I am Canada: Celebrating the art of Canadian picture books

Readers of will know that I am passionate about children’s literature and the role it plays in supporting and promoting integration of newcomer children and their families. The blog has regularly featured picture books related to immigration, refugees, citizenship, anti-racism, and etc. I am happy to continue by promoting an exhibit launched yesterday by the Toronto Public Library on the Canadian picture book. The exhibit can be seen at the Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St, just north of Bloor St. It runs until January 21, 2018.
Content below taken from the TPL website:
I Am Canada: Celebrating Canadian Picture Book Art

Image credit: © 2017 Danielle Daniel
About the Exhibit
Hope, happiness, possibilities … home. What does Canada mean to you?
Children’s picture books tell many stories about what it is like to grow up in Canada. This exhibit celebrates the work of best-loved Canadian illustrators who bring these stories to life.
I Am Canada showcases original picture book art from Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books and the private collection of Scholastic Canada, which has been introducing young people to the joys of reading for 60 years.

From I Am Canada: A Celebration, © 2017 Barbara Reid
Guided Tours

Every Tuesday at 2 pm. Meet inside the TD Gallery. Drop in. No registration required.
To organize group tours or class visits, please contact:

From The Paper Bag Princess, © 1980 Michael Martchenko

From Jillian Jiggs, © 1985 Phoebe Gilman
Related Programming: I Am Canada Storytimes

Join us for stories inspired by growing up in Canada. Select dates feature special guests, Irene Luxbacher and Stella Partheniou Grasso.
Every Tuesday at 10 am
TD Gallery
To organize class visits, please contact:

From Caribou Song, © 2001 Brian Deines
From The Dragon’s Egg, © 1994 Frances Tyrrell
TD Gallery logo TD Gallery Sponor

July 30th ~ World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Sunday July 30th is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons ~ a few links with information, resources, and how you can help, with a special focus on the campaign of Save The Children
Save the Children
Child trafficking is a crime that exploits girls and boys for numerous purposes including forced labor and sex. Because child trafficking is lucrative and often linked with criminal activity and corruption, it is hard to estimate how many children suffer, but trafficking and exploitation is an increasing risk to children around the world. When human trafficking occurs, children are often trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation or for labor such as domestic servitude, agricultural work, factory work, mining or are forced to fight in conflicts”.
Some facts:

  • Human trafficking is a crime that exploits children.
  • Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking.
  • 98% of sexually abused survivors are women and children.
  • 168 million children are victims of forced labor.

Join Save the Children’s campaign to end girl child trafficking #ShesNotForSale
International Organization for Migration
“IOM works with governments, the private sector, civil society organizations, and other UN agencies to protect victims of trafficking and associated forms of exploitation and abuse; to prevent such abuses from occurring; and to support the development and implementation of policies aimed at the prevention and prosecution of these crimes and the protection of victims”. #EndHumanTrafficking

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
“On the 2017 World Day against Trafficking in Persons, UNODC calls on all to ‘act to protect and assist trafficked persons’. This topic highlights one of the most pressing issues of our time — the large mixed migration movements of refugees and migrants. The theme puts the spotlight on the significant impact of conflict and natural disasters, as well as the resultant, multiple risks of human trafficking that many people face. It addresses the key issue concerning trafficking responses: that most people are never identified as trafficking victims and therefore cannot access most of the assistance or protection provided”.
You can help! On July 30th, support a 24-hour crowd-funding campaign: United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking

