National Day for Truth & Reconciliation – Sept. 30th, 2022

Today we honour the survivors of the residential school system. We want to thank everyone that has supported the free distribution. It is greatly appreciated. We are still accepting requests for free copies and invite all Canadians to participate in Buy One Gift One as a personal act of reconciliation.

It was really something to be at my kid’s school yesterday when they held their Orange Shirt Day. It was the last day of school before Canada’s second National Day for Truth & Reconciliation. It was great to see so many orange shirts.

One thing that was quite humourous was that when you have loads of kids running about on the playground and there are scads of orange shirts it’s a challenge to keep your eyes on your own kids. Here’s a photo of my boys and me wearing our orange shirts.

Orange Shirt Day September 2022

Skookum Surrey: We would like to thank the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre for putting on such a great event. I shared with my children and the neighbour’s boy who came along with us that unlike many events where one has to purchase tickets, food and refreshment Skookum Surrey showed in a very simple but direct way the Indigenous cultural practice of giving. They prepared tea and bannock for everyone. I don’t know how much bannock they had to prepare but it was enough for hundreds of people. They also had loads of fun stuff for the kids and shared stories and drumming. It was a very special day. Thank you.

Skookum Surrey 2022

It is important to share with Canadians in general and children in particular that Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin attributed the inspiration for the American Constitution to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. Settlers arrived on Turtle Island, saw a form of government so different from the repressive monarchy in their homeland that they adopted it for their own. It is unfortunate that they didn’t adopt the concept of the Potlatch economy. What would this land be like if the measure of wealth was in how much one can give. Imagine!

P is for Potlatch -A is for Aboriginal. Below the thought poem is a list of Indigenous peoples that start with the letter ‘P’.
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March 2022

Amazing I haven’t posted a blog since 2014. A is for Aboriginal has been in continuous publication since 2013 and is in its third printing. When I first published the book and  I approached a number an inner city schools and offered them the book as a fund-raiser they said, ‘As if our parents could afford a new hard-cover book”‘

That led me to create my first free distribution program – Buy One Donate One and although there was far greater demand for free copies (over 3000 copies) than I was able to deliver I did deliver about $5000 worth of books.

Last year when they uncovered the unmarked graves at a number of sites of former residential schools I decided I had to do something and so I have published a Reconciliation Edition and am making it available for only six dollars. By making it very affordable I believe that this will help readers come to understand more about the rich fabric of Indigenous art, history and culture.

I invite you to purchase copies and either give them away or have us distribute them to our list of folks that have requested free copies.

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International News!

traditional fishing boat

This boat is the traditional shape that has been used for centuries

I am writing from the beautiful seaside village of Kep in Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. I have been visiting the mountainous province of Kampot and have been offline most of the time. Good to disconnect for awhile but great to be able to reconnect when visiting the seaside.



Monument Books

A Cambodian bookseller picks up A is for Aboriginal

Big international news. Made my first sale in a foreign land.! Monument Books, a Cambodian company, with stores around the country and in Laos and Myanmar has ordered 14 copies and although a relatively small order it is significant to me that it could find an audience in south east asia.

The manager, Mr. William Bagley, was very helpful in explaining the intricacies of book marketing and distribution in this part of the world. Certainly a challenge but not an impossibility.  Thanks William.

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Books with no Bounds – an inspiration

I was googling around and I came across the story of two sisters (Julia and Emma Mogus) who co-founded ‘Books with no Bounds’ who have shipped thousands of books to remote First Nations communities as their way of promoting literacy.

The two sisters have sent 44,400 books to over 60 First Nations reserves across
Canada and to orphanages and community groups around the world.

I wrote them and sent my congratulations and they subsequently signed up for the free distribution.  Their work really inspires me (and many, many others) and I can’t wait to ship the first books to them for their next distribution.

Watch this video of these two ‘social innovators.’ Congratulations Julia and Emma.

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The story thus far

josephMy intention with this blog was to share the adventure as a first time self-published author.

Not ever having blogged before I think I made the most basic beginners mistake. Made a couple of postings and then stopped. Well, it is time to start again.

I am writing from and working out of Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a couple of months and am interested is seeing how this all works out. Have created a facebook page and have 12 likes so far. Pretty unimpressive, no!! As I understand it one needs 25 likes or friends to get to use a custom url – i guess i am almost half way there. So, my hope is that more folks will like my story.

So, the story thus far is that I had a great start in my home province, British Columbia, lots of interest, found a distributor – Sandhill Book Marketing and am now in a lot of bookstores – both bricks and mortar and online resellers.

Have a  number of positive reviews and that’s all pretty cool.

The Buy One – Donate One program is getting some traction. Unfortunately, there has been a teacher’s strike in BC and that was my main market focus and so things have slowed down a fair bit. Strike is still on and the school year is about done so I will re-vist that in the new school year next September.

What I am going to try next is to use social media to promote the Buy One – Donate One program and see how it goes. I am going to share the journey on a regular basis and see what happens.

Thank you for following.


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Almost 3000 requests

Well, am continuing with the Buy One –  Donate One project – now have 2,927 requests for the free distribution and I expect that to climb once word of the program spreads.

My research has provided different numbers but it looks like there are somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 children living in poverty in British Columbia. That is a shocking number.

I knew we had a growing disparity between the haves and have nots in Canada but these numbers leave me dumbfounded. Unfortunately the situation appears to be worsening, not improving. Here are some frightening statistics from the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network:


In Canada…

42% of Canadian adults between the ages of 16 and 65 have low literacy skills.

55% of working age adults in Canada are estimated to have less than adequate health literacy skills. Shockingly, 88% of adults over the age of 65 appear to be in this situation

Impoverished adults often do not have the literacy skills required to get into job training programs. They may need literacy skills upgrading before they can succeed in training programs but only about 5 – 10% of eligible adults enroll in programs

Less than 20% of people with the lowest literacy skills are employed

A 1% increase in the literacy rate would generate $18 billion in economic growth every year

Investment in literacy programming has a 241% return on investment

Sounds like a good investment to me.


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Every stick has two ends – an author’s blog

Finally published A is for Aborginal in early December 2013. A tad late for the Christmas market but it was great to actually have it in hand and in the world.

I have decided to blog my experience as a self-published children’s author because already it has led me down some paths that are quite unexpected and I want to use the blog to share the developing story.

When the book arrived I showed it to the principal of an elementary school on Vancouver’s Eastside. When I suggested that the book would make a great ‘fundraiser’ for the school the principal gave me a sideways glance and said, “Our parents can’t afford to purchase a book like that.” So much for that idea – the poorer schools that really need the funding don’t have the money to purchase a book that way.

One of my favourite sayings is ‘Every stick has two ends.’ and I got to thinking  – what if I changed the approach and so I created a ‘Buy One – Donate One’ program – where  for every book I sold I would donate one to a child or family through a school or community organization.

Pretty quickly I had requests for over 500 copies. As I only started this in mid-December I didn’t get a whole lot of traction but I did sell about 100 books by Christmas – 65 of which were under the Buy One – Donate One program.

That was encouraging and so I am going to be expanding on the program this year. Please stay tuned for more on how this is all working out.

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