Writer in Focus: Kelly Foxton
A library is a place where you can get thousands of perspectives under one roof. - Kelly Foxton, Author, Isaiah W. Wilson Memorial Library, Digby, NS
I’m a wildlife artist; I live in Bear River, Nova Scotia and just recently put out a children’s book that I’m author and illustrator of. It’s called Mother Nature Knows. It has seven nature teachings in it. Parents and teachers can use it to help kids understand the issues that the animals are facing.
Is this your first time doing a reading in a library?
Yes, the first time in the library. It’s a natural place for me to be doing this, surrounded by books.
Can you share a memory from your first library visit?
My first and most exciting memory was the public school library. The librarian was very proactive in including the kids in contests and programs. I entered the contest as an illustrator and won! It was about fire and teaching kids how to exit a building safely. It was educational, and I won a book, which I still have!
What has the library taught you?
Well, to be quiet and let other people concentrate. It was a place to study, learn, and educate yourself. I associate it with data gathering. Growing up I didn’t use a computer for information--I went to the library and pulled books off the shelves. I went to the library and gathered my information from there. It taught me how to interpret that into my own words. There’s always a place of reflection. Whenever I walk into a library I feel a sense of calmness. It’s like coming home.
Has the library evolved over time?
I think there’s more of a sense of outreach, in response to the fact we’re a technological age. Everyone I know loves his or her books, and perhaps it’s a little less quiet in libraries. There tends to be less strict rules and it’s more of a community space now, much more relaxed.
How is the library a community space?
I think events like the one tonight, inviting local authors and illustrators to come in and connect person to person with the people that we live with. Having the children in is exciting, as they don’t have a lot of opportunities to come face to face with people like me in their community. Libraries are safe havens that are inspiring. There are so many opportunities to do interesting things. This library in particular makes me want to spend more time here. There’s so many things you can do here that connects people, whether using the computer or meeting people.
Describe the library in three words:
Inspiring, reflective and opportunities.
What’s the library’s role in creating storytellers?
We need person-to-person contact--we need each other. We need to listen, process information, and learn how to respond. As a storyteller, I try to engage the audience in what we’re talking about. The messages I talk about are meaningful and speak to everyone as they’re nature based. The library is one place where we can make person-to-person contact in a safe and friendly environment.
What is your favourite book?
As a child it was the Root Cellar, it was a story about a little girl who lived in a farm house and found a root cellar. When she entered she came out in a different time and place. I loved that book because it caused you to think outside the box and also about our connection to history... the history of the land, walking the same path that people walked 500 years ago. I loved that book for that. Most recently I read a lot of children’s books, I love the book In A Nutshell. Of course I would also recommend Mother Nature Knows!