International Friendship Day (July 30th)

International Friendship Day (July 30th) was proclaimed by the United Nations in 2011 with the idea to encourage groups, governments, and organizations to host activities and events that promote acceptance and understanding between peoples, countries, and cultures. The UN wanted a day to inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. Their intent was to celebrate a day that promotes the role that friendship plays in building solidarity, mutual understanding, and respect for diversity. For the end of this month, the OISE Library will be celebrating International Friendship Day by showcasing items that promote friendship in the OISE Lobby Book Display!

Here are a few titles to check out:

Friendships: stories written by Budge Wilson is a children’s literature that comprises a moving collection of contemporary stories about moments of understanding for adolescent readers. Wilson reveals an intimate knowledge of the adolescent world while providing insight of what makes a good friendship. Friendships guide the reader to a place of learning, understanding, and seeing friendships from a different perspective. In the introduction, Wilson writes “You may think that in some of these stories there is no friend. Think again. You could be wrong.”



You Are Friendly written by Todd Snow and illustrated by Melodee Strong is a warm affirming book that can be used by teachers and teacher candidates to teach primary school students that there are many ways to get along with others. This book provides an excellent introduction to learning about making and keeping friendships. The beautifully illustrated book is a helpful read in building children’s social skills that they can use in their everyday lives.


International Student Mobility and Transnational Friendships written by Basak Bilecen explores the contemporary meaning of friendship. The book delves into the friendship networks of international doctoral students by analyzing distance, meanings, and practices of friendship as trust and reciprocity. Chapter 2: The Contemporary Meaning of Friendship is concerned with the main debates about contemporary society with the profound impact of social media and the challenges and opportunities social media present. This is definitely an interesting read and perspective on transnational student friendships with meanings shaped and reshaped through mobility and international education!


 My Pal, Victor written by Diane Gonzales Bertrand and illustrated by Robert L. Sweetland  is a dual language book (Spanish/English) about two boys’ carefree friendship despite one boy’s disability. Gonzales takes the reader through a fun-filled eventful summer of baseball games, swimming, and sleepovers. Elementary school students may enjoy this book and learn about friendship and bonding despite differences.



For more books on friendship in celebration of International Friendship Day please stop by the OISE Lobby Book Display located on the ground floor of the OISE building. Please see the OISE Library catalogue for additional resources.

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Featured Activity Kit – If You Give a Pig a Pancake: Storytelling Set

Similar to its well-known predecessor, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (1985), If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff, is an equally fun and playful children’s story with incredible illustrations by Felicia Bond. The storytelling set allows teachers and teacher candidates of SK – Grade 2 to create a fun and engaging story time experience.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake: Storytelling Set includes an adorable hand puppet piglet, a felt board, and 14 cloth props that represent the pig’s myriad of elaborate requests. The book can be read aloud to kindergarten and elementary school students as they will enjoy following along and spotting the objects mentioned in the humorous quick pace storyline Numeroff has written.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake: Storytelling Set can be used to teach kindergarten and elementary students an introductory cause and effect lesson. Teachers and teacher candidates can use this storytelling kit to help students understand the effects of various events and actions so they can have better understanding of the consequences of actions. The story uses a circular story format, presenting to the reader a chain of events which the reader discovers that the characters end up in the same scenario that they began with.

Numeroff’s If You Give… series has won her many children book awards. The OISE Library’s Children’s Literature collection also features If You Give a Moose a Muffin in ‘Big Book’ format. If You Give a Pig a Pancake: Storytelling Set is currently on display on the ground floor of the OISE Library. Be sure to stop by and enjoy this fun and silly storybook.




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150 Years of Canadian History Textbooks

This month we’re showcasing Canadian history textbooks across the years! On display inside the glass table on the ground floor of the library, you will find a selection of textbooks from nearly every decade since 1867.

In early Ontario schools, the purpose of history lessons was “to arouse in the pupil an interest in historical characters and events, to give him a knowledge of his civil rights and duties, to stimulate a love of high ideals of conduct, and to enable him to appreciate the logical sequence of events” (Ontario Department of Education, Regulations, Courses of Study, and Examinations of the Public and Separate Schools, 1915). Teachers were advised that pupils should not be confused by unnecessary details, nor should they be require to memorise notes – because forcing pupils to memorise notes would foster a dislike of history.

Pupils in early Ontario schools did not only study Canadian history – British history was also a key component of early curricula. This is reflected in the earliest textbooks on display: A History of Canada and of the Other British Provinces in North America (1866, cover 1872) and the Public School History of England & Canada (1886). In fact, this second book is mostly about England – only the last quarter is about Canada!

By the 1900s, however, approved history textbooks placed more focus on Canadian history. Examples of textbooks from this period include: A Canadian History for Boys and Girls (1900), the Ontario High School History of Canada (1914), and the Ontario Public School History of Canada (1921).

