Children’s Books Ireland Receives the Business to Arts Judges’ Special Recognition Award

Children’s Books Ireland is honoured and proud to receive the Business to Arts Judges’ Special Recognition Award supported by Accenture for a selection of our partnerships. We would like to thank KPMG, Ecclesiastical, An Post, The Community Foundation for Ireland, Brown Bag Films, Rethink Ireland and William Fry for their support and enthusiasm for our projects. These partnerships allow us to inspire and enable every child to become a lifelong reader, regardless of their circumstances, and bring us closer to our vision: Every Child A Reader.

‘We could not be more proud to have won the Judges’ Special Recognition Award,’ said Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland. ‘One of our core values is connection, and this award is a celebration of our work in partnership with like-minded organisations towards our shared vision of making every child a reader for life. Our already incredible team is made so much stronger with the support of our partners, and we are so grateful to have these relationships to sustain us and our work, particularly through the last year.’

Children’s Books Ireland would like to sincerely thank the Business to Arts Awards judges for this honour, O’Kennedy Consulting and the Arts Council’s RAISE programme for their comprehensive support, and our wonderful government, corporate, charity and individual supporters, partners, and funders.

KPMG has partnered with Children’s Books Ireland since 2017. The BOLD GIRLS staff volunteer workshops aim to start conversations about gender equality through children’s literature. In 2020 BOLD GIRLS teamed up with 20×20 to bring the real-life stories of women in sport into classrooms and inspire the next generation of Irish sportswomen.

KPMG is also the title sponsor of the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards, the leading annual children’s book awards in Ireland. The awards identify, honour and promote excellence in books for young people by Irish authors and illustrators, with a total prize fund of €16,000 across six awards. As an additional support to Children’s Books Ireland in 2020, KPMG supported the donation of 3,000 books to children in need at Christmastime.

The Ecclesiastical Movement for Good Award enables Children’s Books Ireland to gift books from our KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards shortlist to children aged 9–12 in areas of need. It aims to encourage reading for pleasure at a crucial time in a child’s life to counteract the drop-off in reading that usually occurs in the early teenage years. It also supports author and illustrator visits to schools to spark excitement about reading for pleasure.

We work in partnership with An Post on many campaigns encouraging families to enjoy reading together. In April 2020, the ImagineNation playbook brought together Ireland’s leading authors and illustrators to encourage children to read, write and be creative. The playbook was delivered by An Post to 85,000 households, to direct provision centres, homeless services and children in hospital. An additional 115,000 copies were included in The Irish Times. The Community Foundation for Ireland supported a further 15,000 copies of the playbook with colouring pencils for children most in need.

The Bookbag project, in partnership with Brown Bag Films, builds a buzz around reading and encourages a whole-school reading culture which is sustainable beyond the duration of the project. Bookbag gifts a book to each child as well as augmenting the school library, ensuring that every child in the school has access to at least one book in their home.

Rethink Ireland supports our Bookseed baby book-gifting project in Limerick, giving an uplift on initial funds from the JP McManus Benevolent Foundation. Rethink Ireland also offers a programme of non-financial supports to build capacity in our organisation. This year we are benefitting from a facilitated peer support network, organisational theory of change and a series of impact management webinars.

William Fry’s support allowed Children’s Books Ireland to gift libraries of carefully selected books to three primary schools in the vicinity of William Fry’s head office in Dublin. Staff also raised funds for author and illustrator visits, engaging their employees with an impressive Lip Sync Battle fundraising evening at The Sugar Club, a raffle and dress down day.

Children’s Books Ireland chief executive Elaina Ryan with her children Fiadh (5) and Sadhbh (3). The organisation won this year’s Business to Arts Awards Judges’ Special Recognition Award supported by Accenture. Photograph: Conor McCabe