Where Are They Now?

When Kid Activists Grow UP

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Some of the children from The Kid Activists Series aren’t quite so young anymore…

Written and illustrated by Janet Wilson, each book in the series includes ten in-depth profiles of child activists from around the world. The kids have since grown up, but making a difference and inspiring others to do the same is still as important to them as ever. Keep reading to learn how five of the kids from the Kid Activists Series continue to do work that significantly impacts our world!


Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Canada)


Profiled in Our Earth: How Kids Are Saving the Planet, the first book in Janet Wilson’s Kid Activists Series, we learned that Severn is the daughter of famed Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. At age 9, she had spent time in the Brazilian rainforest with her father who was doing research. It was there that she was horrified to learn about the fires destroying rainforests for logging and lumber. She decided to raise money to attend a conference where she delivered a speech that would go viral, giving her the reputation as “the girl who silenced the world for five minutes.”


Today, Severn lives on beautiful Haida Gwaii in British Columbia with her family. Together they are learning Xaayda Kil (a Skidegate dialect of the Haida language) from local Elders. She is also currently a Vanier scholar pursuing a PhD at the University of British Columbia, conducting research on her current passion, Indigenous language revitalization.


William Kamkwamba (Malawi)


Also profiled in Our Earth: How Kids are Saving the Planet, 14-year-old William, born in Malawi, could no longer attend school when his parents became unable to afford it. Ever curious, William did not let that stop him. He took his learning into his own hands and began reading as many books from the local library as possible. A book on windmill generated electricity piqued his interest and he decided to try it for himself to help out his village. And he did! Using parts from a broken bicycle, a fan, headlights, pipes, wires, rusty nails, a shock absorber, and even rubber flip flops, William created electricity! He then went on to document his story in the children’s book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.


Today, William is a graduate of prestigious Dartmouth College in the United States, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. In 2013, he was recognized by Time magazine as one of the “30 People Under 30 Changing the World.” In 2019, his book, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind was adapted by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (Love Actually, 12 Years a Slave) for Netflix. Watch the trailer!

Hannah Taylor (Canada)


Featured in Our Heroes: How Kids are Making a Difference, we learned that when Hannah was 5 years old, she once saw a man eating out of the garbage and for Hannah that was one time too many. By 8 years old, she had started The Ladybug Foundation to raise money to support those in poverty.


In the summer of 2019, The Ladybug Foundation celebrated its final day as a registered charity. Taylor is confident that The Ladybug Foundation met its mandate “by connecting hearts and doing work for Canadians experiencing homelessness.” But her heart for humanity will not end there. In the fall of 2019, Hannah, now 23, will be attending law school at the University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall where she hopes to specialize in human rights.


Mimi Ausland (USA)


Nicknamed Dr. Doolittle by her parents, we learned about Mimi’s love of animals in Our Heroes: How Kids are Making a Difference. At the age of 7, she began volunteering at an animal shelter. It was there that she saw the effects of food shortages on thousands of dogs and cats in shelters. With the help of her parents she created Freekibble.com. Everyday she would post a question. For each answer, right or wrong, she would donate 10 pieces of kibble to shelters from pet businesses and other companies.

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Today, Mimi has taken the same business approach from Freekibble.com and is applying it to her new venture, Free the Ocean. The money generated from advertising on the site funds the removal of one piece of plastic from the ocean every time you answer a daily trivia question on the website or app. The money is then donated directly to Sustainable Coastlines, a Hawaiian non-profit that manually removes plastic from the ocean. Mimi will also launch a Free the Ocean jewellery line, where each product sold funds the removal of 10-20 pieces of plastic from the ocean.

Felix Finkbeiner (Germany)


Felix was featured in Our Earth: How Kids are Saving the Planet for starting an organization called Pant for the Planet at just 9 years old. It all began when Felix gave his 4th grade class a presentation about global warming that snowballed into an initiative that would get schools like his involved in combatting climate change by planting a billion trees.


Today, Felix is 21 years old and Plant for the Planet has branches in 67 countries. Its participants have planted more than 15.2 billion trees in 190 countries. Still working with his organization, he has since graduated with a BA in International Relations from SOAS University of London and is currently a PhD student of environmental sciences at the Crowther Lab of ETH Zürich, where he studies the most effective approaches to forest restoration.

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Check out the newest book in the series, Our Future: How Kids are Taking Action

Available for pre-order now, published on September 10th!

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Have an update on one of the kids profiled in our Kid Activists Series?

Let us know on Twitter @_secondstory!

SSP Intern
Celebrating THE IMPORTANCE OF Language on National Indigenous Peoples Day, 2019

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. This year has also been declared the Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations. June is also Indigenous History Month here in Canada. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the efforts of so many to forward the growth (to be more accurate—the regrowth) of Indigenous languages in North America and around the world. In Canada, we have now had two national reports that detail the cultural genocide suffered by Indigenous peoples on these lands. Both the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have emphasized the need for action to preserve Indigenous languages.

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In 2018, on Orange Shirt Day, we had the honour of announcing the creation of a dual language version of the award-winning book I Am Not a Number. Now we can celebrate its upcoming publication this September, along with dual-language editions of The Water Walker and Stolen Words.

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It has been a very meaningful experience for us here at the press to work with the translators, authors, and community members involved in these dual language editions. Having no staff at Second Story who are Indigenous or speak these languages themselves, we needed their expertise in every way. By sharing these translations, they also shared with us a bit about each of their communities and cultures — nothing can bring home the importance of language more than this.


Gaawin Gindaaswin Ndaawsii / I Am Not A Number

Written by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer and illustrated by Gillian Newland

Translated by Geraldine McLeod and Muriel Sawyer with Tory Fisher.

This dual language edition sees the award-winning true story told in both English and Nishnaabemwin (Ojibwe), Nbisiing dialect—the language spoken by the book's protagonist, Irene Couchie, co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, who was taken from her parents to live in a residential school, where she was forbidden from speaking her language.

The translation took place on a local level with Muriel Sawyer, Geraldine McLeod, and Tory Fisher—language speakers from Nipissing First Nation, Irene Couchie's home. Language revitalization is of great importance for this community, recognizing that language is key to a culture's ability to thrive—a process that was damaged by the residential school system. Translation initiatives like this can widen the world of children's literature, creating space for Indigenous language speakers.

Nibi Emosaawdang / The Water Walker

Written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson

Translated by Shirley Williams and Isadore Toulouse

The new edition, in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) and English, of the award-winning true story of a determined Ojibwe Nokomis (grandmother) Josephine-ba Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water).

The new edition contains a note on the book's translation into Anishinaabemowin by Shirley Williams—a fellow water walker—and Isadore Toulouse, both of whom are from Josephine-ba's home community of Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation. The translation draws special meaning from the fact that both Shirley and Nokomis were sent to residential school, where they were forbidden from speaking their language. Nokomis was able to read the translation before her passing, and took great joy in the fact that this book would now be shared in Anishinaabemowin.

kimotinâniwiw itwêwina / Stolen Words

Written by Melanie Florence

Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

The new dual language edition, in Plains Cree and English, of the award-winning story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in Cree, he tells her that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again.

The translation was carried out by two Plains Cree language speakers, Dolores Sand and Gayle Weenie, from Saskatchewan. Language consultation and assistance was provided by the Cree Literacy Network.

Emma Rodgers
Anne Frank Would Have Been 90 Years Old Today
Anne Frank, second from left, with friends on her 10th birthday 12 June, 1939.  (from p. 2 of  All About Anne  © Anne Frank House)

Anne Frank, second from left, with friends on her 10th birthday 12 June, 1939.

(from p. 2 of All About Anne © Anne Frank House)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Anne Frank’s diary, in which she tells the story of her time in hiding from the Nazis, brings to life the importance of guarding against the damaging waves of anti-semitism, racism, bigotry, and intolerance that continue to rise up. If we can care about Anne’s story, we can care about the stories of the millions of children around the world who are being persecuted for reasons of politics, power, and control.

Anne Frank's life was ended, at 15 years old, by the hatred and prejudice of the Holocaust. We can only imagine what she would have accomplished had she lived the long and healthy life that every child deserves. Anne wanted to be a writer, and despite her tragedy, she accomplished that.

Anne's diary has been read by millions of people. Thanks to the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, we know that Anne dreamed about publishing her diary one day. On 29 March 1944, Anne wrote: "Imagine how interesting it would be if I published a novel about the Secret Annex."

Anne would look out of the attic window of the Secret Annex to the large chestnut tree, the sky and the birds. (Illustration by Huck Scarry, from p. 24 of  All About Anne  © Anne Frank House)

Anne would look out of the attic window of the Secret Annex to the large chestnut tree, the sky and the birds. (Illustration by Huck Scarry, from p. 24 of All About Anne © Anne Frank House)



Menno Metselaar, who has worked for almost thirty years researching and writing for the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, helped to write the book All About Anne to answer the most common questions that young people ask when they come to the museum.

Menno believes that you can tell the story of Anne Frank's time in hiding with three numbers: 8, 6, 761

Menno Metselaar from the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam speaking to students in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



The eight residents of the hiding place in the Secret Annex, listening to news of the outside world from Victor Kugler, one of the helpers. (Illustration by Huck Scarry from p. 21 of  All About Anne  © Anne Frank House )

The eight residents of the hiding place in the Secret Annex, listening to news of the outside world from Victor Kugler, one of the helpers. (Illustration by Huck Scarry from p. 21 of All About Anne © Anne Frank House)

8 is the number of people who lived in hiding in the Secret Annex, trying to avoid being captured and taken away to a concentration camp simply because they were Jews. They were: the Frank family (Otto and Edith and Anne and her sister Margot), the Van Pels family (Hermann, Auguste and their son Peter), and Fritz Pfeffer.

“They did everything they could to get along — they celebrated holidays, they celebrated birthdays, they laughed at dinners — they really tried their utmost to make it work, but the situation was just so extreme.” - Menno Metselaar



The bookcase and map that covered the doorway into the Secret Annex.  (Illustration by Huck Scarry from p. 21 of  All About Anne  © Anne Frank House)

The bookcase and map that covered the doorway into the Secret Annex.

(Illustration by Huck Scarry from p. 21 of All About Anne © Anne Frank House)

6 is the number of the non-Jewish helpers who risked their lives to help keep the people in hiding safe, fed, and alive: Miep and her husband Jan Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler, and Bep and her father Johan Voskuijl.

“There was nothing else I could do. I had to help them: They were my friends.” - Victor Kugler

Victor Kugler, one of the helpers who kept Anne and the others safe in hiding.  (From p. 20 of  All About Anne  © Anne Frank House)

Victor Kugler, one of the helpers who kept Anne and the others safe in hiding.

(From p. 20 of All About Anne © Anne Frank House)



The attic above the Secret Annex. Anne would often go to attic alone, because the window there could be opened a little and she could get some fresh air.  (Illustration by Huck Scarry from p.24 of  All About Anne  © Anne Frank House )

The attic above the Secret Annex. Anne would often go to attic alone, because the window there could be opened a little and she could get some fresh air.

(Illustration by Huck Scarry from p.24 of All About Anne © Anne Frank House)

761 is the number of days Anne (with her sister Margot and their parents) spent in the hiding place. On day 761, all eight people in hiding and two of their helpers, Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler, were arrested. It was 4 August, 1944.

“Seven hundred and sixty-one days living in fear with seven other people.”

Anne and her sister Margot were separated from their parents. They were transported, first to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and then to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It was there that first Margot, and then Anne, died of typhus. It was February, 1945 — Margot was 18 or 19 years old and Anne was 15. We will never know the exact dates of their deaths because they were not recorded.

Anne’s sister Margot shared a room with their parents in the Secret Annex.  (Illustration by Huck Scarry from p.20 of  All About Anne  © Anne Frank House)

Anne’s sister Margot shared a room with their parents in the Secret Annex.

(Illustration by Huck Scarry from p.20 of All About Anne © Anne Frank House)


761 days from today will be July 12, 2021.

