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Kids tackle tough questions at the Downtown Milton HolidayFest

Parents at the Downtown Milton HolidayFest beheld their young children begging for books on philosophy, epistemology, politics, and (understandably) Yetis. The festival, held the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 27 on Main Street East, hosted the book-selling booth where Amy Leask autographed paperbacks at the request of thrilled kids. Leask is the writer, educator, and passionate philosopher who founded Red T media, on a mission she describes as "helping young minds find joy in big thoughts." It's Red T's first year featured as part of Milton's HolidayFest. The annual gathering had taken a hiatus during 2020 but ran this year with relevant COVID-19 precautions in place.

At the event, passerby perused Leask's catalogue of kid-friendly stories that tackle tricky themes. Where is the difference between music and noise? If you don't like the world, how do you change it? What qualities make us human beings? Debates like these, in addition to hypotheses on empirical reasoning, morality, and the environmental crisis, may seem better left to grown-ups. "Most people think that philosophy is something people did in togas two thousand years ago, or that academics do," Leask mused, trying to explain philosophy is reinventing itself, "There are people worldwide who do philosophy with kids, with inmates, with seniors, or at community events. A lot of philosophers have realized: everybody needs this -- we all need to know how to think, to be critical of things, to communicate better, to put together arguments, to disagree peacefully."

The books are made locally from conception to publication. "There's a lot of talent locally in Milton, and Halton in general. There are a lot of people with experience in writing and illustrating and producing, so it's not difficult to find people and we've had really great luck. Our illustrators have all been from the GTA and, recently, all from Halton," Leask said. They're currently looking for more illustrators to work with.

Leask, a parent herself, knows adults have to be engaged in the learning process before they expect their children to be. "I'm also playing with the idea of doing more parent-centric material," she said, "With Red T, there's always a new set of videos out, or new apps. A lot of them are coming out before Christmas." If you want to witness the magic in person, catch Red T at the Georgetown holiday market on December 4th.


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