The Stories of Us Library: Online ESL Resources For Newcomers, By Newcomers

Hello! My name is Mathura Mahendren and I’m the Program Manager of The Stories of Us (SoU) program at a Canadian nonprofit called the Department of Imaginary Affairs (not kidding, it’s real!)

In a nutshell, the SoU program engages newcomers to write and tell their stories, which are then turned into storybooks that are used as ESL resources for adult newcomers. We are re-imagining what an ESL library can look like, with stories by newcomers for newcomers. This online library of newcomer stories is currently accessible for free, and ESL learners and educators alike can access the stories as PDFs. The books are sorted first by the author’s home language, and then by their Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level.

You can also access our story-writing curriculum, which aims to give newcomers the tools and the vocabulary to start unpacking and sharing their story with their peers, on their own terms. This process can in turn help to build a deeper sense of community and connection among peers, as well as between students and teachers.

We’re in a process of consistently iterating our resources in response to user feedback, so feel free to share your experience of the resources and what more you’d like to see by completing this brief survey or emailing directly.

***NOTE: These resources have been intentionally designed to be implemented with a Canadian ESL / LINC learning environment. If you are accessing these resources as a newcomer or educator living / working outside of Canada, you may find that these resources may not be relevant to you in the same way.

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