Hospital Transition For Indigenous Children Made Possible Because Of You!

In collaboration with best-selling Canadian children’s author and illustrator, Mike Parkhill, the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba announced a new book today aimed at addressing the common anxieties of visiting a hospital through the story of Dolly and her first visit to the Children’s Hospital HSC Winnipeg.

As Dolly travels from a remote community in northern Manitoba, wide-eyed and unsure of what to expect, she has many new experiences.  After boarding a plane for the first time, she arrives in a busy city with tall buildings, noisy traffic, and many strangers. As staff at the Children’s Hospital tend to her broken “hoof”, Dolly makes new friends, learns new coping strategies, and finally comes to embrace it all in a spirit of adventure.

“Children’s Hospital Winnipeg (HSC) constantly strives to provide a warm and comforting environment for all patients visiting our facilities in search of specialized care”, states Dr. Celia Rodd, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Children’s Hospital HSC Winnipeg; Researcher, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. “Coming as they do from all parts of the province, we understand how these visits can be overwhelming, particularly for families from more remote regions, who must grapple with the stress of their child’s illness, unfamiliar surroundings, and homesickness. This is a pioneering effort to introduce children to our hospital through an illustrated children’s story told in English and Manitoba’s Indigenous languages. We are proud to work with Mike Parkhill, Manitoban authors, translators, and local sponsors to apply art in the service of healing.”

There are currently plans to print 4,000 copies, 1,000 in each language. They will be distributed across Manitoba and Nunavut through the child health system. In Winnipeg, they will be distributed through the Children’s Hospital READ program.

“We are grateful for the support of our donors Norma & Ernest Schell and family as well as the Winnipeg Foundation for making this program possible”, said Lawrence Prout, President & CEO, Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. “The development of this book in Indigenous languages takes a giant step in adding comfort to sick and injured children in remote and local communities throughout Manitoba, Nunavut and Northwestern Ontario.”

Currently, there are four languages that will be showcased – Cree, Oji-Cree, Ojibwe, and English. More languages have been planned for the future.


About the Children’s Hospital HSC Winnipeg READ Program

Knowing that parents take advice from health care professionals seriously, the Children’s Hospital HSC Winnipeg is working with health care providers to promote literacy and engage families to participate in the READ program.

Thanks to the financial support of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba donors, The READ Program is possible.

The READ Program is a partnership between the hospital’s Department of Pediatrics, including the Pediatric Residents (pediatricians in training), with participation from the Family Resource Library, Child Life Education, Speech and Language Pathology departments, and Volunteer Services.  READ was initially rolled out in the Children’s Ambulatory Clinic, but In the past year, generous community support  has made it possible to expand the program to encompass our in-patients wards and communities in Northern Manitoba, such as Thompson and the fly-in communities it serves. Its primary goal is the training of future pediatric specialists (residents) to effectively promote literacy within the clinic context, by leveraging the trust built with families over time. At each visit, families are taught the importance of daily reading to their pre-school children, counselled as to how best organize these daily sessions, and provided with free age-appropriate books. By the time they reach school-age, each child followed in our clinic will have accumulated a library of 20-25 books. In studies of similar programs, the benefits have been clearly demonstrated, as these children arrive at school with larger vocabularies, better school performance, and improved preparedness.