the Institute for Cross-cultural Exchangethe Institute for Cross-cultural Exchange

Partner Feedback

Thank you from Highfield School
Thank you from Highfield School

Abbotsford Community Services

“The text was not challenging to the parents who found a sense of accomplishment at reading the book to the children.  Many of our parents and children come from multicultural backgrounds and they have identified with the story "The lion who saw himself in the water.”

Read the full letter from Coordinator and Facilitator Lata Aggarwal here.

Lata Aggarwal
Coordinator and Facilitator
Parents and Children Together (P.A.C.T.)

Affiliated Services for Children and Youth (Hamilton, ON)

“The parents and children that participated in the workshops felt special to be receiving a book they could take home and re-read over and over again together. The stories themselves clearly celebrate our world and encourage in children the love of reading.”

Read the full letter from Early Literacy Specialist Brenda Jenner here (384 KB pdf) (AffiliatedServices.pdf).

Brenda Jenner
Early Literacy Specialist
Affiliated Services for Children and Youth

Andrew Hunter Elementary School (Barrie, ON)

“When we received the books and saw what high-quality literature they were, we ordered six copies of each of the teaching stories, the teaching guides and the CDs. We met as a staff for a full day to plan a school wide, six-week unit on the Teaching Stories. Many of our teachers went further and did a unit on Afghanistan and the children who live there. We found that our students were very interested in the country and the culture, and that they were very motivated to understand the Teaching Stories.”

Read the full letter from Rosemary Renton here (406 KB pdf). (AndrewHunterElem.pdf)

Rosemary Renton

Andrew Hunter Elementary School

Baycrest Public School (North York, ON)

“Your donation of the Hoopoe storybooks were a wonderful surprise and the children who received them were absolutely thrilled. lt is one thing to borrow a book from the school library. lt is another thing entirely to have a book of your own, to read with a parent or family member, to leaf through in quiet and to treasure. As I said earlier, I suspect that in many of our households, it is the only children’s book the family possesses.”

Read the full letter from Bruce Stodart here (260 KB pdf). (BaycrestLPG_0002.pdf)

Bruce Stodart
Baycrest Public School

Calgary Reads

“Words cannot even express how much we appreciated the books! The smiles and hoots of excitement when we present the books to children say it all.”

“We are definitely going to apply for next year [for the next distribution of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water].”

Amy Jackson
Executive Director
Calgary Reads (An Early Literacy Initiative) Society

Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy

“I have really enjoyed having the books. I have given many away in many different settings. An interesting story happened at a Love 2 Learn program. A Mom with many needs was attending regularly with her home support worker. The home support worker asked for additional copies to give to other families and adults she works with. She thought it was a great story and a good conversation started about self confidence and self image. I’d love to have access to more stories and will always find homes for them.”

Community Literacy Coordinator
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy

“We give out a variety of childrens’ books as often as we can, since we agree with the philosophy of ICE that having books at home encourages reading by children and to them.  Many of the families with whom we work cannot afford many books or do not know that they should have lots around at home. Since we cannot afford to buy many books, we are mostly only able to give out ones that are gently used and given to us by people who are no longer using them.  It was a real pleasure to be able to give people new books and I think they felt especially honored to get them.”

Leona Gadsby
Executive Director
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy

E4C Early Head Start (Edmonton, AB)

“One of the children had his name on the book and he went around saying ‘This is my book’. It meant a lot to him to have his own book.  One mother recognized the story of the lion as coming from her culture and therefore was better able to relate to the story in English.”

“The parents and children in our programs greatly benefited from the books...”

Read the full letter from Family Literacy Coordinator Rebecca Still here.

Rebecca Still
Family Literacy Coordinator
Early Head Start

Frontier College

“This is such an excellent children’s book.  It gives us great pleasure to distribute it.  The text is easy to read, yet the story is thought-provoking and perfect for discussion and further activity.  We are also delighted to be able to share a timeless story that hails from Afghanistan.  Because we work with many new Canadians who have come here from around the world, it is imperative that we have diverse materials.”

David Page
Community Coordinator
Frontier College

“I still struggle with what to say when a child joyfully hugs a book saying this is the very first book they ever owned. I was delighted to hear a child point to the cover of The Farmer’s Wife and say ‘She is my grandmother!’ It is fantastic to see children follow the words on the page when the stories are read to them.”

Tina Conlon
Community Coordinator, Toronto Community Team
Read Tina’s full letter here (28 KB pdf) (Frontier11Feb08-letter.pdf).  Read Tina’s 2009 letter (252 KB pdf) (FrontierCollege6Mar09.pdf).

The George Hull-Highfield Community Enrichment Project

“The teachers and students alike were thrilled with the donated books.  The book (The Farmer’s Wife) is very well illustrated and it’s repetitive language really does make it a great tool for developing reading.  We are all thankful for this unexpected gift that promotes literacy in the home.”

