905 minutes of reading and five remarkable Black and Indigenous authors, all led by the best coach in the league.
TORONTO, June 11th, 2021 – First Book Canada, Raptors 905, and Penguin Random House Canada announced today the launch of the Raptors 905 Summer Virtual Reading Challenge: The Stories for All Project™.
Two hundred grade 5 students from the Peel District School Board and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board have been nominated by their teachers and parents to take part. They will be invited to read one book a week for five weeks, write a short book report, and participate in a virtual reading celebration each week, featuring the author of the book they have just read and Raptors 905 Head Coach Patrick Mutombo as guests.
Here is the starting lineup of books selected by Penguin Random House Canada:
- THE BARREN GROUNDS by David A. Robertson
- THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (25th anniversary edition)
- WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERED by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed
- TAKE BACK THE BLOCK by Chrystal D. Giles
- J.D. AND THE GREAT BARBER BATTLE by J. Dillard, illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts
And here is the best news of all … the Raptors 905 organization and Tangerine Bank have thrown up a real “buzzer beater” this year. Along with Penguin Random House Canada, 300 more spots will be opened up for more kids to take part. Students currently in grades 4, 5, or 6 in Southern Ontario who are interested in participating in the Summer Reading Challenge can now register at firstbookcanada.org/raptors-905-summer-reading-challenge. Please note that spaces in the program are limited and participants will have to get their own books from independent retailers or from their local library branch.
The tip off for the program and reading of the first book begins officially on Friday, July 9th, and the first reading celebration with the author of that week’s book will take place on Friday, July 16th. The “final buzzer” event will be on Friday, August 13th.
Students will be given a week to read each title in the program and write a short report highlighting what they enjoyed and learned from the book. Each Friday, they will have the unique opportunity to join a virtual reading celebration to interact with the author of the book, community leaders including Head Coach of the Raptors 905 Patrick Mutombo, and other participants of the Summer Reading Challenge to discuss the themes of the book.
The Stories for All Project™ curates new, relevant, high-quality books representing diverse characters, voices, and life circumstances and makes them available and affordable to educators supporting kids in need. All too often the children we work with at First Book Canada, including the two hundred students served by these programs in Peel Region, most of whom are racialized, don’t have access to books with characters and stories that are relevant to their lives, and that makes it harder for them to get into reading. Through initiatives like the Stories for All Project™, we’re finding market-driven solutions to increasing access to children’s books from a greater diversity of authors, and inclusive of a greater range of young readers in the people and experiences they reflect.
“We are so excited to see ‘The Raptors 905 Summer Virtual Reading Challenge’ return this year and so grateful to all our partners for making it happen,” Tom Best, Executive Director of First Book Canada, said today. “A program like this is so badly needed in areas like Peel Region. It has been so hard hit by COVID-19, so we are thrilled that we can more than double the number of participants this year and introduce so many remarkable books that reflect the diversity of this country.”
“I am so excited to be a part of the Raptors 905 Virtual Summer Reading Challenge,” said 905 Head Coach Patrick Mutombo. “As a father to four young boys, the value of reading and representation in education is something our family values and I am looking forward to sharing that message and the gift of reading with all the kids who participate.”
“After another difficult year for kids and their parents and caregivers, we’re looking forward to offering young readers a place to connect with each other, authors, and community leaders this summer, socializing and having fun as they explore these five wonderful books,” said Penguin Random House Canada VP Marketing & Communications Beth Lockley. “The pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on families in Peel Region, and we’re thankful that we and our program partners have this opportunity to help keep kids engaged and dreaming big for their future in the way we’re best able to—through the power of books and storytelling.”
“We’re proud to help expand the impact of this amazing program that helps encourage youth empowerment and confidence through discovery and representation,” said Gillian Riley, President & CEO of Tangerine Bank. “As part of our ongoing commitment to communities through Tangerine Project Forward™, we are focused on delivering youth initiatives that inspire leadership and belonging.”
About First Book Canada
Almost 25% 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 12,000 educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 2009, First Book Canada has distributed more than 8 million books and educational resources to hundreds of thousands of kids across Canada.
About Raptors 905
Raptors 905 is the NBA G League affiliate of the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. The club has a short but rich history of winning and development. Current Raptors like Chris Boucher, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet all spent time with the 905, the latter two helping lead the 905 to the 2017 NBA G League Championship. Raptors 905 also sets the benchmark for off court excellence and was recognized by the NBA G League as Franchise of the Year for the 2019-20 season. Playing out of Paramount Fine Foods Centre, the team is proud to represent Mississauga and 905 community.
About Penguin Random House Canada
Penguin Random House Canada aims to nourish a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company publishes over 800 books in various formats per year in the North American market across nineteen distinct imprints and distributes another 10,000 titles in Canada on behalf of Penguin Random House publishers in the U.S. and the U.K., and many clients. It has also developed its own internationally recognized Toronto-based audiobook program and runs an in-house recording studio. Visit penguinrandomhouse.ca for more information.
About Tangerine Bank
Tangerine Bank is a digital bank that delivers simplified everyday banking to Canadians. With over 2 million Clients and close to $40 billion in total assets, it’s one of Canada’s leading digital banks. Tangerine Bank offers banking that’s flexible and accessible, products and services that are innovative, fair fees and award-winning Client service. From Savings Accounts to no-fee daily Chequing, Credit Cards, GICs, RSPs, TFSAs, Mortgages, lending products and Investment Funds through its subsidiary, Tangerine Investment Funds Limited, Tangerine Bank has the everyday banking products Canadians need. Through Tangerine Project Forward™, Tangerine is committed to empowering communities through programs and initiatives that inspire self-confidence, leadership and acceptance in Canadian youth. With over 1,000 employees in Canada, the bank’s presence spans its website and Mobile Banking app to its 24/7 Contact Centres and Toronto-based head office. Tangerine Bank was launched as ING DIRECT Canada in 1997. In 2012 Tangerine was acquired by Scotiabank and operates independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Tangerine Project Forward is a trademark of The Bank of Nova Scotia
For more information, please contact:
First Book Canada:
Penguin Random House Canada: