Port Morien, Cape Breton Island, N.S. Just before every school holiday, the 100-odd students at Gowrie Memorial Elementary School receive a package of children's books mailed by Jane Armstrong of Guelph, Ont. On vacation Down East in the fall of 2000, this retired hospital worker heard about the school's meagre library, stocked solely with hand-me-downs. Now it boasts more than 400 titles thanks to Jane.
Last summer Jane made a special delivery, arriving “with my bags so full of books I didn't have room for clothes!” she says. And everyone in the tiny fishing village turned out for the Jane Armstrong Barbecue, now an annual literacy festival held in her honour. The best part for Jane? Her tour of the freshly painted school library, complete with Armstrong's Reading Corner and shiny, new volumes lining the shelves. “Every kid has a favourite book,” she says.