Books Save the Rights of Children

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Left: Judith Russell and Michelle Griffiths

Over 800 new books were handed over to Save the Children from the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA), Queensland.

CBCA Qld, Community Projects Co-ordinator, since 2016, Judith Russell, said Save the Children fitted their criteria to ‘serve children who were disadvantaged in some way’.

‘We go to the organisation or group, look at their Annual Report, talk to the co-ordinator and volunteers, see the programs they’re running and where the books would be re-used over and over.

Then we select the books according to their needs and if they have shortages (eg.,picture books, YA etc.,), we collect in that area. We categorise them in age appropriate levels, cover some and place our CBCA book plate inside ready to donate.’

Sourcing books for Save the Children’s literacy programs took 11 months after a recommendation was passed at CBCA Qld’s Planning Day in November, 2016.

‘I found the staff to be very committed and enthusiastic in their work and they were a delight to work with. I like that the adults (caregivers) are reading books to their children… reading is great for bonding with children. It’s a positive opening to the wonderful world of words. We’ve seen that in our own families.’

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Centre: Judith Russell (in blue) and CBCA Qld President Trisha Buckley (to her right)

Judith said, CBCA Qld Kaye Throssell Community Projects  was started in the early 1990s and continued it for 20 years until she passed away. She was a Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and wrote several papers on Literature : the door to learning, Reading : your child’s choice, Reading : your baby’s future, plus others from the National Library of Australia, TROVE.

‘She was an advocate for the importance of adults reading to children from birth because  this early immersion in print and pictures laid the foundations for children learning to read themselves. No one took it (the community projects) on with a vengeance like Kaye did. She was very involved in the community… and had an ingrained sense of social justice. I would enjoy going to these projects with Kaye during the four years I was Branch President.’

Judith said sourcing new and ‘as new’ books was thanks to members (including those who are reviewers) and publishers. Setting up the book display at the handover was a credit to CBCA Qld members who came out in force on 18th October, 2017. A big thank you to the background helpers who got the books prepared. Shannaen and Murray helped with processing the books. Coralie and John helped with the leg work in book selection. Also through their members’ memberships, with groups like Book LinksWrite Links, SCWBI, Qld Writers Centre, IBBY and Share Your Story Australia, they communicated each others’ events and successes.

Save the Children State Office Co-ordindator, Michelle Griffiths, said Judith was ‘amazing’ to have gathered over 800 books for their literacy and numeracy programs for children in remote, rural and city areas.

‘That lady is a steamroller of a powerhouse. The amount of money we would of needed to spend on those books can now be ploughed straight back into intensive family support, and more reach for our programs and centres.’

Michelle said, the books were well received from their front line staff in their Children’s Family Centres and mobile libraries in remote communities like Doomadgee and Mornington Island.

‘If you’ve got literacy and numeracy issues within generations, books are a really nice, loving and gentle way of getting – not just, literacy and numeracy to the little ones, but to the caregivers as well.’

They were also able to add more books into their Domestic and Family Violence Refuges which have static libraries in their family rooms.

‘We get children of all ages come through those centres — everything from young teens to tiny little ones. it’s a really nice place for them to go and get a book and hideout.’

Their Early Childhood educators with their Play To Learn vans run programs in parks and caravan parks for families who found it difficult to access mainstream education.

‘It’s (Play to Learn) an early literacy and numeracy program based on learning through play. Also it’s a soft entry point to access other services so caregivers can get proper help.’

Eglantyne Jebb, a teacher and sociologist, founded Save the Children in England in 1919. Save The Children’s global vision is ‘a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Michelle said, their ‘Rights and Responsibilities of Children’ was also adopted as part of the UN Convention’s ‘Rights of a Child’.

‘The basis of our work is to uphold and ensure the rights of children.’

Their guidelines included a child’s right to — an education, to be treated fairly, have adults do what is best, to be protected, enjoy their own culture, religion and language… and to know their rights.

CBCA Qld’s next Planning Day will be Sunday 19th November, 2017 from 10am to 2pm at the Qld Writers Centre located in the State Library of Queensland (SLQ). For further information email CBCA Qld President, Trisha Buckley: qld@cbca.org.au.

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