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The BookBuzz hits Nunthorpe Academy!

Libraries are wonderful places. There are thousands of books to borrow for free. Every book is more than just printed paper. From the captivating covers (you could get lost in the artwork alone), to the picturesque places they will take you. From the depths of despair to the heights of happiness. You can be transported from the past to the future, from reality to anthropomorphism. Some like to find themselves in a book (connection), others like to walk a mile in another’s shoes (empathy). From fantasy to facts, there really is something for everyone in a book.

We are so lucky in the UK that we still have free access to public libraries (although they are dwindling) and most schools still have free libraries for students to use. We thought everyone had access to books forever; from aged 0 to 110.

Then the pandemic hit. Schools sent students home. Public libraries closed their doors.

Hundreds of thousands of children were without books.

Recently, the world which the books have offered, have been less scary than the real world. Or more scary but less realistic. Or soothing, or funny, or romantic or…

We immediately set up an e-library full of free e-books. Students can access it here.

But we knew that wasn’t enough. Most children and many adults, like to hold a book in their hands. It needs to be tangible. It needs to sit on the coffee table or bedside table looking at you pleadingly to be read, until you give in and sink into the world it offers you.

The really important thing is that this escapism and calm time is incredibly good for your mental health. Especially in paper form where there is no backlit glare.

We need to get more books into children’s homes. So if they’re poorly, sad, scared, bored or even if they’re happy, fulfilled and enjoying life, they will always have access to a good read. Regardless of what’s happening in schools, libraries and the rest of the world.

Today, every child in Year 7 received a free book to take home and keep forever. They had pre-chosen their book from a selection of 17 fabulous and wide-ranging books of different genres by amazing authors courtesy of BookTrust, through their charitable BookBuzz scheme.

Popping into each form room, it was heart-warming to see every child engrossed in their book. The corridors were silent. The students were happy.

Every Year 7 now has at least one book in their home. Our hope is that this can be built upon. As each new Year 7 group comes up, they too will be gifted a book through the BookTrust’s BookBuzz scheme. We have resumed author visits, (stopped during peak lockdown time), which always enthuse our students and simultaneously offer signed and often discounted books. We will again start up the Scholastic Book Fairs which offer a huge range of age-appropriate books and gain more books for the library. We will continue to give out books and book tokens as gifts and prizes.

The children’s futures are unwritten, books will guide them.

Mrs Rachel Wilkinson

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