Share your love of reading! Volunteer for Reading with Newcomer Children

Reading with Newcomer Children began in-person reading sessions in 2018 as Readers and Refugees and, since its inception, has served hundreds of refugee and immigrant children ages 6-12. The program moved to a virtual format during the pandemic—and we are looking forward to in-person reading starting up again across Canada this fall.

Books build connections between the reader and the listener and between the listener and the story. Reaching out to refugee children with books has added a new dimension to my life, and helped me to see beyond the covers of books I thought I knew so well.

 — Theo Heras, children’s librarian and author, former IBBY Canada board member, and volunteer reader

We are recruiting volunteers for reading with children ages 5-12 at three COSTI locations in the Toronto area:

  • COSTI Temporary Shelter 1: Hwy 27 and Dixon Road, Etobicoke (Near Pearson International Airport)
  • COSTI Temporary Shelter 2: Hwy 401 and Dixon Road, Etobicoke (Near Pearson International Airport)
  • COSTI Temporary Shelter 3: Hwy 401 and Victoria Park, Scarborough


  • Be fully vaccinated; follow agency public health protocols
  • Commitment to a six-week reading session beginning in October 2022
    • Sessions will be approximately one hour in length, in the late afternoon or early evening with the day of the week (Monday-Thursday) to be confirmed
  • Vulnerable sector screening
    • ** Please note: Toronto Police Service is estimating a two-week review and approval process from the date the information is received. This applies to residents of Toronto whose postal codes begin with M
    • For further information, please visit the Toronto Police Service website.
  • Participate in an IBBY Canada training orientation  
  • Participate in agency-specific volunteer orientation/complete agency-specific volunteer forms
  • Membership in IBBY Canada
  • A love of reading!

If you are interested in volunteering in person, please contact Marcela Mangarelli, Co-Chair, Reading with Newcomer Children at Please indicate if you have a preferred location.

To learn more about the formation of the program—and the volunteer experience—check out this archival IBBY Canada e-newsletter on the formation of the program. You will be inspired!

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