Meet the Youth Ambassadors
United in their love of reading books and specifically, those published right here in Atlantic Canada, Digitally Lit Youth Ambassadors are a diverse group of critical and creative "digital natives" tasked with representing their peers from both rural and urban regions of Atlantic Canada.
Fun fact: I love trivia games, spicy food, and watching the news
My name is Alicia Maheux, I'm a 15-year-old homeschooled grade 10 student, living just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. I've moved around Canada, but I've lived in Atlantic Canada for the majority of my life.
I'm a kind, loving and caring person; I love animals, exercising, photography, writing, and of course reading. Some of my favourite genres of books are thriller, fantasy, realistic fiction, romance, and mysteries, but to be honest I don't think there's a genre I don't like. I really enjoy writing my own stories and helping my friends edit theirs. I like taking photos of nature and lightly editing them.
I'm a hard worker who enjoys spending time taking a variety of online workshops to learn new things and skills for life. I love exploring nature and local historic sites, I especially like learning the history behind them. In my opinion, I think history is the best class and or subject because you can learn how something came to be or how life would have been for you years ago.
I became a literacy champ because of my passion for reading, experiencing new books, and trying new things.
Fun fact: Both my arms are double jointed, so I NEVER need a back-scratcher!
My name is Andre Fenton, and I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For me, home is where the water is. So living in a coastal city has always filled my heart in the right ways.
As well as being a writer, I am also an arts educator, and have experience mentoring young people and helping them build their craft. As I navigate through this industry, I feel that it’s important to give back, by helping young up-and-coming writers and poets find their voice.
I am thrilled to be part of this great team of like-minded readers and writers. Being a Youth Ambassador is an important opportunity to help build bridges, and work towards having more people feel inspired by books.
I am a world traveller, and I have been to thirty-seven countries and territories and counting. One of my goals is to be the youngest person to travel to every single country!
Hello! My name is Ariela White, and I am 13! I live right on the Bay of Fundy in the beautiful province of New Brunswick, enjoying everything it has to offer! I was originally born in Ontario, but now I live in Uptown Saint John.
I’ve always loved reading, and as a youth ambassador I hope to share my love of books with everyone! Yay!
I also love the idea of getting to promote local Atlantic Canadian authors, because I hope to be one of them soon! (Yes, that means I’m writing a book. It’s gonna be fiction, those are my favourite books!) Besides reading I also love art, and swimming! I’m training to be a lifeguard one day!
FUN FACT: Local author Daphne Greer once named a character after me in her book Camped Out.
My name is Alden Gibbon and I currently live in Hillsvale, NS.
I'm originally from New Glasgow, but now reside in a tiny community just outside of Windsor, where I'm surrounded by all the nature I could ever want.
I've been a part of multiple leadership programs/groups, such as WE Day Atlantic and PASTE, a group that organized events for the school it was part of. I'm also in something called Teens4Change, which is a smaller group looking to make the world a better place with acts of kindness, fundraising and larger projects to spread positive messages.
I'm a tutor and an ardent reader, and I play the french horn as well as the trumpet.
As a Grade 10 French immersion student, I'm looking forward to connecting with youth in both languages.
FUN FACT: I’ve studied English, French, Spanish, and Latin!
My name is Claire Bennet, my pronouns are she/her, and I am from Halifax, Nova Scotia!
I have always loved words, ever since I first learned to read. That love has only grown as I’ve gotten older, manifesting itself in my dictionary collection (if anyone has an extra copy of the 1934 edition of Merriam Co.’s New International Dictionary, let me know), and leading me to study English and Creative Writing at university. I have also had my poetry and short fiction printed in Fathom and The Coast.
In addition to reading and writing, I love to try out new recipes and perform with the activist arts organization Choirs for Change.
FUN FACT: I am currently learning italian!
Hi! My name is Darby Gibbon, and I'm currently living in Wellington, in beautiful Nova Scotia. I’m a grade nine student at Lockview highschool, in the french immersion program. So I'm looking forward to connecting with youth in both languages.
