Why have I come away from a Books in Homes event enthused? Because the children are so excited about reading! So excited.
There are three specific Books in Homes Australia-wide Programmes for children – from birth to late Primary. Books in Homes encourages awareness of and promotes literacy with students as well as parents in disadvantaged circumstances. This charitable organisation was established in Australia in 2001 and is similar to its New Zealand founding organisation, set up in 1994. Read about Books in Homes at http://www.biha.com.au/
Children choose three books each term for three terms from Preview Packs of which 25% of titles are written by Australian indigenous authors. The Preview Packs are then donated to the school. In their sturdy waterproof library bags each term, children also receive a catalogue with information about all the books on offer so they can learn more about books and authors and sponsors.
I volunteer in the Western Sydney region and the University of Western Sydney is the sponsor – they sponsor 220 schools! The publisher-sponsor for the schools I’ve attended has been Scholastic Australia. That’s commitment. The school population and parents attend a Book-giving Assembly and from what I’ve seen so far, all assemblies are different.
I’ve heard a truly motivational speech by a Principal to students about how books can change their life-circumstances; I’ve sung the National Anthem with one school and listened to poetry about books recited by classes. Recited! On Stage! It brought back memories of my love of poetry recitation when I was at school, and eisteddfods.
At one school I shook 400 little hands, at another the Library Monitors accepted the books for their class to be distributed after the Assembly. I’ve been given a wonderful tour of an amazing library and I’ve eaten yummy food at a parents’ morning tea with a school’s Library Monitors and Principal.
On 20th June 2013 at Lethbridge Park PS, the Teacher Librarian Marian Lopez and the Uni of Western Sydney student representative Mark presented Books in Homes’ Caught Being Good Certificates to children in every class group who’d demonstrated a special love of books and had participated in reading activities to the best of their ability.
But, what was most special about the Lethbridge Park visit for me was that I read for the first time publicly my soon-to-be-released (now at the printers) Picture Book, What Now Baby Bears? It’s a story celebrating humans and animals living together in harmony and the children then asked me about my love or animals and conservation, including a question about why I still love my teddy bear. A “hands up” to a question I asked indicated that almost all of the 400 children had a pet. The children loved the photo of my cats.
Thank you Lethbridge Park PS for an inspirational afternoon. Thank you Books in Homes for asking me to be involved. (I think I'll take my old teddy bear to the next Books in Homes school). Xxx