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October 19, 2015

- Reading celebration tour brings 10,000 new books and educational resources to five Southern Ontario high needs elementary schools

- Your first Kobo eBook purchase will mean a child in need receives his or her own first book as part of the Awesome Project*

TORONTO – October 15, 2015 – First Book Canada, in partnership with Rakuten Kobo and Penguin Random House Canada, today announced “The Awesome Project”, a literacy initiative that will provide elementary school-aged children with their very own first book as well as educational resources to help foster the love of reading.

As part of “The Awesome Project”, New York Times bestselling author Neil Pasricha, whose “Awesome” series has sold in the millions of copies, will be visiting with students across Southern Ontario to read from Awesome is Everywhere, his latest book aimed at children. Each school will receive copies of Awesome is Everywhere, in addition to 1500 brand new books and a $1000 grant to purchase books and Kobo Readers through the First Book Canada marketplace at . The tour will run from October 26 to October 30, beginning with Market Lane Public School in Toronto.

In addition, each time a new customer in Canada purchases their first digital book from Kobo, until November 30, the company will ensure a child in need receives his or her own first book. For every new customer who signs up and makes a purchase at, Kobo will donate $5 to First Book Canada. Each new Kobo customer will also receive a $5 credit to get them started reading right away.

International bestselling author Neil Pasricha understands firsthand the power of books: "When I was a kid, books transported me to other places and helped broaden my horizons. I wrote this book to teach my son the power of attitude and awareness, and I am thrilled to be partnering with Kobo and First Book Canada to share this message with young Canadians. I hope the book encourages them to notice the world around them and become engaged citizens and leaders of Canada."

“A child without access to books won’t have the chance to become an engaged and capable reader. No matter how formats and technologies change, children from low-income families will still need access to rich and varied content,” said Tom Best, Executive Director, First Book Canada. “Through programs like this, all children can benefit from new technologies and flourish as readers. When these kids succeed, our entire country also thrives."

“The Awesome Project” Tour Schedule:

  • October 26: Market Lane Public School – Toronto, ON
  • October 27: St. John Vianney Catholic School – Etobicoke, ON
  • October 28: Lancaster Public School – Mississauga, ON
  • October 29: Westwood Elementary School, Hamilton, ON
  • October 30: Lakewoods Public School, Oshawa, ON

To further experience and encourage the joy of reading, Kobo employees will read with children in grades one and two during each elementary school visit.

“Kobo knows that the love of books begins early, but only if children have access to and enjoyment of books at an early age,” said Michael Tamblyn, President, Rakuten Kobo. “We are honoured to be a part of this wonderful campaign created by First Book Canada, and are excited to be working with Neil to spread the word about how awesome it is to read. It’s a great program to get young minds engaged in the great stories and thought-provoking ideas that the world of books has to offer.”

About First Book Canada

First Book Canada provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. By making new, high quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book Canada is transforming the lives of children and elevating the quality of education in the country. In 2015, First Book Canada will distribute over 1,000,000 new books to children in need across Canada. All funds raised in Canada go to programs serving Canadian children from low-income families. For more information, or to sign up to get books, visit us at and follow our latest news Twitter and Facebook.

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 4.7 million eBooks and magazines to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders to suit any Reader’s style including the Kobo Touch 2.0, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, and the Kobo Glo HD. Along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit

About Penguin Random House Canada

Penguin Random House Canada is the Canadian division of Penguin Random House, the world’s first truly global trade book publisher. It was formed in July 2013 and comprises the adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House around the world.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Tom Best

Executive Director

First Book Canada

866-393-1222 ext. 0130


René d’Entremont

Senior PR Manager

Rakuten Kobo Inc.

416-977-8737 ext. 3587

Vikki VanSickle

Marketing & Publicity Manager, Young Readers’ Program

Penguin Random House Canada


*For every first eBook purchased by a new customer in Canada, Kobo will donate $5 to First Book Canada, sufficient to cover the purchase of a first book for a needy child to keep as his or her own.

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