First Book Canada and Vikki Vansickle spread magic of reading at Toronto school

Toronto students celebrate reading and journey into mythical creature care with First Book Canada acclaimed children’s author Vikki VanSickle

TORONTO, Ontario (Jan. 29, 2018) – On January 23rd, First Book Canada and children’s author Vikki VanSickle brought the magic of reading to Market Lane Junior and Senior Public School in the first Reading Celebration of 2018. The Reading Celebration began with an interactive presentation by Vikki VanSickle, followed with time spent reading with volunteers from KPMG’s Toronto office. Each student received a brand new, signed copy of Vikki’s children’s book If I Had a Gryphon that they can keep, take home, and share with their family. This Reading Celebration was generously supported by KPMG.

“I can’t think of a better way to start the day then watching an entire classroom light up when the kids realize they get to take a book home- for keeps. Thank you to First Book Canada for putting Canadian books in the hands of Canadian children,” said Vikki VanSickle, author, and marketing and publicity manager for young readers at Penguin Random House Canada.

Literacy consultant Rebecca Bellingham advocates in her Ted Talk for reading to children as a way of “giv[ing] kids access to stories, and books, and ideas, and information that they otherwise might not get a chance to explore or explore as deeply.” First Book Canada has seen the impact of reading to children through Reading Celebrations like the one at Market Lane: conversations with volunteers and authors have allowed students to discuss topics and stories that they might otherwise feel too shy or intimidated to start.

“First Book Canada believes that educators must have access to all the tools they need to help children succeed. We support our members with books, educational supplies, and other essentials, as well as access to funding. We also believe that access to the best children’s writers and illustrators is so important for this same group of kids,” said Tom Best, Executive Director at First Book Canada. “The support from KPMG and all our volunteer readers today made for a very special occasion at a school where you just know every teacher wants their students to succeed.”

About First Book Canada

First Book Canada provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. By making new, high quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book Canada is transforming the lives of children and elevating the quality of education in the country. Since 2009, First Book Canada has distributed over 6 million new books to hundreds of thousands of children in need across Canada. For more information, or to register for books, visit us at and follow our latest news on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Media Contact:

Tom Best, Executive Director, First Book Canada
866.732.3669 ext. 0130