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Portuguese | Português at Your Library!

June 10, 2016 | Chantel | Comments (2)

Olá! Did you know that 113,000 people in Toronto speak Portuguese according to the 2006 Census? If you didn't know, don't worry! Just visit any one of our eight branches to find Portuguese materials to help accelerate your knowledge of Portuguese language and culture! From books, magazines, music to the latest movies, you can find your favourite pick!

With Portuguese Week running from May 13 to June 26, why not prepare yourself for the different celebrations and events taking place across the city with some of these books on culture and history?

Everything Brazilian Portuguese  A travellers history of Portugal  CultureShock  Portugueses in Canada  The Portuguese in Canada

Of course, we must not miss the tasty Portuguese cuisine (one of my favourite is the yummy Portuguese custard tarts! Cook up a storm with these books!

Authentic Portuguese cooking My PortugalRecipes from my Portuguese kitchen Masterchef livro de cozinha

If you're like me and cooking is not your forte, enjoy some music or movie instead. You can also pick up some Portuguese along the way - Fado anyone? Don't forget to check out our online resources such as Naxos Music and OverDrive for more movies, music and books!

Desfado Legends of fadoFado - Santos Queen of Fado
 A wolf at the door Os Inquilino Tabu Mutum

I'm currently on an international author faze where I'm trying to read popular or acclaimed translated works of fiction. One that I've enjoyed is a novel by José Saramago titled "Blindness" where people living in a city are suddenly inflicted with blindness. Authorities quarantine the blind in an institution in attempts to isolate the affected. However, the epidemic continues to spread in the city and the issues of morals, violence, survival and human nature arise in a society that is breaking down. There is also a movie adaption of this novel. If you are feeling adventurous, try some of these novels (some are available in English)! 
Tenda Dos Milagres      Explicação dos pássaros      Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira     Jerusalem
Tent of Miracles   Explanation of Birds       Blindness            

Reggae Heritage: Explore Eglinton Avenue West!

June 2, 2016 | Barbara | Comments (0)

Reggae Lane sign edit

The rich local Jamaican music history along Eglinton was showcased during a recent Jane’s Walk. On May 7th, in keeping with the spirit of urban activist Jane Jacobs, I led 40 citizens around the neighbourhood that grew into the remarkable home to Jamaican immigrant record and clothing shops, barbers, salons, restaurants, recording studios and meeting places.
As Jamaicans immigrated to and visited Toronto, “they didn’t just bring their bodies,” as Mr. Arnold Rowe, vice president of the local York Business Improvement Association explained. They brought their music, food, and culture with them.

The tour began at the Maria A. Shchuka branch with an introduction to the library’s online Research Guide to Reggae Lane: Toronto's Jamaican Music Scene, 1960s to the Present. We then watched a short film about Jimmy Wisdom, the Jamaican Ambassador for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

It was great to then go visit Jimmy at his barber shop across the street. The tour continued on with a walk down to Treajah Isle Records shop to visit Chozen and Natty B., who stock music, culture and health Caribbean and Rastafari products.

Mr. Rowe explained the Jamaican and Caribbean history of the area in the BIA office. Then we paraded to the magnificent Reggae Lane mural that honours reggae artists both from the area and Jamaica. Poet Inspirator, Simeon, treated the walk participants with a poem he wrote for this Jane’s Walk. And then he thrilled us with his band by playing some chilling reggae music. (Check out TPL's collection of reggae CDs.)

Poet Inspirator Simeon and his reggae band in front of the Reggae Lane mural

And what better way to bring the walk to an end than with some delicious Jamaican beef patties, generously donated by Randy's Patties and the York Business Improvement Association.


Have some time this weekend? Why not enjoy some of the free programs that the city has to offer? Check out walking tour "Transforming Reggae Lane" as part of Doors Open Toronto 2016. This is a great for you to get an inside peak in some of the most unique buildings in the city.

Interested in art? The TD Gallery at Toronto Reference Library has a new exhibit on until July 23.

Urdu |اُردُو at Your Library!

