SCBWI supports BIHA with many SCBWI authors and illustrators volunteering as Role Models where they give talks and hand out books at school assemblies to schools who benefit from the Books in Homes programmes.
Basic idea: Helps underprivileged children improve their literacy skills and develop and maintain a love for reading by giving them books of their choice to take home
Books In Homes was founded by Alan Duff in 1995 after a visit to a New Zealand school and was horrified to learn that so many kids came from bookless homes.
‘Since 2001, Books in Homes has distributed in excess of 1,000,000 new books to more than 110,000 needy children from 290 schools and communities around Australia.’
82% of Australian prison inmates are illiterate. The connection between lack of opportunity and lack of education is stark. BIHA aims to break cycles of illiteracy in lower socio economic homes and create opportunities for kids that they may otherwise never have.
Become a BIHA Role Model
A hugely important element of the BIHA programme, is to invite Role Models into schools to help with their Book Giving Assemblies. Donate an hour a few times a year to chat to kids, tell them why you love reading and how it has changed your life. To volunteer go to the website.
In June 2012, I wet to Wiley Park PS to help with a BIHA assembly. The irrepressible librarian, Gillian Maugle led a small team in packing over 1500 books into over 500 bags so that every child went home with brand new books to keep. Forever. This is the exciting bit I kept hearing kids repeat in the playground. The books were theirs…for keeps. The hall was decorated, the bags were full and the kids were delirious. In December I went to Plunkett Street school (pictured) with the wonderful Principal Elizabeth McGylnn making sure her kids knew the importance of books. Seeing kids excited about books is all part of creating a positive association with reading that will hopefully stay with them their entire lives.
This is a brilliant initiative with lots of warm fuzzies and only a few hours of your year to help change kids’ lives.
Current SCBWI Role Models are: