Sometimes, reading a book for the first time is exactly like making a new friend. Here's your chance to sit down with a human book and meet some fascinating folks - fighters, survivors, amazing people all. The Human Library program returns to the Toronto Public Library on Saturday, November 5, bringing a slate of new speakers to share their rich and diverse life experiences with you. Use your library card to borrow a human book for half an hour and engage in a stimulating, one-on-one conversation with someone you don't get to meet everyday!
Presenting Cedarbrae branch's human book collection:
Haille Bailey-Harris may be only 17, but his life experiences have given him the wisdom of someone much older. He grew up in a small town the only black kid in his school and suffered from frequent bullying. His mom, a sole support parent, moved with him to Toronto to help him escape the racism and the low expectations of a school system that expected him to fail. Haille struggled without a father figure in his life, but he challenged the stereotypes through a network of support and a love of books. This human book will share with borrowers his family’s strategy that helped him cope.
Bullying : Deal with It Before Push Comes to Shove by Elaine Slavens
Full of ideas about how to encourage understanding of bullying and the roles of bully, target and bystander.
Dr. Eldon Comfort, 98, was a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in World War II, serving in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. He has also been a teacher and a politician, so he knows how to fight his battles. This human book, however, is not about war; he's all about peacekeeping and explains in amazing detail how his experience with military conflict turned him into a peace activist.
In one of his later chapters, this human book talks about the first time he went to Nicaragua in 1984 to satisfy a curiosity about the conflicting perceptions of that country's new socialist government. He returned each year for the next six years on a variety of humanitarian projects and in 1990, he was an official United Nations observer for the national elections there. This is just one of the incredible journeys this award-winning book will share with his borrowers.
Yasmin Hartung and her brother were inseparable. She left home at 17 to join him in Switzerland where the siblings lived, worked, and travelled together. In 2004, Yasmin joined her brother in Montreal to study at Concordia University. While in Montreal, their lives took an unexpected turn when Yasmin’s brother was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia. At 21, she became his primary caregiver and was even his stem cell donor while continuing her studies and helping her brother live as normal a life as possible. Despite their valiant efforts, Yasmin’s brother died; his body had had enough, she says. This human book will be able to share her strategy for navigating the health care system and appreciating life even when it’s painful.
This human book defined ‘modern family’ long before the television sitcom became so popular, and she helps people feel more accepting and open to differences. Heather Jopling’s husband was a sperm donor for their lesbian friends and she was a surrogate for their gay friends. While pregnant as a surrogate, she began writing diversity-friendly children's stories to give reading alternatives, not only to same-sex families, but to families like her own; open-minded and eager to share inclusive ideas with their children. “We have split families, bi-racial families and so-called ‘traditional’ families in our own incredible family tree,” Heather says. In 2006, she formed her own publishing company, Nickname Press. And, as if she didn’t already have enough chapters, this human book has also performed Shakespeare as a clown, and written four one-woman shows, several screenplays and the libretto to a vampire rock opera.
And Baby Makes More by Susan Goldberg and Chloe Brushwood Rose
What happens when would-be dyke moms or gay dads ask a friend or acquaintance to donate sperm or an egg, or to act as a surrogate? A quirky, funny, and occasionally heartbreaking collection of personal essays, this book offers an intimate look at the relative risks and unexpected rewards of queer, do-it-yourself baby-making, and the ways in which families are re-made in the process.
Jenypher Lanthier (@YorkMuayThai)
Jenypher Lanthier’s story is for anyone who feels intimidated by the unknown and wants to learn how to find the courage to take a leap of faith. Jenypher was looking for a new adventure, something different in her life, she says. “To challenge myself, I tried my first Muay Thai (a combat sport from Thailand) class. The rest is a story about an organic progression towards personal fulfillment.” Although new territory for her, she became hooked on Muay Thai and decided to open up her own school - York Muay Thai Inc. - two years ago. This human book looks forward to sharing all the challenges she encountered, not only as an entrepreneur, but also as one of the only women trying to survive in a male-dominated martial arts industry.
Scott Mills (@GraffitiBMXCop)
“Fighting Crime with Facebook”
This human book is a textbook case for using 140 characters to get your message across. Scott Mills has been a police officer for 21 years, from 1990-2002 with Peel Regional Police in Mississauga and Brampton, and from 2002-present with the Toronto Police Service. He has a background in all types of policing, from gang investigations to schools, and is widely known for his work using relationships and technology, in particular Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to help prevent and solve crime together with the community. Borrowers of this human book will discover a new, cyber approach to law enforcement and crime prevention.
This human book has travelled around the world, visiting over 30 countries and filling its pages with wonderful memories. Diana Provenzano is also a chartered accountant operating her own practice in Toronto, prepares tax returns for low income people and new immigrants pro bono, and a very active volunteer with a variety of organizations. She particularly enjoys volunteering with the Canadian Diabetes Association. Diana leads a full, outgoing life in spite of the fact she has lived with Type One Diabetes for the past 30 years. “Diabetes or other chronic illnesses don’t have to stop you from doing anything you want with your life provided you understand the disease and manage it well,” she says.
The Discovery of Insulin by Michael Bliss
When insulin was discovered in the early 1920s, even jaded professionals marvelled at how it brought starved, sometimes comatose diabetics back to life. In this now-classic study, Michael Bliss unearths a wealth of material, ranging from scientists’ unpublished memoirs to the confidential appraisals of insulin by members of the Nobel Committee.
John “Ozzie” Sequeira (@OSequeira79155)
“Surviving on Faith”
John “Ozzie” Sequeira has depended on his faith to survive advanced prostate cancer and quadruple blocks in his heart for the past dozen years. He has now made it his mission in life to educate others about early detection so people get treatment and the best chance of survival. Ozzie is an active volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society, working with Wendel Clark to promote awareness. His first book, The Alpha and Omega, was published a year and a half ago. This human book, which is available in multiple languages (including English, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani and Urdu), will help you believe in miracles.
The Purpose-Driven Life by Richard Warren
This 40-days guide to a spiritual and temporal journey, if followed diligently, promises to help the reader to overcome the obstacles of life and lead a happy, peaceful and successful life. Human Book Ozzie Sequeira highly recommends this book that sheds new light on God, religion, and how they can make a difference in anyone’s life.
You can place a hold on any one of Cedarbrae's human books by visiting the upstairs reference desk or by calling the branch at 416-396-8850. Save the date: Saturday, November 5 starting at noon!