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– Since 2000, more than 8.5 million Canadian children’s books have been given away to young readers as part of the annual program –

TORONTO, October 27, 2016 – TD Bank Group and The Canadian Children’s Book Centre kick off the start of the 17th annual TD Grade One Book Giveaway. As Canada’s largest free book distribution program for school-aged children, more than 550,000 copies of Small Saul, written by award-winning Canadian children’s author Ashley Spires, will be distributed to grade one students nationwide. Spires will also take part in live book readings for grade one students at libraries and community centres from coast to coast.

“It is an honour to have Small Saul chosen for the TD Grade One Book Giveaway and to have the opportunity to bring the story to life for kids across Canada,” said Ashley Spires, author and illustrator of Small Saul. “I hope young readers enjoy Saul's story and are inspired to embrace and celebrate their individuality.”

Small Saul is a big tale of an unconventional little pirate who finds himself on board The Rusty Squid with some rough and tough pirates. Although taught in Pirate College that pirates only care about three things - their ship, being tough and lots of treasure - Small Saul was born to sing sea shanties, bake pineapple upside down cakes and redecorate, not to hold a sword and plunder. Despite his gentle spirit, Small Saul wants to show he’s worth his weight in gold.

"We're proud to support a program that connects young students across Canada to books, helping to develop strong literacy skills and foster a lifelong joy of reading," said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Group. “Through the TD Grade One Book Giveaway, we reinforce our ongoing commitment to children’s literacy and celebrate the authors and illustrators behind these great Canadian books."

Since 2000, more than 8.5 million books have been given away to grade one students as part of the TD Grade One Book Giveaway. Funded entirely by TD Bank Group, the program is coordinated by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre with the support of school boards, ministries of education and libraries across the country.

“The TD Grade One Book Giveaway not only connects young readers with great Canadian books, but also with the inspiring authors and illustrators behind the stories to help spark a passion for reading that will last a lifetime,” said Charlotte Teeple, Executive Director, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. “We are excited to work with Ashley Spires for the 2016 program and look forward to sharing the story of Small Saul with grade one students across Canada.”

To view a full schedule of the public book readings, please visit

About TD’s Commitment to Children’s Literacy
The ability to read is often taken for granted. This skill is paramount to success during school years and beyond, which is why TD believes it’s important to get children reading and to foster a lifelong joy of reading. Since 2000, TD has invested more than $30 million to support literacy and reading programs at local schools and public libraries across Canada. For more information, please visit

About The Canadian Children's Book Centre
The Canadian Children's Book Centre is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications, and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers. For more information, please visit

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For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Sheri Papps / Nicole McRonney-Apaw
Paradigm Public Relations
416-413-5207 / 416-413-5114 /

Stefanie Marotta
TD Bank Group

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