Indigenous author featured at One Book Lambton launch

County Library Supervisor Greer Macdonell speaks during the One Book Lambton inaugural unveiling ceremony. Oct 25, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Woodley)

The County of Lambton wants to bring residents together through books.

As part of a new initiative, community members are encouraged to read a story about reconciliation between an Indigenous father and his son.

Dozens of residents gathered at The Book Keeper in Sarnia Friday morning for the unveiling of the first book in the inaugural One Book Lambton program.

“The Reason You Walk” is a memoir told by Wab Kinew, a prominent First Nation broadcaster, musician, and politician.

The story depicts his father’s traumatic experience in a residential school where he was physically and sexually abused, and the journey Kinew and his father take to repair their family bond.

Book Keeper Owner Susan Chamberlain said they wanted to choose a book that could connect Sarnia-Lambton residents.

“The importance of it is that it brings the community together, we’re going to have all this shared experience, the more people that read the book the better. We can have a lot of interesting discussions, and because we have so many Indigenous communities in Lambton County, it really hopefully will open the dialogue towards reconciliation and a better understanding.”

County Library Supervisor Greer Macdonell said she wants everyone across the community to give it a read.

“The book was chosen because we felt it had great universal appeal, we thought it would be a book that anyone could relate to, and we really wanted to find a book that everyone in Lambton County could get something from, be excited about, and share with their friends and neighbours,” said Macdonell. “The more people that get involved, the better. We really want to hear what other people want to read, how they think we can get the books into the hands of more people and build the dialogue.”

Greer said Kinew has also written a children’s book, “Go Show the World,” so all ages can take part in One Book Lambton.

She also said they’ve partnered with several communities in the area to install “Story Walks” in their local parks.

“So they are stand-alone units where we have individual pages from the book, “Go Show the World,” and as you take your walk, you can read the story. So the stands are a small distance apart from each other, you can just enjoy the walk, and they’re great for families as you’re out getting some exercise.”

Greer said the initiative supports literacy, highlights exceptional Canadian authors and builds community through reading.