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  • Writer's pictureTanis Browning-Shelp

The First-Ever I Read Canadian Day!

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Wednesday, February 19 is I READ CANADIAN DAY.

When did I first read Canadian? At age nine, when I discovered Anne of Green Gables. It was remarkable and exhilarating to come across a young female Canadian heroine after devouring hundreds of kids’ mystery books (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, and more) in the 1970s.

Although I’d not yet been to Prince Edward Island, there was something familiar about Anne Shirley’s country home and its surroundings. Furthermore, Lucy Maud Montgomery made becoming a Canadian fiction author seem achievable. Because of what those things meant to me as a young reader, I intentionally created a Canadian protagonist and set my own Young Adult fiction series in Ontario. Now I’ve gone a step further.

While doing research for my Maryn O’Brien series, I’ve been working with a genuine Canadian hero. Catharine Pendrel is a three-time Olympic mountain biker who, at age 39, is striving to represent Canada at her fourth Olympic games in Tokyo this summer. Catharine, friendly and giving, has allowed me to interview her from her home of Kamloops, B.C; provided feedback on my writing; provided links to World Cup video coverage and articles packed with mountain bike racing information and responded to follow-up questions. Imagine an athlete of her calibre opening herself up (and giving her time) to help me make my books more authentic. How Canadian is that?

So, on this first-ever national I READ CANADIAN DAY, I will celebrate both Lucy Maud Montgomery and Catharine Pendrel as I WRITE CANADIAN!

Canadian three-time Olympic mountain bike racer Catharine Pendrel. Photo Credit: Sessions MTB

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