First Book Canada and Xpand Laces provide books to Toronto public school

TORONTO, Ontario (November 8, 2018) – On Thursday, November 1, First Book Canada brought 6Dad and former city councilor Norm Kelly and Canadian children’s author Paul Covello to Lynngate Junior Public School to celebrate the power of reading and education. This event included a presentation of a generous donation from Xpand Laces to support First Book Canada programs like this Reading Celebration.

Though books and educational resources are critical, they are scarce for many children attending high-needs schools. Access to adequate resources is the single greatest contributor to educational inequity, but recent research identified vast ‘book deserts’ concentrated in high-needs communities.[1] In a poll of the First Book Canada network, 88 per cent of respondents reported that resources from First Book Canada help to close the achievement gap for the kids they serve. 

This Reading Celebration provided 60 grade 1 and 2 students from Lynngate Public School with an opportunity to hear from Paul Covello and have story time with Norm Kelly. Volunteers from Xpand Laces spent time reading with the students before handing out books for each student to take home to build a home library.


“Our team is truly grateful to be a part of this Reading Celebration and see the positive impact that reading books has on kids,” said Gary Liang, General Manager of Xpand. “First Book Canada’s initiatives resonated with our team and we are excited to donate the proceeds from our fundraising campaign to their organization. We would like to thank everyone who supported our campaign and made this donation possible.”

“Our reading celebration at Lynngate Public School is a great example of what can be accomplished when people really care and want to make a difference,” said Tom Best, Executive Director of First Book Canada. “Norm Kelly and his staff suggested Lynngate; Gary Liang from XpandLaces and his team supported this event through reading with the students; teacher-librarian Shirley Chu chose the best books for the students to take home, with the support of a First Book Canada gift certificate. Add in celebrated author/illustrator Paul Covello, and you have a wonderful event to celebrate reading and community.”

About First Book Canada

First Book Canada is a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 6 million new books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low income communities across Canada. By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book Canada is transforming the lives of children in need and improving access to quality education. For more information, or to get books for kids in your community, visit us at and follow our latest news on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

About Xpand Laces

After sustaining an injury that made it difficult to tie his shoes, founder Chuck Harris was inspired to create an improved no-tie shoe lacing system. As a result, the Xpand Lacing System was created and its patent-pending technology has been improving people’s lives – one untied shoelace at a time. Learn more at

For media inquiries, contact:

Calyssa Erb, Communications Coordinator
First Book Canada
866.732.3669 ext. 4383

[1] Susan B. Neuman, Naomi Moland. “Book Deserts.” Urban Education, 2016. DOI:10.1177/0042085916654525