Making an Impact: A Letter from the Executive Director

Click here to read the 2018 Impact Report in full.

Education is a child’s best path out of poverty, but almost 25% of Canadian households do not have a single book. Providing children and youth with books to read, especially at home, has proven to help to improve literacy, education outcomes and social and emotional skills. Since 2009, First Book Canada has distributed more than 7 million new books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children in need.

Photo courtesy of Aberdeen Health Foundation, Nova Scotia

With all the research showing the importance of books in the home, we know that evaluating our own work is necessary to staying relevant and planning for the future. I want to take this opportunity to highlight one of our key programs that has shown enormous growth this year: the First Book Canada Marketplace (FBCMP). The FBCMP has begun to have a profound and positive effect in Canada. Not only is it a path for First Book Canada to set a sustainable model, but it also builds a new market for Canadian authors and illustrators and impacts the lives of its primary customers by providing low-cost, quality materials for educators and community leaders serving Canadian children in need throughout the country.

  • The FBCMP gives educators access to resources on an on-going basis, allowing them to remove barriers to learning by addressing the unique situations facing the kids they serve.
    • Result: the FBCMP delivers books and resources that the traditional market has failed to deliver, dramatically impacting the cultural and educational resource landscape.
  • The FBCMP offers high-value resources at a fraction of the cost. Educators can make their budgets stretch farther, bringing more resources to more children.
    • Result: More than a quarter of a million books and resources are distributed annually through the FBCMP to high-needs communities.
  • The FBCMP offers funding support to members through our corporate partnership “gift certificate” opportunities.
    • Result: These gift certificates allow schools and programs with little or no budget to access and select brand new, high-quality resources for their kids.

The FBCMP is a powerful force for social change and innovation that is empowering educators by increasing support for children who need access to educational resources and opportunities.

First Book Canada is working to be a “trusted ally” to educators and community leaders serving kids in need. We have spent the past decade building a strong and dependable relationship with our members (now numbering over 10,000 groups across the country). These members have seen the organization respond to their needs quickly and with substance. Due to this connection, the response to surveys and focus groups has been robust and insightful. In survey after survey, educators have said that they check First Book Canada and the FBCMP for resources before other sources because they support our mission and our organization. They know we are working for them.

We can’t do it without you, champions for children in need. Together we can bring the power of reading to millions of Canadian children. Thank you for your support.


Tom Best
Executive Director
First Book Canada