Children’s Books Ireland
Connecting for increased potential
“Junior Juries was an exceptional experience. The group was lovely, the books were fabulous and I feel like I have gained immensely.”
Reading for pleasure can have a fundamental positive impact on children’s lives. The Junior Juries Award is a unique annual programme, run by Children’s Books Ireland, for schools, libraries and book clubs. Designed to encourage reading, children judge from a wide variety of shortlisted books before picking the winner. And as winners of Ecclesiastical UK’s 2019 Movement for Good awards, the charity has been given a grant of £50,000 to help expand this innovative and exciting scheme.
An active arts charity, Children’s Books Ireland strives to raise awareness of the powerful connection between reading and life opportunities and to make books central to every child’s life. Founded in 1997, they inspire young people and celebrate authors and illustrators through a huge range of events and workshops – providing a vital resource and fostering a greater understanding of the importance of books in children’s core development.
Children who read for pleasure tend to be more absorbed in school, have better literacy and numeracy skills, a higher likelihood of success in education and beyond, as well as improved wellbeing. Significant lifestyle shifts have, however, changed the way that children interact with books. Research shows that reading drops off substantially between the ages of 9 and 13, so Children’s Books Ireland knows this is a crucial time to help children to develop and maintain a love of reading. In doing so, they’re helping them to reach their potential – influenced by a new understanding of the vast and diverse world they inhabit.
“Winning this grant enables us to continue our mission to make books central to every child’s life, and will have a profound, positive impact on the lives of thousands of children all over Ireland,” enthuses Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland.
With schools closed and author events cancelled due to COVID-19, this year’s programme had to adapt quickly to engage children with the shortlisted books. “We had to pivot really quickly to digital,” explains Elaina, adding: “The reach that we have had from a mix of Zoom calls into homes, and artist videos encouraging reading and creative activities linked to the books, has been extraordinary and I think that has had real value for families.”
With Ecclesiastical Ireland’s support, Children’s Books Ireland continues to inspire children. As Elaina enthusiastically puts it: “We are delighted to be bringing books to the students and schools that might not otherwise have access to reading.”