Seven people with ties to New Brunswick tell about their favourite Christmas or “winter season” stories this month. I’ll highlight a title every other day from now until December 25.

Here’s Patrick Lacroix, Executive Director of Elementary Literacy Inc.

What’s your favourite Christmas or “winter season” story, Patrick Lacroix?

My favourite winter book is Le chandail de hockey (The Hockey Sweater) by Roch Carrier.

Growing up in the ‘70s & ‘80s, the Montreal Canadiens were right up there with rock and movie stars. At home, Saturday evenings were spent watching the game. It was our obsession. I never played ice hockey, but I must have played hundreds of street hockey games in my neighbourhood. My idol was our goalie Ken Dryden. We all imitated the voice of TV announcers as we played.

As an elementary school child, I was not an avid reader, but one day, during school in the early ‘80s, the author Roch Carrier came to our little elementary school in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. He was engaging and a great storyteller. I immediately loved his children’s book Le chandail de hockey. This was a story I could relate to: a boy, obsessed with Rocket Richard, made to wear a Leafs sweater to play shinny.

To this day, I cringe when I hear sportscasters refer to hockey sweaters as jerseys.

Years later in Ottawa, attending Philip Lee’s Frank McKenna biography launch at the National Library of Canada, I had the chance to cross paths with Carrier. He was then our National Librarian.

You can watch the National Film Board short film about the book, and please read the book – even if you are a Leafs fan.

le chandail de hockey cover

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The New Brunswick Public Library Service stocks this title. Click the link to see if it’s available near you now. (You can also get most books shipped to your closest library, free of charge.)

Thank you to Patrick Lacroix! Follow him on Twitter: @PatLacroix and @ElemLiteracyNB.

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Written by Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen loves to teach children. He specializes in literacy (elementary level) and has a lot of fun creating games and activities for class lessons. He also writes, manages social media accounts and announces roller derby games.

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