An Interview with Falah Raheem

Falah Raheem Screenshot

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey was inspired by the stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr, discovered by chance by Canadian children’s writer Margriet Ruurs. The author was immediately impressed by the strong narrative quality of Mr. Badr’s work, and, using many of Mr. Badr’s already-created pieces, she set out to create a story about the Syrian refugee crisis. Stepping Stones tells the story of Rama and her family, who are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape the ravages of the civil war raging ever closer to their home. With only […]






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Bob Tyrrell, founder of Orca Book Publishers, remembers Mel Bolen and Jim Munro

  The following post is written by Bob Tyrrell, founder of Orca Book Publishers. The book community on the west coast suffered a great loss this past fall when we lost both Jim Munro and Mel Bolen, a mere month apart. Although both were well and truly retired, and had passed their businesses on to capable successors, their deaths were felt by the bookselling community at large. Bolen and Munro were undoubtedly two of the smartest, most successful booksellers in the country. Ever. Both Mel and Jim were supportive of Orca in our early days. […]






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Diwali and the Dirty Wall Project

Diwali by Rina Singh

Travel gives us the opportunity to explore the history and culture of other countries, and we often return home with altered perspectives. This is what happened to Kane Ryan, a Canadian traveler who became fascinated by India on his stay in the country. After a poignant visit at a Chennai orphanage, Kane knew he wanted to help impoverished children. He raised four thousand dollars before returning to India and founding the Dirty Wall Project. This program, composed entirely of volunteers, helps poor communities with school fees, medical needs and building projects. They also fund events […]






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LGBTQ: An Alphabet for Me and You

For the last day of Pride Month, we have a language lesson adapted from Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson. Last week’s interview with a transgender youth revealed how words and names are tied to identity, and, as Robin tells us in her book, inclusive language is important to the LGBTQ community. Inclusive language is a powerful way for teachers and parents to ensure that young people feel accepted and supported. Finding the right word can be a challenge, so here are some useful definitions from Robin’s book. Let’s look first at the […]






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An LGBTQ Youth Perspective on School

In honor of Pride Month we invited our occasional warehouse assistant, Leo, to tell us about his experiences at school. Identified as a girl at birth, Leo was fortunate to feel no pressure to conform to gender roles. Leo grew up in a family and community open to all forms of gender expression. As a result, when Leo began to acknowledge his gender identity, he understood what he was experiencing to be perfectly normal. Most trans youth report being the victims of chronic bullying, report feelings of isolation and of being “outcasts.” While Leo does […]






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Earth Day: Growing Great Citizens

9781459805828

In honor of Earth Day, we have compiled a list of books with environmental themes that encourage growing great citizens.   Justine McKeen: Bottle Throttle by Sigmund Brouwer and illustrated by Dave Whamond Justine’s worried about what plastic is doing to the environment and to her classmates, so she sets out to ban bottled water school-wide. But the new principal, Dr. Proctor, is a bit skeptical. Justine will have to convince him and her classmates if Project Bottle Throttle is going to succeed. Justine McKeen: Bottle Throttle is the seventh book in the popular Justine […]






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