News and Events

December 2020 - As we near the end of 2020, we are reflecting back on the challenges we all faced this year. We started the year operating in 10 locations, with a team of 25+ amazing volunteers. March signalled the temporary suspension of our in-school programs as schools closed and everyone's health and safety became the top priority. Since March, we have been unable to visit schools in-person and our team has felt a huge sense of loss. However, as we are not allowed into schools, our regular programmes will have to remain on hold for a while longer. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will resume regular operations.

In the meantime, we have worked hard to find alternative ways to provide books to the children at our partner schools. We have offered schools the opportunity to "order" curated boxes of books for their students based on their reading levels and interests, or just have general boxes delivered and distributed by the teachers. This fall, we have been delivering books to five schools: Xpey', Graham Bruce, Thunderbird, Tillicum, and Admiral Seymour. Thank you to the staff at each of the schools for stepping in to ensure their children are still receiving books. Since September, we have distributed over 600 books.

We will continue to work with our partner schools to find creative ways to ensure children have the opportunity to select books for themselves. This is our mission as we believe strongly in the importance of children having books, and the link to literacy. 2021 signals the beginning of a new year, and optimism about life returning to something more familiar. Thank you to our donors, our volunteers, and our community for the opportunity to continue the work that we believe so passionately in.

August 2018 - On August 25th, board member, Shar Levine, threw a small fundraiser for Books For Me! Bands played, dogs howled and guests opened their hearts and wallets to sponsor one of our locations. In addition to heaps of smoked brisket and smoked chicken, guests dined on fabulous platters of bao, rice noodle salads and quinoa dishes generously donated by BAO DOWN at UBC. Although Shar says this is the last of her big parties, we know she will be doing this again next year.

How many free books have been chosen by Vancouver-area children in Books for Me! programs since October 2011???

View the answer

In 2017 Books for Me! received "The 2017 Corporate Good Neighbours Award" from the Association of Neighbourhood Houses BC.

In 2017 SCHOLASTIC donated $1000 worth of new books to Books for Me!

January 2017 - Students from Summit Middle School.

December 2016 - Thank you card from the Kindergarten class at Admiral Seymour Elementary.

Feb 2016 - Duane Lawrence read excerpts from his books, Sammy Squirrel and Rodney Raccoon to the Grade1/2 students at Tillicum Annex on Valentine's day. The kids were very engaged, asked many questions about the stories and about the writing process. Thanks for an exciting presentation!! See more about Duane and his books at www.duanelawrence.ca.

Feb 2016 - Author Tanya Kyi visited intermediate students at Graham Bruce Elementary. She shared her passion for storytelling, amazing people who have followed their passion (to the extreme) and the incredible impacts of DNA research on our society. Wow! A very inspiring presentation!

Students role played the power of DNA analysis at a crime scene.

Check out Tanya's website for more information: www.tanyalloydkyi.com

January 2016 - How do you engage 11 and 12 year olds? Sword fighting, piracy, murder, intrigue, and more! Author and English teacher, Mark David Smith brought all these elements to Admiral Seymour Elementary in January 2016. He brought to life his YA book Caravaggio Signed in Blood. Using historical details he introduced the artwork of Michelangelo Caravaggio. The students loved the paintings and had many questions of the importance of Caravaggio’s work in the novel. The book has Caravaggio helping Beppo, a slave who is accused of murder in 17th century Rome to prove his innocence. Mark had all the students on their feet, learning how to sword fight! A giveaway of his books had the students all hoping for a win. Thank you Mark for such an interactive author presentation. Check out his website for more information about the visit: http://www.marksmithbooks.com/

Dec 2015 - Children's author, Sara Leach, gave a wonderful presentation at Lord Roberts Annex in December 2015. Sara read from two of her books, Sounds of the Ferry and Mountain Machines. The sound effects were lots of fun and, as one can imagine, encouraged a high level of participation by the children. Sara also explained to the children how she came up with the ideas for the books and what was involved in getting an initial concept to a finished book. Thank you Sara for an inspiring presentation!