Top 10 moments for immigrant and refugee children in Canada, 2015

10. Syrian refugee children are welcomed to Canada with a dedicated play area at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. #WelcomeRefugees starts trending! Shared by @viraniarif.
9. The 1000 Schools Challenge rallies Canadian schools to welcome refugee children. Shared by @SetAtWork.
8. StatsCan releases report on immigrant children’s performance in math vs. their Canadian-born peers. Research matters! Shared by @StatCan_eng.
7. Syrian refugee children: A Guide for welcoming young children and their families is released. Shared by @CMASCanada.
6. The UNHCR & COSTI holds a Human Rights Child & Youth Poetry Contest. Art matters! Shared by @marcopolis.
5. The 2015 Prosperity Index names Canada the most tolerant country in the world. Shared by @CGBrandonLee.
4. Forty-six visible minorities are elected in #Elxn42. If they can see it, they can be it! Shared by @Andrew_Griffith.
3. Canada elects a government with a self-proclaimed feminist prime minister, who creates a Cabinet committee on diversity and inclusion, puts refugees in the immigration portfolio, and who returns the multiculturalism file to Canadian Heritage.
2.Trent University recognizes child care champion Martha Friendly with an honourary PhD. Martha is an advocate for inclusive, culturally-appropriate child care and early childhood education for all children in Canada. Shared by @TorontoStar.
1. shares policy advice with new Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, The Honourable John McCallum. Shared by @immigranttalk. (Shameless self-promotion).

New cabinet of the new Trudeau government & an opportunity

New government! New opportunities! calls on Justin Trudeau, Minister for Youth, John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development to create an inter-ministerial committee to support and promote immigrant and refugee children’s healthy integration into Canadian society.

Top 10 Canadian immigration stories in 2012

2012 was an exceptionally busy year in the Canadian immigration system. Building on last year’s “Top 10 Canadian Immigration Stories of 2011,” Z Sonia Worotynec, Gregory Johannson, Bonnie Mah and Marco Campana present a similar top 10 list for 2012. For each story, we’ve provided a brief introduction, some background and related links and resources.
This year’s overarching theme: while 2011 was the year of consultations, 2012 was a year of change. It brought an explosive number of changes and proposed changes to the ways that Canada selects and treats immigrants, refugees and citizens as well as how we talk about immigrants and refugees. Multiple announcements and re-announcements from the Minister’s office made it challenging to figure out what changes had been made, what had been proposed only, and when changes or proposed changes would take effect.
1. Selection of Economic Class Immigrants
2012 brought big changes to the way economic-class immigrants to Canada are selected. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), often considered the backbone of Canada’s economic immigration, was the target of many of the proposed changes.
2. Refugee Reform
2012 witnessed the most significant reforms to refugee policy in Canada in at least a decade, encompassing legislative and policy changes. The most substantive reforms were passed in Bill C-31, An Act to Amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
3. Facilitating Temporary Residence and Two-Step Immigration
The trend towards temporary resident growth continued in 2012. In particular, a number of changes made it easier for employers to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada.
4. Conditional Permanent Residence
The government enacted a two-year period of conditional permanent residence on sponsored spouses. This could mark a precedent for a new, longer road to permanent status for future Canadians.
5. Focus on Security
The government took various steps in 2012 that can be seen as extending its “law and order” agenda to the immigration and refugee system.
6. Community Response to Immigration and Refugee Reform
Alongside political debate over Bill C-31 (and its predecessors), a more dynamic dialogue has taken place between community members, groups, the media and politicians. The increasing salience of this debate on both sides of the political spectrum is important for all Canadians.
7. Culture Clash?
The niqab has been a hot button political issue in Canada for some time. According to the CBC, the wearing of the niqab has “divided Canadians and even the Muslim-Canadian community, which debates whether the niqab has any religious significance under Islam.”
8. Public Discourse and Immigration
Immigration jumped to the fore of public discourse in 2012. It was a year when information and discourse about immigration was as exceptionally high as it was polarized.
9. Increased Selectivity in Who Becomes a Refugee
In public and political discourse, 2012 marked a departure from the concept of political neutrality in refugee claims. We saw significant politicization of refugeehood, and more common acceptance of the concept that the political realm should have a stake in who receives protection.
10. Citizenship Changes
2012 saw significant changes and proposed changes to Canadian citizenship.
For details on these top ten stories, visit the Maytree blog.

