It might be a challenge to silence a room filled with energetic elementary school students, but Mayor Malcolm Brodie succeeded, needing nothing more than a story.
Lending his support to the National Reading Campaign, Brodie treated third graders of BC Muslim School and fourth and fifth graders of Willian Cook elementary to an old classic and a contemporary fable during a reading session at Richmond Public Library Nov. 20.
"We invited the mayor because we wanted somebody in a leadership position to set an example for the children," said Melanie Au, head of Kids' Place. "The idea behind the national campaign is to get whole families reading, and if children see adults do it, they are encouraged to do so themselves."
Brodie got the audience attentively listening to Robert Munsch's Mortimer and Nicholas Oldland's Big Bear Hug, selected to promote the joy of reading and to convey the message that love conquers everything.
And while students had their ears and eyes wide open, he shared some inspiring words on the importance of literacy.
"No matter what you will do later in life, you'll find pleasure and information in reading."
BC Muslim School's Alina Malik and Malak Mustafa, both eight years old, are already setting a good example, spending every day with their noses in the books.
"I really like reading because the stories are interesting, especially those on girls stuff, magic and fantasy," said Alina.
"We make ourselves smarter by reading," added Malak. "No matter what you read, fiction or non-fiction, you learn new things, new words."
Literacy indeed is the key to success in life, according to Au. "Readers are brought to places they've never gone before," she said.
Books also contain different points of views, encouraging readers to think outside the box, which eventually results in innovation and inventions.
"It's also about hope because stories let you think of the impossible," she said.
As a part of the recently launched "What did you read today?" campaign, the library is also keen to know which book currently occupies residents' bedside table.
While attendees of the mayor's reading were invited to create buttons with the title of their current reading material, adults are encouraged to participate in an online contest, running until Dec. 31.
Entrants can tweet the title, author or type of reading material to @readingcam-paign with #whatdidyoureadtoday? for a chance to win a Kobo e-reader pre-loaded with a selection of e-books.
As an added bonus, Kobo will donate $1 to the National Reading Campaign for every contest entry tweet to help grow reading across Canada.
For more information on the campaigns, visit www.nationalreadingcampaign.ca.