Co-founders, Emma and Julia

Emma and Julia are dedicated child advocates for children's rights.They are grassroots activists, environmentalists, local volunteers, and philanthropists. Today at the age of 17 and 18 respectively, their cumulative volunteer efforts exceed more than 3,000 hours of volunteer service each since the age of 9 and 10. Growing up in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, without television, the sisters embarked on a mission to bring the gift of reading and education to children and youth in her country’s northern First Nation communities. After learning about the lack funding for education and inequities faced by First Nation children and teens living on reserves in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Emma and Julia committed their energies finding a way to place books and other resources into the hands of children in Canada and around the world. Since 2011, Emma (age 12) and Julia (age 13) began their journey collecting books and in 2012 co-founded Books with No Bounds. To date the sisters have shipped 115,000 books to communities across Canada and around the world, impacting the lives of 150,000 children worldwide. The sisters have spoken to audiences of all ages in Canada, the United States, Sweden and beyond; raising awareness of their efforts to improve education and literacy to disadvantaged youth worldwide. Through their campaign the sisters have enlisted the help from hundreds of youth volunteers across North America, helping disadvantaged youth to read and reach for the stars.  Through letters, postcards and messages, the pair believe their efforts will help youth to further their literacy skills by providing the tools necessary for reading and education success. Emma and Julia believe ‘Books With No Bounds’ continues the advancement of education and supports a national awareness campaign for Aboriginal cultural sensitivity and appreciation in Canada and worldwide. Education media producer and filmmaker, Shelley Steele, has documented the girl’s efforts with Books With No Bounds, in an newly released Heartspeak video production (http://www.heartspeak.ca). Contact info@heartspeak.ca to learn more about the documentary. HEARTSPEAK DVD CASE The sisters have been featured on CBC THE NATIONAL, CBC News, CTV Canada AM, Global Television Thunder Bay, TVO KIDS, CHCH TV, City TV, CBC Metro Morning Show, CBC Radio Cross Country CHECKUP, CBC Radio Here and Now, CBC Radio Superior Morning Show and other media.  With her sister Julia, Emma is a keynote speaker at countless events, including AGM meetings, conferences, schools, and events. Recently the sisters contributed a quote and their photo to be included in the McGraw Hill Ryerson’s upcoming literacy series, entitled “From Txt to Talk: Communication Skills for the 21st Century.” In the fall of 2013, high school students across Canada will use this book in their English classes, teaching students the importance of good communication by showing real-world applications of good writing, speaking, listening and research skills. Scan0171Scan0172   .           In June, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Emma and her sister Julia organized a walk and letter writing campaign in support of First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada’sOur Dreams Matter Too’ initiative to recognize the need of equitable opportunities for First Nations children that respect their languages and cultures. On February 14, 2014, the sisters spoke to a gathering of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and young people on the steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, in support of First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada's 'Have a Heart' Day.

Honours and Awards

Emma and Julia are the recipient of many honours and awards for their work in helping to promote literacy and education to those living in remote and/ or impoverished communities in Canada and around the world. On July 1st, 2013 Emma and her sister Julia were named ‘Most Inspiring Teens – Best of Canada for 2013’, with the Globe and Mail Newspaper. These achievements include:
  • International Literacy Association (ILA) Top 30 under 30 worldwide
  • Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes (2015)
  • The Helen Keller Fellowship Award (2015, Lions International)
  • Greer Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Publicly Funded Education in Ontario (2014)
  • The Governor General's Caring Canadian Award (2014)
  • Jack McGinnis Environmental Spirit Award (2014, Recycling Council of Ontario)
  • Paul Harris Fellowship (2014, Coburg Rotary Club)
  • Top 20 under 40 (2014, Gen Next United Way of Oakville)
  • Louise Russo W.A.V.E. Youth Award (2013)
  • Leading Girls / Leading Women – Building Communities Award (2013)
  • International Diana Award (2014)
  • Ontario Heritage Trust’s Young Heritage Leader Award (2013)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013)
  • Peace Medallion Award (2012)
  • Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal Youth Achievement and Recognition Award for Community Development (2013) 
  • TVO KIDS ‘Super Citizen’ Award (2013)

    In addition, Emma is also recognized with several distinctions:

  • World's Children's Prize, Ambassador, Child Juror and Emcee for the 2014, 2015 Awards in Sweden
  • Children Reading for Children, Global Embassador
  • Kids Are Heroes, Ambassador
  • Ontario Legislative Page at Queens Park 2011-2012
  • 2009 and 2010 Ontario Silver Medalist - Skate Canada Starskate Championships

    In addition, Julia is also recognized with several distinctions:

  • Harvard Model UN Delegate Award 2016 (Italy)
  • Children Reading for Children, Global Embassador
  • Kids Are Heroes, Ambassador
  •  Skate Canada Volunteer of the Year Award - 2010
  • Skate Canada Future Stars and COS Provincial Novice Competitive Skater
Emma is currently a volunteer researcher at McMaster University, Department of Engineering and a grade 12 student completing her Year Two International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. Emma continues to hold honors distinction and membership with the Honours Society. Julia is currently a 1st year student at the University of Toronto, completing her International Relations degree

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal February 6, 2013

Photo courtesy of The Lieutenant Governor ofScreenshot 2014-11-10 09.17.51 (2) Ontariocbc news 1