British history nevertheless remained an important component of the history curriculum: Form III (grades 5 and 6) studied early Canadian history and British history up to the Norman conquest, while Forms IV (grades 7 and 8) and V (grades 9 and 10) studied major events in Canadian and British history, with an emphasis on recent history – which at the time meant the 1800s! Civics and government were covered in Form IV, and history was a mandatory subject of study through Form V.

Textbooks in these days were quite different from what we expect a school textbook to look like. They were text-heavy, with very few pictures, and did not include exercises or activities to engage pupils with the content. While some of these textbooks were used as early as elementary school, they more closely resemble something today’s students might expect to encounter in high school or university!

In 1937, the government of Ontario made significant changes to the curriculum. It was in 1937, for example, that students were placed into grades instead of forms. It was also in 1937 that Social Studies was introduced as a course of study: instead of teaching history and geography as separate subjects, they were now combined into a single class. Topics were presented to pupils gradually, starting with the home environment in grade 1 and expanding to the local community, the province, and finally to all of Canada in grade 6.

Textbooks were also changing. Covers, such as this one from Building the Canadian Nation (1942), were now being illustrated. While books from this period were still very text-heavy, they also included many more pictures than earlier books. Some, such as Canada: Then and Now (1954), were even beginning to use colour illustrations. Books from this period were also starting to engage students directly by including supplementary activities, end-of-chapter questions, and lists of suggested readings. Social studies curricula in the 1940s and 1950s also included guidance for teachers about the sorts of activities they could use in the classroom – these included activities such as creating picture books or making a “house” in the corner of the classroom.

In the 1970s, the curriculum again changed. While elementary school students continued to take social studies, students in grades 7-10 once again had two separate subjects: history and geography. History classes continued to focus almost exclusively on Canadian history; however, curricula now also explicitly acknowledged that ethnocentrism was often present in the study of history. It was understood that students of history would “discover something about attitudes and prejudices – [their] own and those of others” (Ontario Ministry of Education, History – Senior Division, 1970).

By this time, textbooks were becoming larger in dimension – books such as Forming a Nation: The Story of Canada and Canadians (1977) and Flashback Canada (1987) were twice the size of early history textbooks! Textbooks from this period put still more effort into actively engaging students. By this point, the inclusion of activities, exercises, and end-of-chapter questions had become routine. Textbook material was also much more visual than before, including not only photographs and maps, but also diagrams and graphs.

This trend continued in recent textbooks, such as Canada: Understanding Your Past (1990) and Canada: A Nation Unfolding (2000).  Modern Canadian history textbooks include summaries of a chapter’s material, pictures, maps, diagrams, and even comic strips to help convey concepts to students. As with textbooks from the second half of the 20th century, activities, exercises, and end-of-chapter questions are included – and have come to be an expected component of any school textbook. Modern textbooks are also more likely to acknowledge the darker parts of Canadian history, such as the history of residential schools.

These books will be on display in the glass table on the ground floor of the OISE Library through the end of July.

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New Books for Summer Reading 2017

Summer is here! What better way is there to celebrate then to read some new books from the OISE Library Collection? Browse new titles on the New Arrivals shelf on the ground floor of the OISE Library by the Circulation Desk. Here are a few to get you started …

Comparative and International Education: Issues for Teachers

Edited by Kathy Bickmore, Ruth Hayhoe, Caroline Manion, Karen Mundy, Robyn Read

ComparativeExploring major issues in education through an international and intercultural lens, Comparative and International Education introduces students and scholars to research in this field. Comparative and International Education offers a starting point to challenge students and scholars to reflect and think more broadly on how to improve educational systems and classroom practices. In twelve theme-based chapters, the book introduces main ideas and literature on the field developed over a period of nearly two centuries. Including topics important for new and seasoned educators, the themes are teaching and learning, the child’s right to education, alternative schooling, gender, curriculum and pedagogy, school improvement, Indigenous knowledge, multiculturalism, conflict resolution, and global citizenship.

A Voyage in the Clouds

By Matthew Olshan; Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

A VoyageThe air is frosty. The wind is undecided. It looks like a fine day for Dr. Jeffries and his pilot Monsieur Blanchard to take flight. Travelling on a hot air balloon, the duo plans to fly from England to France, the first continental feat of its kind. When Dr. Jeffries finds out that the balloon could only carry the weight of one man and one dog, trouble and peril lie ahead. Find out what the duo will do to fit the scale with their dogs and luggage in tow. Based on the historical feat of Dr. John Jeffries and Jean-Pierre Blanchard on January 7th, 1785, the story retells the world’s first international flight by crossing the English Channel in a balloon.