I’ve always loved reading, writing, art, and of course nature! Growing up in Nova Scotia I fell in love with two things: reading, and nature around me. The words flowing from a book’s pages into my mind and creating a picture seemed like magic. Along with going on hikes, swimming, and camping, nature quickly became my happy space. So of course, my favorite spot to read is anywhere outdoors, especially when the sun is out. Canoeing and seeing the beauty of Atlantic Canada is another one of my favorite things. Some of my other interests are playing guitar, singing and collecting vinyl records. I love music! (if you can't tell).
FUN FACT: I play 7 instruments with the cello as my main one. The others include piano, guitar, clarinet, violin, trombone, and ukulele.
My name is Ellie Wilson and I live in Moncton, New Brunswick.
I'm from a small community on the outskirts of Moncton, where I am surrounded by nature. I've grown up a fervent reader, which led to my love of language (I’m also a French Immersion student!) writing, acting, and public speaking. I enjoy playing different musical instruments and painting.
Being a Youth Ambassador allows me to share my love of reading, and inspire other youth through social media to check out great Atlantic Canadian books!
FUN FACT: Stephen King is my favourite author! He has 80 books published, and I've read 71 of them!
My name is Emily Hunter, I am 17 years old, my pronouns are she/her, and I live in the lovely province of Prince Edward Island! I’ve lived in a small farming community on Prince Edward Island my whole life, and I work part-time on the weekends at a small town grocery store. While English is my first language, I have a decent hold on the French language, and I’ve always wanted to learn ASL.
I am a hardworking, dedicated, and spirited person; I love keeping myself busy. I have many pets, I love animals, and I love being in and around nature. I absolutely love horror movies, and horror books are my favorite genre. While reading books is great, I also collect them, and my collection is one of my most prized possessions. I am also a big history buff, and local history fascinates me to no end!
Having the opportunity to work with such amazing folk through the Digitally Lit program is an opportunity I could not pass up! I’ve always been passionate about Maritime life and supporting local, and this wonderful position will let me connect with peers my age with similar interests and hobbies!
FUN FACT: I've been playing basketball for over 10 years!
Hello! I am a homeschooled student living in Atlantic Canada. I fell in love with reading early on, and it’s been a passion of mine ever since. Aside from reading and writing, I love to play the piano, practice basketball, and digitally edit photos and videos.
I’m an avid reader, and the library’s always been like my second home. My grandma used to be a librarian before I was born. I also remember helping my mom volunteer at our local library when I was 6. Even my cat loves books (well, sitting on them at least!) I guess the love of books runs in the family!
One of my favourite quotes by Barack Obama is “Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible.” And while I love all kinds of books, one of my favourite book genres is autobiographies. I speak English and Arabic and have used my bilingual skills, through different volunteer opportunities in the past, to help make a difference. I’m also learning French and Turkish. One of the things I’m most looking forward to when it comes to being a Youth Ambassador is to continue contributing in ways that are meaningful to me and discovering new books and authors. I hope to inspire more people to read books. I believe that reading, at any age, is essential to creating and leading a bright future.
FUN FACT: I love collecting things. I don’t just read books, I collect them.
My name is Jessica Parsons and I currently live in Halifax, NS.
I grew up on the other side of the harbour in Dartmouth and have just moved back after living in Vancouver, BC for the past three years.
They say you never miss something until it’s gone and that’s how I felt about Atlantic Canada. Moving away gave me the distance to see the wonderful history, culture, and people that live here and just how unique we are to the world. I have always loved stories; reading them, writing them, daydreaming them on long car rides. Being a Youth Ambassador means being able to celebrate and showcase the talented creators that come out of the areas I call home and understand the experiences and stories of different viewpoints around me. In doing this I hope to create a space where books can bring people of all backgrounds together under the canopy of where we live to broaden our ideas of what it means to create in Atlantic Canada.
FUN FACT: I design graphics and carve them on rubber to make stamps.
I was born in Beijing, China. My family and I moved to Canada when I was nine years old. I've participated in various writing, debating and creative development activities through the Moncton-based non-profit The Frye Academy, including their local "Budding Writers” program, Creative Writing Contest and book debating activities.
And while I love all kinds of literature, I also consider myself to be “digitally” creative and proficient with technology. For example, I’m adept in Adobe Suite programs. I also design and develop websites as well as various iOS applications.
I love making new friends, so if you have any questions or even just want a book suggestion, please drop me a line on my social media. Also, I am fluent in both English and Chinese, so a message in either language would be great.
