First Book Canada Opens Its Doors in Toronto to Help Low-Income Families

    Stellar guests from TD, the Toronto Blue Jays, and Build-A-Bear Workshop
Foundation celebrate with author Jean Little and local school children

    TORONTO, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- First Book, an international
non-profit organization, with a single mission: to provide children from
low-income families with the opportunity to read and own their first new
books, announces the opening of First Book in Toronto. On Tuesday, May 6,
2008, a private reading party and reception will be held from 1:00 p.m.- 3:00
p.m. at the Toronto Reference Library where special guests including Toronto
Blue Jays President and CEO, Paul Godfrey; Jays infielder John McDonald and
Toronto Blue Jays mascot, ACE;  TD Mutual Funds President, Tim Pinnington;
beloved Canadian author Jean Little and representatives from Build-A-Bear
Workshop Foundation and BeautiControl will join First Book President Kyle
Zimmer to announce the opening of First Book/Le Premier Livre and read to
Toronto school children.

    With more than nine million Canadian adults struggling with low literacy,
First Book's mission is to address this challenge at its roots.(1) A recent
study shows the importance of lowering the threshold of book ownership for
low-income families in Canada. While three-quarters of high-income households
spent money on books, only one quarter of households in the lowest-income
brackets bought books.(2) First Book works with publishing partners, an ever
expanding network of volunteers, and book recipient groups to grant children
unprecedented access to free and affordable books. For more information, visit

    "First Book's resolute mission to reach children, wherever they are, with
brand new books they can read and keep now has a new name up north, and that
name is First Book Canada. We are overjoyed to bring books to Canadian
children and to open our newest office here in Toronto," said Kyle Zimmer,
First Book President. "We are grateful to our friends at TD Bank Financial
Group, the Toronto Blue Jays, and so many more for their active support
helping us offer life changing access to book ownership."

    "First Book has a long history of helping children from low-income
families discover the joy of reading," said Tim Pinnington, President TD
Mutual Funds. "Through TD's support of First Book, we're hoping to make a
difference together in the lives of Canada's children."

    First Book understands true value in collaborative engagement and is
delighted to enter Canada with the support of so many Canadian partners. "The
Toronto Blue Jays are thrilled to partner with First Book Canada to promote
literacy in the GTA and across Canada," commented Paul Godfrey, Toronto Blue
Jays President and CEO. "First Book has generously donated 10,000 new books to
the Jays@School program and Blue Jays Book Club. These books will be
distributed to schools throughout the GTA and will give students the
opportunity to enjoy reading at an early age."

    First Book is an international nonprofit organization with a single
mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and
own their first new books. Through hundreds of local Advisory Boards, the
First Book National Book Bank, and the First Book Marketplace, the
organization provides an ongoing supply of new books to children participating
in community-based mentoring, tutoring, and family literacy programs. First
Book has provided more than 50 million new books to children in need in
thousands of communities. For more information about First Book, please visit or call 866-READ-NOW.

    For more information and to set up interviews, Joan Sahlgren,
202-639-0150, or Eva Solujan, 416-949-0056,

    1. Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey, Statistics Canada and the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2005
    2. "Study examines Canadian book-buying habits." Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation 31 March 2005.,

For further information:

For further information: Joan Sahlgren, +1-202-639-0150,, or Eva Solujan, +1-416-949-0056,, both of First Book Web Site: 

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