Book of the Month – September

Our Book of the Month (BOM) for September is “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen!

Welcome the new school year with this classic Canadian novel.  On the way to visit his father, Brian’s single-engine plane crashes in the wilderness. Brian must learn to survive with nothing more than a torn windbreaker and a hatchet. Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet” is a thrilling account of one boy’s harrowing tale of survival. Read this spellbinding novel with us!


1) Write us a review (#BookBankReads) and we will post it to our blog

2) Tweet your thoughts on our choice to @bookbankcanada using the hashtag #bookbankreads

3) Follow @thechildrensbookbank on Instagram and post a picture of yourself reading using the hashtag #bookbankreads

Volunteer Spotlight – Meet Inga!

Inga is a long-time volunteer and friend of The Children’s Book Bank. Always ready with a quick-witted book review, Inga’s passion for books is infectious.  Inga, along with our other volunteers, help make The Children’s Book Bank the magical place it is. Here’s some words from Inga about her time at the Book Bank:

People often refer to volunteering as “giving back”.  I have never understood that expression.  As a six year volunteer with The Children’s Book Bank I find that I get so much given to me!

I get to find the perfect little board book for a very small first time visitor.

I get to introduce an older child to a new series, and then see them the following week, excitedly asking “please do you have book 2” – and then I get to find it for them!

I get to meet parents who are new to Canada, and talk to them about reading and books.  As a former refugee and immigrant myself, this means more than words can express.

I get to work with other “kindred spirits” who love books.   And, as many of them are former teachers and librarians, I am constantly challenged.

And there is so much more.

Plus, I get to read lots of amazing books!

Inga's favourite book character, Clementine.

Inga’s favourite book character, Clementine.

Book of the Month – August

Our Book of the Month (BOM) for August is “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle!

First published in 1963, “A Wrinkle in Time” is an award winning science fiction novel enjoyed by both children and adults. This classic story follows Meg Murry through time and space in an epic journey to rescue her father. Join us in reading this exciting (and controversial) tale!

“If I have something I want to say that is too difficult for adults to swallow, then I will write it in a book for children.” – Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time

1) Write us a review (#BookBankReads) and we will post it to our blog

2) Tweet your thoughts on our choice to @bookbankcanada using the hashtag #bookbankreads

3) Follow @thechildrensbookbank on Instagram and post a picture of yourself reading using the hashtag #bookbankreads

The Book Lovers’ Guide to Purging

Originally posted on Vikki VanSickle on Writing, Reading & Other Pipedreams:


Over the course of a year I amass a lot of books. I attend lots of book launches and have an endless appetite for new books, used books, novelty books, books I intend to use for research purposes for novels I want to write…and so on. What I don’t have is a lot of space. Perhaps the only thing I like as much as books is a tidy, well-ordered apartment.

Can a girl have it all, a massive library and a neat, efficient living space?

Yes, but it does require some purging. Like most book-lovers I am quite attached to my books; In fact, I am a secret sentimentalist. As a child I used to fret over which stuffed animal I would choose to sleep in my arms every night, worried I would deeply offend the others, relegated to the cold, lonely, end of the bed. Similarly, an irrational…

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Book of the Month – July

Let’s welcome summer with a super fun book about a mouse that finds adventure (and trouble) with the help of a toy motorcycle. Written in 1965 by beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary, “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” is a wonderful story about friendship and courage.


As part of the 2015 BOM Reading Challenge, don’t forget to:

1) Write us a review (#BookBankReads) and we will post it to our blog

2) Tweet your thoughts on our choice to @bookbankcanada using the hashtag #bookbankreads

3) Follow @thechildrensbookbank on Instagram and post a picture of yourself reading using the hashtag #bookbankreads

A Wedding Gift For The Book Bank

Something really different crossed our desk a few weeks ago, and since we’re heading right into the heart of wedding season, we thought we’d take a moment and share it with you. It’s a truly creative, unique and community-minded way of sharing in a wedding celebration—and in a way that brings a couple’s community a little closer to ours. We were so impressed with this idea that we asked them if we could share it on our blog! Take a look at what these amazing supporters of the Book Bank asked of their wedding guests, in their own words:

We are so happy that you will be coming to our wedding. Your presence, truly, will be gift enough for us. 