May 20, 2016 | Chantel | Comments (0)

Urdu Display
Are you looking to get the latest copy of Weekly akhar-e-jehan Karachi or Khawateen? Or maybe you want to settle down for a good read from Ibne Safi? Visit one of the 17 branches listed below, which carry Urdu materials including books, CDs, DVDs and magazines.

Library Branches with Urdu Items 

Large: 1500 or more items Medium: 750-1500 items Small: Fewer than 750 items

If you can’t visit one of the 17 branches to browse their collection, there is another option for getting the item you want. Just look up the title or author/performer of the book or movie on our website (search is only available in Latin alphabet) and place a hold on the material. We will send the item to your closest branch for pick-up.

Popular Movies to Borrow

Humsafar Bin roye Bol2011 Dil-e-muntazir

Books & Magazines

  Weekly Akhkar-e-jehan Khawateen Digest April 2016

Mango Language LearningFor those wanting to learn the language so you can start enjoying amazing movies, music and books, try Mango Languages.  This online learning tool helps you learn a new language with lessons on vocabulary and grammar accompanied by exercises. You can even create an account to track your progress. 

A library card is required to use borrow materials and access the online resources including Mango Languages, so if you are not a member yet, find out how to get your library card here.

Besides books and movies in Urdu, we also have Library Settlement Partnership workers in some branches who speak Urdu who can help newcomers with information on employment, housing and education.

With the nicer weather, why not visit your local library and see what you can find!

Save the Date - Second Annual Toronto Newcomer Day on May 24!

May 6, 2016 | Elsa | Comments (0)

I still recall how much fun everyone had at the first annual Toronto Newcomer Day on May 29, 2015. It was a day celebrating newcomers’ contributions to the City of Toronto and Mayor John Tory’s Proclamation of Newcomer Day. Over 2,000 Torontonians and Newcomers came out and took part in different activities throughout the day: meeting with municipal, provincial and federal officials, enjoying some energetic cultural performances, sharing their thoughts at Speaker’s Corner, attending a short talk by award-winning Canadian author Teresa Toten, connecting with Parks, Forestry and Recreation and Toronto Seed Library in the Diversity Garden, and conducting self-guided City Hall tours. A huge information fair also took place. It was a memorable day with something for everyone.


For this year's Toronto Newcomer Day, it is even more exciting! It will take place at Nathan Phillips Square on Tuesday, May 24 from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm. Be sure to mark that on your calendar. It is expected that 3,000 - 5,000 Torontonians and Newcomers will come out! Toronto Public Library is pleased to be a part of it again.

Newcomer Day 2016 Poster

The second annual Toronto Newcomer Day is sure to be a fun and family-friendly, free event! This year, Mayor Tory and special guest Senator Ratna Omidvar will celebrate the big day with everyone! For more details about the day, check out:

Toronto Newcomer Day Activities

Did you know that there is a library branch inside City Hall? On Newcomer Day, be sure to stop by City Hall Branch to register for a library card if you do not have one yet.

Library Card
LSP Logo

Toronto Public Library also offers a variety of resources for newcomers. The Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) is offered at several library branches where a settlement worker can help newcomers with their settlement needs. This is a program funded by Immigration, Refugees,and Citizenship Canada

Don’t miss out on Toronto Newcomer Day!


Greek at Your Library | Ελληνικά στη βιβλιοθήκη σας

April 28, 2016 | Suzanne | Comments (0)

Hello! Γειά σας! Did you know that there are five branches that carry Greek materials at the Toronto Public Library? With thousands of books, CDs, DVDs and magazines to choose from, make the Toronto Public Library the first place you visit if you want to read Greek books, learn Greek or watch a Greek movie. Welcome to Greek at your library! Καλωσορισατε!

