SCUGOG: The Almost Epic Squad is a relatively new book series written by four Canadian authors and aimed at middle-grade students. The books delve into the lives of four ordinary kids who develop some very unusual superpowers. There are four books in the series, each written by a different author, but all four books are connected and can be read in any order.
The authors, Ted Staunton, Kevin Sylvester, Leslie Livingston, and Richard Scrimger, stopped by Port Perry High School and the Scugog Memorial Library on November 6th for two sessions of The Almost Epic Author Visit.
“We’re seeing students who are familiar with the books, and students who had no familiarity, or didn’t think they would be interested in reading them, becoming engaged in these author events,” says Debbie Vert, the Durham District School Board (DDSB) Innovative Education Officer for Libraries. “That’s the whole point. We want to utilize our community connections to promote literacy and engage our students.”
The events of the day were sectioned into two parts, but Vert, BJ Andrews, Library Head at Port Perry High School, the Port Perry High School administration, and Sarah White, Manager of Public Services at the Scugog Memorial Library organized both.
The first author visit was hosted at Port Perry High School during the school day, and invited students in Grades 4 to 6 from the high school’s feeder schools (S.A. Cawker Public School, R.H. Cornish Public School, Prince Albert Public School, Cartwright Central Public School, and Greenbank Public School).
Approximately 600 students were outrageously entertained by the four authors.
Greg Scotchburn, Principal of Port Perry High School, says hosting one of the event sessions at the high school was an excellent opportunity to get the elementary students comfortable with their future school, “This way the younger students can see the high school, and it’ll help make the transition easier for them when the time comes for them to make that next step.”
As a way of bringing the entire Port Perry community together, they hosted the second session at the Scugog Memorial Library in the evening, and it was open to the public.
At both events, the authors read excerpts from their books, answered burning questions, and sang hilarious songs while Staunton played the banjo, Livingston tapped along to the beat on a hardcover book, Scrimger danced his heart out, and Sylvester raced to finish a drawing before the end of the song.
Students also had their books signed by each of the authors, and had the opportunity to purchase any of the books from Blue Heron Books staff, who were on site at both events.
Staunton says the reason they [the authors] continue to write for youth, is because they feel that stories and reading are the deepest ways to engage people. He adds, “Reading for fun can inform your entire life. It comes before everything.”