The language challenge from Maytree Canada

Yesterday I attended a local community forum, Dialogue on Diversity: Immigrant Civic Participation, sponsored by the Waterloo Immigration Partnership, Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The event was MC’d by Lucia Harrison, ED of the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre. The keynote speaker was the President of the Maytree Foundation, Ratna Omidvar.
Omidvar used her time well, bringing Alan Broadbent’s Three I’s of Integration (Investment, Intentionality, Instruments) to our attention, the Maytree’s Five Good Ideas project, to name only two. But it was her discussion about the language we use in Canada when discussing immigration that really caught my interest. We talk about multiculturalism, interculturalism, multiversalism, and the dreaded by almost all – tolerance.
Omidvar always has enlightening and thought provoking things to say about immigration and settlement, but I want to focus on a challenge she posed to those of us attending the forum. With regard to language, Omidvar proposed that the word integration is problematic – that is somehow diminishes the newcomer by subsuming her into the Other, new world she is settling in, that the accommodations made are made by the newcomer. Inclusion however is, according to Omidvar, a 2-way street and one that welcomes the participation of the newcomer (which was the point of the event: how to engage newcomer participation).
Those who come from the early learning and child care and family support sector have long been advocates of the word – and concept – of inclusion. For us, inclusion has always meant that ‘everyone belongs’: families with children with special needs, families and children living in poverty, Aboriginal children and families, immigrant and refugee children and families, urban children and families, rural children and families, children and families living in Northern and remote communities, etc. All children share the same rights of participation (see UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). So, we like this move in the immigrant/settlement community towards the language of inclusion. What do you think?
A number of years ago, the Laidlaw Foundation commissioned a series of reports on social inclusion for marginalized groups. It’s a joy to share these (PDFs) once again in the hopes they are useful in furthering the discussion about immigrant/newcomer inclusion (1 co-written by Omidvar):

Social Inclusion, Anti-Racism and Democratic Citizenship, Anver Saloojee (2003)
Immigrant Settlement and Social Inclusion in Canada, Ratna Omidvar and Ted Richmond (2003)
Social Inclusion as Solidarity: Re-thinking the Child Rights Agenda, Michael Bach (2002)
Social Inclusion for Canadian Children through Early Childhood Education and Care, Martha Friendly and Donna Lero (2002)

These papers addressing inclusion among marginalized and disadvantaged groups can help us support and promote the language of inclusion for newcomer children and their families. I urge you to re-visit them.

Feb 21st is International Mother Language Day

February 21st marks the UNESCO International Mother Language Day (IMLD).
International Mother Language Day (IMLD) was first proclaimed in 1999. It has been recognized since 2000 to promote languages of the world and is of special note to who see the day as recognition of the importance of maintaining a child’s first, or home, or ‘mother’ language. It is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of linguistic diversity and multilingualism.

“The language of our thoughts and our emotions is our most valuable asset. Multilingualism is our ally in ensuring quality education for all, in promoting inclusion and in combating discrimination.”
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Newcomer on the move: Promoting physical activity for young immigrant/refugee women

The Newcomer On the Move project is built upon the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) proven On the Move concept, which advocates for fun-filled, female-only programs where participants can build their skills and self-confidence.
Community-based On the Move programs provide participants with opportunities to try new sports and physical activities, visit and become familiar with community physical activity facilities and service providers, learn healthy living skills, and build a foundation for life-long healthy living.
A Newcomer on the Move workshop is being offered on Tues Feb 28, 1-4:30pm at the South Common Community Centre, Ivor Woodlands Room. From the announcement:
“The Newcomer On the Move workshop is an exciting opportunity to come out and learn how we can increase the participation of newcomer girls in sport, recreation, and physical activity.The Newcomer On the Move workshop is designed for anyone with an interest in the health and well-being of girls and young women who are new to Canada and would like to learn how to increase their participation in activities/recreation and sport programs.
“Following the workshop we will be creating an advisory committee and an exciting new initiative to help increase the participation of newcomer girls in sports and recreation.
“During this interactive Newcomer On the Move Workshop, participants will:

  • Learn about, Newcomer On the Move, and other programs and resources available from the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS).
  • Discuss the value of sport and physical activity for girls and young women, and the barriers they confront to their participation, with particular attention to the unique needs, interests and experiences of newcomers.
  • Hear about best practices, successes and challenges from your community and others across the country.
  • Gather practical tips and program ideas to engage inactive girls and young women and create positive programs that support their participation”.

See here for a complete list of workshops (that started in Jan 2012 and run to April 2012 .
RSVP to Heather Coupey, Community Development Coordinator, City of Mississauga, at 905-615-3200 x 3407 or by February 20, 2012.