Every Grade One Student in Canada to Take Home Their Own Copy of My Heart Fills With Happiness

Over 550,000 Copies Given Out Through the TD Grade One Book Giveaway
Text includes Plains Cree and Select Copies in Braille

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (August 26, 2019) – The start of the new school year marks the beginning of this year’s TD Grade One Book Giveaway, with over 550,000 copies of My Heart Fills With Happiness/sâkaskinêw nitêh miywêyihtamowin ohci by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett and published by Orca Book Publishers in Victoria, BC, being sent all across the nation for grade one students to take home. This special edition also includes the text in Plains Cree, as well as English or French. This is the first time that a giveaway title has included a language other than English or French. For the first time, the Children’s Canadian Book Centre (CCBC) has partnered with the CNIB Foundation to undertake a pilot project that will distribute printbraille editions of the book to grade one students who are blind or partially sighted. Printbraille copies of the book will also be available at select CNIB Foundation centres and hubs throughout Canada.

Since the program was established in 2000, over 9.5 million books have been distributed to students. For many children, the TD Grade One Book Giveaway title is the first book that they ever own. This year, a launch of the program will take place on Tuesday, September 24 at the Central Library in Vancouver. The event will feature a reading by the author and activities for local grade one students.

“The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is proud to collaborate with and bring together so many important groups, at the launch, to share this amazing book and to promote a love of reading,” says Rose Vespa, Executive Director of the CCBC. “We look forward to students across the country reading this book about finding joy in life’s simplicity.”

Monique Gray Smith and Julie Flett join the likes of Dennis Lee, Paulette Bourgeois, Marie-Louise Gay, Barbara Reid and Michael Martchenko as the featured creators of a TD Grade One Book Giveaway title. “I am honoured that My Heart Fills With Happiness has been chosen as the TD Grade One Book Giveaway and especially thrilled that children will be receiving it in Plains Cree and English/French,” says Monique Gray Smith. Julie Flett notes that “while I was working on this book, I was inspired by Monique’s beautiful words and many of my experiences as a child growing up in Ontario, as well as my experiences of working with children in Vancouver where I live now.”

Resources for teachers are available online at bookcentre.ca/myheart. Educators and librarians will find free printable activities, discussion questions and classroom resources.

“Congratulations to Monique Gray Smith and Julie Flett for being selected as this year’s TD Grade One Book Giveaway author and illustrator,” says Andrea Barrack, Global Head, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. “Through its moving imagery and words, My Heart Fills With Happiness is helping children build literacy skills, while contributing to a more inclusive tomorrow through its Cree and printbraille editions. It’s a great example of the impact we hope to create through our corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment.”

You can download the PDF of this press release here.

For more information, please contact:


Emma Hunter
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
416.975.0010 ext. 221 | emma@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, please visit our website.

About TD Global Corporate Citizenship
TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (US $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through The Ready Commitment, TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident – not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit td.com/thereadycommitment.

About Orca Book Publishers
Founded in 1984, Orca Book Publishers is an independently owned Canadian children’s book publisher of award-winning, bestselling books in a number of genres. With over 1,000 titles in print and more than 80 new titles a year, Orca prides itself on publishing Canadian authors and bringing them to a wider market.

Orca publishes everything from beautifully illustrated board books and picture books to middle-grade and young-adult fiction. Orca strives to produce books that illuminate the experiences of people of all ethnicities, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQ with a goal to provide reading material that represents the diversity of human experience to readers of all ages. Orca aims to help young readers see themselves reflected in the books they read and are mindful of this in our selection of books and have a particular interest in publishing books that celebrate the lives of Indigenous people. Providing young people with exposure to diversity through reading creates a more compassionate world. To learn more, visit orcabook.com.

About the CNIB Foundation
The CNIB Foundation is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. CNIB delivers innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams while tearing down barriers to inclusion. The organization’s work is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast. To learn more or get involved, visit cnib.ca.