École Oriole Park students have the opportunity to be part of a new literacy project based on the published books of the late local author Kerry Wood.  

Three of Kerry Wood’s young reader books, and one short story, including Mickey the Beaver, Samson’s Long Ride, Birds and Animals in the Rockies, and Ronnie from Cowboy Yarns for Young Folk will be adapted and illustrated for Grades 1 to 3 students.   

Students in Grades 4 to 5 will read the books as published and give their input on how to adapt them for younger readers in Grades 1 to 3 while ensuring the main story elements are still captured. The current chapter books will be adapted into 16-page books with illustrations.  

Students will have the chance to collaborate on the project with local independent television producer, Mark Collings, two local illustrators Emma Guido and Holly Mayo, Kerry Wood’s daughter, Rondo Wood, and Central Alberta Historical Society’s Clare Butterfly.  

Lori Irvine, Principal of École Oriole Park explained that while Collings was taking video for a TV series he was working on, he spoke to students coming in and out of the library, and was impressed that students loved books, particularly about history.    

“It’s an opportunity for us to engage in literacy, as well as with some of our local authors,” Irvine said. “It’s important for our students to see that people in our community do really good things.”  

Work is getting underway immediately with students starting to read the original books, and give suggestions for adaptations to the stories and what types of illustrations could be included, with a draft expected to be ready this spring.   

The project was supported with $8,000 from the City of Red Deer, but more fundraising dollars will be needed with the hope that the adapted books will be in libraries across Alberta.  

“Throughout the project, students will be immersed in literacy, they will get to see what a career in book publishing is like, they will learn about art and design, how to input their ideas, and how to write, edit, and proofread,” Irvine said. “Overall, we think it’s going to be an extremely rewarding project for all involved.”