One moment they might be learning about zoo animals, the next they might be in outer space – there is no limit to the imagination between the pages of children’s books.
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Everyone knows the benefits of reading to children at an early age and Jan Chivers from Centacare hopes to make access to books easier for kids with the Book Box project.
“Part of my program with Centacare is encouraging early literacy,” she said.
“What I decided to do is to start a Book Box and initially I was just going to have a Book Box at Yalbalinga.”
Book Boxes, which have been sprouting up across Australia in the past couple of years, involve people donating books.
“That’s where the idea came from, my sister in Sydney is always getting books out of the book box and putting them in,” she said.
Jan said the children could then choose to keep it or give the book back after they were finished reading it.
She said she cannot believe how generous people have been, as thousands have books have been donated to the project.
“My niece in Sydney… the people in her community have donated over a thousand books,” she said.
“Plus, just some individuals have donated books and Cowra Early Childhood Services and Goodstart Early Learning have both given over 100 books.
“St Raphs… they are doing a collection over this term so I know they got in quite a few books already.
“So it’s just getting bigger than Ben Hur.”
Jan said three places have been benefiting from the Book Boxes so far.
“So I've got a book box at Yalbalinga which I top up every week, I take a book box to our playgroup at Jindalee Circuit and Cowra Early Childhood Intervention are about to have one in the street for children to take a book.”
“So each book I just put a little plate in to say that this is a free book, we are encouraging early literacy, you can keep it or bring it back.”
She said she hopes to continue making Book Boxes to assist all children, in particular Indigenous children, develop a love of reading.
“As long as I have the books come in, I’m happy to keep making more places that they are available.”
She said she plans to hopefully get a Book Box in places such as the Cowra Visitor Information Centre, Cowra PCYC and start a book box for the older kids.
“It was an early literacy up to eight years but of course, people have donated lots of books for older kids,” she said.
“So I’ve put them aside to do with later and I probably will get a box here at Erambie in the centre for kids to come get in the holidays.
She said she had not anticipated how many books would be donated.
“I had no idea so many books would come in.”
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