On a pink background, a dark maroon icon of a microphone and the text, Bridges Literary Festival.

Buried Treasure: Unearthing Family Stories that Make History

Join Janis Bridger as she introduces Obaasan’s Boots and connects her family’s story and experiences to a relatively untold local history. Kids and their families can hear some of the book, ask Janis questions, get her to sign their book copies, and pose for selfies, and learn how history is made from individual stories. This event is suitable for kids in grades 2-7 and their families.

About the Book

An illustration of a grandmother with grey hair and two little girls, altogether in a garden. The title reads, Obaasan's Boots.“They had everything taken from them because they were Japanese.”

Cousins Lou and Charlotte don’t know a lot about their grandmother’s life. When their Obaasan invites them to spend the day in her garden, she also invites them into their family’s secrets. Grandma shares her experience as a Japanese Canadian during WWII, revealing the painful story of Japanese internment. Her family was forced apart. Whole communities were uprooted, moved into camps, their belongings stolen. Lou and Charlotte struggle with the injustice, even as they marvel at their grandmother’s strength. They begin to understand how their identities have been shaped by racism, and that history is not only about the past.

New Westminster teacher-librarian and author, Janis Bridger, did not know about her family’s history in New Westminster until she and her cousin, Lara Jean Okihiro, started digging into their family’s history while writing their children’s novel. Their grandparents’ wedding guest book, archival phone directories and photographs, and stories from reunited family members helped reveal a dark chapter in Canada’s history.

About the Author

As a child, Janis wanted to be a nurse, paleontologist, accountant, architect, monster truck driver, and police officer. She did not become any of those and traveled through the South Pacific and Europe instead before earning a diploma in photography (Langara College) and working in the dark for a few years. She eventually found her way to teaching (Simon Fraser University) and stumbled into a position as a teacher-librarian and earned a Masters of Education in teacher-librarianship (University of Alberta). She continues to enjoy spreading the love of reading to all of the students she teaches.

Janis lives with her husband, three boys, and dog on the West Coast of Canada, not too far from where her maternal grandparents were forcibly removed in 1942 before being sent to an internment camp. When she finds a quiet moment, Janis enjoys reading, hiking, paddleboarding, poking around in the garden, cooking, making things, learning languages, and most recently, finding moments alone to write.


May 11 2024


11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Main Branch - Auditorium
716 6th Avenue New Westminster, BC, V3M 2B3


Youth Programs
QR Code