“Best of Canada” Books for Beirut Update

In keeping with the generosity of the donors who contributed to the defraying of the books’ shipping costs, Canadian publishers from coast to coast to coast eagerly answered our call in the spring to donate copies of English- and French-language books representing the “Best of Canada” to send to Beirut, Lebanon, in the effort to help re-establish some of the school libraries affected in the blast of August 2020. A few were so eager, in fact, that they graciously offered additional books for inclusion — so, ultimately, we added a further 4 titles to our original curated list of 50, and Maria Martella and her staff at Tinlids managed the receipt, unpacking and repacking of 540 books in preparation for shipment.

Tinlids owner Maria Martella and general manager Scott Millar with the books for Beirut packed up and ready to go!

Through COSTI, our Readers and Refugees program partner, we connected with Dina Bakhit, owner of freight forwarding service Global Logistics Management in Mississauga, who took on the task of trying to coordinate a consolidated shipment with other organizations sending aid.

It was a longer-than-expected process, but we’re excited to report that IBBY Lebanon is in the process of working with a further 10 school libraries (bringing the total to date to 20), and the “Best of Canada” will find pride of place on their shelves.

Huge thanks go out to participating publishers Annick Press, Greystone Books, Groundwood Books, Kids Can Press, Éditions de l’Isatis, Éditions des plaines, Éditions Fonfon, Éditions Québec-Amérique, HighWater Press, Inhabit Media, Nightwood Editions, Nimbus Publishing, Orca Book Publishers, Owlkids Books, Pajama Press, Second Story Press, Simon & Schuster Canada, Simply Read Books, Tradewind Books, Tundra Books and Your Nickel’s Worth; and to Maria Martella and the Tinlids staff, and Dina Bakhit for their help in making the second stage of this initiative happen!

We’ll have news for you direct from Beirut in the next newsletter, including photos and a message from IBBY Lebanon president and IBBY Executive Committee member Shereen Kreidieh.

Contributed by Yvette Ghione

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