Chaiwala! Selected as the 2023 TD Grade One Book Giveaway 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (May 15, 2023) — The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is proud to announce the title for the 2023 TD Grade One Book Giveaway, Chaiwala!, written by Priti Birla Maheshwari, illustrated by Ashley Barron and published by Owlkids Books, will be distributed to over 500,000 Grade 1 students in fall 2023. Translated into French by Benoit Laflamme, francophone Canadians and French immersion students across Canada will receive copies of the French translation, also entitled Chaiwala ! 

“To celebrate Asian Heritage Month, the CCBC is thrilled to announce Chaiwala! as the selection for the 2023 TD Grade One Book Giveaway,” says Sarah Sahagian, Executive Director of the CCBC. “Set in Jaipur, India, Chaiwala! is an engaging story about travel, adventure, and the special treats that make for magical childhood memories, like ordering a delicious cup of chai at the train station. Grade 1 students across the country will enjoy this beautifully written and exquisitely illustrated picture book. Each child will receive their own copy to take home, share with their families, and read as often as they like. Early literacy is the foundation of a successful academic career, and the CCBC believes all children have the right to read great books. We also plan to continue distributing the TD Grade One Book Giveaway in accessible formats that empower children with print disabilities to foster their love of reading!”

For the second year, CCBC is collaborating with CNIB Beyond Print to produce print braille editions to ensure that the book is accessible to children with print disabilities. 

When their train stops at the station in Jaipur, a girl and her mother hurry to line up at the Chaiwala’s cart. They breathe in scents of ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Tea leaves rustle, sweet milk bubbles, and the steaming chai is poured back and forth until the cups are filled. A sensory celebration of family, food and culture. Chaiwala! will be distributed through school boards, library organizations and ministries of education to every Grade 1 child in Canada, including those in remote areas and Indigenous communities. The book is to be taken home by each child to keep and to read with their parent(s) or caregiver. 

“I am so excited and honoured that Chaiwala! has been selected for the TD Grade One Book Giveaway program!” says author Priti Birla Maheshwari. “As a teacher myself, it’s wonderful to see children developing a love for reading and learning about the importance of culture and diversity. Every child should be able to see themselves in the books they read.”

“I’m so thrilled that kids across the country will be getting copies of Chaiwala! this fall,” says illustrator Ashley Barron. “The book is an ode to living in the moment. It’s a celebration of the senses and an insight into a very special drink—chai—and how it’s crafted. I hope every child who reads the book is inspired to celebrate their own favourite food and drink.”

Administered by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and through the generous support of TD Bank Group, every year the TD Grade One Book Giveaway gives the gift of a great Canadian children’s picture book to every Grade 1 student in Canada. 

Since 2000, 12 million books have been given to Grade 1 students across Canada. For many children, this will be the first book they have ever owned. “As publishers of books for children, our goal is to help open young readers’ eyes to the world around them and to encourage a love of reading through beautifully illustrated stories,” says Karen Boersma, Publisher, Owlkids Books. “Chaiwala! does just that, and we’re delighted that it has been selected for this year’s TD Grade One Book Giveaway.” 

“Approximately 3 million Canadians are living with print disabilities, while only about 10 percent of Canadian books are currently available in accessible formats,” says Melanie Romer Noel, Braille Publishing Lead, at CNIB Beyond Print. “Print braille is an essential tool for literacy for early readers who can’t access print.”

“Highlighting a special moment of connection for a young girl and her mother, Chaiwala! captures the vibrancy of a train station in Jaipur,” says Alicia Rose, Associate Vice President, Social Impact (Canada), TD Bank Group. “Through the TD Ready Commitment, our corporate citizenship platform, we’re delighted to work with the Canadian Children’s Book Centre to share this book with families across Canada. With this book, we’re helping set the foundation for Grade 1 students to grow their love of reading while learning more about bonding through cultural traditions.” 

Premiering today on the CCBC’s YouTube channel, Bibliovideo, is an exclusive trailer of Chaiwala!, perfect to get young readers excited for this amazing book. Watch the video now and subscribe to the channel for more videos all about Canadian books for young people. 

You can download the PDF of this press release here.

For more information, please contact:

Tara Mandarano
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
416-975-0010 ext. 2
tara@bookcentre.ca


About the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers. For more information, visit bookcentre.ca.

About Owlkids Books
Owlkids Books is an award-winning independent publisher of books for young readers aged 0 to 14. We love making books that help instill in children everywhere a love of reading and of learning about the world around them. We publish board books, picture books, non-fiction, fiction, and graphic novels. Those books can be found in schools, libraries, bookstores, and homes throughout the Canada and the U.S. as well as published around the world in a variety of languages by our international publishing partners. For more information, please visit owlkidsbooks.com.

About CNIB Beyond Print
CNIB Beyond Print is one of Canada’s oldest and most experienced producers of accessible materials and alternative formats, with over a century of lived experience through CNIB. We create accessible audio, EPUBs, and braille versions of books, magazines, and information for the Centre for Equitable Library Access, publishers, and other organizations. We invest our proceeds into CNIB to create innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness.  To learn more, visit cnib-beyondprint.ca.