In 2015, the Aboriginal Book Bundles began as an idea brought forward by Trudy Antone, a community member looking to make a difference to children in the Oneida area in order to develop their readiness for school. Conversations were had around the fact that those in the Oneida community do not have access to the London or Middlesex County Baby’s Book Bag programs, and that there is a lack of libraries and resources. With help from the Best Start funding provided by the Province through the Child and Youth Network, there was endorsement to purchase books and bags for three First Nations communities.
Community members which consisted of staff from Oneida Health Centre, Oneida Daycare, Chippewa Health Centre, Chippewa Daycare, Ontario Early Years Centre, and Middlesex-London Health Unit met to discuss what the book bag would look like and quickly realized that the mainstream bag would not meet the needs for this population. Subsequently a new bag was designed to provide culturally rich books for 3 stages of a child’s development: infant books and beautifully designed canvas tote would be given prenatally or after birth, with toddler and pre-school packages to follow.
The Aboriginal people have a rich culture. Sadly some traditions have been lost over the years and many aboriginal people struggle with this on a daily basis. We know that educating people about their culture and traditions is important to self-identification. It brings people together, and provides healing to the whole person and ultimately to a population. It was important to our group to start these learnings in the early years and what better way to do it than through books!
Traditional Native Baby Cloth Book
I See Me by Margaret Manual
Bunnaby Bunny by Carol Olson and Cheryl Schneider
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Giant ABC’s by Native Reflections
CD- Tiny Tot Songs
Ribbon Rescue by Robert Munsch
Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
The bundles are ready to go and training has taken place for service providers at N’Amerind, At^Lohsa, and SOAHAC. For more information about Book Bundles, contact Jamie Fenton, CYN Family Literacy Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org