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Treasure Hunt With A Twist: Mom Creates Coolest Project To Inspire Kids To Read.

Note that says "Hidden Children's Books" with copy of book called "Biggles"

With screen time on the rise, many parents are looking for ways to instill a love of reading in their children.

A mother in New South Wales, Australia has gone a step further by adding a treasure hunt component to her push to get kids reading. Three years ago, Samantha Dixon of Braidwood saw the trend of scattering painted rocks for children to find, and decided “why not have them find books, instead?”

“We had a bookshelf full of books the children had already read,” she explained. “I just thought it would be wonderful and a more useful thing [than rocks] for children.”

She did some research, and found a New York-based initiative called “The Book Fairies” that started in 2012. Founder Amy Zaslansky started the Book Fairies project because she wanted to share her kids’ abundant library with kids who aren’t as fortunate.

“Aside from getting books into the hands of kids who deserve them, I can’t imagine a home without books,” Amy said. “We move about 600,000 books a year.”

So far, that group has distributed over 3.5 million books to children in the United States!


Book Fairies inspired similar projects in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, so Samantha decided to start her own version in Australia.

The challenge is simple: Children’s books are placed inside a protective plastic sleeve along with a note. The note tells them they’ve found a Braidwood Hidden Children’s Book, and after they read it and write their names inside the cover, they can keep it or hide it for another kid to find.

The books are placed all over the town, including in parks, shop windows, and other public places. Children are delighted to stumble upon a hidden book, and the project is serving its purpose of making books exciting for little ones.

“It’s lovely to watch the little kids’ faces when they find the books,” said Samantha. “It’s a bit magical.”

After three years, Samantha doesn’t have to do much to keep the Hidden Books project going. The community has gotten involved, and now adults regularly hide books just for fun. The mom-of-five is thrilled that her idea has blossomed so beautifully.

“I enjoy the fact these books are being read and are not just being left on the shelves and that kids are outside finding them not on screens,” she said.

What a fantastic idea! Who else wants to start a project like this in their own hometown?

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