After Ali’s presentation, he opened the floor for questions and asked participants to offer their suggestions for favourite books.

“What are some good books for 9-year-olds that have lots of adventures in them?”

“What do you look for in a good book?”

“Whose your favourite character in a book?”

These were a few of the questions brewing on the minds of more than a dozen kids last Sunday during a virtual book talk hosted by one of their own: Sixth-grader Ali Kermali.

Ali decided to offer the book talk after hearing about a winter clothing drive launched by Kids Who Care, a local  charity helping to serve the needs of underprivileged families in Toronto. The charity encourages children to come up with their own creative ways to fundraise.

“It’s putting kids in the driver’s seat, basically,” Fatima Molu, the founder of Kids Who Care and a mother of three told CTV News earlier this year after 35-40 children together raised about $1,500 through a bicycle drive. “They get to pick their fundraiser, how they want to raise their funds, the people they want to ask.”

For some, that’s meant selling homemade bracelets or artwork. Others decided to bake and sell ginger cookies, or sell tickets to a virtual, self-hosted bingo game.

But for Ali, an interactive book talk seemed perfect.

“Reading can change the way you think and it can help you find your place in today’s world. It helps me open my eyes to see what’s happening in the world and it helps me to expand my bubble from where I live right now,” he told participants via Zoom, some of whom called in from the UK.

“It helps me understand that the way I live right now is not the way other people live,” he added. “And it’s our job to help people who don’t have the same resources as us. 

Reading is a way to open our eyes so that we can see these people and understand them.”

Ali presented his favourite books across two categories – aged 9-10 and 11-13:

Aged 9-10

  1. Who was? series 
  2. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio 
  3. Fish in a Tree, by Linda Mullally Hunt
  4. Frindle, by Andrew Clements 

Aged 11-13

  1. The Breadwinner, by Deborah Ellis
  2. Spy School, by Stuart Gibbs 
  3. Broken Strings, by Eric Walters
  4. Refugee, by Alan Gratz 
  5. The Boy in the Back of the Class, by Onjali Rauf 

All in all, Ali raised $300 from the book talk, contributing to about $6,000 that was raised in total, according to Fatima. “Supporting a Kids Who Care member is two-fold,” she says. “Not only are you donating to a great cause – you’re also supporting the ideas and initiatives of a dedicated child. It’s a win-win. The kids feel empowered by seeing their ideas come to fruition and getting financial support from their community AND the money donated is going to a greater good.”

 

For more information about Kids Who Care, please visit https://kidswhocareinternational.com