Orthodox Easter is coming up this Sun. May 1st, and those who celebrate will be gathering with family and friends. Greek food is one of my favorite cuisines, and you can be sure many homes this weekend will be filled with the delicious smells of Greek cooking. The Taste of the Danforth Food Festival is a great chance to taste-test all of the wonderful Greek food that the city has to offer. The festival is not until August, so if you can’t wait until then, why not try some Greek cooking at home? Here are some books on Greek cooking for you to try:

Eating the Greek Way    Food From Many Greek Kitchens    How to Roast a Lamb    Ikaria

The library also has a great collection of resources to help you learn Greek.

Complete Greek   Greek Beginner   Greek Beginner to Advanced Get Started in Greek

Have you used Mango Languages? Mango Languages is a language learning tool that has many languages to choose from, including Greek. It is helpful for learning English, too. Why not give it a try? Giatí na min dósei mia dokimí?  There are other ways the library can help you learn English. Browse the New to Canada section of our website for more information. 

Don't have a library card yet? Don’t worry, it’s easy! Simply bring a piece of valid and current name and address identification to your local branch and we can help you get a card.

In addition to these great print and electronic resources, on Thurs. May 5th, the Victoria Village branch is having author Dora Drivas-Avramis come to talk about her book, The Buses and Other Short Stories. This is a collection of short stories about a young Greek community in Canada. Come to the Victoria Village Branch on Thursday May 5th from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. for this special author visit.

From programs, to books, movies and more, the Toronto Public Library's Greek Collection is here waiting for you. Come and check it out!  Ελατε να μας δειτε!

National Poetry Month at Your Library

April 15, 2016 | Suzanne | Comments (0)

National Poetry Month
(With permission from The League of Canadian Poets)

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? This year’s theme for National Poetry Month from the Canadian League of Poets is the road. We think this is a fitting theme for a year in which Toronto welcomes many newcomers from Syria. Toronto is always welcoming newcomers to the city, and we've all travelled many roads to get here. Whether it was us or our ancestors, every Torontonian has a story about the road they have taken to get to where they are. 

Why not celebrate National Poetry Month reflecting on the experiences of newcomers to Canada? The library has a wonderful collection of Canadian poetry and international poetry, as well as stories and poems about the newcomer experience.

Here are some titles to get you started:

Reimaging the sky    Immigrant Songs    The Healing Place and Other Poems    Yet Another Home

Re-Imaging the Sky is an anthology by the Newcomer Women's Collective in Toronto. Newcomer Women's Services Toronto was founded by a group of Latin American refugees in 1983. For the past 30 years, they have been helping immigrant women from all around the world to become part of the wider community. 

Immigrant songs: the poems, fiction and letters of Sara D'agostino is a collection of the works of Rosario D’agostino. These writings of an Italo-Canadian writer whose life was cut too short are part of the literary history of the Canadian immigrant.

The Healing Place and Other Poems and Yet Another Home are collections of poetry by Peter Jailall, a teacher, poet and storyteller who lives in Mississauga. He emigrated to Canada from Guyana, and writes about the immigrant experience.  

There are also lots of wonderful books in our collection that let us enjoy poetry from all around the world.

The Exile Book of Poetry in Translation 20 Canadian Poets take on the World    Around the World in Eighty Poems    Come to the great world Poems from around the Globe

The Exile Book of Poetry in Translation: 20 Canadian Poets Take on the World is a multilingual collection of poetry that presents the work of 20 international poets. Each poem is in its original language, alongside English translations by some of Canada's most esteemed poets.             

Around the World in Eighty Poems is a collection of poetry for children that includes 80 different poems from over 60 different countries.

Come to the great world: poems from around the globe is another collection of poetry for children which celebrates the diverse experiences of children all over the world.

I hope you will explore the wonderful collections of poetry we have for adults and children. Check out the website for more information on upcoming poetry programs at the library. There are readings, writers' groups and much more happening at branches throughout the city!

I leave you with two lines from a poem from The Exile Book of Poetry in Translation:

        Mariposa Malva (Mauve Butterfly)

        There she goes, the new season, the spring (…)

        The whole winter creaks, exhaling

I'm sure we all hope this is last exhale of winter and that warm spring weather will be here soon! Why not welcome the coming of spring by attending a poetry month program, reading some poetry, or writing your own? Happy National Poetry Month!

