When we began the toolbox project, we thought the book selection would be easy. What a pleasure to read a hundred books, or so, choose some, and develop materials around them.
It wasn’t easy at all.
The nature of publishing has changed over the last two decades so that it is hardly recognizable as the same industry (although many of us cling to the illusion that nothing has changed.)
There are thousands of books published for children every day. Some of these are excellent. Some of them are not. But they wash through the industry like a spring tide … and then wash out again.
The most important change is the temporary nature of titles. Even books by best-selling authors have a limited shelf-life. Few of them make a second edition, never mind a third. So we cannot confidently order ten copies this month … and expect to find ten more copies in six-months time.
We have had to compromise. The point of the toolbox kits is to give children material to READ. So, we have created it ourselves. The majority of the three-hundred pages of text in the red Toolbox handbook is specially written for the children we work with.
In addition, there are reviews of classics and new titles, (as much as we may legally quote without obtaining time-consuming permissions), and mention of books every child should have in their hands at least once.
We also distribute Book-Dash books (absolutely wonderful) and these give the idea of possession of ‘my own book’, even though they are for younger children that our average reader.
In every reading toolbox, there are about sixty books (it varies according to what we can afford), that children in a group can share around. We buy the books for them and they are used as source material in the handbooks.
Everything else is written especially, and particularly for CBN children to use, think and dream about. It will remain our main resource for many years to come – and will be constantly updated as we go along.