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Showcasing Books of Life

Rian McLaughlin

For more than a decade, OTF has been a busy participant at the Word on the Street book and literature fair held annually in early fall at Queen’s Park, Toronto.  Attendance at the Toronto event continues to grow numbering in the tens of thousands, while affiliated fairs are now also held in Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa, Calgary, Kitchener, Saskatoon, and Lethbridge.  Clearly, the written word and the celebration of literacy and literary achievement continue to inspire and engage Canadians.  For OTF, Word on the Street is an opportunity to advocate for the teaching profession with students, parents, and citizens from all walks of life.  Being the purveyor of the especially popular miniature Paper Bag Princess books and the magnetic word wall giveaways that delight our youngest visitors means that my experience at the fair is always a great one.  The popularity of growth charts, compliments of ETFO, are also welcomed by children, parents, grandparents, and teachers  alike and the OTF Teacher Gift Bags that are available to members who are able to beat the crowds and make their way to the front of the OTF booth are always sold out! This year’s booth held a special surprise for our visitors.  Earlier this year, I talked about the Books of Life Project that OTF lead and coordinated with the Aboriginal Education Office of the Ministry of Education.  Books of Life brought teachers and students from across the province together to learn the art of storytelling to create books about their lives, their communities, and their values with the unifying theme of how all of our lives are shaped by our cultural and historical contexts. This year, OTF unveiled the completed, amazing and wonderful story projects that more than 30 ETFO members and their students created.  Each book is unique and inspiring.  I have had the privilege of seeing each one of them and am so proud of the creativity and heartfelt sharing that lies on every carefully constructed page. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all of our members and their students in producing such beautiful compilations. At OTF, we also hope that one day soon we will be able to share them more comprehensively with all of you.  In fact, I will be advocating the establishment of a lending library for members who wish to share these wonderful stories with their colleagues and students and perhaps be inspired to continue the Books of Life project in their own classrooms.  For more information, visit the website. Rian McLaughlin, OTF Table Officer for ETFO ENTER THIS OTF CONTEST AND WIN! We have prizes for the first ETFO members who email to answer this skill-testing question:  In what year was the Ontario Teachers’ Federation established by law in the Province of Ontario?