For 17 years, Cecile Murray has opened the eyes of children to the world of books around them.
She’s helped them find classic Robert Munsch and beloved Goosebumps, and has helped them rediscover old tales, including Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and the If You Give A… series by Laura Numeroff.
Murray, 67, is one of the Rotary Book Sale’s veteran volunteers where she has been sorting children’s books and connecting children with books for years.
But she’s not a Rotary Club member.
She does it for the love of reading, she says.
Murray first got involved with the book sale through Rotary Anns, a now defunct club, that was comprised of Rotary members’ wives, before it was common for women to be Rotary members themselves.
“We were asked to look after the magazines for the book sale, and eventually that led into children’s books,” says Murray.
After Rotary Anns folded in 1999, “a couple of us just kept on going with it.”
For Murray, there was no question she would continue.
The avid reader, who almost always has a book on the go, ingrained a love of reading in her own three children, who then passed that love on to their children.
She has also regularly volunteered in the public library and school libraries.
“I’m quite an advocate for children’s reading,” she says. “My children are all avid readers through my efforts and now their children are through their efforts.”
And when she sees her teenage grandchildren choose books over computer games, it warms her heart.
These days, however, that’s often not the choice made.
“There are so many things out there taking children away from reading: computers, TV, movies, video games,” says Murray. “I strongly believe it is so important for children to read and for parents to still read to their children.”
And she believes her efforts with the Rotary Book Sale is helping to achieve just that.
This year’s children’s section will feature a wide selection of picture books, young reader books, junior and teen novels, activity books, comics, and more.
“One of the things I love most about doing this is, at the sale… being able to find a child something they haven’t read before and to see them happily wander off with a couple of treasures in their hands,” she says.
In addition to kids’ books, the sale will have thousands of other used books up for grabs, including best sellers, romance, Harlequins, mystery, war, western, and even a few collector editions. Records, CDs, DVDs and selected magazines will also be available. Prices will range from $1 to $5 for both fiction and non-fiction. Collector books are individually priced based on research.
The Rotary Book Sale runs from Oct. 16 to 22 at Chilliwack Mall.