Arabic and English Together on One Page: Dual Language Books at Toronto Public Library

April 5, 2016 | Iman | Comments (4)

Bilingual books

Our friends from Syria, Toronto Public Library invites you to explore the library’s newest items in our Arabic collections - bilingual Arabic children’s books. The English children’s books have been translated in many languages including Arabic, and represent some of the most popular children’s books for all different stages of childhood. The Arabic translation appears side by side to the English language on the pages of the books. Here are a few examples of the titles:

Blog post translation in arabic


             Very hungry caterpillarWheels on the bus
Goldilocks and the three bearsRow row  Hansel and Gretel


Check out our New to Canada website for more information about library services for newcomers to Canada.


Serbian | српски

March 7, 2016 | Maria | Comments (0)

Новодошли у Канади? Учланите се у библиотеку. Бесплатно је !

New to Canada? Join the library. It's free!

Toronto Public Library Website

Did you know you can access the Toronto Public Library website in Serbian (српски) using Google Translate. It's automatic machine translation, which has its limitations, but it can help you understand the general content of the website. 

Libraries with Serbian

Toronto Public Library has books, movies, music, and digital content in Serbian.

You can find many books, CDs, DVDs and other material in Serbian at the libraries listed below: 

Large: 1500 or more items Medium: 750-1500 items Small: Fewer than 750 items
North York Central Library


Northern District

S. Walter Stewart

Toronto Reference Library

Our map of library branches with Serbian can help you locate these branches.

New in Serbian

Items newly added to the Toronto Public Library can be viewed by searching the library website. You can look up new Serbian books and new Serbian music that were added to the library in the last 180 days, for example.

Note that items are listed in the Latin alphabet rather than the Cyrillic alphabet.

Online Movies 

With Hoopla, you can watch Serbian movies online for free with your library card. The movies currently available are pictured below. Click on a movie cover to learn more or visit Hoopla to see the entire collection. 

When Day Breaks  The Disobedient  Tilva Rosh  Village Without Women

If you're not sure how to use Hoopla, contact your local library. We're happy to help.

Online Music

Naxos Music Library has some great Serbian music that you can listen to online for free. Again, you'll need your library card.

BOZIC, S. Byzantine Mosaic (Kulaglich)  Guitar Recital Goran Krivokapic Serbian Piano Music  SERBIA Ancient Orthodox Chants from Serbia

These are just some examples. You'll find more by searching the Naxos Music Library.

What do you think...

of what the library has to offer in Serbian? Do you ever borrow Serbian books, movies, or music? Have you tried Hoopla or Naxos Music Library before? Do you have anything else that you enjoy in Serbian at the library that I didn't mention in this blog post?

Share your thoughts and comment below! I'd love to hear from you and I'm sure that those reading this blog post would too.

Planning to Register for Summer Camps and City Programs? Get Ready for FUN Guide 2016!

February 29, 2016 | Iana | Comments (0)

Toronto Fun Guide Spring Summer 2016Despite the record-breaking warm winter we have had in Toronto this year, summer is still far away. Yet the beginning of March is an exciting and nerve-racking time of the year for local Toronto families.

Registration for Toronto Parks and Recreation Spring and Summer programs begins this week!

Explore recreation program options online at or pick up a FREE copy of the Toronto FUN Guide Spring/Summer 2016 at City Hall, civic centres, community centres and libraries. The Fun Guide will list all the programs available in your area, locations, dates and times they are offered. Prices are very reasonable. There are four different versions of the FUN Guide, one for each part of Toronto.

From summer camps and dance to swimming, soccer and art classes, there are more than 54,000 recreation programs and activities available through "Parks & Rec" (City of Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation). My daughter and I have tried yoga, skating, swimming, gymnastics and preschool programs in previous years. The summer camp at our local community centre is my daughter's all-time favourite summer camp and I have promised to register her again.

We are very lucky to have such great, affordable, accessible recreational programs in the city. The reality, though, is that living in a big urban centre such as Toronto comes with some very competitive registration for the popular programs.

