Simcoe Reads

This summer seven Simcoe County Libraries have the opportunity to square off against each other and champion their book in our third annual Simcoe Reads! Join the participating libraries: Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Essa, Innisfil, Midland, New Tecumseth, and Ramara for this cover to cover conversation. 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 Jeanette Luchese as our Community Champion! Jeanette and the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library invite you to participate in Simcoe Reads this summer by reading and championing Innisfil’s book of choice, Not on My Watch by Alexandra Morton. Please join us for a virtual author talk with Alexandra Morton on Tuesday, August 9, from 6:30PM – 7:30PM.

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

Participate in Simcoe Reads
  • Join Innisfil’s champion, Jeanette Luchese , and our community in reading Innisfil’s book, Not on My Watch by Alexandra Morton.
  • Challenge yourself to read all of the Simcoe Reads book selections for 2022!
  • Write a book review to share with our community! Submit your review of Not on My Watch or any of the other six Simcoe Reads book selections on their bibliocommons page. Just make sure to include the hashtag #SimcoeReads2022 in your review! For each book review, you’ll receive one ballot entry for our prize draw, where lucky winners will receive a gift certificate to a local restaurant! Maximum of seven ballot entries per person.
  • Attend the Virtual Author Event with Alexandra Morton on Tuesday, August 9th at 6:30pm EDT. We also invite you to attend the Simcoe Reads Author Events being hosted by other participating libraries. 
  • Join us in September 2022 to see who will be crowned the winner, as our champions defend their books in a final event. 
Meet Our Champion: Jeanette Luchese

Jeanette Luchese, a first-generation Italian – Canadian settler, is a visual artist with roots in the design arts, and creates in the disciplines of drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture, and sound. Jeanette is a graduate of the School of Design and Visual Art, Georgian College (Barrie), and the Sheridan College School of Design (Oakville). Residing in Innisfil, she has exhibited internationally and regionally at numerous public galleries, including the MacLaren Art Centre (Barrie), Quest Art Gallery (Midland), and the Georgian College Campus Gallery, (Barrie). 

Read Not on my Watch by Alexandra Morton

In 1989, industrial aquaculture moved into British Columbia, chasing away the whales Alexandra Morton had dedicated her life to studying. Her fisherman neighbours asked her if she would write letters on their behalf to the government explaining the damage the farms were doing to the fisheries, and one thing led to another. Soon Alex had shifted her scientific focus to documenting the infectious diseases and parasites that pour from the ocean farm pens of Atlantic salmon into the migration routes of wild Pacific salmon, and then to proving their disastrous impact on wild salmon and the entire ecosystem of the coast.

Borrow Not on My Watch

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Meet Participating Libraries and Their Book Selections

Barrie Public Library

Champion: Claudine Cousins

A scholar, thought leader and community changemaker, Claudine Cousins is the Chief Executive Officer of Empower Simcoe, a human services organization.

Book: Can You Hear Me Now? by Celina Caesar-Chavannes 

Celina Caesar-Chavannes digs deep into her childhood and her life as a young Black woman entrepreneur and politician, and shows us that effective and humane leaders grow as much from their mistakes and vulnerabilities as from their strengths.

Available in our collection.

Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library

Champion: Meade Helman

Meade Helman lives in Bond Head with his wife, two cats and a dog. He has been many things throughout his lifetime: a restaurant manager, a senior executive, a management consultant, a school bus driver, a visual artist, a luthier, and, currently retired, focuses on music.

Book: Hench by Natalie Zina Walshots

A novel of love, betrayal, revenge, and redemption follows a young woman as she discovers that the greatest superpower–for good or evil–is a properly executed spreadsheet.

Available in our collection.

Essa Public Library

Champion: Krista White

Krista is a former executive recruiter who fell so hard for writing, stories soon consumed her every idle thought. A member of the Women’s Fiction Writing Association, her debut book, The Birdcage, was published in December 2022. Krista lives in Essa township with her steadfast husband, three enigmatic sons and her vegetable garden.

Book: Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

A dazzling, original novel of slavery and freedom, from the author of the international bestseller Half-Blood Blues. When two English brothers arrive at a Barbados sugar plantation, they bring with them a darkness beyond what the slaves have already known.

Available in our collection.

Midland Public Library

Champion: Suzanne Marchand

Suzanne Marchand is the Executive Director with the Centre de santé communautaire CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre, and is an active and engaged community member. She grew up on her family farm in Lafontaine and has raised her two children in the very same community she calls home.

Book: The Last High by Daniel Kalla

A Vancouver doctor and a detective face the deadly consequences of the opioid crisis as they track down the supplier of fentanyl that landed a group of teens in the ER with critical overdoses.

Available in our collection.

New Tecumseth Public Library

Champion: Shira Harrison McIntyre

Councillor Shira Harrison McIntyre has lived, worked and volunteered in New Tecumseth for over twenty years, contributing to the betterment of her community as Executive Director for Next Step: Literacy Council of South Simcoe, and through involvement in various town committees and boards.

Book: What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

What Strange Paradise is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair—and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.

Available in our collection.

Ramara Public Library

Champion: Linda Lyons

Dorothy MacDonald has had the good fortune to have had two very rewarding careers as a teacher.  One as a grade 2/3 classroom teacher and the second as an ESL teacher to mostly grade three students at Thorncliffe. It was a privilege to welcome newcomers to Canada and to help them develop the language skills to become confident, happy and contributing citizens of our country.

Book: The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

The Forgotten Home Child brings to the foreground a lost part of Canadian history — the children that were brought from British orphanages to Canada in order to have better opportunities in life. While the concept was great in theory, the reality was often gruesome for the children. This story follows 5 children from Barnardo’s Homes in London who were brought to Canada in the 1930s and placed into family homes across Ontario.

Available in our collection.