FUN FACT: I am a competitive curler and I have represented PEI at four national events!
My name is Katie Shaw and I hail from Prince Edward Island.
Growing up in PEI, I have a deep appreciation of the beauty and culture of Atlantic Canada. I have been an avid reader all my life and am thrilled to have the chance to enjoy Digitally Lits' partner selection of East Coast writing!
As a French Immersion student, I look forward to connecting with others and sharing the books I read… maybe even eventually in both official languages!
FUN FACT: I am currently trying to teach myself Korean
Hi, My name is Kamara Izzard and I was born and raised in Nova Scotia.
I have always loved books. Even before I could read, I loved nothing more than story time--having someone else read to me. These days, my favourite part about reading is how books can open our minds up to experience, empathize with and learn multiple perspectives.
I also feel it’s important to see ourselves reflected in the books we read, so when I heard about Digitally Lit’s focus on books with local themes and authors, I knew I wanted to be a part of the organization
In addition to reading, I also love to create art.
FUN FACT: While I have no hearing impairment I am fluent in American Sign Language. I also play the flute, piano and I curl!
My name is Kaylee Harding, and I live in a small community called Ellershouse in Nova Scotia!
I adore both reading and writing. I love the lure of a good book and the late nights I stay up reading. In 2018, I wrote an essay for the Legion Remembrance Day contest, and ended up winning third in my division for the whole country!
I spend a great deal of my time reading and writing in different genres. However, Atlantic Canadian books will always hold a special place in my heart. There’s just something about reading the amazing books from authors in Atlantic Canada. They have so much success, it’s really inspiring.
FUN FACT: I was a gymnast (in both artistic and power tumbling) for 12 years, and I competed on team Nova Scotia at competitions across the country!
My name is Lauren Stevens and I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
I lived in Halifax up until 2016, when I moved to Toronto to do my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, where I am still studying, though I am often back and forth between Toronto and Halifax.
I’ve been a part of the bookstagram and book blogging community since 2015, in which I have worked with various international book publishers to promote and review young adult books, so I am very excited to continue this type of work by being a Youth Ambassador!
FUN FACT: I have pet chickens, I love to kayak, I sew, I am an old soul and I recently learned how to knit
My name is Molly Powers and I live in a beautiful community called Paradise in Newfoundland and Labrador, located just outside of St. John’s. In addition to being the most easterly point in North America, our province is widely known for its rich culture, musical heritage, kind-hearted souls and of course its scenic views and delicious food. It is full of poets, authors and artistic talent known all around the world.
As a French Immersion student, I have long enjoyed reading and writing in both our nation’s official languages. l enjoy hanging out with friends. I also love trying new things like setting a vegetable garden with my family, baking, and playing different musical instruments.
Being a Youth Ambassador empowers me to connect with other youth through social media and inspire them to read works by local Atlantic Canadian authors.
FUN FACT: I've gone white water rafting and hiked up two mountains!
My name is Moriya Boyle, and I was born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick!
I am 16 years old and attend Moncton High School. Je suis même bilingue!
Beginning at a young age I fell in love with reading, which soon sparked my passion for public speaking, writing and language! Snuggling up in a warm blanket, drinking hot cocoa and indulging in a good book sounds like a relaxing Sunday evening to me! I enjoy playing instruments and performing in musical theatre. I am beyond grateful and delighted to be a part of such an extraordinary project!
FUN FACT: I can move my ears!
Hi my name is Naequan Beals. I am 13 years old, and I live in Dartmouth, Nova scotia.
Just recently during quarantine I started to read books, and I absolutely love it. Before my love for reading sparked, every single time I heard the word book(s) I would make noises such as “ughh” or “no.” But now that I actually took time out of my day to finally read a book, every single time I heard the word “book” I am filled with energy and excitement. The reason I love reading is because it makes you feel all these different emotions. Whenever I read an action book I feel really jittery and anxious to know what is going to happen next. Same goes with mystery books (which is my favorite) I feel like I am an investigator trying to figure out what is happening and or going to happen.
What I like to do when I’m not reading is to learn something new whether it be a new skill or a new trick. I love learning new things. I like to play video games, write, watch anime and play sports. And being a youth ambassador lets me connect to other people around my age with the same interests as me.