The registration process for city programs can be challenging for newcomers. Below are some of the steps and tips.

If you want to get your kids into a city-run summer camp or soccer/swimming/dance classes, you need a strategy! Registration begins on March 5!


Registration for Spring and Summer 2016 general programs, Spring skating & swimming lessons and Summer camps begins online at 7:00 a.m. on the following dates:

FUNGuideEtobicoke      FUNGuideScarborough       FUNGuide North York      FUNGuide East York


Is it your first time registering for Parks & Rec programs?

If you don't know what those numbers mean, you need to call customer service at 416-338-4386 to set up a family account (8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday) preferably before registration day. They will give you a Client and Family Number that you can then use to register online, by phone or in person. You can also also start an account in person by visiting a community centre.

I usually keep those numbers written on a small green card that I was given the first time I got them at my local centre. I also keep a copy of those numbers in my e-mail just in case. I don't want to be looking for them in panic mode on registration day. 


Every program and camp has a "program code" (or code or barcode). It is usually seven digits and is listed alongside the program in the printed FUN Guide or you can find it in the online program listings. In order for your registration day to go smoother and faster, plan to have those program codes ready in advance. 

I usually write down on a piece of paper all of the programs/camps I am hoping to register my child for, along with the codes, dates and times. On registration day, which is always Saturday for my part of town, I set my alarm clock for 6:30 am (that is correct!), and get ready to sit at my computer with a cup of coffee, the list of programs and codes and my phone.


Be ready to register first for the class or camp that is most important for you - maybe because of its convenient location or times or topic. And plan for several options. For example if you don't manage to get in the closest soccer league, are you willing to go to another soccer league, on a different day at a different park? Do you have the program code ready for your second choice?

Make sure you have a "plan A" and a "plan B" list of programs. We don't register in too many activities with one child, but I can only imagine that this process gets even more complicated for families with several children.

This is what a parent friend of mine shared on Facebook with me when I asked for registration tips some time ago:

"Have your registration number and credit card ready. Have your programs selected and have your 2nd and 3rd choices chosen in case your first choice is full. If possible, keep clicking "register online" right at 7:00 a.m. and at the same time keep pressing redial on the phone. I prefer having the paper copy as opposed to the online guide when it comes to researching the the options beforehand."


  • Online registration -- if you have your Family and Client Numbers, register online, it is the fastest way to do it.
  • By phone -- call 416-338-4386.

How people register for Fun Guide programs is probably a personal preference. I usually have a double strategy -- website and phone at the same time. I keep clicking on the "refresh" button until I get access to the online system early morning on registration day. One or two times I have been lucky in getting early access. Several times I have had to click and wait for an hour or more, and have missed some of my choices. One time I did manage to get through on the phone and registered this way. There is no magic trick. Not all programs are so popular. Usually it is not a problem to wait until later in the day or the week and register even in person for adult programs. The children's activities such as soccer or swimming for example and the camps are in highest demand.


The City of Toronto's Welcome Policy provides a fee subsidy to help low income individuals and families who live in Toronto access city programs. If you are approved under the Welcome Policy, you will receive an annual financial subsidy that can be spent on any of the wide variety of high-quality recreation programs offered by the City throughout the year.

Effective January 1, 2016 the individual annual credit amounts was increased to $504 for children and youth and $235 for adults and seniors. If you think you and your family might be eligible for a "welcome policy subsidy" to register for city programs for free - you can read more about this program and fill out an application form.


Expired Session -- knowing this can save you a lot of frustration:

"if, while using Toronto FUN Online, there is no activity for a period of five minutes, your session will be terminated. You will need to log-on again to return to Toronto FUN Online. Do not use the back and forward buttons in your browser as it may result in the termination of your internet registration session and you will be required to re-log on."

New This Year - Minimum Age for Camps

Due to new regulations by the Province of Ontario, children must be 4 years of age on the first day attending any camp program.

Free Drop-in Programs

In addition to registered paid programs, many community centres offer free recreation programs (click for locations and listings), including leisure swimming and skating, and drop-in programs for children, youth and older adults.


