Skills for Change announces New Pioneers awards

Skills for Change, a non-profit community agency based in Toronto, has been working for over 25 years to support immigrants and refugees in accessing employment and participating in the community.

Annually, Skills for Change holds the New Pioneers Awards which recognizes individuals for their contribution in six areas: Arts, Community Service, Science & Technology, Entrepreneurship, Skills for Change Graduate, and Youth. This year, Ellen Xi Yang has been recognized with a New Pioneer Award, Youth for her volunteer work with children and youth. Yang is also profiled in todays Toronto Star.

This year’s event will be held February 28/08, Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre.

The future of ECE in Ontario: Focus on the changing landscape

The Association of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario (AECEO) is hosting their 58th annual conference May 9-10/08 at Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Of interest to the Early Childhood Working Group, these workshops, panels and presentations:

Equity and Access in ECE: Making the shift toward a critical perspective in early childhood studies and challenging the discourse of anti-bias education, with Zeenat Janmohamed, Atkinson Centre for Society & Child Development

The Young English Language Learner, with Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Ryerson University School of Early Childhood Education &

Visit the AECEO website to download the preliminary conference brochure and for more details.

Call for nominations: BC multicultural award

The Nesika Award is a new initiative of the British Columbia government. “Nesika” is Chinook, meaning “we, us, our”. BC AG and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism Wally Oppal says the term reflects BCs “reputation as a world leader in inclusion” (Source:, Feb 11/08 ).

The Nesika Awards recognize an individual, organization and a community “for their work in helping two or more cultures to live, learn or work together. Award recipients will be honoured for developing respect and understanding between different cultures. Their initiative sets an example for others, demonstrating the many benefits received when we live and work with each other“.

See the Ministry’s website for details, including the news release, nomination forms, fact/info sheets on the advisory council and etc.

Someone nominate an individual/group who works on behalf of immigrant children/families! Award winners receive a $500 donation to a charity/group of their choice.

Nominations close September 15/08.

NAME Conference: Beyond celebrating diversity

US-based National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) will hold its 18th annual conference Nov 12-16/08 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference theme is Beyond Celebrating Diversity: reActivating the Equity and Social Justice Roots of Multicultural Education.

Conference strands:

  • Critical discourses in multicultural education, social justice and equity
  • The roots of multicultural education
  • Empowering students of color, English language learners, and low-income students
  • Community-based initiatives for educational equity and social justice
  • Multicultural education in a digital age.

See the NAME site for details, including the call for proposals, rubric proposal and information on last year’s conference.

Proposals due March 31, 2008.

CPRN’s leadership summit – will immigrant children’s issues be raised?

On Wed. Feb 13th, the Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) will bring together “more than 100 community, business, and youth leaders” to launch their public policy research agenda as part of the CPRN Leadership Summit. (Source: CPRN E-Network bulletin, Feb 7/08).

Five challenges, identified through a consultation process lead by CPRN across Canada, will be addressed at the Summit, including: Citizenship, Diversity, Productivity, Health and our aging population and the Environment.

From the Feb 7th CPRN e-Network bulletin:

“… we want advice about what the public policy needs are to shape Canada’s response to these challenges so that we can shape our research to meet these needs” says Manson Singer. CPRN is committed to working with Canadians to find innovative policy approaches that will strengthen Canada and contribute to making it the fair, prosperous and inclusive society we seek.

“Canada has had great success as a nation and is a leader in the developed world. But, we have much to do to ensure that all our citizens share our great potential and future success. CPRN believes that citizens can make an important contribution to shaping Canada’s future through Connecting with Canadians research and dialogue”.

Of the more than 100 participants, surely issues of importance/relevance to immigrant children and families will be raised. Watch the CPRN for updates/reports coming out of the summit, promised in next week’s E-Network bulletin.

Ontario education minister hosts diversity forum in Toronto

Ontario Minister of Education and MPP for Don Valley West, the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, will host a forum on diversity along with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Honourable Michael Chan, Jehad Aliweiwi, Harold Brathwaite, Shabnum Budhwani, Tarek Fatah, Alia Hogben, Abdul Ingar, Mandeep Kaur Mucina, Barbara Landau.

