A Message from the National Librarian
"The picture of May’s classroom is now a classic of Canadian children’s literature - the children with dogs’ heads brilliantly signifying the intensity of May’s imagination - ." 1
I am very pleased to introduce our 1999 edition of Read Up On It. Because Dayal Kaur Khalsa so clearly illustrated the joy and pleasure of living, the National Library has chosen one of her illustrations to grace our cover and to represent our theme for this year, humour. In fact, humour and imagination are two indispensable components found in the works we have selected for this year’s kit to enable children in Canada and elsewhere to appreciate another facet of literature for young people. And again this year, we are including award-winning works in English and French. But there's still more! Thanks to the cooperation of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), the kit includes a list of works for children who are visually impaired. This list, prepared by CNIB experts, includes references to locations where the described works can be obtained.
As mentioned in the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) entitled Literacy Skills for the Knowledge Society, literacy goes beyond merely knowing how to read, write or calculate. It also means understanding and being able to use the information required to function in the knowledge-based societies which will dominate the 21st century. It is therefore important for young Canadians to have access, very early in their development, to books which enable them to go beyond texts and to be able to "imagine" and discuss what they have read. To this end, we salute the tireless support of Human Resources Development Canada’s National Literacy Secretariat (NLS). Since 1988, NLS has been actively promoting reading and writing skills among Canadian young people, and has been a major partner in our Read Up On It program since 1994.
Canada Post is a corporation which has worked to support many literacy programs and initiatives for the past ten years. It's support has made it possible for this publication to reach you. For the second consecutive year, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) and the Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques en documentation (ASTED) are partners in this project. We are also grateful to the Canadian Federation of University Women, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and Communication-Jeunesse, as well as the Access Network, YTV, and Télé-Québec and TFO who join us for the first time this year. Thanks to all our partners and sponsors who enable us to produce and distribute over 30 000 kits to parents, teachers, librarians and literacy workers across Canada.
As in previous years, Read Up On It is available on our Web site at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/index-e.html. Take a look at it, and send us your comments and suggestions. As always, we welcome your feedback.
In closing, as this is the last Read Up On It with which I shall be associated, let me add a personal note of appreciation to the staff of the National Library who initiated, nurtured and produced RUOI. For more than ten years, you have showcased the creative talents of Canada’s authors, illustrators, translators and publishers, for the benefit of readers, young and old alike. Congratulations on a job well done, and thank you.
1 Pearson, Kit. "Tales of Zealous Childhood" in Resource Links (October 1997) p.6