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New youth poetry book pays homage to trees

Worth More Growing was edited and curated by Tofino poet and author Christine Lowther
Christine Lowther reads from Worth More Growing during an Oct. 28 book launch at the Common Loaf Bake Shop. (Nora O’Malley photo)

On Oct. 28, Tofino’s Common Loaf Bake Shop hosted an intimate poetry reading to celebrate the launch of Worth More Growing, a new poetry anthology featuring musings from youth in Kindergarten to Grade 12.

The evening gathering brought community members young and old together to share their love of trees in a space that’s often referred to as the town’s unassuming headquarters for environmental activism.

“There’s an innocence about (the book) obviously. But also, it gives us hope. Even though it’s not their job to save the planet that we’ve been wrecking, it does gives us hope because there is sanity there and they are not corrupted by money yet,” said Worth More Growing editor Christine Lowther.

“Just little simple lines like, ‘The tree is taller than my dad”, I don’t know why, it just gets to me,” she said.

Worth More Growing follows in the footsteps of Lowther’s anthology Worth More Standing, which features poetry on trees by adults.

“It was way easier to do (Worth More Growing) than the adult book. I wasn’t going to do a lot of editing. They are kids,” said Lowther as she signed copies of the poetry book for audience members.

About 55 youth from all over the world are published in Worth More Growing. Lowther said she included submissions from Thailand, Australia, India, a Métis youth, a Tla-o-qui-aht youth, and many from the lower mainland by Chinese immigrants. Tofino youth Rio Green, 10, had four poems selected.

“It took a few days to write all of them. I had at least two drafts. I’m really excited to see them published. I had a lot of fun doing it,” said Green, adding that she sat outside and observed trees to gain inspiration for her writing.

Tofino’s Poet Laureate and Wickaninnish Community School teacher Heather Hendry helped organize the poetry reading.

“I’m excited to see youth poets celebrated in our town and I’m looking forward to doing more projects with Ucluelet Secondary School students,” said Hendry.

Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate Louise B. Halfe provided a review for the youth poetry book on trees.

“The wisdom of these young voices made me weep and gave me hope. It’s as if they all know the tree’s roots are their umbilical. With the destruction of a tree, their dreams are destroyed—in fact, this destroys all of us,” wrote Halfe.

Worth More Growing is published by Caitlin Press and is available for purchase at Mermaid Tales Bookshop in Tofino.

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