Books bring joy and provides comfort during tough times and every child has the right to experience the joy of reading, regardless of their circumstances. While 2020 has been a difficult year for so many, books remain a place where we can find solace, or joy, or new perspectives.
However, all too often, our most vulnerable children never get the chance to enjoy a book. What’s more, they don’t get the opportunity to develop their literacy skills - missing out even more when it comes to education, jobs and developing their full potential.
Our hope is that more children in need across Ireland will experience the wonders of books through our #GiftABook campaign.
This December, Children’s Books Ireland is gifting a bedtime story to children all over Ireland as they face into a difficult Christmas. With the support of the Arts Council and KPMG, 6,000 Irish books will be gifted to children and young people in centres of direct provision, hospitals and homeless services across the country. There are over 2,100 children in direct provision and over 2,500 experiencing homelessness.
With the help of charity partners – including Barnardos, Focus Ireland, Children in Hospital Ireland, and St Vincent de Paul – books will be gifted to children and families across the country so that they can share a bedtime story this Christmas.
Seamus Hand, Managing Partner of KPMG Ireland, speaking on the launch of the #GiftABook campaign:
Every child should have the opportunity to read, discover and enjoy books and to experience all the magic and joy they can bring. At KPMG, we are really proud of what we do to promote children’s literacy and education so we’re delighted to support this great initiative gifting the wonder of books to children in need all over Ireland this winter.
A recent survey conducted by Scottish Book Trust revealed 92% of respondents agreed that reading is important to them in times of stress or anxiety and 98% agreed that reading supports their wellbeing. Respondents also mentioned reading to escape as a child when they were in difficult situations.
Also discussing the new initiative and the challenges children in particular are facing in 2020, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, Elaina Ryan, said:
All over Ireland there are children who do not own a book, who may not have a culture of reading at home or who need cheering up when things are really tough. We know that books can make things a little bit better and brighter for them by bringing the joy of reading to children who need it most.
This #GiftABook campaign partnership follows on from the highly successful KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards earlier in the year which marked the beginning of a three year collaboration between Children’s Books Ireland and KPMG.
Sarah Bannan, Head of Literature at the Arts Council, speaking about the production-end of children's literature said : "The Arts Council recognises that writers and illustrators are the heart of children’s literature. We know, too, that the magic of books is made real when they are opened and read and shared. While this has been a difficult year for so many, books remain a place where we can find solace, or joy, or new perspectives."
Writers, illustrators and publishers deserve our collective support so that we can continue to discover the joy of books and reading. We can think of no greater pleasure to offer you this winter than this brilliant guide, and the books within it.
This year Children’s Books Ireland, with the support of its partners, has donated over 16,000 books to children and young people in direct provision centres, schools, hospitals and homeless services across the country, and is aiming to bring the joy of books into even more young lives in 2021.