‘Human books’ on shelf at school library day

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

A funeral director acts as a human book at school library day

A funeral director acts as a human book at school library day

No question was off-limits at the National School Library Day seminar in Vancouver Monday, where “human books” sat beside paperbacks to explain the background behind less common professions, such as a funeral home director.

Gladstone Secondary students were invited over the day to library sessions where 23 experts, each representing a “book,” answered questions. The experts included a politician, a refugee and former substance abusers, among others.

Living book Tony Hicks from Mount Pleasant Universal Funeral Home talked about handling untimely deaths, infant mortalities and sensitive topics, such as how family members deal with the suicide of a loved one.

“You deal with grief, you deal with families that are having a really hard time. You’ll see a lot of people that are crying. It’s very difficult to do that,” he said.

“We have to carry people, literally, right to the cemetery or mausoleum from their place of death.”

Grade 8 student Lei Anor was impressed by Vancouver Const. Wendy Sinclair, who dispelled the myth police are “scary.”

“You usually see men. When I see them on the street it seems like I’m scared of them, because what if they tell us to stop the car or something?” the teen said.

“I’m not really scared anymore, because I have a feeling that all officers are like Ms. Sinclair.”

Fellow Grade 8 student Cecilia Nguyen added, “You don’t get to see how they experience their lives everyday.” She also thought police were scary.

Sinclair told the students how women in the force felt discriminated against, especially when she first began her 22-year policing career.

“Some of the police women would say we had to work twice as hard to get half the respect,” the child protection services officer said.

“At first I was a bit shook-up about it. Eventually, either you had a comeback or just learned to ignore it.”

In a statement Monday, B.C.’s Ministry of Education said it’s added $10.7 million to school districts to support early reading this year.

“Strong reading skills bring self-confidence, a better quality of life, and are a key predictor of student success,” Education Minister Don McRae said.


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