City of Toronto Fun Guide programs
 [photo credit: Toronto Fun Guide]


Another Facebook parent friend summed it all up for me a couple years ago: "At 7:03 this morning a miracle happened! I got through to the Fun Guide registration on my first try... needless to say I am very happy this morning."

Does your family have favourite summer memories of attending city programs and camps in your town?

Do you have any words of advice or comments about registration or programs you liked? I am really intrigued this year by the Toronto Island Explorer Camp. I wish I was a kid and could go! We will likely not manage to get to this camp due to distance, but it sounds so exciting! I still hope to visit the Island on our own several times, as it is one of my favourite summer spots in Toronto! Until then, I will bundle up and enjoy the late winter and the special leap February 29 day, while planning out our camp registration on Saturday!

Celebrating Canada's Black History Today: People, Books, Free Library Events

February 11, 2016 | Iana | Comments (1)

"All I wanted was to see a movie"..."I can't sell downstairs tickets to you people"...Viola sits in the lower section anyway, before she’s pulled out and thrown into a jail cell. Meet Viola Desmond, a woman who insisted on keeping her seat at a Halifax movie theatre in 1946 rather than moving to the section normally reserved for the city's black population. Viola's pride and courage remind us that racial segregation was still part of Canadian social history throughout a third of the 20th century. Her story is featured in Heritage Minutes, a series of sixty-second short films, by Historica Canada, each illustrating an important moment in Canadian history.


The Government of Canada officially celebrated Black History Month for the first time in 1996, and this year is its 20th anniversary. Every year in February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy and important contributions of black Canadians in Canada's history and present.

20th anniversary of Black History Month


Free Library Events:

BHM Qultign imageToronto Public Library also honours Black History Month by offering various cultural events for all ages across the city's 100 library branches. Attend book talks, lectures on history and politics, and National Film Board Mini Film Fest film screenings. Families are invited to participate in programs featuring African and Caribbean music, crafts, stories, movies and puppet shows. Those library events are always free and everyone is welcome to join!


In addition, the 2016 Toronto Urban Book Expo (TUBE) takes place this year at North York Central Library on Saturday, February 13 from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. and admission is free! This is the only Canadian event dedicated to celebrating urban fiction and urban writers. Urban fiction (also known as "street lit" and "hip hop" lit) is a growing genre in Canada and is more and more recognized especially for its reach to youth.


Black History Month Reading List 2016

Browse the library's annual list of recommended books for adults, teens and children, selected by librarians to include some recently published excellent reads by mostly Canadian and some American authors. Place a hold or borrow a copy from your local library branch. Here are some highlights:

Black History Month Reading List - books for adults:

  • Cafe Babanussa Fifteen Dogs The Great Black North A brief history of seven killings Position As Desired Membering

  • Fifteen Dogs: An Apologue by Canadian author Andre Alexis (born in Trinidad and Tobago) was the novel winner of the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. The novel tells the story of a group of fifteen dog at a veterinary clinic in Toronto, who are suddenly gifted by the gods with human consciousness and language.   
  • The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry - the first national anthology to focus solely on poetry by over 90 African Canadian poets working in many poetic styles. The Great Black North is a valuable resource for the preservation of culture that is written and/or performed as dub poetry, spoken word and slam. 
  • Cafe Babanussa by Karen Hill. Café Babanussa is a moving portrait of a young woman's experience of life, love and the shifting tides of mental health in 1980s-era Berlin. On February 23, you can also attend a special event at Parkdale Branch with acclaimed Canadian author Lawrence Hill who will discuss this new book by his late sister, Karen Hill. 
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James is a masterful novel that explores the events and characters surrounding the attempted assassination of Bob Marley during the political turmoil in Jamaica during the late 1970s. The celebrated Jamaican novelist and 2015 Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James will also be a special guest and speaking about his book at a special event at the Reference Library on February 18, but at this point only rush seats are available.
  • Position As Desired: Exploring African Canadian Identity: Photographs from the Wedge Collection - this collection reflects on what it means to be African Canadian. It includes depictions of largely unknown or uncelebrated African individuals in Canada as well as works that celebrate the growth and diversity of the African Canadian community today. 
  • 'Membering - in this unforgettable memoir, Giller Prize-winning author and poet Austin Clarke shares his experiences growing up in Barbados and moving to Toronto to attend university before becoming a journalist.


