Skip to main content
Junior School students share love of reading at Forest of Reading Festival
  • Junior School students share love of reading at Forest of Reading Festival

The Forest of Reading is an Ontario-wide reading program with different book lists depending on your grade level. There are English and French book lists. Each category has a set of 10 books and the students read them and vote on which one is their favourite. Over 270,000 readers participate each year through a school or public library, or individually.

In our co-curricular group, we prepared by each trying to read a minimum of five books; some of us read all 10! The co-curricular group started in the fall with just a few students and then more joined as people learned about it and became more interested. In the co-curricular group, we read and talked about the books and some students sent emails to the authors to tell them about how much they liked their books. We also spent time regularly checking the Forest of Reading website and wrote our reviews of the books for our school library’s website.

All of these fun activities – from reading the books to voting for our favourite books – led up to the Forest of Reading Festival, held at Harbour Front Centre in Toronto. There was so much anticipation leading up to the festival and we were all so excited to be there in person, with hundreds of other readers! Twenty-four students went to the festival, where we got our books signed by the authors, participated in workshops, did some fun activities and attended the ceremony for the winner of the Silver Birch category of books.

When it was finally time for the awards ceremony, we joined the hundreds of other students in a large, open-air auditorium with a huge stage. The awards ceremony was hosted by Grade 8 student Ainara Alleyne, creator of the Instagram account and TVO series Ainara’s Bookshelf. It was certainly a highlight. Students from different schools presented each of the 10 authors to the crowd, sharing cool information about their lives and what inspired them to write books. Our very own Windsor Huhe, in Grade 6, presented J. Torres and his book Stealing Home. We were all so proud of him and screamed so loud when he was announced. It was so suspenseful waiting for the reveal of the winner. After the crowd did a drumroll, the winner was announced: Colleen Nelson and her book The Undercover Book List!  Everyone screamed soooooo loud!

Here are some thoughts from our readers about their experience of the day: 

"I loved that we got to meet all the authors and learn about them during the award ceremony. It was such an exciting day!" – Livia

"I got to meet Wesley King, the author of my favourite Silver Birch book, Butt Sandwich and Tree. I got to tell him that I am his #1 fan! He even signed my cast!" – Ammar

"I got to meet my favourite author Rosena Fung, who wrote Living with Viola. She was one of the authors I emailed to say how much I loved their books. I loved being with everyone to hear the winner being announced." – Eliza

"I had such a great experience being there with all the other readers. I was so thrilled that my favourite book, The Undercover Book List written by Colleen Nelson, was the winner!! I was waving my book in the air." – Ella

"My favourite part was getting J. Torres to sign my book. The award ceremony was so cool; they threw Frisbees and beachballs into the crowd." – Oliver

"It was really exciting to see who won at the ceremony. It was so awesome to see other readers my age, reading the same books as me." – Drolma

"I liked that the authors were so kind. I loved hearing the presenters and the authors talk about their lives and their books and what inspired them." – Chloe

- By Ammar Al-Ali and Eliza McKenzie, Grade 5 students