Anne Frank (right) at age 7 in 1936. With friends Eva Goldberg (left) and Sanne Ledermann (centre) August 1936.  (from p. 8 of  All About Anne  ©Anne Frank House)

Anne Frank (right) at age 7 in 1936. With friends Eva Goldberg (left) and Sanne Ledermann (centre) August 1936.

(from p. 8 of All About Anne ©Anne Frank House)

Imagine living in fear and hiding from today until then.

What will our world be like all those months from now?

Will it be safer?

We can be confident that it will still need people like Anne. And like the six helpers who kept her safe.

We can hope that young people will continue to read Anne’s story, and to feel inspired to stand up for something good, for someone who needs help. To make this a world where stories like Anne’s no longer happen.

Anne would occasionally peek through the curtains of the office at the front to see what was going on there.  (Illustration by Huck Scarry from p. 23 of  All About Anne  © Anne Frank House)

Anne would occasionally peek through the curtains of the office at the front to see what was going on there.

(Illustration by Huck Scarry from p. 23 of All About Anne © Anne Frank House)


Visit the Anne Frank House museum website

Visit the Anne Frank House museum website

All About Anne , created by Anne Frank House (with writing by Menno Metselaar) and illustrations by Huck Scarry. Published in North America by Second Story Press.

All About Anne, created by Anne Frank House (with writing by Menno Metselaar) and illustrations by Huck Scarry. Published in North America by Second Story Press.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl , first published in 1947. Anne’s original title for the book was  The Secret Annex.   It has now been translated into more than 70 languages and read by millions around the word.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, first published in 1947. Anne’s original title for the book was The Secret Annex.

It has now been translated into more than 70 languages and read by millions around the word.

International Women’s Day 2019

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired? Not International Women’s Day!

This International Women’s Day, we are proud to take inspiration from a book we published this week: What Makes Girls Sick and Tired, by Lucile de Pesloüan and Geneviève Darling.

Intended as a feminist manifesto for young women, each page has an illustrated message about the everyday sexism, discrimination, and outright danger that women face around the world. Each topic presented in the book is a jumping-off point for deeper discussion and thought, and so here we are going to take some of those topics to explore in honour of IWD:




“Girls are sick and tired when men who cook and do the shopping are praised for being modern, while for women it’s just considered normal.” – page 24

The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter: a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. There will be celebrations around the world for IWD and you can search for events happening in your area on the official IWD website.



The “F” Word


“Girls are sick and tired when the word ‘feminist’ is used as an insult.– page 43

To call yourself a feminist means that you believe in equality between men and women. People can always refer to the definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: ”the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” (hey, it was their word of the year in 2017!).

Feminism as a movement is as imperfect as anything carried out by humans—For International Women’s Day 2017 the Toronto Star posted a great video where women talked about how feminism can be at its best.



“Girls are sick and tired of being expected to shave their armpits, and of being judged if they don’t.” – page 15

This January marked the first “Januhairy” — @januhairy — where throughout the month women and girls shared images celebrating their body hair and countering body hair stigma. You grow girls … (sorry!) About Januhairy.


Can We End The Violence?

“Girls are sick and tired of knowing that globally women between the ages of 15 and 44 are more likely to die of rape and violence than cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria combined.*” – page 32

Statements like these can be overwhelming. We can gain strength to fight back against statistics like this by joining together. We can seek out movements like One Billion Rising, which calls itself “the biggest mass action to end violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence) in human history.”

*Statistic from the United Nations UNiTE Campaign 2015


Please Don’t Tell Me to Smile

“Girls are sick and tired of being accosted, of enduring catcalls, and being asked for their phone numbers just because they are walking down the street.” – page 37

Hot Tip: girls don’t like it when a strange man asks them to “smile for me.”  

Women and men are pushing back with organizations like Hollaback!—a global, people-powered movement to end street harassment. Everyone, whatever their identity, should be able to walk down the street without being harassed.



“Girls are sick and tired of knowing that even today women are the victims of honor crimes and are treated as ‘sub-human’.” – page 30

So-called “honor” crimes are acts of criminal violence—often murder—against female family members who have been perceived to bring dishonor to their families, often for refusing an arranged marriage or loving someone not of their family’s choosing. Activists like Khalida Brohi—who’s cousin Khadija was a victim of honor killing—are trying to empower women and to change cultural perceptions of women as inferior/property/without agency. Find out about the Sughar Foundation.



 “Girls are less sick and tired when they are encouraging, supportive, and united in solidarity with one another. It’s one of the best parts of feminism.” – page 46


Orange Shirt Day ... Every Child Matters

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is “an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.” – www.orangeshirtday.org

September 30th is a day when students wear orange shirts to school in order to recognize the history of residential schools, the pain of their legacy, and as an act of reconciliation.  

The idea to wear orange was inspired by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a former student at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, and her story of how, at six-years old on her first day at residential school, her shiny new orange shirt (bought for her by her granny) was taken from her, never to be seen again: “The color orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing.” Read more about Phyllis’ story here.

Something We Are Doing…

As part of our efforts to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, Second Story Press will be partnering with selected language speakers and educators from Nipissing First Nation through a mentorship initiative to translate the award-winning children’s picture book I Am Not a Number, written by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer and illustrated by Gillian Newland, from English into Anishnaabemwin.

The story is based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, Irene Couchie, who was removed from her First Nation’s family to live in a residential school in Spanish, Ontario where she was prohibited from speaking her traditional language and practicing her culture. 

The initiative was first proposed by the book’s co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis as a way to take action on a more local level through a community-based approach to language revitalization. The hope is that a translation project like this will help to widen the world of children’s literature to welcome Indigenous language speakers and advance community relationships.

Plans are also underway to translate the award-wining picture book The Water Walker, written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson, into Anishnaabemwin. The Water Walker tells the story of the treasured Anishnaabe water walker, Nokomis Josephine Mandamin.

