ZB

Project encourages kids to read while inspiring sense of adventure

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 Jan 2022, 1:43pm
Y'vonne and John Miller with Pauline Donovan and Julie Tregear putting books out at Waikanae Park. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Y'vonne and John Miller with Pauline Donovan and Julie Tregear putting books out at Waikanae Park. Photo / Rosalie Willis

Project encourages kids to read while inspiring sense of adventure

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 Jan 2022, 1:43pm

A year on from placing their first set of books for children to find and enjoy at parks around the district, Kāpiti Hidden Books is celebrating a year of encouraging kids to have fun reading. 

Started by Y'vonne Miller in February last year after a chance conversation with a person doing something similar in Whangārei, the project took off immediately. 

Now with close to 800 members on the Facebook page, more than 3200 books have been hidden around Kāpiti, from Paekākāriki to Ōtaki. 

Wanting to encourage a love of reading and a sense of adventure in children, the idea is that books are hidden in parks around the district, children find the books, read them and either keep them or re-hide them for others to enjoy. 

Three-year-old Jed Chalmers finds a book at Marine Gardens in Raumati. 

Miller and her team have been coordinating the project, collecting books and putting them in water-proof bags with notes explaining what they are. 

"We have 764 members on the Kāpiti Hidden Books Facebook page, but we don't know how many people have found them and read them, and how many have placed the book back out," Miller said. 

"We ask people to take a picture when they find them and let us know and leave feedback on if their child enjoyed the book." 

Over 3200 books have been put out by Y'vonne Miller and her team, with many more put out by other members of the community. 

Y'vonne Miller hiding a book at Waikanae Park. Photo / Rosalie Willis 

Funding for the books comes from a private donor with most of the books coming from Trash Palace in Porirua. 

"Most of them look close to brand new," John Miller said. 

"Buying children's books brand new is really expensive, we got boxes and boxes of books from Trash Palace that are really good quality." 

Getting books from wherever they can when people are moving houses, schools are getting rid of them and occasionally from opshops, the group are always keen for more. 

Sharing stories of talking to parents who have found books with their children, the organising group has found many children have been inspired to read after finding the books. 

"There's nothing nicer than putting some books out and seeing people pick them up and enjoy them or walking back past minutes later and they're already gone," Pauline Donovan said. 

"We love getting feedback from people who have found the books." 

With more books being placed out in time for Wellington Anniversary weekend, Julie Tregear said the plan is to just keep going, keep inspiring children to read. 

"We've heard stories of children picking up books who don't normally read and children coming back for more." 

The project has already been started in Palmerston North, with a request from another person in Gisborne also keen to start it up there. 

If you can help or donate books, contact Y'vonne Miller at [email protected]. 

- by Rosalie Willis