From her E-News Bulletin, Jan 27/08 edition Wynne says Ontario has an “opportunity is to be an example for the world of how people from different backgrounds live together in a climate of peace and mutual respect and understanding. To realize that opportunity we must learn from each other about how best to live together“.

The event will be held Wed. Jan 30th, 6:00-8:30 at Valley Park Middle School, 130 Overlea Blvd in Toronto. Contact information: 416-425-6777 or

Children’s books about immigration

In recognition of Family Literacy Day, coming up January 27, 2008, here is a list of children’s picture and chapter books about immigration. Some of these titles came from the Children’s Literature listserv, Child_Lit.

I do not know all of the titles but I thought a list might be useful to those of us with an interest in children’s literature and immigration. If you know these books, or are aware of links to the authors or reviews or anything else that might be interesting/useful for blog readers, please let me know.

Alvarez, Julia. (1991). How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.

Ashley, Bernard. (1991). Little Soldier.

Blohom, Judith & Terri Lapinsky. (2006). Kids Like Me: Voices of the Immigrant Experience.

Bloom, Valerie. (2004). Surprising Joy.

Brown, Jackie. (2004). Little Cricket.

Campling, Annie. (1998). Smiling for Strangers.

Cheng, Andrea. (2004). Honeysuckle House.

Ellis, Sarah. (2001). A Prairie as Wide as the Sea: The Immigrant Diary of Ivy Weatherall.

Ernest, Kate Elizabeth. (1994). Hope Leaves Jamaica.

Evans, Alwyn. (2004). Walk in My Shoes.

Fleming, Candace. (2008). Lowji Discovers America.

French, Jackie. (2001). How the Finnegans Saved the Ship.

Hawke, Rosanne. (2004). Soraya the Storyteller.

Hodge, Deborah and John Mantha. The Kids Book of Canadian Immigration.

Hearn, Emily and Marywinn Milne. (2007). Our New Home: Immigrant Children Speak.

Kidd, Diana. (1991). Illustrated by Lucy Montgomery.

Kurtz, Jane. (2000). Faraway Home.

Kurtz, Jane. (2005). In the Small, Small Night.

Lasky, Kathryn. (1999). Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City 1903.

Matas, Carol. (2002). Footsteps in the Snow: The Red River Diary of Isobel Scott.

Munsch, Robert. (1995). From Far Away.

Munoz Ryan, Pam. (2001). Esperanza Rising.

Naidoo, Beverley. (2000). The Other Side of Truth.

Orr, Wendy. (1995). Yasou Nikki.

Pak, Soyung. (1990). Dear Juno.

Park, Frances and Ginger Park. (2005). Goodbye 382 Shin Dang Dong.

Reich, Jose. Illustrated by Raul Colon. Born to Dance: The True Story of Jose Limon.

Say, Allen. (1993). Grandfather’s Journey.

Say, Allen. (2002). Home of the Brave.

Sheth, Kashmira. (2003). Blue Jasmine.

So, John. (2003). Finding my Hat.

Starke, Ruth. (2005). Orphans of the Queen.

Testa, Maria. (2005). Something About America.

Wolf, Bernard. Coming to America:A Muslim Family’s Story.

Yoo, David. (2005). Girls for Breakfast.

Wilkes, Sybella. (1994). One Day We Had To Run: Refugee Children Tell Their Stories in Words and Paintings.

Canadian Council for Refugees winter working group meetings

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) winter working group meetings will be held February 22-23, 2008 in Toronto.

The working groups provide a forum for CCR members and other refugee and immigrant rights advocates to come together to share information and to work together in areas of common concern.

The CCR working groups meet four times a year. Two of these meetings take place during the semi-annual CCR consultations. The other working group meetings take place in February (in Toronto) and in September (in Montreal).

From the CCR website: “The working group meetings offer an excellent opportunity to:

  • Participate in efforts to promote refugee protection and resettlement, and the settlement of refugees and immigrants
  • Discuss in depth pressing issues affecting refugees and immigrants in Canada
  • Share information and strategies with others from across Canada”.

Fri. Feb 22nd meeting: Inland protection working group & Immigration and settlement working group.

Sat. Feb 23rd meeting: Overseas protection and sponsorship working group.