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 Toyota Ireland, the Arts Council and KPMG, a total of 8,000 Irish books will be gifted to children and young people in centres of direct provision, hospitals, the Travelling community and homeless services nationwide.
There are currently over 2,000 children in direct provision and over 3,000 experiencing homelessness. Just 13% of Travellers go on to complete secondary education in comparison with 92% of the general population. With the help of several charity partners – including the Simon Community, ISPCC, Tipperary Rural Travellers Project, and Temple Street Children’s Hospital – books will be gifted to children and families across the country so that they can share a bedtime story this Christmas.
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 cited reading as a form of escapism when they were in difficult situations as children.
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, and if one book leads to another, and another, and another, books can make things significantly better: reading for pleasure is more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status. What that tells us is that we can make a difference, if we can just bring the joy of reading to children who need it most.’
Steve Tormey, Chief Executive of Toyota Ireland, said:
‘Toyota Ireland is proud to support such an important initiative, so that the young people of Ireland can cherish and enjoy a vast collection of stories and books this Christmas season. 2020 has been particularly hard for our youth, so it’s even more important now to bring happiness and joy to those who need it most. We at Toyota Ireland are committed to nurturing the creativity of the great inventors, dreamers and thinkers of the future as part of our Built For A Better World brand platform, and so we hope that we can help to inspire imaginations with this selection of stories this Christmas.’
Sarah Bannan, Head of Literature at the Arts Council, 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.’