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More Books for Liberian Children

July 3, 2013

I knew the first time Gii-Hne Russell read his story “A Time to Bathe” during one of the workshops I conducted in Liberia that it would one day become a book Liberian children would love to learn to read for themselves. (That’s the point of the Reading Liberia program I became involved with in 2008.…

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What does "The Man with the Violin" really care about?

September 18, 2013

As my loyal followers know, “the man with the violin” in The Man with the Violin (now available) is Joshua Bell. As well as caring about making beautiful music, this virtuoso violinist also cares about doing what he can to ensure that kids have access to music education. In the postscript to the book, he quotes…

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Ontario Library Week

October 19, 2011

Can you remember the first book you borrowed from a public library? Mine was Saturday Walk by Ethel Wright. I borrowed it on a library card that was green and bigger than my current library card. Why would I remember that!? The book or the size and colour of my card?! Because it was a…

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Welcome Home, Soldiers

April 2, 2014

Since deciding in 2010 to donate a portion of proceeds of Highway of Heroes to Wounded Warriors, I’ve become even more aware of the importance of the work that the organization does to support soldiers who return home injured or traumatized and to their families. Stories of soldier suicides in recent months have underlined the…

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Why did Joshua Bell do it again?

October 8, 2014

According to a Washington Post article last week: 1. He hoped it would get people to stop asking him about his first Metro station concert that he did as part of a social experiment. I wonder if he’s been asked more often since the publication of The Man with the Violin which has attracted awards all over…

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Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

November 5, 2014

The most recent “pin” on my “C is for Causes” Pinterest board links to the website for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. I chose as its cover image a photo from the site that I hope will entice Pinterest browsers to look into it, look around the site, and decide to spread word about the…

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National Volunteer Week

April 8, 2015

Next week is National Volunteer Week — originally designated in 1943 to recognize “the vital contribution women made to the war effort on the home front”. Studies indicate that volunteers generally like to be thanked but I suspect that what matters most to many volunteers (like me) is the satisfaction of knowing one is making…

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Authors Support Indies Day

April 22, 2015

Saturday, May 2 is Authors Support Indies Day. It’s a great chance for readers to meet and chat with some of their favourite authors, who will be hanging out as “guest booksellers” in their local independent bookstores. Says one of Canada’s best known authors, Ann-Marie MacDonald, “Independent bookstores enrich our communities. They provide gathering places…

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Write for a Better World – Choosing a Winner

May 6, 2015

World Literacy Canada does some fine work “to promote literacy and foster a culture of global citizenship among Canadians”. I had the opportunity recently to judge stories by students in grades 5 to 8 who entered WLC’s “Write for a Better World” contest. Reading 20 of the hundreds of entries and narrowing them down to…

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A House with No Windows, No Mirrors

October 22, 2014

Imagine living in a house that had no windows and no mirrors. That’s what a house without books would be like. Books open windows onto worlds unlike our own and thereby create empathy for those living lives different from what we know. And by reflecting back to us our own experience of the world, books validate…

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