Stay Tuned for updates on these translations…

Emma Rodgers

In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day 2018, we celebrate the awards–and the wonderful young readers–who have recognized these three important Indigenous stories in the last year:

I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland has won an incredible three young readers' choice awards in the last month! :

  • Hackmatack Award Winner, 2018
  • Red Cedar Award for Information Book Winner, 2018
  • Diamond Willow Award Winner, 2017

As well as being a finalist/selection for:

  • Rocky Mountain Book Award, 2018
  • Silver Birch Express Award, 2018
  • Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year, 2017
  • CCBC Choices - Best Books of the Year, 2017
  • Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, 2017
  • American Indians in Children's Literature Best Books of the Year, 2016

The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson has just won the First Nation Communities READ Indigenous Literature Award - Children’s Category! 

It has also won/been nominated for:

  • 2018 (Spring) - Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens
  • Ontario Library Association's 2018 Best Bets - Junior Non-Fiction
  • Indigenous Voices Awards 2018 - Finalist
  • AICL's Best Books of 2017 - American Indians in Children's Literature

Stolen Words by Melanie Florence and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard has just won the 2018 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award! 

It has also won/been nominated for:

  • Kirkus Reviews' Best Picture Books of 2017 to Give Readers Strength 
  • Shelf Awareness' 2017 Best Picture Books of the Year
  • The Children's Book Review's Best Picture Books of 2017
  • Ontario Library Association's 2018 Best Bets - Picture Books
  • 2018 (Spring) - Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens - Starred Selection

Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour Winner!

Gone to Pot, by Jennifer Craig, which is about a broke granny who starts her own grow-op and gets much more than she dreamed of, has won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour!

Jennifer is the 71st winner in the history of the award. The award was fist given out in 1947. As winner Jennifer will receive the $15,000 prize. The Leacock Medal is named in memory of Stephen Leacock; humourist, author, economist and lecturer. Next year (2019) will be the 150th anniversary of Leacock’s birth and the 75th anniversary of his death.

You can read the full press release here.

You can check out the award winning book here.

Allie Chenoweth
I Am Not A Number is a Multiple Award Winning Book!
Allie Chenoweth
Get Creative, Get Innovative

World Creativity and Innovation Day is a time to get excited about the multiple ways in which we can change our world for the better.

In celebration of World Creativity and Innovation Day, we've hand-picked some books to help you get inspired. Get creative and innovative!

Get Creative

Get Innovative

Emma Rodgers
Remembering Resistance

Yom Hashoah is a time to commemorate the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Today, we remember the acts of resistance during the Holocaust that stand as a testament to the bravery and resilience of the human spirit.

"Despite all that was inflicted upon us, we could still treat each other with humanity." — Fania Landau Fainer, as told in Fania's Heart by Anne Renaud

Find out more about Second Story Press’s Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers and the Azrieli Foundation's Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs.

Women and the Water (Walking) Movement

For World Water Day 2018 we recognize the inspiring Indigenous women who protect water for us all.

"As women, we are carriers of the water. We carry life for the people. So when we carry that water, we are telling people that we will go any lengths for the water." — Josephine Mandamin

Across North America, Indigenous women have organized and participated in movements advocating for clean and protected water. Here are some of their stories.

Autumn Peltier

Autumn Peltier has advocated for water protection since she was eight years old. Now 13, she will be addressing the United Nations General Assembly on World Water Day. Inspired to speak about water issues by her aunt, Josephine Mandamin, Peltier spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when she met him at the Assembly of First Nations' annual winter gathering in December 2017. Peltier was nominated for the 2017 International Children's Peace Prize. She is Anishinaabe, from Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island.

Sharon Day

Sharon Day is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and founder of Nibi Walk, an organization that coordinates Indigenous-led water walks in the United States to promote people's spiritual and physical relationship with water.  Nibi Walk has a clear message: "We are not a protest. We are a prayer for the water." Sharon Day is Ojibwe, enrolled in the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe in northern Minnesota.

Shirley Williams and Elizabeth Osawamick

For the past 10 years, Elder Shirley Williams and her niece Elizabeth Osawamick have organized a group that hosts annual water walks held around Ontario's Kawartha region called Nibi Emosaawdamajig (Those Who Walk for the Water). In September 2017, they worked with the group Great Lakes Water Walk to organize a walk for hundreds of people along Toronto's waterfront, advocating for clean water. Shirley Williams is Midewiwin and a member of the Bird Clan from the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Elizabeth Osawamick is also Anishinaabe Midewiwin-kwe. 

Winona LaDuke

In 1993, Winona LaDuke co-founded Honor the Earth, an initiative that helps to organize and finance Indigenous environmental movements. The group has re-granted over two million dollars to over 200 Indigenous communities for their environmental efforts. LaDuke has been active in fighting against oil pipelines, acting as a strong voice against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota that began in 2016. Winona LaDuke is Ojibwe and she lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota.

Josephine Mandamin

Known as the "Water Walker" for traversing the perimeter of the Great Lakes, Anishnaabe Elder Josephine Mandamin co-founded the Mother Earth Water Walkers, a group that walks to raise awareness about water pollution.  Since 2003, Mandamin has walked over 17,000 kilometers for the water walking movement, and has attended conferences to discuss issues about water quality. Josephine is from Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island and now lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Read About Josephine Mandamin

Nibi is Water
Quick View

The Water Walker is a picture book that brings the story of Josephine Mandamin's water work to young readers aged 69.


Joanne Robertson, author of The Water Walker

Joanne Robertson is herself a Water Walker, helping to support many walks through live GPS spotting to make sure the water, and the walkers, are safe on their journeys. Joanne lives near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Follow Joanne on Facebook: @JoanneRobertsonStudio

Announcing the Winners of Our 2018 Indigenous Writing and Illustration Contest!

We're thrilled to announce two winning authors and one winning artist for our 2018 Indigenous Writing and Illustration Contest.

Congratulations to the co-winners for writing: Jodie Callaghan and Michael Hutchinson, and the winner for illustration: Niki Watts!


