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Literary Festivals. Boy in Motion. Essay


The book, Boy in Motion; Rick Hansen’s Story by Ainslie Manson is a book depicting the early life of one of Canada’s most famous citizens, Rick Hansen. Fundamentally a picture book, it targets mainly the young and traces the inspirational life journey of Rick Hansen from childhood to college level (Constantinides 112).

The pictures in the book, illustrated by Renne Benoit, are complimented by short descriptions and explanations by the author, Ainslie Manson.

One of the literary festivals that I would recommend for attendance with the author of Boy in motion; Rick Hansen’s story, is the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, staged annually in Hong Kong, China. The Asian sub-continent is one of the fastest rising socio-political and economic regions of the world, with china as its nominal head (Jae Ho 657).

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival therefore offers an opportunity for both the author (Ainslie Manson) and the sales team at D&M publishers (the publishers of Boy in Motion) to export the art and story in the book to a largely unexplored Asian reading audience. The Hong Kong International Literary Festival attracts and invites authors from all over the world to participate in its comprehensively and meticulously planned festival, which runs over a period of ten days.

Additionally, one of the reasons that place the Hong Kong International Literary as a fitting literary festival for both the author and publishers of Boy in Motion is that, the literary festival has a dedicated sub-festival intended solely for children. This ‘festival within a festival’ for children involves the exchange, reading, exposition, and analysis of children books by various children’s book authors and illustrators from all over the world.

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival sessions for children’s books are therefore an appropriate avenue for the introduction of the inspirational story of Rick Hansen depicted in the book, Boy in Motion, to the Asian child. Rick Hansen’s amazing story of courage and determination portrayed in the book will thus inspire the Asian children, especially those with paralysis, to acquire a new sense of hope and determination.

This festival also has a wide participation of different lower level schools in the festival’s children books forum. Thus, the author Ainslie Mansion will be able to hold reading sessions with as many children as will be possible over the ten days that the festival is held, answering the questions that they may have concerning her book and the subject of the book, Rick Hansen.

The second literary festival that I would recommend for attendance by the Boy in Motion author is the Bath Festival for Children’s Literature, held annually in Bath, Somerset in England. This festival is especially appropriate for the author of the book because it is one of the few literary festivals dedicated exclusively to children and children’s book writers and illustrators (Horn 10).

The Bath Festival for Children’s Literature offers an opportunity for the author to interact with other children’s book authors from Europe and all over the world, exchanging ideas and influencing each other. The literary festival also offers a chance for the author to participate in reading sessions and hold discussions with the children attending the festival.

One advantage of the Bath Festival for Children’s Literature is that the festival liaises with over 100 schools in and around Somerset during the planning stage for the festival, and over the course of the festival. This ensures that the various children’s books read, shared, and analysed in the festival are further read, shared, and analysed in these schools even after the festival ends (Sanderson 30).

This unique characteristic of the Bath Festival for Children’s Literature makes the characters and stories written by authors like Ainslie Manson to be ingrained in the hearts of the children participating in the festival for a long time. Primarily an inspirational book for the young, Boy in Motion will therefore inspire the children who read it, or have the book read to them in the festival, for a long time.

The best fit and platform for Boy in Motion and its author is tied to the book’s role as an inspiration to readers, especially the young, by drawing lessons from Rick Hansen’s triumphs as depicted in the book.

The book targets the young with an aim of inspiring them to achieve all they desire through learning from the life of Rick Hansen, who was paralysed at the age of fifteen following a truck accident but went on to become a decorated Olympian, winning many awards coupled with scaling the academic ladder and accomplishing feats that defied his disability.

The book uses colourful pictures (illustrated by the award-winning children’s illustrator/drawer Renne Benoit) to portray the life of Hansen as an adventurous child who refused to surrender his spirit of exploration to the state of paralysis that he found himself in after a fateful accident.

Indeed, Rick Hansen acquired a renewed vigour, determination and a refreshed spirit of adventure after the accident that left him paralysed from the waist downwards.

Boy in Motion is especially important for both parents with paraplegic kids and the kids themselves. Ainslie Manson in her book makes special mention of the role that Rick Hansen’s father played in constantly encouraging his son to continue dreaming and accomplishing the desires that he had before the accident.

The pictures in the book will serve to pique and subsequently sustain the interest of the kids. Therefore, kids who have suffered injuries similar to those of Rick Hansen, the subject of the book, will find the book as not only a reference text, but also a source of comfort, and in Rick Hansen, a hero they can look up to.

As a representative of Ainslie Manson’s publishers I will strive to ensure that the book is made available at a discount in specialist schools that admit children with physical disabilities all over Europe and Asia, because the book and its depiction of the life of Rick Hansen can serve as an important source of encouragement for the kids and the teachers in such schools.