Black History Month Reading List - books for teens and children, highlights below:

  • Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War by Jessica Dee Humphreys - this moving and unsettling graphic novel is told in first person by Michel Chikwanine who was five years old when he was abducted from his school-yard soccer game in the Democratic Republic of Congo and forced to become a soldier for a brutal rebel militia. Against the odds, Michel managed to escape and find his way back to his family, but he was never the same again. After immigrating to Canada, Michel was encouraged by a teacher to share what happened to him in order to raise awareness about child soldiers around the world, and this book is part of that effort. For ages 10-14.
  • Lullaby for a Black Mother: A Poem by Langston Hughes - a beautifully illustrated picture book (illustrator Sean Qualls) based on Hughes' poem that he wrote more than 80 years ago, playful, fresh and modern. The poem's images of night and innocence are well suited for a picture book, too: “My little dark baby, my little earth-thing, my little love-one, what shall I sing for your lullaby"? Ages 3-8.
  • A Desperate Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson by Karleen Bradford. "Sunday, April 26th, 1863: TORONTO, CANADA! We made it! We’re here, safe and sound!" - This story is part of the "Dear Canada" children's series of historical fiction and is gripping and exceptional. It not only provides a useful tie-in to the topic of the Underground Railroad, but also reminds us of the early roots of multiculturalism in Canada. For ages 9-13, excellent read for adults too.


Click on the full Black History Month booklist to see all suggested titles and place a hold on the books that interest you. 


More Recommended Book Resources (pictured, a display at Palmerston Branch):


BHM display at Palmerston Branch 2016Just in time for Black History Month here is another great diverse selection 28 Black Picture Books That Aren’t About Boycotts, Buses or Basketball by American librarian and writer Scott Woods who blogs at Scott Woods Makes Lists. The books have been published in the last 10 years, feature African American children and help fill a need for diverse cultural representation in characters and authors in children's literature. Multicultural books should be part of library displays, programs and storytimes throughout the year, not only during Black History Month.


Did you know Toronto Public Library houses one of the most important literary Black and Caribbean literary collections in Canada? The Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection has over 16,000 print and audiovisual materials for adults, children and teens, and is located at Malvern, Maria A. Shchuka, Parkdale, and York Woods branches in Toronto. It is an invaluable resource for the Black and Caribbean community, for students and researchers, accessible to anyone interested, you are welcome to visit those branches to browse the resources or place holds online with your library card. The collection was named in honour of Canadian icon Dr. Rita Cox - a community activist and admired leader in the Black and Caribbean community, who worked for many years as a children's librarian and storyteller at Toronto Public Library.


And if you find yourself in the Annex neighbourhood - take the time to visit the independent multicultural bookstore A Different Booklist - specializing in books from the  African and Caribbean diaspora and a real community hub, just steps from the Bloor/Bathurst intersection in Toronto. You will be warmly welcomed and their book collection is impressive and in-depth.   





And last but not least, take a look at two recent thought-provoking TV programs produced by Asha Tomlinson on CBC News Network during Black History Month in 2015 and 2016. They raise important questions:

  • "Being Black in Canada" (CBC, Feb. 5, 2015) - a CBC special presentation in celebration of the Black History month. "The program highlights the work of two Windsor teachers who show their students what's missing in many of their history books. Asha speaks with Book of Negroes author Lawrence Hill about how the TV mini series is bringing Canadian Black history to a wider audience and we hear the story of Western Canada's Black Pioneers and how they're preserving their ancestors' history."

Welcome! This blog is written by librarians and provides information and resources available from the library and around Toronto to new residents of Canada. For more information see the Library's Help for Newcomers website