The Limestone Learning Foundation (LFF) Books are Back! program builds rich classroom libraries for independent reading. Contemporary stories that stimulate positive discussion and empathy in equity, inclusion, resilience, and understanding.
These classroom book sets are not textbooks, but important topical stories featuring high-quality, literacy authors’ works at appropriate reading levels not provided by regular government funding.
Books are Back! Phase II provided a variety of new books representing the voices of Indigenous, 2SLGTBQ+, Black and Authors of Colour to primary students in Grades 1-3 across the LDSB. In the 2022-2023 school year, the LLF gifted a total of 277 book sets, either containing 18 new English titles or nine new French titles, to LDSB’s 50 elementary schools.
As an extension to this innovative partnership, the LLF sponsored both a virtual speakers’ series and authors’ visits with age-appropriate topics. Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe shared her triumphant personal story with secondary students and shared practical, concrete advice on how we all can expand our mental health knowledge and how we can navigate stress and change with resiliency. Steven MacDonald joined elementary students in Grades 4-8, to teach students about social media awareness and personal online safety. The feedback on his session was extremely positive, including that he spoke at a level that the students identified with, and truly relayed a message about the pros and cons of social media. Students in Grades 1-3 were treated to two exclusive engagements, featuring titles from Books are Back! Phase II. Students loved We Move Together, by Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuire, and were excited to connect with these Canadian authors. Students were involved in important conversations about disability, accessibility, social justice, and community building, topics featured in the book. And Canadian author Roxane Brouillard read her novel Mon Chien-Banane and then together discussed, en français, how sometimes things are not as they seem.
In October 2021, the LLF launched Books are Back!, providing all Grade 4 -6 classrooms with book sets of 25 curated titles to further support Indigenous education, equity, inclusion, and diversity. In the fall of 2023, every Grade 7 and 8 classroom will receive their book sets featuring 27 titles in English and French, carefully selected and bring the voices and lived experiences of Indigenous, 2SLGTBQ+, persons with disabilities, Black and racialized authors into the classroom, completing the program from Grades 1-8 across the LDSB.