“One of our Kindergarten classes created some bookmarks as a means of thanks and asked if I could forward them to you!” View Bookmarks Here, View More Bookmarks Here.

Isobel Valley
In-School Program Supervisor
Highfield Community Enrichment Project

Girl Guides of Canada

“Please allow me to extend a special thank you for your donation of fifteen Spanish/English children’s books to our Girl Guide group to bring with us for our service project in Cuernavaca, Mexico.”

“During our trip, we participated in two service projects. We worked with Habitat for Humanity Mexico to complete a home for a family. We also lead a program for disadvantaged children through VAMOS, a Mexican organization committed to helping the poor. Working with the children and bringing donations such as the books your organization provided made all of us feel so blessed knowing that we each got to be one of those people who makes a difference in the world. It was truly amazing.”

“Sharing the books with the children, engaging them in the power of a story, exposing them to books, promoting reading, and touching their lives will have a lifelong positive impact on everyone who participated.”

Adele Cooshek
1st Pinetree Senior Branches
Girl Guides of Canada

Hands The Family Help Network (Muskoka, ON)

“In particular, I was grateful to give to a child in Muskoka stories enjoyed by children in Afghanistan, which reassures our children  that children and living and playing and listening to stories in Afghanistan.”

Read the full letter from Early Literacy Specialist Sandy Inkster here.

Sandy Inkster
Early Literacy Specialist for Muskoka

Investing in Children (London, ON)

“The books were a wonderful addition to our Family Literacy Events; we were able to provide each family with a new book, the Read Together newsletter and a tip sheet on how to read to your child. The children were thrilled with their gift and many of the parents spoke to me about the struggle that they have reading with their children. By including the Read Together newsletter we were able to share concrete reading strategies with the families.”

Read the full letter from Community Projects Manager, Lisa Baxter here (36 KB pdf) (InvestinginChildren.pdf).

Lisa Baxter
Community Projects Manager
Investing in Children

KidsAbility Centre for Child Development

“Thank you for your generous donation of children’s books entitled The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water which we received in May 2008.  As a result, we were able to provide these books to preschool children with communication delays, to families who have limited access to books, and to a number of families from a variety of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.  The books were given out with suggestions for enhancing language and literacy development incorporating the family-friendly “Reading Together” materials on your website.  ECE teaching staff also received Learning that Lasts information from the ICE website.”

“Parents commented that they practised telling the story with “an animated voice” and that “it was a simple story with a solid message” that was “very well illustrated” and “captivated the attention of the children.”  A social worker used this story to discuss fear with children who have autism, and found this a concrete way to broach a sometimes abstract and often difficult topic.”

Read Gabriele’s full letter here (60 KB pdf) (kidsAbilityLetter.pdf).

Gabriele S. Croft
KidsAbility Centre for Child Development

LUSO Community Services (London, ON)

“Unsolicited feedback from a struggling parent who attends our "Parents as Partners in Education" workshops each month received copies of the books (with newsletter) for her 3 children was so well received.   Last month she shared with me that all 3 kids (JK-Grade 3) absolutely love the stories and continually pull them off the bookshelf to read.  This feedback was so unexpected and so exciting because this is a family that truly struggles with day-to-day life.”

Read the full letter from Literacy and Resource Coordinator Jennifer Smith here (100 KB pdf) (LusoCommunityServ09.pdf).

Jennifer Smith
Literacy and Resource Coordinator
LUSO Community Services

Oakville Parent Child Centre

“The donation of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water was very well received...The response has been tremendous. Children and adults have enjoyed the story very much and many positive comments have been made on the beautiful illustrations...The objective of the Cozy Reading Program is to promote a positive emotional response to reading, so children will view reading as a pleasant activity in which they feel motivated to participate...We would be very interested in receiving another alternate title for 2006 and are happy to provide a letter of support.  We thank you for your donation to our programs and look forward to a long standing collaborative relationship.”

Madeleine Buhlau
Special Projects Coordinator
Oakville Parent Child Centre

Ontario Early Years

“Parents were quite surprised at the high quality of the book, the beautiful illustrations and the fun cumulative tale.”

“One dad told me his child brought the book to him and climbed on his lap for the story.  He liked that the book used humour and found that his child would stay for a long time before running off.”

Read the full letter from Early Literacy Specialist Donna Kaye here.

Donna Kaye
Early Literacy Specialist
Ontario Early Years

Saskatchewan Literacy Network

“It was wonderful to receive your generous donation of 500 copies of The Lion who Saw Himself in the Water and The Farmer’s Wife. Our organization distributed all 500 books to family literacy programs in numerous communities across Saskatchewan.”

“Recipients have expressed true delight and appreciation at receiving such high quality children’s books.”

Lisa Erickson
Executive Director
Saskatchewan Literacy Network

“My kids loved the books and the stories.”
“I love the book and my baby loves it too.”
“My grandchild really enjoyed that book.”

Participants in Saskatoon Literacy Network Family Literacy programs.

