Life Without Barriers’ Hook into Books campaign had another successful year of engaging children and young people with reading and storytelling in 2022!
Hook into Books is a fun campaign that promotes a love of stories: sharing, telling, reading and listening to stories. Created for children and young people in out-of-home care, the campaign's purpose was founded on the idea that engaging children of any age with reading is one of the most powerful things we can do for them.
This year, our Education Unit teamed up with Children, Youth and Family, leading Australian authors, parents, and carers to help children and young people to Hook into Books. And Hook into Books they did!
Over 2,500 books were distributed to children and young people across Australia. The 2022 campaign also saw many opportunities for fun interaction and positive collaboration across communities through our reading activities and events.
Let's take a look at some of the key highlights of the campaign:
Reading Out Loud Without Barriers
Highlighting the very personal and emotive experiences of books and reading, this activity was the foundational piece of the campaign. Shared across the many Life Without Barriers social platforms, our author supporters recorded individual vlogs, sharing their literacy journeys, tips and tricks for getting Hooked into Books and some of their favourite books to read.
You can watch their videos on Life Without Barriers’ YouTube channel.
Leading by example, many readers, far and wide, were ‘caught’ getting hooked into books with our #CatchAReader activity! This demonstrated that reading is fun and can be done anywhere, by anyone, at any time.
The Life Without Barriers community connected with Hook into Books in many diverse ways. Check out the images below to see them caught in the act.
The Travelling Book Suitcases
The Traveling Book Suitcases are another way we supported our community in bringing more books into their homes. These suitcases and backpacks are stocked to the brim with a wide range of literacy resources, including YA novels, picture books, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories, fiction and non-fiction books, comics, magazines, graphic novels, support guides and the list goes on!
Each case or bag also contained reading-related materials for children and young people to keep (bookmarks, stickers, posters, and bunting).
This year, we had 20 new travelling book suitcases, in addition to the ten distributed in 2021. The suitcases went far and wide, visiting NAIDOC day celebrations, Bayindjiila day, school holiday programs, and even the International Foster Care Organisation conference in Darwin!
One suitcase joined a carer’s morning tea in Dandenong, Victoria, and as one staff member reported, “the foster carers absolutely loved it!”
Some suitcases joined picnics in the park in South Australia and Queensland.
“We had a fantastic event with Hook into Books. Every child took a book home, and they were super happy!” said Kara Kendall, Carer Assessor.
Other suitcases found a home in two of Life Without Barriers’ MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Constellations.
“The Kids are loving it – my eldest is creating a library borrowing system to support the kids when they come over to the Hub!” Said Stacey, MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Home Hub Provider.
“A group of Nyarrandjeri sisters were excited to discover the number of books with Aboriginal stories and information. They chatted about how they share their copy of ‘Welcome to Country’ and loved reading the cultural stories to their younger friends,” said Deb Bills, MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Home Hub Provider.
Another suitcase has taken up residence in a Rockhampton residential home. In Victoria, one of our education consultants took the suitcase travelling between four homes to share the fun.
Suitcases also visited many primary schools in Victoria to support literacy and engagement. “The kids and teachers are loving sharing the suitcases around and reading the books with the classes,” one Principal reported.
There were 42 book backpacks distributed to children and young people this year. One young person in New South Wales was very excited to receive a backpack, exclaiming, “How did they know I liked unicorns!” When she saw some books about her favourite animal inside.
We also had 12 boxes of books distributed to support office and car libraries across the Life Without Barriers community.
“The team loved it, and we have now set up a library for people to swap books with the ones that didn’t get originally taken,” Jasmine, Administration Officer.
The Human Library
The Life Without Barriers Human Library Podcast Project showcased the community of Life Without Barriers as ‘human books' of the library. Authors, foster carers and Life Without Barriers staff shared their stories, perspectives, and practical tips to help young people Hook into Books through individual podcast episodes.
You can listen to the full Human Library Collection here.
This year, we also collected stories at the International Foster Care Organisation Conference (IFCO). This special edition of the Human Library Podcast Series shares stories that reflect the IFCO Conference theme, “Finding Ways Forward: Celebrating Identity, Culture, Families and Community".
You can listen to the IFCO episodes here.
During this year’s campaign, we had Lynn and Judy, from the Children’s Book Council Australia Queensland Branch, volunteer their time to read virtually to children and young people as part of our Virtual Storytelling Sessions, with many children and young people tuning in from far and wide.
South Australia-based Drag Queen Estelle also joined in, reading books by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors from the travelling book suitcases to celebrate Indigenous Literacy Day. You can watch their videos in our Hook into Books 2022 YouTube playlist.
Members Only Club - Join your Local Library
Gabrielle is a passionate advocate for engaging children in stories, and she encourages everyone to keep using their imagination by reading and writing - and a great way to do this is to get kids across Australia to join their local library.
Jacintha Batchelor, Carer Ambassador, also promoted the importance of joining your local library with a special Hook into Books storytime at the Sutherland Shire Library.
“We engaged with our local community in a shared love of books,” said Jacintha.
“One of the toddlers thought the books were quite tasty – there might be some soggy chapter books along the back wall section.
“Linking with the local library and having the librarian provide encouragement at the end of the session started some important conversations.”
Hooking into Books with Key Assets and Berry Street
This year, we were thrilled to partner with Key Assets and Berry Street, who got their staff, carers, children, and young people involved with Hook into Books in Queensland and Victoria. Key Assets and Berry Street both found a lot of success during this year’s campaign and shared their reflections on Hook into Books with us.
“Hook into Books has been a great experience for us all. The children have loved being part of this program. I have found they started to read anything they could, from road signs, DVD covers and fact sheets on animals in parks or about the parks,” said Cassie, Key Assets Support Worker.
“Hook into Books has helped me put a literacy lens on my youth work practice, which means I have noticed a lot of my children are already hooked into books!"
"Just the other day, I had a young girl read me a story in the car. Two other children have been enjoying the library on my shifts, even having a 'study session' in one of the nooks,” said Liz, Key Assets Support Worker.
“The Campaign reminded me to prioritise some reading for fun in my own life. We are role models, after all,” said Margaret, Key Assets Education Officer.
What another fabulous year of getting hooked into books! Thank you to all of our participants, supporters and partners for spreading the joy of reading and storytelling in 2022.
Teamwork really does make the dream work, and thanks to your support and enthusiasm, we have helped so many children and young people #HookIntoBooks!
Intergenerational Virtual Storytime
Hook into Books is extending its virtual reach – introducing the Intergenerational Virtual Storytime!
Join the Life Without Barriers 'Reading Adventure Challenge'
The Hook into Books 'Reading Adventure Challenge' is an opportunity for children and young people to experienc...