Norva Landry, affectionately known as “Grandma Norva” to many Bentley school students, read the story the Polar Express to more than 40 of this year’s grades 1 and 2 kids on Dec. 20.
The pupils of Myrna Robinson and Joanne Simpson walked down from the elementary school to Westview Apartments where they were met by a congenial lady, a decorated Christmas tree and an inviting warm fireplace.
The children listened quietly, most sitting on the floor around her, while Landry sat in a story-reading chair beside the fireplace. Norva included a bit of a history lesson and a story or two of her own too when question period followed the story.
She has been reading regularly at the school library for more than 25 years.
She has always read the Polar Express at Christmastime after it became the school’s traditional story about 1986/87, about the time her grandson, Brett, started Grade 1. At that time she read to each class individually at the school library.
At other times, when she was more active in volunteering at the school, she read and told about other things at various times like for Remembrance Day.
She started reading to kindergarten and Grade 1 classes starting about 1983. At that time students would come to her house, which was right beside the school, near the end of the school term to hear a story. She has also given tours at the local museum to students and has helped with art classes at the junior high level.
This year the traditional Christmas reading was moved to Westview to better accommodate the 89-year-old story reader. She remembers reading at the school when her grandson was in school and says she is now reading to the kids of the kids she used to read to, and she still enjoys it just as much.
“I really like the kids,” she says smiling happily.
The children presented Landry with a special Polar Express gingerbread cookie and a bell-on-a-ribbon, representative of the bell in the story.
Teachers left with a treat from Norva for the kids to enjoy when they got back to class.