Smithers Community Services Association (Smithers, BC)

“The donations of books from ICE are so valuable to our community members! It gives parents the opportunity to share reading to their children in a comfortable, supportive environment with a family literacy facilitator.  Taking home a book will allow them to practice reading to their children and incorporate reading into their family lives.”

Read the full letter from Literacy Program Manager Elke Heinemann-Pesch here.

Elke Heinemann-Pesch
Program Manager
Smithers Community Services Association

Success by Six (Lower Mainland, Burnaby, B.C.)

“Success By 6 is extremely grateful to receive some of the books for distribution throughout its 20 initiatives. ‘We chose Success by Six because of the high profile of your organization, the match with ICE’s mandate, the quick and professional response that followed our initial enquiries, and the willingness of Success by Six to cooperate with ICE in the future,’ says Michael Gintowt, Secretary, Institute for Cross-Cultural Exchange.”

—An excerpt from Visions (Official Stakeholder Newsletter of Success By 6)

“I have had parents ask if they can purchase other copies... happily I just give the other book to them!  The comments have been wonderful and the appreciation of the books great. Thanks ICE!”

“Families absolutely looovvveee... the books!”

Read the full letter from Deb Bryant and Cheryn Wong of Success by Six here.

Kids with books at The Canada Trust Family Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon.
Kids with their personal copy of Boy Without a Name.
TD Canada Trust Family Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon.

TD Canada Trust Family Literacy Centre

“The area we serve is the Yukon Territory which has one eighth of the total land mass of Canada with under 50,000 people living in it. Seven different First Nation languages are spoken along with English, French, and a significant number of other languages. So you can see we have to find resources that that encourage higher-level and critical thinking, foster empathy and conflict resolution, and promote social and emotional skills.

The free copies of the book ‘The Boy Without A Name’ enabled us to meet these objectives while providing us with an opportunity to foster cross-cultural understanding in our community.”

Read the full letter from Project Director Allen Murray here. (TDCanadaTrust.pdf)

Union Gospel Mission

“We appreciate your grant of 100 children’s books to assist us as our children’s program works with so many needy kids from our neighbourhood.  The Farmer’s Wife and The Lion who Saw Himself in the Water are delightful, and so beautifully illustrated!”

“Thank you for this gift on behalf of our children’s team, and the children themselves.”

Hilary Beard
Major Gift Officer
Union Gospel Mission

World Literacy of Canada

“World Literacy of Canada recently arranged an informal partnership with the Institute for Cross-Cultural Exchange (ICE), a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to promoting cross-cultural education and understanding. Currently, ICE’s priority is to donate beautifully illustrated children’s books, containing traditional folktales or ‘teaching stories’ from the Middle East and Central Asia, to literacy organizations across Canada that serve children and families in need.”

“Recognized as being uniquely effective in the development of reading, writing and language skills, these books embrace universal themes which can also help children to manage a range of issues such as how to deal with fear, overcome difficulties, build self-confidence or work towards their goals and dreams. They are published by Hoopoe Books, a non-profit publisher committed to the cause of improving children’s literacy.”

“Here in Toronto, World Literacy of Canada is working with ICE to distribute the books to inner city schools and community agencies where contemporary, culturally-diverse family literacy resources are often in short supply. Knowing that these same needs exist in communities all across Canada, we are eager to put ICE in touch with other literacy organizations that might benefit from this commendable initiative. Our network of Kama Coast to Coast community literacy partners seemed like an excellent starting point.”

“It is my great pleasure, then, to endorse ICE’s very important efforts and to lend my support in the sharing of these wonderful books across Canada and around the world. I hope you will take a moment to review the enclosed materials and consider whether there might be a role for your organization in helping to bring these books to families in your local area.” Click Here for the Letter (816 KB pdf) (worldLiteracyLetter.pdf).

Read what students in the World Literacy Canada program have to say about the books here.

Mary Rankin
Canadian Program Manager
World Literacy of Canada

YWCA (Vancouver)

The Lion who Saw Himself in the Water was very much appreciated by the children and their parents from four child care centres; Leslie Diamond for infants six weeks to three years, Citygate for children three years to five years specializing in children with special needs, Emma’s for infants and toddlers whose teenage single mothers are completing high school through Tupper Young Parent Services and Crabtree Child Care providing emergency drop-in care for children six weeks to six years, the only emergency child care centre in B.C.”

“The books were distributed to the child care libraries as well as being integrated into our Early Childhood literacy program at YWCA Crabtree Corner in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.”

Vanessa Wellington
Donor Relations Coordinator,
YWCA Program Centre, Vancouver BC
Read Vanessa’s full letter here

Other Partners

Aboriginal Head Start - Morning Sky Health & Wellness
Better Beginnings Better Futures
Calgary Community Family Literacy Program
Flin Flon Adult Community Learning Centre
Lac La Biche Regional Awasisak & Family Dev. Circle
Red Road Healing Society
Success by Six (Edmonton)