D&M publishers and the author will make prior arrangements with the organizers of these festivals to include such children (with their parents) in the reading sessions of Boy in Motion at the festivals. Therefore, such literary festivals as The Hong Kong International Literary Festival and the Bath Festival for Children’s literature will offer the publishers of Boy in Motion a chance to meet with librarians, children, teachers and even parents with children in such institutions. Subsequently, the story of Rick Hansen’s life will be shared in these festivals, and arrangements made for the mass distribution of the book in the said schools.

Ainslie Manson has cultivated and developed an enviable niche in the writing and publication of children’s books. She has published several children’s book on various topics, including World War II (Just like New), exploration (A Dog Came, Too) and has written the biographies of several prominent persons in Canada for children.

Many of Manson’s books fit with the curriculum standards of various countries all over the world. Her books are therefore highly marketable in lower level educational institutions all over the world, and this unique characteristic of her books is true for Boy in Motion. This marketing advantage of Manson’s book will be intensely highlighted in the mentioned literary festivals.

The author also travels to different countries all over the world to hold reading sessions with kids and teachers, and has been to countries as far flung as Uganda, for such an undertaking. Therefore, participating in and invitations to such events made by teachers, children or parents in these literary festivals would be welcome by the author.

Additionally, Manson has held workshops where she shares her writing experience with the participants, and has worked with librarians and teachers in many schools in diverse countries in a bid to teach and highlight the topics in her books.

Mansion has won many awards, and her book Boy in Motion, was selected for the IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities. She has written other books for children on disability – BABOO and Leaving the Log House where she tackles the theme of triumphing over physical disability, just like in the book Boy in Motion (Goldsmith 66).

Manson has her own website for promoting her books and has several blogs where readers discuss and present their view on her books, and has profile in both Facebook and Twitter where her readers can follow her professional activities and new developments in her books.

The illustrator in the book, Renne Benoit, is an award-winning illustrator in her own right, and she has collaborated with Ainslie Mansion on several books by Manson. Her work in the book, Boy in Motion, earned her a nomination for the prestigious IBBY award for her illustrations in this book.

As a representative of Ainslie Manson’s publishers, I will also ensure that we distribute brochures highlighting Manson’s works and achievements to participants at these festivals.

Furthermore, her efforts in exporting her works and her enthusiasm for participating in book promotion events and seminars to discuss and promote her works will serve as an important marketing pitch at these festivals, both for her as an author and her book Boy in Motion.

At the earlier mentioned literary festivals, the sales team will create innovative sales plans that will promote the author and her book. The entire sales team, together with the author will carry about five hundred copies of Boy in Motion to the festivals.

Out of these, fifty will be given free of charge to sales representatives of some of the children’s books publishing companies in Europe (at the Bath Festival for Children’s Literature) and another fifty to representatives of some of the largest Children’s books publishers in Asia (at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival).

This gesture will aim at capturing the interest of these publishing companies with a view to future collaboration especially on the matter of translation of the book into various languages in Europe and Asia.

The sales team will also travel to these literary festivals with memorabilia from the world acclaimed ‘Man in Motion’ tour (mentioned and highly praised in the book Boy in Motion), which Rick Hansen took in 1985 to raise funds for research on the spinal chord.

Armed with only his wheel chair and a strong resolve, Hansen travelled the world in two years, crossing four continents (McNeill 53). The tour (from which the book derives its title) will serve as a platform to promote the book and its subject.

In conclusion, as discussed in this paper, literary festivals such as the Bath Festival for Children’s Literature and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival will offer a wide base for literal analysis, reading and promotional opportunities for the Boy in Motion book, and its author.

Works Cited

Constantinides, Judith. “Boy in Motion: Rick Hansen’s Story.” School Library Journal 54.8 (2008): 112

Goldsmith, Annette. “BABOO (Book).” Quill & Quire 64.9 (1998): 66. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts.

Horn, Caroline. “Children’s festival to launch.” Bookseller 5265 (2007): 10. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web..

Jae Ho, Chung. “East Asia Responds to the Rise of China: Patterns and Variations.” Pacific Affairs 82.4 (2009): 657-675.

McNeill, Laurie. “Boy in Motion: Rick Hansen’s Story.” Quill & Quire 73.3 (2007): 52-53. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts

Sanderson, Caroline. “Top children’s authors in Bath.” Bookseller 5299 (2007): 30. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Literary Festivals. Boy in Motion." March 22, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/literary-festivals-boy-in-motion/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Literary Festivals. Boy in Motion." March 22, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/literary-festivals-boy-in-motion/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Literary Festivals. Boy in Motion'. 22 March.

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