BookTrust Northern Ireland teams up with Children’s Books Ireland to ensure children on both sides of the Irish border have access to diverse and inclusive books

Published on: 22 September 2022

A new partnership between BookTrust Northern Ireland and Children’s Books Ireland will see children from eight primary schools on both sides of the border have their school libraries stocked with a diverse and inspiring range of new children’s books for them to enjoy.  

Chris Eisenstadt, Director of Book Trust Northern Ireland with Kirsty Andrews, Principal 

Each school library will receive 100 high-quality and expertly-curated titles that celebrate and reflect the rich diversity of modern day Ireland and allow young readers to experience stories from a wide range of backgrounds and environments, to capture their imagination and inspire them to keep reading 

Eight primary schools in Co, Cork, Dublin, Co.Tipperary, Waterford, Armagh, Down and Derry are taking part in the initiative which aims to build understanding and collaboration though the joy that sharing stories and books can bring. Alongside the books, the school will receive copies of Children’s Books Ireland Free To Be Me: Diversity, Inclusion and Representation reading guide, stickers, bookmarks and classroom materials. The project is funded by the Irish Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media as part of the 2022 Co-operation with Northern Ireland Funding Scheme. 

About the partnership, Chris Eisenstadt, Director of BookTrust Northern Ireland, said: 

“At BookTrust, we believe all children should be able to reap the life changing benefits that reading and sharing stories can bring. Different stories connect with different children so it’s important that they have access to a wide range of diverse and inclusive books so whatever their age, interest, reading ability or background, they can find a book that will capture their imagination and inspire them to keep reading. We’re delighted to be partnering with our friends at Children’s Books Ireland to ensure these fantastic and engaging books reach children on both sides of the border.Reading together with children all the way throughout their childhood can have a profound impact on their health, wellbeing, creativity and education and we’re thrilled that a new generation of primary school children in Northern Ireland will benefit from this valuable support.” 

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland added 

“These Free To Be Me Little Libraries are packed with excellent books which represent the richness and diversity of modern Irish society. As an all-island organisation, we’re delighted to work with our partners at BookTrust Northern Ireland to bring stories with diverse and representative characters into primary school classrooms from County Waterford to County Down. We often say that books act both as mirrors and windows, so that a child can see their own lived experiences reflected back to them as well as being able to step into another person’s shoes and see things from their point of view. Not only are these books a joy to read, they can help to build up children’s self worth and their ability to empathise with others.” 

Kirsty Andrews, Principal at Tullygally P.S, said: 

“We are absolutely delighted to receive the books from Children’s Books Ireland and BookTrust. These books will enhance the growing collection we have got from donations received from parents and staff. The new books will certainly engage the children and support our efforts to improve children’s reading and therefore their literacy skills. Reading is something that we are very passionate about in Tullygally P.S as it gives the children an opportunity to escape to another world. I would like to thank the literacy co-ordinator Mrs Montgomery for taking the time to apply for the books, they will certainly be appreciated.” 

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