July 2015 - Book Drive in Honour of Marianne Albers‏ (March 2, 1923 ~ May 5, 2015)

Marianne loved teaching children to read! So according to her adult children Heidi Parks (Hayward, California) and Robin Howard (New Westminster, B.C.) holding a book drive for Books for Me! in her honor when she passed away recently was a natural thing to do. Marianne was a grade two teacher in the Burnaby School District for 17 years and she continued to tutor many years into retirement. Teaching children to read was her passion – especially if they were struggling with school. She passed away in Vancouver at age 92 on May 5, 2015, and as part of her Celebration of Life on June 14, 2015, family and friends attending collected children’s books. A friend of the family, Margaret Buttner, who works for the Vancouver Public Library Foundation, recommended Books for Me! Marianne’s family reports they were impressed with how the program puts books into the hands of the children who need them most and how the program is run entirely with volunteer efforts. Marianne’s family says the more they learned about Books for Me!, the more they knew the book drive idea would be Marianne-approved. The attendees at the Celebration of Life brought armloads of lovely children’s books. The family says their only regret is that Marianne did not know about Books for Me! before her passing – because it would have made her happy to know about a group doing such wonderful work helping children to read.

June 2015 - Who knew science could be so much fun and interesting at the same time? Shar Levine -aka Science Lady dazzled the students at Admiral Seymour with her hands-on science demonstrations including how to move a walnut from one end of a closed container filled with rice to the other end of the container without opening the jar. The children were amazed to learn how static electricity could pick up pepper while leaving salt on a plate and that a balloon could be inflated while still having the mouth of the balloon wide open. We won't spoil the tricks by telling you how she did it. You'll just have to read her books to find out the science behind the magic. While there may or may not be a future NHL star in the audience, both boys and girls alike learned the science behind their favourite game of hockey. Thank you Shar for donating this presentation!

June 2015 - Nothing in the world captures the attention of 11 year old boys more than telling them about a snake that farts. Once you've said that, you've got them engaged in science. Shar Levine or science lady, spent the afternoon with the wonderful students at Graham Bruce Elementary. She explained how to grow popcorn and gave the school enough germinated popcorn seeds to start their own crop at the school. Each student was also given a take home experiment – a piece of paper that when folded showed how the wings on an airplane worked. Levine had the children roaring with laughter when she showed 3-D electron images of a bug's private parts. The demonstrations from her book on Hockey Science resulted in a visit from the principal who wondered why there was so much noise coming from the library. All in all it was a fun presentation that still has the students talking. Thanks Shar for donating this presentation.

May 2015 - Award winning author Karen Autio paid a visit to Graham Bruce Elementary in May, and read aloud from her book "Sabotage"...the children were entranced by the suspenseful story, and couldn't wait to read what happens next. Karen also talked about her Finnish heritage, growing up in Ontario, and how her family stories started her on the path to writing three different historical fiction books about Canadian children. She shared a copy of the first book she ever wrote (at age 9!) which surely inspired some of the budding writers in the audience! Her next book, called "Kah Lan", features the adventures of Sea Otters, told from the animals' perspective.

March 2015 - The squeals of laughter and excitement could be heard down the halls of Lord Roberts Annex as CWILL BC member, Elizabeth Shefrin showed the students how to create artwork for a book. The noted illustrator read from Abby's Birds, then led a workshop for the class. The resulting mural for their school featured cut-out images of the children and balloon captions. Teachers happily grabbed scissors, glue and pens to design their own images. Books for Me! Was thrilled to sponsor this presentation and would like to thank Elizabeth for her participation in this program.

January 2015 - Ainslie Manson visited Admiral Seymour Elementary and read her new book, A Giraffe Called Geranium and Just Like New, to Grade 2 and 3 students. It was fantastic! Ainslie also explained some of the ways that she came up with the ideas for her various (13) books, one idea came from her imagination, one was from a trip she took to Africa and one was based on something that happened in her childhood during WWII.

December 2014 - Dianna Bonder received a warm welcome from three classes at Tillicum Annex School. The kids were excited to hear about all the animals that live with her and her children on Gabriola Island. As both an author and an illustrator Dianna shared how some of her ideas and sketches get turned into books. She described the process of illustrating a book while drawing some great pictures that the kids got to take back to their classrooms. The kids thought it was really cool seeing Dianna's sketches and watercolours turned into the pages of a book.

