An experienced presenter who has been speaking at schools and libraries since 1994, Sue Farrell Holler’s presentations are interactive, engaging and often humorous.
“My presentations aim to honour First Nations culture and tradition while providing a sense of hope. My book ‘Lacey and the African Grandmothers,’ is set on the Siksika First Nation, which is just east of Calgary, and tells the story of how a young girl uses her talents to help women in Africa who are raising their grandchildren because the parents are sick with, or have died of, AIDS,” says Sue. It is a story of hope as Lacey tries to help both the African grandmothers and her sister, a teenaged mother who seems to be sinking into dispair. The story shows how one person – even if that person has difficulties of her own – an find ways to help others. It is inspired by a true story.
Her picture books also have Alberta settings and a basis in fact. Both are stories set in rural Alberta that demonstrate the loving relationship between a mother and child as they do ordinary activities, such as going to the post office and going to the pool.
Elements in all three books work especially well with the social studies curriculum.
“I try to keep all my presentations interactive as I love to launch into anecdotal stories based on questions from children and adults.”
Her presentations provide validation for First Nation’s students and cultural awareness for those who are not. As an introduction to ‘Lacey,’ she re-tells the First Nations’ legend of the ‘White Buffalo Calf Woman.’ It is a story of hope and peace. She brings a First Nation’s hand drum made by a young Siksika man and painted with the story of the white buffalo legend. She also brings a smudge bowl, and slides of the real places in the novel, and of the real people who inspired it.