However, from the moment we decided to take the plunge, it was clear to us that this event might be more than just a way for our families and friends to celebrate as a community. We also hoped it could be a means by which our community might reach out in support of another one.

To that end, in lieu of a gift to us we are hoping that you will consider joining us in support of an organization whose mission and work we believe in. The Children’s Book Bank, based in Toronto. In particular, in support of its new project: Building Babies’ Brains, otherwise known as B3. Our search to find an organization with the right “fit” began with four key words: children; health; community; local. The Book Bank hit the target. On top of that, its focus on books and literacy registers deeply with both of us.

The chief focus of The Children’s Book Bank is to provide, at no cost, books to children who otherwise could not afford them. But our interest was really piqued by what we think is an exciting off-shoot of that work. Building Babies’ Brains – The Children’s Book Bank’s B3 project – comes out of pediatric research in both Canada and the U.S. which shows that reading to children at an early age is actually a matter of health. Research also indicates that this message is more deeply received and acted upon by families when it is delivered by primary health care providers, rather than by, say, social workers.

With that in mind, the Book Bank partnered with a local health clinic in Toronto’s Regent Park. It trained front-line nurse practitioners on the message and how to deliver it; CBB helped the clinic set up a literacy-friendly waiting room and, crucially, it delivered tote-bags with age-appropriate books for children, from newborns to age 5. It has proved such a success, the Book Bank is ready to expand it to benefit other communities.

This is where we can come in. The Book Bank has agreed to use any donations we raise to bring the program’s training, waiting room design and books to another downtown health clinic. This could propel the model even further. If you are interested, we have posted a link to a donations page. Again, thanks so much for making this day such a special one for the two of us.

Wow. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! And to this generous couple—we’ve been really honoured by your idea and your initiative. Thank you for the amazing support, and congratulations!

Thorncliffe’s “All About Books”

While we always look forward to class visits at the Book Bank, one visit this winter stands out from the others. In February, Ms. Scheifele’s grade 3 class from Thorncliffe Park School had a wonderful inaugural visit to the Book Bank. As soon as they walked in, many of these visitors commented on the welcoming feel of the book bank—if you haven’t been to the Book Bank, it is well worth a visit. After warming up and listening to a couple of stories read aloud by one of our volunteers, the students had a chance to choose a book they would like to bring home. Judging by their careful, informed selections, this is a class of avid readers.

Despite the fact that it was their first visit to 350 Berkeley Street, several of the children talked about knowing the book bank already. As they came to the desk to have their books stamped, many of the kids recognized our logo from books they have at home. One boy proudly told us the number of books in his home library, now increased by one. Another child even took a Rainbow Fairies book out of her backpack stamped, “This book is a gift from The Children’s Book Bank,” now with her name to show it belongs to her.


Although these students do not live near the Book Bank, they have regular access to books through the Homework Club run by our partner organization, the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office. They are one of four partners that help us distribute books across the city through our Books Beyond Berkeley Street program.

The Thorncliffe program is called “All About Books” and runs in the Ontario Early YearsCentre (OEYC) for the first half hour of their drop-in program held every Tuesday morning, Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. Here is how it works: the parents and children arrive, browse the selection of books displayed on the book shelf and trolley and sign out the books they are taking home—one book for each child in their household up to a maximum of four per visit.


In addition to their “All About Books” program, every Thursday the Thorncliffe OEYC also has a short Show ‘n’ Tell during circle time. The children bring a book they chose from the program and, depending on their age and ability, read it to the group, tell the circle what it’s about and why they like it or help the teacher turn the pages as she reads it aloud. As you can imagine, it’s one cute little book club!


Recently one of our book bank staffers visited the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office and spoke directly with the families and children accessing this new community resource. The families that were there, and there were MANY, were all overwhelmingly grateful that the book bank and the Thorncliffe staff were providing them with this “wonderful opportunity to take home and keep free children’s books.” A few kids spoke proudly of their growing home library collection complete with If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, Robert Munch books, Batman, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. At the book bank we couldn’t be more impressed with the good work being done in this community and are looking forward to a long partnership with the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office!