Words by Smiley Team
Bookmark Reading, a literacy charity that provides volunteer-led reading support for children, is launching an urgent appeal to raise £1 million to supply 5,000 welcome Book Boxes to Ukrainian children, aged 5-9, arriving in the UK.
The boxes will include books in Ukrainian and English, a tablet pre-loaded with multilingual eBooks, literacy and language apps, activities together with a SIM card to stay in touch with family and friends, school stationery sets and sensory games and story-telling aides for therapeutic play.
There are thousands of children arriving in the UK, separated from their loved ones and belongings, and the charity wants to help them start their new chapter in the UK feeling secure, welcome, and inspired. The box will offer children something of their own at a time when they may have left everything behind.
The Bookmark Box, which will be distributed through local authorities, the Association of Ukrainians in GB, and charities proving local support, has been designed in conjunction with teachers and other literary experts.
Sharon Pindar, founder and chair of Bookmark Reading Charity says: “Children are fleeing Ukraine, leaving so much behind. They may arrive in the UK with nothing and will need to start a new life whilst healing from trauma. They may not be able to attend school straight away, so will need support with their education.
"Language barriers may also leave them feeling isolated. The Bookmark Box will give them tools and resources to help them feel secure and begin the process of healing. We want to give them a warm welcome and help them to start a new chapter in their life. We want to offer comfort in stories.”
The Bookmark Boxes will include familiar Ukrainian books as well as picture books to reflect the refugee experience. One book included in the box ‘The Fabulous Lost and Found’ has been translated by the Author Mark Pallis into Ukrainian by a Ukrainian translator specifically for the appeal.
Jay Stansfield, author and Illustrator of award-winning colouring book ‘Squibbles’, has commissioned an exclusive colouring sheet to be included on the box, so children can make it their own.
The tablets within the Bookmark Box will be loaded with books in multiple languages and apps such as ChatterStars to build their familiarity of the English language while the mobile data allowance on the devices will also allow the children to stay in touch with friends and family displaced around the world.
The sensory games within the Bookmark Box are vital tools often recommended to help refugee children in early education.
DONATE: To donate to the Bookmark Reading Charity Bookmark Box appeal, visit here.
VOLUNTEER: To become a Bookmark Reading Charity volunteer, head to their website.