Jodie Callaghan

Mìgmaq Author

Listuguj, Quebec

Jodie Callaghan’s The Train is a deeply moving picture book manuscript that conveys much about the pain and lasting legacy of residential schools. When young Ashley comes across her Uncle waiting at an abandoned train station near their community, she wonders why he is there. He tells her that this was where he and other children were put on a train and taken to residential school, with no goodbyes to their families and no sense of what awaited them. Juror Monique Gray Smith loved the relationship between Ashley and her Uncle. She was struck by the power of dialogue in which a few sentences captures the impact of Canada’s legislative decisions, like residential schools. When Ashley asks why the children were treated so terribly, her Uncle tells her simply “Because we were different”. And when he tells her “I am waiting for what was lost that day to come back to us.” the young girl tells him she will wait
with him.

Michael Hutchinson

Member of the Misipawistik Cree Nation

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Michael Hutchinson’s The Case of Windy Lake is a middle grade manuscript that the author describes as an Indigenous Hardy Boys. The story takes place on the fictional Windy Lake First Nation where a group of friends, known as the “Mighty Muskrats”, have set up a fort in an old school bus out of which they base their investigations into mysterious events in their community. The jury was struck by the story’s charm and originality, noting that it fills a needed space in children’s lit and successfully combines the kids’ mystery genre with some deeper themes. Juror Jan Bourdeau Waboose says Hutchinson “portrays native life and culture very well. He's very knowledgeable and respectful. Indigenous kids will relate to this, and so will those who aren't from those communities.”

Niki Watts

Cree Artist

Bella Coola, British Columbia

Niki Watts submitted a portfolio of beautiful illustration work done mainly in pencil, with a delicacy of line and realistic depiction of nature, animals, and people that immediately struck the jury. They liked that Watts noted in her bio that she believes that “art can be a catalyst for change and can be a voice for issues that need to be heard.” Juror Margie Wolfe was impressed by Watts’ ability, noting, “she has a great gift for drawing people, and particularly faces. It’s rare to find an artist who can capture such emotion. It’s something that is highly sought after for book illustration.” Second Story Press is looking forward to working with Niki Watts on a future book illustration project.


The winning submissions were chosen by a jury comprised of Second Story Press publisher Margie Wolfe; writer Jan Bourdeau Waboose, who is First Nation Anishinaabe and the author of The Spirit Trackers; and writer, speaker, and consultant Monique Gray Smith, who is of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish ancestry and is the author of Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation.

About the Indigenous Writing and Illustration Contest

In December 2014, Second Story Press announced its inaugural Writing Contest to celebrate its 25th anniversary and to build on its already strong list of diverse children’s books. In the fall of 2017 the press, known for publishing independent, feminist-inspired books for adults and young readers, announced that it was once again looking for contemporary writing for a young reader audience that reflects the experience of Indigenous peoples written by an Indigenous writer. This time the contest included a new category for illustration, open to Indigenous artists.

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Media Coverage

Local artist Niki Watts wins 2018 Indigenous illustration contest  Raised in Bella Coola, Watts is of Cree heritage and is a well-known artist in the community

Local artist Niki Watts wins 2018 Indigenous illustration contest
Raised in Bella Coola, Watts is of Cree heritage and is a well-known artist in the community


Our Inaugural Contest Winners from 2015

Susan Currie

Melanie Florence

Stolen Words
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Quiz: 10 Fascinating Facts About Canadian Women

To celebrate today's release of 150 Fascinating Facts About Canadian Women, we thought we'd put your knowledge of some of Canada's most groundbreaking women to the test. Take the quiz below to see how well you know your Canadian women's history and share your results with your friends!



*The official name has JUST been changed (from Aboriginal Day) to Indigenous Peoples  - the preferred term used by those communities, and a more accurate reflection of Indigenous Peoples in Canada as distinct, separate nations. Many have already been using this name for the day (and month). 

In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day 2017, we would like to share a list of children's books that share the history and some of the stories of children who experienced Canada's residential school system

"Approximately 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were, for over a century, removed from their homes and sent to live in residential schools across Canada. The schools were created and funded by the federal government in the belief that Indigenous peoples were uncivilized and needed to be 'saved' from themselves. In reality, that 'education' cost Indigenous children the loss of their families and communities, their indigenous languages, and their traditions." -  From the afterword to  I Am Not A Number, by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer

Indigenous Writing & Illustration Contest - Now open to submissions!

Second Story Press is actively looking for Indigenous writers who want to see their stories for children published, and for Indigenous illustrators who would like to illustrate children's books. Find out more about our second Indigenous Writing and Illustration Contest, which is now open for entries. The winners of our 2015 writing contest can be found below. Stolen Words is included in the list of residential school books. The Mask That Sang  (co-winner of the contest) and The Water Walker (a wonderful book we received via the contest) are in our list of other Indigenous-themed children's books published by Second Story Press.

