EB The Power of the Written Word 2021 (1

In 2019, we coined the hashtag #PictureBooksCanChangeTheWorld to highlight that books of all types are powerful tools for learning and transformation.

Books can open up vast new worlds for children to learn about themselves through reading about the lives of others.

In this panel discussion, participants will examine the power of books as “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors”. Participants will explore how to select books that celebrate and uplift children’s identities, learn how to identify harmful stereotypes in books and how to engage children in conversations about race and human rights.

This session will take place in a webinar format and is intended for parents and guardians of racialized students. Questions and issues the panel will address will be specific to an audience of parents and guardians. While this webinar is for parents and guardians, it is open to social workers, community organizations, educators and administrators, and anyone interested in learning about the power of the written word.

This webinar will be delivered via Zoom videoconferencing. Attendees will be emailed the link to the Zoom meeting several hours before the start of the webinar in order to maintain a secure online space. This email will be sent to the address you registered with when you purchased your ticket through Eventbrite. If you have accessibility needs, please contact us directly.

Register here: https://bit.ly/P4Dword


Let's meet the  panelists!

Sueann Hall

Passionate about literacy, equitable access to books, and inclusive stories for children, Sueann is an occasional blogger, reader, Mom, creator of Scars and Crowns, and Indigo Kids Book Advisor. Understanding that authentic storytelling can change the way we see and understand the world, she originally started writing to raise awareness following her son’s diagnosis with craniosynostosis, to share her motherhood journey, and to connect with other parents.


A reader at a young age, Sueann developed a love for books as a child. When she became a mom, she hoped to pass the love of the written word to her child, especially in the age of technology. However, she observed that not much had changed in children’s books since she was younger – books with racially diverse characters were few and far between or contained negative stereotypes. With a background in Criminology and Psychology, Sueann understood how easily stereotypes can be created, and the detrimental impacts that they can have on individuals and communities. Her further studies in International Studies exposed her to various countries and cultures around the world that she rarely saw reflected in children’s books, particularly in a positive light. It was with this knowledge that she decided to start #WeeReadsWednesdays, with the goal of encouraging parents and educators to raise readers and to diversify children's libraries and bookshelves so that they are more representative of the world around them.


Rabia Khokhar

Rabia is an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board and an equity consultant. Currently, she is a Grade 2 and 3 ESL Resource teacher. Rabia is passionate about ensuring schools are inclusive spaces where all students with their intersectional identities are reflected, represented, included and seen through an asset based lens. She is interested in issues of representation in children’s literature and firmly believes that books are powerful tools that can help us become critically conscious members of our local and broader communities. Rabia enjoys sharing her teaching and learning on her social media platforms and you can follow along on her journey at @Rabia_Khokhar1 and www.rabiakhokhar.com


David A. Robertson

David is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award, the McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People Award, and was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award.

The Barren Grounds, the first book in the middle-grade series The Misewa Saga, received a starred review from Kirkus, was a Kirkus and Quill & Quire best middle-grade book of 2020, was a USBBY and Texas Lone Star selection, was shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award, is a finalist for the Diamond Willow Award, and is a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award.


His memoir, Back Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory, was a Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire book of the year in 2020, and won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction as well as the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award at the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards. His second picture book, On The Trapline, illustrated by Julie Flett, has received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly. Dave is also the writer and host of the podcast Kíwew, winner of the 2021 RTDNA Praire Region Award for Best Podcast. He is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg.

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