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Treasure hunt for Gisborne's hidden books

Children being encouraged to find books, read them, then hide them again.

A Gisborne woman is encouraging kids to read, through a hidden books treasure hunt.

It all started two months ago when Jill White received a message, a photo, from her daughter who lives on the Kapiti Coast. It was a picture of a “hidden book”.

“My daughter was out walking one day and she found a book that was hidden by the Kapiti Hidden Books movement. She sent me a photo, and I thought it was a lovely idea.

“It made me think it would work really well here in Gisborne, so I set about gathering some books.”

Ms White hid her first lot of books on Easter Saturday.

The books are put in Ziplock bags with a message asking for the books to be hidden again when they have been read, and for people to post their finds on the group’s Facebook page.

“My phone started buzzing with all these lovely photos of children finding books with big happy smiles on their faces.

“People started telling me where they have re-hidden them.”

Ms White wants the hidden books idea to foster a love of reading in children.

“I strongly believe reading is very important. Children can learn new words and share books.

“Through this activity these books go to several different homes.

“I hope the children who find them enjoy reading and have a lot of fun re-hiding them as well.”

Ms White buys the books from the Salvation Army Family Store and Hospice Tairāwhiti.

She then hides them in different playgrounds, behind trees or under benches. She does this every weekend depending on the weather.

Two friends who have recently retired have been helping, delivering books to her during the week.

“Whenever I hide books, I put a post on our Facebook page, giving families a hint where children might find them, like a treasure hunt.”

Parent Michael Andrews brought his seven-year-old daughter Brielle to find some hidden books at the Botanical Gardens on Saturday.

He said he really liked the initiative.

“It’s a new way of getting children interested in reading.

“I was quite a big reader growing up so it’s quite cool being a young parent and engaging in new ways to encourage my daughter to read.

“Especially here in Gisborne, we are a small community so having cool things like this to do with the kids is always a yes.”

Parent Teri Wilson brought her three children to the Botanical Gardens on Saturday too.

“Anything that gets them learning some new words and getting out in nature is a nice idea. We’re really looking forward to it, it’s my kids’ first time. Hopefully we can do it again and keep going.

“I think the community should get involved in this initiative and more people should join in.”

TAIRĀWHITI HIDDEN BOOKS: Looking pleased with their haul of books at the Botanical Gardens on Saturday are (from left): Braxton Marshall (7), Michael Andrews with toddler Madeline Wilson, Tully Wilson (6), Ryder Wilson (7), Jill White and Brielle Taylor-Te Reo (7). Ms White started the hidden books initiative earlier in the year and posts clues on the group’s Facebook page as to the whereabouts of the books. Pictures by Ben Cowper
BOOK FINDING: Jill White, seen here with two-and-a half-year-old Madeline Wilson, has started a hidden books project to encourage reading.
HAPPY READING: Teri WIlson, with Braxton Marshall and Madeline, wants the community to come on board and encourage their children to engage in the hidden books initative.