Simcoe Reads 2021

Congratulations to the Simcoe Reads 2021 Winner!

Gutter Child by Jael Richardson

This book was voted by the community as the book everyone in Simcoe County should read!

Congratulations to Grace Baker, Champion for Essa Public Library

Grace Baker defended the title, Gutter Child, in the Simcoe Reads Debate

A BIG thank you to our Community Champion, Anne Smith, for representing our community and Library in this competition.

We appreciate all the Community Champions for their dedication and our community members for participating. We can’t wait for Simcoe Reads 2022!

Missed the debate? You can still watch the Simcoe Reads 2021 debate online on the Rogers TV website or YouTube!

This summer brings the second annual Simcoe Reads competition, Simcoe County’s edition of Canada Reads! We are excited to announce that Innisfil ideaLAB & Library is one of seven libraries taking part in Simcoe Reads. This friendly competition between seven local libraries encourages reading all summer long.

Innisfil ideaLAB & Library will join Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Essa, Midland, Ramara, and New Tecumseth in this friendly reading competition. Each Library has chosen one book with which to take part in the challenge, along with a local celebrity to champion the title. 

We are extremely excited to announce Anne Smith as our Community Champion! Anne Smith and the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library invite you to participate in Simcoe Reads this summer by reading and championing Innisfil’s book of choice, The Company We Keep by Frances Itani.  

In September, join our community in cheering on Anne Smith as she represents Innisfil’s book in the final Simcoe Reads debate with the champions from all participating libraries! 

Participate in Simcoe Reads
  • Sign up here for Simcoe Reads 2021 to receive email updates this summer about Simcoe Reads activities, author events, book clubs, and the final debate event!
  • Join Innisfil’s champion, Anne Smith, and our community in reading Innisfil’s book, The Company We Keep by Frances Itani. 
  • Challenge yourself to read all of the Simcoe Reads book selections for 2021!
  • Join our Virtual Book Club programs this summer and engage with others as we highlight and discuss Innisfil’s book! Learn more about our virtual book club sessions and register to participate. Book Club participants will receive a ballot entry for a chance to win a grand prize! Contest now closed.
  • Write a book review to share with our community! Submit your review of The Company We Keep or any of the other six Simcoe Reads book selections. For each book review, you’ll receive one ballot entry for our prize draw! Maximum of seven ballot entries per person. Contest now closed.
  • Participate in our book clubs and book review submissions for your chance to win one of three grand prizes! Prizes include $50 gift certificates to local restaurants. Contest now closed.
  • Attend the Virtual Author Event with Frances Itani on Tuesday, August 31st at 7pm EDT. We also invite you to attend the Simcoe Reads Author Events being hosted by other participating libraries. 
  • Tune in this October 2021 to see who will be crowned the winner, as our champions defend their books in a final debate. 
Meet Our Champion: Anne Smith

Anne moved to Innisfil eight years ago, following her retirement as a Senior Executive with an International Financial Services Company. Having been an active volunteer within the Toronto community, Anne immediately began looking for new volunteer opportunities and is currently the Chair of the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library Board, the President of the Innisfil Rotary Club, Treasurer of the Innisfil Community Foundation and a member of 100 Women Who Care, South Simcoe. Since early childhood, Anne has been an avid reader and Enid Blyton was her favourite author as a child. Anne believes that if you love reading, you will never be bored or lonely, and she is delighted to have passed on her love of reading to her two daughters and five grandchildren. 

Read The Company We Keep by Frances Itani

It’s been three years since Hazzley’s husband died but she is still struggling to cope. After some persuasion from her longtime friend, Hazzley decides to start a conversation group. The group quickly grows to include six strangers who meet in the back room of Cassie’s cafe weekly, each with their own unique stories to tell. The strangers find comfort and good company in this touching yet funny novel. 

Borrow The Company We Keep

Read as an eBook: 



Request or place a hold on a physical book copy. Curbside Pickup service is available. 

Meet Participating Libraries and Their Book Selections

Barrie Public Library

Champion: Carolina Belmares

Carolina Belmares passions include helping women with hectic lifestyles match their body to who they are, and what they’re capable of. She loves her blended family and her floofy cat named Churro. Carolina is an avid reader, an author, a speaker, an educator, and an entrepreneur.

Book: A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott 

Available on cloudLibrary, Pulse, or place a hold on a physical book copy. Curbside Pickup service is available.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library

Champion: Emily Dahlgren

Emily Dahlgren is a 15 year old Bradford West Gwillimbury resident who likes to stay busy! She runs her own business, The Munchies’ Concession Stand, and co-runs ‘A Bradford Christmas,’ the foundation she started with her sister. When she is not serving the community, Emily expresses her creativity by video editing, and writing, and relaxing with a great book.

Book: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Available on cloudLibrary, Pulse, or place a hold on a physical book copy. Curbside Pickup service is available.

Essa Public Library

Champion: Grace Baker

Grace Baker is a grade 10 student at Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School. She has always loved reading but her passion has grown immensely during quarantine while reading in her spare time. Grace loves musical theatre, being outdoors and is excited to be a part of Simcoe Reads. She is eager to represent her community, discover new authors and challenge herself in this new experience.

Book: Gutter Child by Jael Richardson

Available on cloudLibrary, Pulse, or place a hold on a physical book copy. Curbside Pickup service is available.

Midland Public Library

Champion: Cady McLaughlin

Cady McLaughlin is a farmer, designer, and mother from Lafontaine, Ontario. She grows flowers and works on the family farm looking after horses, hens, and hay. Cady is passionate about community building and environmental sustainability. With degrees in museum studies and history, Cady gravitates towards stories that envelop the reader in a different world, while empowering them to make discoveries about their own.

Book: Centaur’s Wife by Amanda Leduc

Available on cloudLibrary, Pulse, or place a hold on a physical book copy. Curbside Pickup service is available.

New Tecumseth Public Library

Champion: Judy Penz Sheluk

A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of the bestselling Marketville Mystery and Glass Dolphin Mystery series. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans, Heartbreaks & Half-truths and Moonlight & Misadventure, which she also edited. Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors. She splits her time between Alliston and Goulais River, Ontario.

Book: Greenwood by Michael Christie

Available on cloudLibrary, Pulse, or place a hold on a physical book copy. Curbside Pickup service is available.

Ramara Public Library

Champion: Linda Lyons

After forty years of various occupations including office management, real estate brokerage, and community volunteer, Linda Lyons returned to formal education at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. While pursuing degrees in English and Creative Writing, she participated in multiple volunteer opportunities including the establishment of a library and learning center at a Mexican orphanage. Now fully retired and settled on the shores of Lake Simcoe, she putters about her “work-in-progress” home and garden and indulges her life-long passion of reading and writing.

Book: Indians on Vacation by Thomas King

Available on cloudLibrary, Pulse, or place a hold on a physical book copy. Curbside Pickup service is available.