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Ronald McDonald House and First Book Canada launch book fair

Julie Kraulis and young fans at Ronald McDonald House

Julie Kraulis and fans at Ronald McDonald House

Toronto author-illustrator Julie Kraulis entertained children and staff at Ronald McDonald House on Jan. 21 with a reading from her new picture book, An Armadillo in Paris (Tundra Books), as part of RMH Toronto’s inaugural book fair, held in partnership with First Book Canada.

Ronald McDonald House provides temporary housing for sick children (and their families) who are seeking treatment at area hospitals.

“Having a notable author come and read to our families was not only a good way to promote literacy – it was an exciting distraction for families who are under a great deal of stress,” said RMH director of programs and operations Deborah Holmes in a press release. “Having a seriously ill child is incredibly difficult, so Julie and First Book Canada reminding our families about the joy of reading [was] a nice way to bring some normalcy back into their lives.”

In addition to organizing Kraulis’s appearance, Penguin Random House and First Book also donated 15 copies of An Armadillo in Paris to children at the event. First Book, a non-profit organization that aims to increase literacy rates via access to quality materials, donates books to RMH on a monthly basis through its Book Bank program, and distributed more than 800,000 new books to low-income children across Canada last year.

“Books have shaped who I am, how I think and feel,” said Kraulis, whose last book, Whimsy’s Heavy Things (Tundra), was about a young girl learning to deal with sad and anxious feelings. “Not only do books teach and entertain us, they make heavier things lighter for a time.”