First Book Canada and Scotiabank provide thousands of books to kids in need

Ottawa, ON (December 11, 2019) – First Book Canada and Scotiabank are working together to provide equal access to quality education for Canadian kids. Pop Up Book Distributions in Ottawa, Ont. and Stephenville, N.L., supported by Scotiabank’s recent pledge of $90,000 allowed for over 30,000 books to go home with children from low-income households. These distributions allowed educators and community leaders working with kids in need to choose from brand new English and French books that they could distribute to the communities they serve.

During the Between the Pages tour for the six Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists, two high school senior classes in high-needs communities in Ottawa and Winnipeg had a unique opportunity to hear from this year’s nominated authors and have an open discussion with them about a writer’s life and their craft. Each student received a copy of the 2018 winning book Washington Black, by author Esi Edugyan.

Though books and educational resources are critical, they are scarce for many children attending high-needs schools. A recent study showed that having books in the home is as important as a parent’s education level. [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.

Scotiabank is committed to helping young people reach their infinite potential by investing in all aspects of their development,” says Sandra Odendahl, Vice President of Social Impact & Sustainability at Scotiabank. “Young people are our future leaders and we’re happy we can help provide kids with an opportunity to learn, grow and succeed through the limitless possibilities that books can bring.”

“Our partnership with Scotiabank was ‘wonderous’ this year,” says Tom Best, Executive Director at First Book Canada. “They took us to so many places we have not been before and allowed us to present some great books and storytellers to hundreds of students.”

Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists speaking with students

Speaking to students about how I came to become a writer and how I came to be sitting in front of them in the hopes that maybe someone in the room also has a similar aspiration and needs to hear it said is… very rewarding,” says Megan Gail Coles, author of Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, shortlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

About First Book Canada
Almost 25 per cent of Canadian households do not have a single book. First Book Canada is transforming the lives of kids in need by making brand new, high quality books and educational resources available on an ongoing basis. Through a market-driven model, First Book Canada is creating equal access to quality education affordable to its member network of more than 11,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 2009, First Book Canada has distributed more than seven million books and educational resources to hundreds of thousands of kids across Canada.

Eligible educators, program coordinators, librarians, and professionals serving kids in need can register at For more information, visit and follow our latest news on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


For media inquiries, contact:

Tom Best, Executive Director

First Book Canada

866.732.3669 ext. 0130

[1] M.D.R. Evans, Jonathan Kelley, Joanna Sikora, Donald J. Treiman. Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2010.01.002