Books FOR CHILDREN About the Residential School System

  • I Am Not a Number, by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland (Second Story Press) When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law?
  • When We Were Alone, by David Alexander Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett (Portage & Main Press)  When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and wear beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where everything was taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, a story of empowerment and strength.
  • Shi-shi-etko and Shin-chi's Canoe, by Nicola I. Campbell, pictures by Kim Lafave (Groundwood Books) In just four days young Shi-shi-etko will have to leave her family and all that she knows to attend residential school. She spends her last days at home treasuring the beauty of her world — the dancing sunlight, the tall grass, each shiny rock, the tadpoles in the creek, her grandfather's paddle song. Her mother, father and grandmother, each in turn, share valuable teachings that they want her to remember. And so Shi-shi-etko carefully gathers her memories for safekeeping. Shin-chi's Canoe is the moving sequel. Shi-shi-etko is about to return for her second year at residential school, but this time her six-year-old brother, Shin-chi, is going, too.
  • Stolen Words, by Melanie Florence, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard (Second Story Press) The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language – Cree – he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared. 
  • Fatty Legs, by Christy Fenton-Jordan and Margaret Pokiak-Fento, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes (Annick Press) Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls — all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school. In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity.
  • A Stranger at Home: A True Story, and Not My Girl, by Christy Fenton-Jordan and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrations (Not My Girl) by Gabrielle Grimard (Annick Press) Traveling to be reunited with her family in the arctic, 10-year-old Margaret Pokiak can hardly contain her excitement. It’s been two years since her parents delivered her to the school run by the dark-cloaked nuns and brothers. Coming ashore, Margaret spots her family, but her mother barely recognizes her, screaming, “Not my girl.” Margaret realizes she is now marked as an outsider. Margaret’s years at school have changed her. Now ten years old, she has forgotten her language and the skills to hunt and fish. She can’t even stomach her mother’s food. Her only comfort is in the books she learned to read at school. Gradually, Margaret relearns the words and ways of her people. With time, she earns her father’s trust enough to be given a dogsled of her own. As her family watches with pride, Margaret knows she has found her place once more. Not My Girl tells the same story as the memoir A Stranger at Home, adapted as a picture book to make it accessible to younger children. 
  • No Time to Say Goodbye, by Sylvia Olsen (Sono Nis Press) A fictional account of five children sent to aboriginal boarding school, based on the recollections of a number of Tsartlip First Nations people. These unforgettable children are taken by government agents from Tsartlip Day School to live at Kuper Island Residential School. The five are isolated on the small island and life becomes regimented by the strict school routine. They experience the pain of homesickness and confusion while trying to adjust to a world completely different from their own. Their lives are no longer organized by fishing, hunting and family, but by bells, line-ups and chores. In spite of the harsh realities of the residential school, the children find adventure in escape, challenge in competition, and camaraderie with their fellow students. 
  • My Name Is Seepeetza, by Shirley Sterling (Groundwood Books) At six years old, Seepeetza is taken from her happy family life on Joyaska Ranch to live as a boarder at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Life at the school is not easy, but Seepeetza still manages to find some bright spots. Always, thoughts of home make her school life bearable. An honest, inside look at life in an Indian residential school in the 1950s, and how one indomitable young spirit survived it.
  • “Mush-hole:” Memories of a residential school, by Maddie Harper (Sister Vision Press) Explains Maddie Harper’s years attending the Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ontario. When she was seven years old Maddie was forced to attend the school until the age of fifteen. She writes with clarity and power as she describes her experiences. She includes a painful episode by physically and psychologically as she received a brutal disciplinary measure by a teacher at the school. Students from grades 6 and up will be moved by this brief 20-page illustrated memoir by activist Maddie Harper.  
  • As Long as the Rivers Flow, (Groundwood Books) and Goodbye Buffalo Bay (Theytus Book), by Larry Loyie with Constance Brissenden As Long as the Rivers Flow is the story of Larry Loyie's last summer before entering residential school. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl and watches his grandmother make winter moccasins. He helps the family prepare for a hunting and gathering trip. In the sequel, Goodbye Buffalo Bay, Lawrence just has to make it through his final year of residential school and then he will never have to set foot in this horrible place again. But despite his best efforts to stay out of trouble, he finds himself in a few frightening predicaments. An escape attempt fails and a stolen gun misfires. Fortunately, his friendships and the tutelage of Sister Theresa help make his last school days bearable. When he returns home, Lawrence is not yet a man but no longer a boy. He struggles to find acceptance in a community that seems to have forgotten him. He tries a few different jobs and makes a name for himself as a hard worker. With increased confidence and the money he has saved up, he leaves Slave Lake to fulfill his dream of living in the mountains.
  • They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School by K. Tsianina Lomawaima (University of Nebraska Press) Established in 1884 and operative for nearly a century, the Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma was one of a series of off-reservation boarding schools intended to assimilate American Indian children into mainstream American life. Critics have characterized the schools as destroyers of Indian communities and cultures, but the reality that K. Tsianina Lomawaima discloses was much more complex. Lomawaima allows the Chilocco students to speak for themselves. In recollections juxtaposed against the official records of racist ideology and repressive practice, students from the 1920s and 1930s recall their loneliness and demoralization but also remember with pride the love and mutual support binding them together — the forging of new pan-Indian identities and reinforcement of old tribal ones.

Indigenous-Themed Books FROM Second Story Press

Happy International Children's Book Day!

In case you couldn't tell, we're passionate about children's books here at Second Story — especially ones that have the power to change lives.

So for International Children's Book Day, we asked the five authors of our latest books for kids and teens: "What book inspired you to write for young readers?” From a fan-favourite series, to a familiar red-headed heroine, and not so much a book but a person who encouraged a life-long love of reading, this list is sure to inspire you to revisit the children's books that made you fall in love with the written word.

Looks like April 2nd is shaping up to be quite a day! I have a new book out, Breaking Faith, which launches on April 2nd and it also happens to be International Children’s Book Day. So, I’ve been posed the question, what kids' book inspired me to write for young people? That’s an easy one—or should I say seven. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling most definitely motivated me to write for young adult readers. The books educate, inspire, and instil important life lessons about loyalty, friendship, responsibility, and tolerance, while being thoroughly entertaining—which explains their unparalleled success. I loved reading and talking about them with my daughters and then reading them to my class. Though my books are very different, I like to think that they carry a message, a subtle one, but a strong one just the same. The difference is that my protagonists are always female!

E. Graziani is a teacher/librarian, author, and speaker. She is the author of War in my Town — one of the Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens and finalist in the Hamilton Arts Council 2016 Literary Awards for Best Non-Fiction—as well as two young adult novels Alice of the Rocks and Alice–Angel of Time, and a novella Jess Under Pressure. She incorporates strong female characters into her writing to inspire her readers and regularly speaks to young people about her books and the publishing process. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and four daughters.

Breaking Faith
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"The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland." - L.M. Montgomery

Books played a large part in my life growing up in Vancouver. My parents were voracious readers and they passed their love of literature on to their children. I can’t recall a bedtime without a story or a car trip without a poem. I spent my summer holidays adventuring through the UK with Enid Blyton’s Philip, Jack, Dinah and Lucy-Ann (whom I thought of as Lucky Ann) and Kiki the parrot and my winters shivering in the attic with Sarah Crewe.

Every room in our house had a book shelf, including the bathrooms, so when asked, “What children’s book inspired you to write for young people?” many come to mind: Never Cry Wolf; People of the DeerThe Call of the WildWhite FangA Little PrincessCharlotte’s WebWinnie the PoohThe Lion, The Witch and the WardrobeBlack Beauty; and countless others.