May 2014 - On May 22, 2014 Books for Me! held a very successful fundraising Event at the beautiful Renew Period Lighting and Decorative Arts Gallery. Thank you to all of the many, many people and organizations that supported the "Shine a Light on Books" Event! You have made it possible for us to continue our work this fall.

April 2014 - Students from Graham Bruce Elementary gathered in their school library in April to hear award-winning author Jacqueline Pearce talk about how she comes up with her book ideas, how she researches them and how they evolve from start to finish. She told the students about traveling to Japan to find out about Manga for "Manga Touch" and about taking care of some pet rats when she was writing "The Truth about Rats (and Dogs)" The children were very interested to hear about ‎her adventures as an author, and asked some excellent questions. They were also excited to hear about her next book, coming out this Fall, set during the War of 1812!

February 2014 - In February, students at Henderson Annex were greeted unusually by children's author Gina McMurchy-Barber. They entered a darkened room where music was playing and incense was burning. There were replicas of Native wall art and a roped off archeological "dig" site on the floor which included a skull! The kids were throughly engaged while Gina shared her knowledge of history and archeology.

February 2014 - In February children's author and award winning song writer, Max Tell, gave a wonderful presentation at Collingwood Neighbourhood School. Everyone had an amazing time! Max Tell sent a great thank you poster to the staff and students at C.N. School after the presentation that we want to share with you.

February 2014 - The students at Graham Bruce made a lovely Thank You Poster for Books for Me! Each student put their name and the name of the book they choose on a heart to make this beautiful thank you collage.

October 2013 - Lee Edward Fodi is an award-winning children's author and illlustrator who visited the students at Richardson Elementary in North Delta in Oct 2013.  He enchanted the children with funny stories of his childhood in the Okanagan, how he became an author and illustrator, and the process he uses to get his stories from his imagination into a book.  Working with the children's suggestions, he drew a fantastical creature they named "King Rumpkey".  The Me to We Club at Richardson hosted a very successful book drive for Books for Me! in the spring of 2013 and plan another one for 2014.  Lee very generously donated this reading to Books for Me! as a reward for the most successful book drive in the academic year 2012-2013.  More Information about Lee Fodi and his books can be found at www.leefodi.com.

October 2013 - In Oct 2013 Books for Me! hosted the book launch of Jewish Fairytale Feasts, a beautifully illustrated collection of Jewish folktales with easy recipes, tales retold by Jane Yolan, recipes by Heidi Stemple and illustrations by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin.  Illustrator Elizabeth Shefrin was on hand to sign copies of the book.  It was a very successful event and the 60 or so guests enjoyed lots of home baked goodies from the book.

April 2013 - Sheri Radford is an award winning children's author from Vancouver. On a recent visit to Queen Alexandra Elementary School she read from some of her books. She also talked to the kids about the book publishing process; how a story or idea becomes a finished printed book. The kids were fortunate to hear the inaugural reading of her new book "It's Following Me!" due out this summer. A big Books for Me! thanks to Sheri. www.sheriradford.com

February 2013 - Through a partnership with CWILL BC (Children's Writers and Illustrators of BC) www.cwill.bc.ca we have a program in place which allows CWILL BC members to give presentations to the schools that are currently part of our programs.

In early January Books for Me! was able to bring author Tiffany Stone, www.tiffanystone.ca, to Henderson Annex to do a reading from her new book, Rainbow Shoes.  It was a fabulous presentation!  Thank you Tiffany!!

At the end of January, author and illustrator, Lee Edward Fodi, www.leefodi.com, gave an amazing presentation at Waverley Elementary.  "Mr. Wiz" had all the kids helping him draw a creature, as well as drawing their own creature!    He explained that a drawing could be the inspiration to a story.  Thank you "Mr. Wiz"!

Rep 1 Fitness Team

January 2013 - Thank you to the Rep 1 Fitness Team, Chad, Mike and Scott (www.rep1.ca) for hosting a book drive at their wonderful gym during December 2012! We had a fantastic response!

Open House

April 2012 - Thank you to all of our supporters, donors and volunteers who made the Books for Me! Open House on April 18, 2012 very successful and so much fun! Over 25 boxes of books were donated and over $1200 was raised to help expand the project to Waverley and Queen Alexandra Elementary Schools.

Frog Hollow thank you card

April 2012 - Thank you card from the kids at Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House.

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