Elinor Benjamin - TD Children's Book Week Tour Nov 2003

Home                                                      On to Pictures

I was very pleased to be chosen as one of the three storytellers to go on tour with The TD Children's Book Week Tour in November 2003. I was sent to Montreal and the region around it.

The most frequently asked question on my tour was “Is it true?”

I usually replied, with slightly less bravado than Peer Gynt, “Was it true while you were listening?”

“Yes.” they replied, almost convinced.

"Is that all right?" and they always agreed.

The truth of those old stories I love lies in the telling, the listening and the hearts that take them away. Twelve hundred listeners took away their chosen truths during my 17 (gasp!) presentations, and reinforced my own belief in the reliability of this material. Having organized Book Week tours, as a public library administrator in Newfoundland, I knew the hazards of schedule, distance, transport and weather, but my journey was gentle. A whole day spent at the Butler School in Bedford, after a mere hour bus-ride from Montreal, was an unexpected luxury. I told stories to every child, and enjoyed time in the staff room with teachers and volunteers. The rest of the week was spent in Montreal and suburban schools and libraries. There were long taxi journeys to places I knew only as exit signs from Highway 20 or 40: Brossard, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Beaconsfield, LaSalle. The charm and variety of Montreal taxi drivers astonished me!

At an energizing Montreal Children’s Literature Roundtable/Quebec Library Association evening at Westmount Public Library, I really enjoyed hearing the others presenters on tour in Quebec speak to the group. The cookies were tasty too! I met children from all corners of the world, from every economic background - so different from the classes I visit in Newfoundland, and yet the same in their response to stories. The Grade 1's at Butler school presented me with a book of their drawings, inspired by the stories I told. Jessica Girard, Grade 6, Butler School, Bedford, wrote me a poem with the line: “I hear a twinkle in my ear, a storyteller is what I hear.” Jessica makes the task clear. We storytellers must always aspire to give you a “twinkle in your ear.”