However, one story spoke directly to my childhood dream of becoming a writer and that was Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables. In Anne I found a kindred spirit, a bosom buddy; a young girl who spent as much time making up stories in her head as I did. When I entered Anne’s world, I felt less uneasy about my own vivid imagination. When Anne declared, “It’s delightful when your imaginations come true, isn’t it?” I agreed.

My life has been enriched in different ways by the many books I’ve read but it’s L.M. Montgomery’s Anne that inspired me to become a writer.

Julie Burtinshaw is an award-winning author of novels for young adults, including The Darkness Between the StarsThe Perfect CutThe Freedom of JennyAdrift, and Dead Reckoning. Julie writes with young people in mind because she insists on asking “why?” and so do they. She believes her readers face challenges with hope, and hardship with optimism. They are fighting to find their way in life—just like the characters in her books. Julie teaches writers’ workshops in high schools across Canada and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Saying Good-bye to London
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I love my job and I’m proud to be a children’s author and illustrator but I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer. In fact, as a child, not only did I not like to read, I couldn’t read—at least not until grade four. 

I have a learning disability and was very lucky to have an awesome teacher in grade four who took the time to teach me to read. Even after learning to read in grade four, reading was very hard for me.  

I didn’t like books until grade nine when a fantastic librarian gave me a book she thought I would like. Once I discovered books where I connected to the characters I learned to LOVE to read. That’s when I decided to write books for children. I wanted to get other children—like me—to love books too, but when I told people I wanted to write books they said, “You’re never going to write a book. You can barely read one.”  

“You will never be” was a comment I was used to hearing, one people always told me and up until grade four I believed them. Once I learned to read things changed. I stopped listening to those people. I stopped letting them determine what I could and could not achieve in my life. So now if someone tells me I will never… I not only don’t listen, I set out to prove them wrong—and you should too.

Alma Fullerton is the award-winning author of the picture books A Good TradeCommunity Soup and In a Cloud of Dust. She wrote Hand Over Hand after a young girl during a school visit asked her why there were so few children’s books set in the Philippines. Alma lives in Midland, Ontario.

Hand Over Hand
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The book that inspired me to write for young readers is Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice? by Paula Danziger. My mother gave it to me as a teen and it was the first time I read about kids like me. The characters are real people—they fight, they laugh, they cry, they worry about money, and they love each other in the same way the families I knew did—imperfectly.

As a writer in my twenties, I was lucky enough to meet Ms. Danziger. She was doing an author visit in a tiny bookstore in a small town and I was the only person who showed up. At that time in her career, she was very well-known, but she took the whole thing in stride. She was friendly to me and the staff, a larger than life character in purple glitter Doc Marten boots, and seemed pleased to have me to talk to. She asked about my writing and dreams. I was too poor at the time to buy a book, but had brought my worn copy of Can You Sue… along and she wrote in it: To Joëlle—I hope to see your name on a book jacket someday! Paula Danziger.” When my first book came out, I did a signing that no one came to and while I sat there very alone, I reminded myself how gracious the great Paula Danziger was and I smiled and had a good time anyway.

Joëlle Anthony loves the rain, which is good because she was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and now lives on Gabriola Island in British Columbia, Canada. She's worked as an actress, a Minor League Baseball souvenir hawker, the Easter Bunny, and various other not-so-odd jobs. Now she mostly writes novels, but she still dabbles in sketch comedy, nonfiction articles, and teaching writing to both kids and adults. She recently wrote and starred in her first full-length play, along with her husband. A Month of Mondays is her first middle-grade novel. Her YA novels include Restoring HarmonyThe Right & the Real, and Speed of Life (writing as J. M. Kelly).

A Month of Mondays
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Jennifer Gold.jpg

The book that inspired me to start writing YA was Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now. I was completely spellbound by not only the brilliant storytelling but also the quality of the writing. That was the first time I remember thinking, “I want to do this” and actually going to jot ideas down in a notebook. I try to go back and read it once a year.

Jennifer Gold is a lawyer, mother of two, and the author of YA novels Soldier Doll and Undiscovered Country. A history buff, she also has degrees in psychology, law, and public health. She lives in Toronto.

Undiscovered Country
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Digital Intern
Spring Break Books for Young Activists

The spring holiday is the perfect time to read. We can let our imaginations run with ideas for how we might make change in our world. If you know a budding young activist - or perhaps you are one yourself?! - these true stories about kids from around the world are just the right inspiration.

  • 44 Hours or Strike! by Anne Dublin, Second Story Press, When their union goes on strike, sisters Sophie and Rose are in for the fight of their lives. The Toronto Dressmakers’ Strike of 1931 brings young sisters Sophie and Rose together in their fight for better working conditions, decent wages, and for their union. It’s a tough battle as distrust and resentment of immigrants is growing, with many people blaming their poverty and difficulties on these workers. Sophie and Rose are faced with unexpected — and sometimes violent — barriers, and they quickly find that a strike is more than just a march. 
  • A is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara, Triangle Square, A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.
  • Every day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney and Plan Canada, Second Story Press Malala Yousafzai - as of October 2014, the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize - is an inspiration. This is a letter to Malala, illustrated with beautiful photographs from Plan International. Girls from around the world express their sympathy, sisterhood, and admiration for her. Many of them know first-hand the barriers that stand in the way of girls going to school – barriers like poverty, discrimination, and violence. In Malala these girls recognize a leader, a champion, and a friend. 
  • Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Ofosu Yeboah, by Laurie Ann Thompson, Schwartz and Wade Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. 
  • Shannen and the Dream for a School, by Janet Wilson Second Story Press This is the true story of Shannen Koostachin and the people of Attawapiskat, a Cree community in Northern Ontario, who have been fighting for a new school since the late 1970s when a fuel leak contaminated their original school building. Shannen will never see her dream fulfilled. Tragically, she was killed in a car crash in 2010. Her family, friends, and supporters are continuing to fight and to honor her memory as they work for equality for children in communities everywhere.
  • The Streets Are Free, by Kurusa, Annick Press, For the children of the barrio of San José de la Urbina in Caracas,Venezuela, their only playground is the busy streets. Where once there were fields and streams, the landscape is now defined by office towers, sewers and highways. With the help of the local librarian, the children ask the mayor for a vacant lot to build a playground, but all they get are empty campaign promises. Even when a reporter’s news story brings the mayor out to launch the project, nothing further happens. Finally, it is up to the kids themselves to make their dream come true. Undeterred by the obstacles in their path, they rally family, friends and neighbors, who unite to create a space that the children can call their own.
  • Our Rights: How Kids are Changing Our World, Janet Wilson, Second Story Press A girl who spoke out against her government for the rights of aboriginal children, a boy who walked across his country to raise awareness of homelessness, and a former child soldier who wants to make music not war. Here are true stories of kids just like you who are standing up for their rights. Read about how they have made a difference. Dylan Mahalingam from the USA started an online charity to raise money to fight child poverty. The bravery of Nujood Ali Mohammed from Yemen inspired other girls who were being forced to marry too young. Anita Khushwaha from India became a beekeeper to pay for school, even though it was considered a job only men could do. All of them are making a difference for children’s rights.
Digital Intern
International Women's Day


