Celebrate Family Literacy Day!

January 21, 2022 | Andrea

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Wall art with paper cutouts of a tree, birds, snowflakes, snowman, snowy hill and and text "Reading is snow much fun!" Snow and winter-themed books stand on the tops of bookshelves.
A wintry book display at Centennial Branch.

Has spending time in nature helped you during the COVID-19 pandemic? The great outdoors can provide many benefits for the mind and body. Sure, the winter season may throw an icicle in our biking, gardening and picnicking plans, but there are still fun activities your family can try outside, weather permitting!

January 27 is Family Literacy Day, an initiative of ABC Life Literacy Canada to encourage families to share the joy of reading and learning together. This year's theme is learning in the great outdoors. Screen time has skyrocketed for both adults and children these days, and it's important to get outside for exercise, fresh air and vitamin D. Toronto has many parks, ravines and trails to explore and enjoy. Dress for the weather, and follow public health guidelines to keep your outdoor learning experience safe for everyone!

Too cold for a long walk outside? Stay in and read together! Make reading a happy and special part of your daily routine. Keep in mind when choosing books that age recommendations are guidelines. You know your child best, and children can access books and stories in different ways.


A is for Anemone by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd
A is for Anemone by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd (ages 2 to 6)

A board book that introduces the alphabet using iconic imagery of the west coast. One of our 2021 First and Best picks for kids under five! Check out the full list for more great Canadian children's books for building reading readiness.

We are excited to host The Art of Storytelling with Roy Henry Vickers! Join us online for the 14th annual Sybille Pantazzi Lecture, presented by the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books. Tune in live on February 10, 2022 at 7 pm to learn how the celebrated Indigenous artist Roy Henry Vickers designs, illustrates and narrates the stories in his books.


Malaika's Winter Carnival by Nadia L. Hohn and Irene Luxbacher

Malaika's Winter Carnival by Nadia L. Hohn and Irene Luxbacher (ages 3 to 7)

Moving from the Caribbean to Canada is a big change! In this picture book, Malaika does her best to adjust to her new home and blended family. Check out our list of winter books for kids and blog post on celebrating outdoor winter play for more seasonal reads! 


The Case of the Snack Snatcher by Liam O'Donnell and Aurélie Grand
The Case of the Snack Snatcher by Liam O'Donnell and Aurélie Grand (ages 7 to 10) 

The first book in the West Meadows Detectives series introduces Myron, a third-grader on the autism spectrum, and his hyperactive friend Harjah, who use their unique abilities to solve the mystery of who is stealing the school's morning snacks.


Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright
Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright (ages 8 to 12) 

In this graphic novel, middle school changes everything for identical twins Francine and Maureen. They've always shared the same classes and liked the same foods, but now Francine wants to join new clubs and dress differently. How will their relationship change when Maureen decides to run against her sister for class president?


Finding Home by Jen Sookfong Lee and Drew Shannon

Finding Home by Jen Sookfong Lee and Drew Shannon (ages 8 to 12) 

Why do people leave one home to create another? This nonfiction book follows the journeys of different immigrants and refugees, exploring the complexity of human migration in an accessible way. Nominated for the Yellow Cedar Award. Check out all of the finalists for the 2022 Forest of Reading Awards.


More book recommendations

Browse new books and staff recommendations for your next great read! Enjoying books together is your child's first step toward developing a lifelong love of reading.


Other types of resources

Other fun ways to build literacy skills include storytelling, scavenger hunts, playing a board game, and following a recipe. Here are more library resources to give you ideas for celebrating Family Literacy Day.


Give this number a ring and you can listen to recorded stories in 16 different languages. Call 416-395-5400 and put your phone on speaker!

Growing a Reader

This blog has an extensive archive of recommended reads and literacy tips and activities. Check out our previous posts on:

  • Going birdwatching and learning about urban wildlife. Connect with the environment as a family and continue exploring the wonderful world of nature through books.
  • Reading aloud. Reading to children is a fun way to build literacy skills and for families to bond through the magic of storytelling. We recommend some of our favourite read-alouds with irresistible first lines.
  • Staying connected. From making papercraft hugs to window and sidewalk art, families can try these activities to send some love and brighten someone's day.

Ready for Reading 

As a parent or caregiver, you are your child's first and best teacher. Our Ready for Reading program supports and promotes five easy, everyday activities that help build important pre-reading skills: talking, reading, singing, playing and writing. Explore the site and discover tons of literacy tips and videos.

TPL Kids 

Why shouldn't you tell jokes while skating? The ice might crack up! What advice do you get from a librarian? Believe in your shelf! Our website for kids is filled with jokes, riddles, and weird and wonderful trivia. Older kids can share their own jokes, write funny captions or ask important questions they are pondering, like how did dinosaurs really look?

To learn more about dino discoveries, join us for an After School Club with Club Rex! Check out our TPL Kids Crowdcast channel for more online programs. Replays are available to watch anytime, so your family can have fun coding, crafting, doing magic tricks and science experiments and other fun activities.

TPL Reading Challenge 

12 books, 12 categories, 12 months! This is a great way to encourage readers of all ages to try something new and discover different authors and genres. At the end of the year, participants have the opportunity to enter a prize draw. Up for a bigger challenge? Take the Advanced Challenge with 14 more books!

TPL on YouTube

Want to build a catapult, make a kaleidoscope or even "sew" a constellation? Mini Makers programs are hands-on experiments and projects you can try at home. Explore STEM concepts using household materials and lots of imagination! In this video, families can create stellar sun art while learning about our solar system.

Press play on our Storytime at Home videos for fun and interactive books, songs and rhymes. We have over 40 stories, including bedtime favourite Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd.

We hope you and your child will find books and activities at the library to enjoy and discover together, on Family Literacy Day and any day. Happy reading!