening for the first time to a story that they themselves had created over the summer months.

Earlier this summer, Une Affaire de Famille offered the “Bouchées Doubles” project to the day camps of the Haut-Saint-Laurent. This project sought to maintain academic skills in school-aged children over the summer by enabling them to collectively write a storybook. In total, 400 children from six Haut-Saint-Laurent day camps (Sainte-Barbe, Saint-Anicet, Huntingdon, Saint-Chrysostome, Franklin, and Club de Soccer Ormstown) were involved. The initiative was funded by Instance Régionale de Concertation en Pérséverance Scolaire et Réussite Éducative de la Montérégie (IRCM), a department of the Ministry of Education.


At the book launch in The Little Green Library children and parents look on as Florenciels Kingdom is read out loud PHOTO Yvonne Lewis Langlois


Catherine Villeneuve, Mélanie Tardif, Véronique Jodoin, and Mélanie Bourduas from Une Affaire de Famille came up with the project idea. Collectively they applied for the grant and organized and executed the writing workshops that were held in each day camp. Children brainstormed ideas for story characters, settings, and a story outline. Educational games were also incorporated into the workshops. Younger children drew their ideas, while older children wrote them down. At the end of the workshop the children voted for the ideas that they would like to have incorporated into the book.

Each camp had two writing workshops. The story began to take shape in one municipality, then was continued by the next group of children in the next municipality, and so on, until its completion eight weeks after it began. At a third workshop, a rough copy of the story was presented to each group. The end result was Le Royaume de Florenciel – Florenciel’s Kingdom, a bilingual story book about a dragon and her mythical friends. Kate L. Duhème, a 17-year-old student at Arthur-Pigeon, did the illustrations, and Bureau En Gros printed the book.


The proud authors display their new books along with members of the Une Affaire de Famille team PHOTO Yvonne Lewis Langlois

The book was launched on four different dates throughout October in libraries in the municipalities of Saint-Anicet, Ormstown, Sainte-Barbe, and Huntingdon. Children who participated in writing the book were invited to pick up their own copies at a library launch or at Une Affaire de Famille. The book has an ISBN number, and it is registered with The National Library.

At the Huntingdon launch on October 24 in the Little Green Library, brothers Edmund and Alfred Morrissey were excited to receive their copy of the book. “The laboratory labyrinth was my idea!” 10-year-old Alfred Morrissey was proud to report.

“I thought that [the workshop] was really fun. It was interesting and a surprise because I didn’t know about it,” 11-year-old Edmund states. Both boys agreed that it was the best part of the camp.

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