FUN FACT: I love creating and inventing and I most recently was able to ‘build’ a cotton candy machine using a tin can!
Hi, my name is Nolan Lohnes. I’m 15 years old and attend Bayview Community School. I live just outside of Mahone Bay Nova Scotia with my parents, my twin brother, and my dog, Dallas.
I’ve been a Youth Leader with the YMCA Leadership Program for the past four years doing volunteer work and fundraising and I also volunteer at my school’s mentorship program.
I have recently started a small business called “Nolan’s Candy Cave”, making and selling various flavors of taffy and rock candy. I’ve always been an avid reader and I’m very excited to be chosen as a Youth Ambassador for Digitally Lit.
I look forward to sharing the books I read with others.
FUN FACT: As a cat person, I tend to be one of the first people other cat owners turn to when they need someone to cat sit.
My name is Oliver Hallett and I live in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
While I was born in Ontario I've spent most of my life in Newfoundland, and I'm quite happy that I grew up here. I've been an avid reader from a young age, which led to me getting involved with multiple creative fields - most notably writing and acting.
Many of my friendships got off the ground due to us enjoying the same books, and analysis of the stories we engage with is a regular topic of conversation.
Over the past few years, I've been engaging more and more with the local arts scene and I'm excited to expand that to include what I'm reading during my time as a Youth Ambassador.
FUN FACT: I’m bilingual and also know sign language!
Hi! My name is Savannah Ferris and I was born and raised in Salisbury, New Brunswick!
When I first heard about Digitally Lit I knew I wanted to be apart of their awesome organization. Being a Literacy Champion lets me share my love of reading with youth all over Atlantic Canada! I love how we read books published by local authors in our region as it gives me more chances to connect with people near me. Also, it gives me a chance to read books I wouldn’t normally choose!
I fell in love with reading at a young age and it has stuck with me for all 15 years of my life. As a child, you could always find my nose in a book or writing stories.
FUN FACT: I have once hatched a quail egg using a homemade cardboard box incubator that I made.
My name is Shaheer Muhammad. I am 14 years old and I currently live with my parents and three brothers in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Around the same time my love for reading sparked, I also discovered a passion for writing. I have joined a variety of afterschool programs for writing and the arts at the MacPhee Center as well as my local community center. This is why I am so excited to be a youth ambassador: I get to combine my passion for reading, writing and the arts under one position.
also like to play sports, play board games, and make short comics. I speak both English and Urdu fluently. I also know some French and how to read Arabic.
Being a youth ambassador allows me to connect with other people and inspire them to read books written by Atlantic authors.
FUN FACT: As an active member of both choral and solo singing communities most all my life, I’ve already trained in Dublin and performed at both the Vatican and Disneyworld!
Hi Everyone! My name is Siobhan Armstrong (Pronounced sha-vaun for anyone wondering ;) ), and I guess you could say I’m an Islander through and through! I was born and raised on Prince Edward Island and have a deep love for my home province.
I am an English speaker but have a decent knowledge of French under my belt. I am a senior in high school currently striving towards a career in wildlife conservation. I have always been passionate about nature and keeping it protected for future generations!
In my spare time, there is nothing I love more than writing. Especially poetry. Writing is a wonderful outlet that has brought me so much joy throughout the years. One of my goals as a youth ambassador is to encourage budding writers out there to share their work. There are so many talented people here in Atlantic Canada and I would love to help showcase their stories. I am so excited to be representing P. E. I. as a youth ambassador and can’t wait to share my journey with you all!
FUN FACT: Besides English, I am also fluent in Pashto and Urdu!
Hi, my name is Zaid Hassan. I am a 14-year-old student currently living with my parents and siblings in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. My love for reading is not always how it used to be. I was the most inadequate reader in my friend group. I started going to my local library to check out some books to practice my reading. A year after that, I became a sufficient reader and used to go to the library weekly to get new books. Ever since then, I have been reading steadily on my own with no looking back. My love for reading made me wonder why I wasn't writing my own stories, so my friends and I started brainstorming plots for our short stories. We have written many short stories and are now making comics! I also enjoy participating in other programs at my school, and the MacPhee Centre programs. When I am not reading, I enjoy making YouTube videos.
As a Youth Ambassador, I can use my skills online and my communicating skills to encourage and inspire people to read books published by Atlantic Authors.