As Time Went By

By Jose Sanabria

As Time Went By“Once upon a time there was a ship that sailed beside the sun with very important people on board.” Written in three parts, the story of As Time Went By tells the tale of a steamship sold and abandoned by people and later rediscovered by a family who cherished it dearly. A 2017 Batchelder Honor Book and ALA Notable Book, the book captures the evolving functions of the ship, the spirit of reinvention and the importance people place on things, such as from luxury to exclusivity and from stewardship to inclusion. Follow Sanabria’s watercolor and ink illustrations to learn about the steamship.

Digital Badges in Education

Edited by Lin Y. Muilenburg and Zane L. Berge

Digital BadgesIn Digital Badges in Education, editors Muilenburg and Berge introduce the idea of a digital badge, an online-based visual representation that uses detailed metadata to signify learners’ specific achievements and credentials both in the classroom and workplace learning. With a focus on learning design and assessment, the book provides theoretical concepts and concrete cases in various contexts and explores the functions, values, and problems with badging systems. Introduced in twenty-five chapters, the book highlights key lessons learned from a broad spectrum of learning challenges to assist educators to help readers formulate solutions during the development of their digital badges learning projects. Made possible by the emerging culture of learning connected to digital systems in the twenty-first century, these highly social systems present a new culture of reputation to influence how we build identifies online that others find credible and meaningful.

Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries

Edited by Meira Levinson and Jacob Fay

Dilemmas of Education Ethics explores the questions of ethics, justice, and equity that confronts educators and policy makers. Grounded in a new interdisciplinary approach, this book provides practical alternatives to negotiate the complexities inherent in educational decision making. By encouraging open discussion on the values and principles, the book provides cases and commentaries on challenging ethics, justice, and equity decision making such as the discussion on the hierarchy of social economic classes with varying social and economic capital on the design of a new school assignment plan. Written with urgency, the book includes methodological and pedagogical models and guidance on reflective analysis of educational ethics to enable scholars, policy makers, and practitioners to act on this in productive and nuanced ways.

For more New Titles and additions to the OISE Library Collection, please visit the OISE Lobby Display on the ground floor of the OISE building and the New Arrivals shelf on the ground floor of the OISE Library. Please also visit the OISE Library catalogue for additional education resources.

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Looking at 150 years of Canada

It’s July, and Canada is officially 150 years old. This month’s seasonal display is all about Canada – showcasing both books that celebrate Canada as a country as well as books that look critically at Canada.

Canadian history is a required subject of study in Ontario schools. But Canadian history is not limited to grade school textbooks! Settling and Unsettling Memories: Essays in Canadian Public History explores ideas of collective memory and discusses the ways in which Canadians interact with our history. Placing Memory and Remembering Place in Canada also looks at collective memory, exploring the ways in which geography and identity intersect. Critical Inquiries: A Reader in Studies of Canada, meanwhile, addresses colonialism in Canada – focusing on Canada’s colonial present, rather than framing colonialism as a past state.

For those of you following the #Resistance150 hashtag, the OISE Library collection contains many books about Indigenous issues and Indigenous resistance. Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada and From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation: A Road Map for All Canadians both address Canada’s colonial history and make recommendations about how Canadians must move forward in their relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Both books further argue that moving forward will require a fundamental paradigm shift on the part of Canadian institutions. For a survey of Ontario treaties in particular, check out Nation to Nation: A Resource on Treaties in Ontario. In Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada, Chelsea Vowel discusses a wide array of concepts associated with the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada, including a section that breaks down a number of pervasive myths.  Strength and Struggle: Perspectives from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada, meanwhile, contains a wide array of short stories, essays, artwork, and other creative pieces that provide insight into what it means to be Indigenous in Canada. Younger readers might be interested in Red Power, a graphic novel with a story of Indigenous resistance. For a look at resistance in a more general context, check out Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change.

Studying civics and citizenship encourages students to make a difference in their communities. Civics is part of the grade 10 curriculum here in Ontario, which means we’ve got copies of approved textbooks available for use. One such textbook in the OISE Library collection is Civic in Action: In Your Communities, Across Canada, and Globally. For elementary school classes, Citizens and Government in Canada is an excellent resource about civics.

We’ve also got a selection of books for kids on display! ABC of Canada, Canada All Year and Goodnight, Canada are charming picture books that will capture the interest of our youngest readers. From our junior fiction collection, check out Red River Rising and Red Wolf – and for readers interested in stories about real people, Piece by Piece: Stories About Fitting Into Canada is an anthology of fourteen stories from writers who have immigrated to Canada. We’ve got a couple of books about Canada Day on display as well! You may also find Canada: The People to be a useful introductory resource.

These books can be found in the glass display case on the ground floor of the OISE Library. All of these books are available to be checked out – please speak to staff at the circulation and reference desks if you need any assistance.

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