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BMO 'Week of Books' for New Canadian Kids-BMO Financial Group Donates 60,000 Books to Children Across Canada

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Mar 28, 2013) - BMO Financial Group has committed to giving away 60,000 books as part of the First Book Canada's March book distribution. The books, from the BMO 'Week of Books,' will largely go to students who come from immigrant families across the country.

Rob Sanders at Greystone Books said, "Books have the power to transform a child's life. Providing kids from low-income families with books of their own is an investment in their overall quality of life. Books can encourage an appreciation for learning and storytelling, and they can boost a child's self-confidence."

Over the course of this week, BMO Financial Group and volunteers will have helped First Book Canada distribute over 60,000 brand-new books to over 20,000 children and youth.

"BMO Financial Group has helped us in a significant way to reach so many new groups who have registered with us over the past two months and we are very appreciative of their generous support. We are thrilled to be able to support these schools and community groups serving new Canadian children," said Tom Best, executive director of First Book Canada. "As always, we are indebted to our publishing partners and we are overwhelmed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the school teachers, librarians and principals along with community leaders who are taking time to ensure their children are getting access to these wonderful books."

To kick off the Easter long weekend for these students, there will also be a reading party at a school in Brampton on Thursday, March 28th, 2013. Volunteers will read to children in their classrooms and help them make a bookmark. Each child will take home three brand-new, age-appropriate books to begin building their personal libraries.

"Our support will give children across Canada access to badly needed books that they can keep," said Nada Ristich, Director, Corporate Donations, BMO Financial Group. "Hopefully this initiative will help elevate the quality of their education and encourage a life-long interest in reading that will be invaluable as these children go onto further their education."

The books were donated by HarperCollins Canada, Groundwood Books, Random House of Canada, Firefly Books, Greystone Books as well as the Children's Book Bank.

The First Book Canada Effect

When children receive brand new, high quality books from First Book Canada, their interest in reading nearly triples. 99% of the schools and community-based programs that register with, and receive books from, First Book Canada report that they are able to increase and strengthen their literacy efforts and curricula as a result. Research indicates that when families participate in family literary intervention programs, full dependence on public assistance is reduced from 67% to 11%. First Book Canada addresses one of the most important factors affecting literacy - access to books.

For more information, or to sign up to get books, visit us at www.firstbookcanada.org and follow our latest news on Twitter and Facebook.

About BMO Financial Group

For more than 195 years, BMO Financial Group has believed in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves. In 2012, BMO contributed more than $87.6 million in donations, sponsorships and events in Canada and the United States to groups, organizations and programs that help build and sustain resilient, vital and healthy communities.