"Anyone who thinks feminism is dead…think again"

International Women’s Day March 8, 2017 will be regarded as unlike any before it. The misogynistic threats to women’s equality rights are real and troubling, yet the power of feminism has risen to withstand them—which gives hope. Let’s face it. Misogyny has lurked underground for as long as time itself, showing up in the assumptions and underpinnings of society, often disguised as paternalism or sex-role stereotyping. Now it has become a more blatant infection that has seeped into the mainstream of the body politic. And it’s everywhere—even here. But we can withstand it, as the worldwide women’s marches have demonstrated.


In the United States, the misogyny seems widespread (just read the daily news), emboldened by the electoral win of a president in spite of his denigrating statements about and degrading actions toward women. The support for him—even among women—demonstrates a distressing acceptance of misogyny in its current shameless form. There, the women-hating attitude is also reflected in the threat to abortion rights, the dearth of organized maternity leave, inadequate government support for childcare, equal pay, and equal rights of all kinds.

In Canada, we may feel more enlightened because we now have a government with avowed feminist attitudes. But don’t forget that a female contender for the leadership of the Alberta Conservative party dropped out due to an onslaught of vicious harassment and intimidation. Face up to the fact that Alberta’s NDP premier Rachel Notley has been beset by sexist-based death threats and chants of “Lock her up.” Other female politicians in Canada have been revealing the nasty vitriol they contend with. And one or two of the federal Conservative leadership candidates appear to be modelling the trends set by the leader of the U.S. Yet, here in Canada, we have substantial advances to maintain, even though we still have a distance to go concerning many issues—childcare, pay equity, anti-violence initiatives, and electoral reform among them.

Internationally, misogyny is also a challenge. A 2016 Inter-Parliamentary Union survey of 55 female parliamentarians from 39 countries found that 44.4 per cent had received threats of death, rape, beatings, or abduction, 21.8 per cent suffered sexual violence, and 65.5 per cent said they had been subjected to humiliating sexist remarks from male colleagues. Russia just changed its law to permit domestic violence.

With all these developments, it would be easy to feel hopeless. But consider this:  The day after the presidential inauguration, the Women’s March in the U. S. attracted more feminist protesters (female and male) than the inauguration’s supporters could muster the day before. So many women took to the streets to send the message, You can’t do this to me—I won’t permit it. Around the world, including here in Canada, women marched to give voice and support to feminist ideals of equality and fairness for all, and, in the way of women, to speak for diverse minorities as well. 

The message?  Anyone who thinks feminism is dead…think again. The fact that women were willing to rise up spontaneously shows that the ideas of feminism have become embedded in our culture over the past 50 years, whether or not an individual woman is willing to define herself as a feminist. All those women and men who marched peacefully against misogyny and inequality and discrimination spoke with their feet, their voices, their placards, and their strength of purpose.

"Pay attention to the threats to equality rights."

But those demonstrations must be transformed into organized vigilance. Those voices of protest must be harnessed and trained for alertness and action. Democracy allows us to speak to power. Defend the structures of our democratic society meant to help you. These democratic institutions, including the rule of law and a free press, are our friends; they exist to protect us.

Rule of law ensures a stable society, whereas rule by whim and tweet makes everything unpredictable. Make governments accountable for illegal and unconstitutional actions. Challenge unfair laws and treatment in the courts.  Lobby politicians for better legislation. Question their decisions.  Support a free press that provides truth.  Write letters to the editor. Pay attention to the threats to equality rights.

The Canadian women’s movement has been doing those things since the 1970s. That is how we achieved family law reform, Charter equality rights, abortion rights, pay equity laws, maternity and paternity leave, laws against sexual harassment, and more.

So on March 8, 2017 when we celebrate International Women’s Day, we can proudly observe that the reports of the death of feminism have been greatly exaggerated, and the dismissal of feminism as unnecessary is mistaken. The struggle for equality and fairness continues. Give voice to the rights of women as fully equal members of society in a pro-active way. Take responsibility for the future; be the leaders. On March 8th, let us resolve anew to carry on, regardless. 

Linda Silver Dranoff is a lawyer, writer, and activist.  She is the author of the forthcoming Fairly Equal: Lawyering the Feminist Revolution to be released by Second Story Press on April 13, 2017.

Photos by: Sara Anderson 


Fairly Equal: Lawyering the Feminist Revolution
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Welcome to Wavemaker

Welcome to Wavemaker! A new blog coming to you from Second Story Press where we will showcase the past, present and future of feminism. As a leading publisher of feminist literature we know the importance of featuring diverse stories and voices. Wavemaker will be a hub of original content presenting everything from listicles (check out our Spring Break Books for the Young Activist) to think pieces on current events (read Linda Silver Dranoff’s op-ed piece for International Women’s Day), as well as profiles of the wavemakers who inspire us. Wavemaker is publisher agnostic with the intention of showcasing important books and stories across all platforms and publishers. If you’re interested in staying up to date with Wavemaker and Second Story Press please subscribe to our monthly newsletter or follow us on our social channels. Stay tuned for more posts!


Second Story Press


Digital Intern