The world has changed a great deal since Mortimer was selected as the 2020 TD Grade One Book Giveaway title. The giveaway program was started to promote literacy, but bringing joy to children has always been at the forefront of our mission. With half a million children set to receive this book during the upcoming school year, we wanted to use this challenging time to send a message of hope, inclusion and empathy to children and their families. Working together with our program sponsor, TD Bank Group, as well as teachers, educators and publishing professionals, we have decided to select another popular Munsch classic — Moira’s Birthday, written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko, and published by Annick Press in 1987. Featuring a little girl who invites the whole school to her birthday party, the message of inclusion and unity is one that we feel is important, now more than ever. In a world of COVID-19 where children may feel isolated and alone, a story of children in celebration is a hopeful reminder of what is really important to us: being together. A classic Munsch title that perhaps is not as well known as his other books, Moira’s Birthday will be a new, fun read for many children. For the program’s 20th year anniversary, we want the TD Grade One Book Giveaway to be a party that everyone is invited to, just like Moira’s birthday party.
For many Grade 1 students, Moira’s Birthday will be the first book that they own. We are confident that, in a time of uncertainty, this book will provide children with the sense of community that we have all been craving.
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre