Local author, Ann Walsh’s newest book, Whatever, has been nominated for the Chocolate Lily Award.
The Chocolate Lily Young Reader’s Choice Awards is a non-profit program set up to encourage B.C. children to read and enjoy books written by authors who also live in B.C. The awards are chosen by reader’s choice.
Whatever was published by Ronsdale Press in 2013.
“Although most of my novels for young readers are historical fiction set in Barkerville during the gold rush, Whatever, takes place in the the present and deals with the subject of restorative justice,” Walsh says.
“I became a facilitator for the Williams Lake Community Council for Restorative Justice a few years ago, and have learned a great deal about how this valuable process works.”
In Whatever, Walsh says her heroine, Darrah, makes a serious mistake and, after being charged by the RCMP, goes through a Restorative Justice circle.
Her sanctions (consequences) decided on at the circle, include having to help Mrs. Johnson, the older woman whom Darrah inadvertently harmed by her thoughtless actions.
Mrs. J. teaches Darrah how to cook, and some of the recipes they make together are included in the book. There is also a love interest — Mrs. J.’s grandson, Robin.
“I am delighted that, through the Chocolate Lily Reader’s Choice nomination for Whatever, young people and their teachers will learn about the RJ process,” Walsh says.
She quotes a short definition of restorative justice as “…an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of the victims and the offenders, as well as the community, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender…”
More simply, it is a way of getting all the involved parties together under the guidance of a trained facilitator to repair, as much as possible, the harm that has been done.
In Williams Lake, she says there are about 30 volunteers who facilitate a resolution between a victim and an offender without involving the court system.
She says the Williams Lake group holds regular training sessions and anyone interested in participating in the program should contact David Dickson at the RCMP for more information.
Walsh, a retired teacher herself, says there is also a teacher’s activity guide for Whatever that can be downloaded free from the publisher’s website, http://ronsdalepress.com/books/whatever/
She says the activities focus on the restorative justice process versus the court process for the same scenario, and were put together by Sandra and Rod Hawkins.
Teachers who wish to enrol their classes in the Chocolate Lily Young Reader’s Choice Awards program can do so at w.chocolatelilyawards.com. More information about Walsh’s books books can be found on her website, annwalsh.ca.