Guest blogger David Kendall has worked from Slough to Siberia, managing projects designed to get people to read, or read more. He has specialised in hard-to-reach groups such as offenders, substance abusers, Looked After Children, and families in temporary housing.
Putting World Book Day in HMP
For the first time thousands of the special £1 World Book Day books are going to be given out to the children visiting parents and relatives in prison over the Greater London area.
I wanted to do this for a number of reasons. Over the last decade I’ve been working with prisoners on initiatives such as Reading Ahead (formerly Six Book Challenge) or prison reading groups but I always knew how important families are to men and women in prison. Giving out books on World Book Day will add a sparkle to visits. Some families will have made long journeys; at least there will be books to share and talk about on the way home.
For me, reading, particularly reading with children, is an experience we can hold on to. Sharing stories, sharing jokes, facts, questions, all that reading can bring is important and memorable. Something to be treasured.
Books give us a focus. A few moments to get close and share a whole world. They are a gift, a celebration, something that is not always easy in the context of a prison visit. It’s brilliant that Spurgeons and other visitor centres have given such a positive response to this initiative This is the best way to celebrate 20 years of World Book Day, and it shows that reading is for us all. Forget all the fabulous costumes for a minute; at its heart World Book Day is about people and books, and how sharing stories brings us closer. What could be better?
Big Thanks to World Book Day and the publishers!
Click here to find out more about our work with children and families affected by imprisonment.