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Children’s Book Market a treasure trove

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Do you need some summer reading books for the cottage? Have you been searching for that special cookbook you lost years ago? Is there a new novel that you would like to purchase at a reasonable price?  If so, you should visit the Children’s Hospital Book Market.

The book market began 54 years ago as a way to raise funds for research and projects for the Children’s Hospital. To date, the organization has raised over $7 million for the cause. That translates into a lot of sold books.

There are three book sales throughout the year. The September and February sales last three days and the spring sale lasts five days.

The next sale of the year will be held from Wed., April 30 until Sun., May 4, at St. Vital Shopping Centre.

During the upcoming sale, both soft and hardcover books will be available. There are many different genres — children’s, fiction, non-fiction, mystery, biography, Canadiana, sports, art, cooking, and hobbies are just some of the choices. The average book price is between $1 and $4

The book market always accepts donations. Books should be in good condition. Encyclopedias, Reader’s Digest and weekly magazines are not accepted. Donations can be dropped off at any fire hall or at Dufresne Furniture.

The book market also needs volunteers. Currently there are about 350 who work weekly, sorting and pricing books. Others work only at the book sales.

Sheila Hirt, chair of the organization, emphasizes that this is a labour of love. Volunteers love books and are devoted to the cause. According to Sheila, one of the most gratifying experiences is when a customer takes the time to share their pleasure in finding a particular book.

This reminds me of my own special book market experience. Ten years ago, while browsing among the tables of books, I discovered a thin paperback novel titled Up the Road Slowly. Suddenly I was transported back to 1970. At the time, I had just started Grade 9 in a new school and did not know anyone. One girl asked me if I would partner with her to work on a project for the novel we were studying and that is how I met my best friend.

Thirty years later, I bought the novel (for 50 cents!) and sent it to my friend who was living in Barbados at the time. Such is the power of books.

If you would like to volunteer for the organization, you can phone 204-783-1125, or better yet, attend the book market and sign up there.

Remember to mark your calendars — April 30 until May 4. You never know what treasures you will find!

Joanne O’Leary is a community correspondent for Riverbend.

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