In a challenging environment for public space and events, the brilliant team at Children’s Books Ireland and the Arts Council have joined forces to launch the ‘Books Make Things Better’ initiative.
As part of the celebrations for Culture Night 2020 (Friday, 18th September) families are encouraged to open up Irish culture by opening a book together and sharing a story at bedtime.
The Books Make Things Better reading guide, featuring 123 Irish authors, illustrators and translators, 13 Irish publishers and original cover artwork by Oliver Jeffers, will highlight the best Irish children’s books of 2020. The guide is available free of charge through bookshops and libraries nationwide and to view or download on childrensbooksireland.ie/projects/books-make-things-better/.
For children with limited access to reading books, there is an accompanying book-gifting programme offering 1,000 books to children and young people in schools, direct provision centres and family hubs across Ireland.
‘On Culture Night, over one thousand children will have the joy of immersing themselves in a brilliant Irish picturebook and knowing that children all over Ireland are reading that same story,’ said Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland. ‘With the Books Make Things Better reading guide, we hope we can lead children, young people and their families to discover great new books, while also supporting Irish authors, illustrators and publishers.’
‘Ireland boasts a wealth of artistic talent that, this year more than ever, we must promote and support,’ said Director of the Arts Council Maureen Kennelly. ‘Our goals for Culture Night in 2020 are that it represents the vitality of art across diverse communities, that it acknowledges the value that art brings to all our lives, and its essential role in promoting wellbeing within society.’
Following a difficult year for the Irish literature sector, the Culture Night campaign will:
- Support Irish authors, illustrators and publishers both through book sales and visibility
- Help create a sense of community and belonging by encouraging families to share a book at bedtime on Culture Night
- Drive footfall to local bookshops and libraries
- Ensure that children who are most in need and have least access to the arts and culture are given an equal opportunity to experience the joy of reading
The Books Make Things Better reading guide and book gifting project is a partnership initiative of Children’s Books Ireland and The Arts Council for Culture Night 2020.
Children’s Books Ireland’s vision is an Ireland in which books are central to every child’s life and where meaningful engagement with books is supported by passionate and informed adults in families, schools, libraries and communities across Ireland. Children’s Books Ireland is a charity that supports artists, provides high quality information and recommendations to adults who influence children’s reading, and advocates for equal access to the joy of reading for all children, regardless of their circumstances. Children’s Books Ireland is the go-to organisation for coverage of children’s books across various media including Ireland AM, InTouch magazine and RTÉjr.
The Arts Council is the Irish government agency for developing the arts. The agency works in partnership with artists, arts organisations, public policy makers and others to build a central place for the arts in Irish life. The Arts Council works in partnership with artists, arts organisations, public policy makers and others to build a central place for the arts in Irish life.
Culture Night is an annual, all-island public event that celebrates culture, creativity and the arts. Culture Night is an initiative of Dublin City Council (Temple Bar Cultural Trust) and became a national event with the support from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht from 2008 onward. In 2020, responsibility for steering and funding Culture Night on a national level was transferred from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to the Arts Council.