Outside the library of Halifax's most diverse elementary school, a great big bulletin board was decorated with a funny-gross-out WELCOME KATE INGLIS. Witches! Magic! Creepy-crawlies! Unicorns! Zombie-unicorns! One of the kids said Nope, I don't need lines and awwww. Lovey-zombie.
Four sessions of dozens of kids in one day. It always starts off the same: What's the biggest library rule?
BE QUIET they say, in that obedient sing-songy chorus. One kid in the back says NO FLYING SIDE KICKS.
What do you think—should we break it?
We say, all together, with big smiles: EWWWWWWWWWW HA HA HA
This is how you play soccer when you're a skeleton and you score with your own head.
The kids at this school speak more than 28 different languages. Tucked into a sweet little forested gully in a pocket of the city that's rich with immigrant and refugee families from Russia, Eritrea, Nepal, and countless other faraway places, you hear Farsi, Mandarin, Nepalese, or Swahili in the halls. Some of the kids are quiet and a bit hesitant. A few of them have eyes that seem older than they should.
One of them, just arrived from Syria, came into the class with big headphones, a translation app, and a helper. Through the intro he had a quizzical look on his face. He twisted the headphones for one open ear and one aided, every now and then bunching up his eyebrows, then a pause, then a little nod. I looked at him a few times—looking at him looking at me. Thinking about eyes. Thinking about the rarity, in upside-down places, of goofing off. Every kid knows what it is to play with power. A stuck-out tongue and a growl is a crack-up that's bigger than language.
GIRL, YOUR ZOMBIE IS ON-POINT:
Poppy! She's a superhero! Yeaaaah!
After a school reading, I'm beat. My voice is hoarse and I wake up the next day hobbled as an old crone. The energy! To keep their attention! For a long time! When they're all so shouty! But it's a dream. It gives back so much.
It's going to be this times ten at the launch party for If I Were A Zombie on Saturday, May 21 from 2-4 PM at the sparkly and amazing new Halifax Central Library. I can't wait!
I went there the other day and wandered around with a great big grin—then straight to Nimbus to talk monster party plans. We'll have caricatures, make-up and costume stations, a parade, music, gross-out snacks, and of course, zombies. Lots and lots of friendly neighbourhood zombies, with loads of space to roam. Paul O'Regan Hall! The big-time!
Until then, Woozles has a fresh stack of signed books. Want a personalized signed copy for your very own Julie or Gerry? Call Woozles! 1-800-966-0537! Give them your instructions, and I'll pop in to sign. They shop internationally from Halifax's own Spring Garden Road. Monsters await!