I’ve recently been a part of the Digitally Lit program as a youth ambassador, which allows me to read Atlantic Canadian books and incorporate research into the practices of reading and understanding my sense of place in Atlantic Canada along with the books I am reading.
I recently read No Girls Allowed by Natalie Corbett Sampson, which follows a true story about a young girl in Nova Scotia who is fighting for her right to play hockey. Although the novel takes place in a time period about 20 years before I was even born, there is something universal in the story being told. A story that follows the determination of a young girl fighting for what she, and her family, believes to be right.
Growing up in a town in Atlantic Canada there is often the sense that because you are from a small town, in space that is commonly a little known area of the country, that you are not able to achieve as much as others who grow up and live in more populated areas and bigger cities. No Girls Allowed challenges that idea by discussing how anyone, no matter their age, gender, or location, can achieve whatever they desire, and fight for their right to do the things they love.
I loved reading this story, I flew right through it when I did. There is something to be said about reading a book featuring spaces that you have personal connection to, and growing up in Nova Scotia, this meant I did not often have that experience. Instead of bending the way to relate to settings to fit other Canadian cities and towns, I was able to experience a more personal, relatable connection to the setting of No Girls Allowed.
I would really urge others to seek out literature that arises from their home, and speaks to their sense of place in this world. You would be surprised at how much of a difference it makes the experience of reading when you can personally relate to the setting, especially if you have yet to find that relatability in a book.
I would love to know as well if you have had a similar experience with a book at some point in your life. Do you often read local books, or has it been something you haven’t thought much about?
More info about the Digitally Lit program: http://www.digitallylit.ca/