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Hauraki Family Violence Intervention Network spokesperson Sally Christie wants people to be a “book Santa” this Christmas. Photo: Kelley Tantau

‘Be a book Santa’ for local tamariki

A Christmas initiative will this year put books in the hands of children who might otherwise go without.
Organised by the Hauraki Family Violence Intervention Network, and in collaboration with Carson’s Bookshop in Thames, residents are being asked to help foster the love of reading among tamariki.
While perusing the aisles at Carson’s Book Shop ahead of Christmas, families wanting to give back can do so by purchasing a book at the counter for the store staff to collect and pass on to the network.
Organiser Sally Christie said the books will then be distributed to adolescents from around the district.
“The idea is to be a book Santa,” she said. “Giving a child a new book and the treasure of that, as well as the importance of reading to a child, or an independent reader having a world they can disappear into – this covers all of that.”
Sally said books can be donated for new and young readers, as well as for older children who have a higher level of reading comprehension.
She said the drive could also be a learning opportunity for parents to pass on the act of giving.
“In my family, books get eaten up,” Sally said, “and owning a book is special.
“Libraries and second-hand book stores are really valuable places, but we want to trigger a passion in young children because we know that [reading] improves oral language, literacy, and engagement with the world.”
Carson’s Book Shop owner Greg Hampton said any book purchased as a donation to the drive will be discounted by 10 per cent.
He said the Pollen St store had been involved in book drives in the past, and that it was something they were “really happy to support”.
“We love the idea of books getting into the hands of children who can’t normally access them,” he said. “If you get children reading and familiar with books earlier in their lives, it’s proven they will do better at school and with literacy, and it’s a real disadvantage for children who don’t have access. So, the more we can encourage access to books in the community, the better off the community will be.”
DETAILS: Books must be bought and dropped off at the counter of Carson’s Bookshop before Monday, December 18.