Quick answers about Children’s Book Network
Our goal is to bring books to children and children to books by making reading fun and exciting as well as useful.
We work, by choice, with children in communities that are not already served by other NGOs in this context – although we have close relationships with others working with children and books and can call on their expertise when we need it.
Workshops are the most important activity of CBN. These encompass books and stories around a theme, activities such as song-writing, puppets, dancing, craft and painting and a host of writing – and reading – activities. We include musicians, performance poets and actors as well as motivational speakers and experts on different topics.
We work with children of between 9 and 12 (although older and younger children enthusiastically gate-crash workshops all the time, and are welcome. At this age they are still open to ideas and already know how to read. When we find children who can’t read, there are other organizations that can help.
We work with communities, not schools, and have close links with librarians who facilitate registering the children and often offer us venues too.
Our children speak isiXhosa and Afrikaans as their home languages, but are taught in English after their first three years at school and usually watch a lot of television in English. They understand spoken English better than they read or write. They also need to improve their English skills as education happens in this language. But we do provide a translator at every workshop and the children can write in their own languages during workshops. Ideally we want to have translations on the website, but we are a small organization currently and this is a huge project. We will get to it.
CBN is growing, but only as fast as a limited number of people can keep up with. We need help in order to bring more books to more children. We work with other organizations that are doing different things with books and reading, drama and early education.
Future plans include toolboxes, both on the website and available as kits, that will allow our workshop themes to be replicated elsewhere. We are also hoping to be able to give core libraries of the books we work with so that the reading lasts longer.
Our website has a huge amount of information. Good places to look are under the tabs NEWS, WORKSHOPS and PROJECTS