A love of reading, books and writing allows children to use their imagination and build their own stories.
My Liverpool connections. (Apart from my father coming from Anfield in Liverpool)
Hearing of the new ‘Builder-Book’, initiative being set up in Liverpool, I wanted to get involved. I wanted to know more so I asked a few questions of Jude Lennon.
Jude is a story teller and author based in Liverpool and. despite the geographical divide, we have been online friends for a few years. Jude has always been happy to offer support and advice, which I have appreciated.
My questions to Jude:-
We are launching the boxes on July 1st.
Who are the organisers of the project?
The project is being run from our Social Enterprise Split Perspectivz which consists of myself (Jude Lennon), Natalie Reeves-Billing, Jonathan Totti, Joanne Kennedy and Chris Williamson. We all bring different skill sets to the table.
What made you come up with the idea for Builder-Book?
How did you come up with the name for 'Builder-book'?
Names are always so hard.
We wanted a cute character and we decided a bug would be good as they are always so busy.
A lot of word plays around builder, build, books, box etc went on until we finally found the one which seemed right.
Why do you think reading is so important?
Reading opens the pages of the world.
If children (and adults) can read they can teach themselves anything, visit anywhere in their imagination and improve mental well-being.
There have been numerous reports highlighting that poor literacy levels can lead to poor mental health, unemployment, ill health and more. It's vital.
What would be the reasons that children are losing out on reading?
Books are expensive and some families simply can't afford them.
Libraries are wonderful but not everyone has one nearby.
Plus, the importance of children actually owning their own book is so powerful.
(Indeed, a library is key but, unfortunately, during the pandemic many have been closed.)
The library is the key
What do you want to achieve?
We want to gift our 'Builder-Book' boxes to families and children who are in need. We want to show them that literacy can be fun for the whole family. We want to encourage the readers and writers of the future.
What will each box contain?
Books (one each from Natalie and myself and one from our kind author donations)
Papercrafts i.e., a 3D Buttercup van and Monster’s kitchen setting.
Characters to move around the scenes
Stationery kits - pencils, pens, colouring pencils etc.
Information about local services
Where will the boxes go?
In the pilot scheme they will be going to children in Liverpool. We aim to roll it out nationally next year.
Who will decide?
We are working closely with community centres who work with vulnerable families who can help us to identify who will benefit most.
We have been overwhelmed by the kind donations of books from authors.
We still need donations of pens, pencils and pencil crayons so if anyone would like to do that we'd be delighted.
Are there indie authors involve?
There are lots of Indie Authors who are involved.
They are mostly children's writers.
Do you think this idea would work in other areas of the country?
What would make it work?
The Playbus Association was a powerful movement which led to many other mobile projects being set up across the British Isles, including Bewbush, and the start of my personal journey.
Funding was given to the National Playbus Charity, from the Department of Health as well as the Scottish Office for work in Scotland. This funding helped projects reach out to offer support and advice in whatever way was necessary.
The Playbus not only supported the under 8’s but also a wide variety of services and support.
I was pleased to be involved in the Playbus movement and love the idea of the ‘Build-Book’. Indeed ‘Playbus’, was not just buses but any way of delivering services direct to where the need might be.
During this pandemic there have been many concerns raised about children’s learning and mental health and support is certainly necessary.
In my case many people comment and say how they wish our ‘Playbus’ was still going.
Well, hopefully in a small way I can continue the idea and return to Liverpool for inspiration once more.
'Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus' will be one of the many books joining the builder-book initiative.
If you feel you can help in any way, or want to know more, please contact myself or Jude Lennon.
30 ways to make reading fun. Read here